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Monday, September 27, 2010  

Road Trip Day 12: Coming Home

M. Edium can't decide what he wants to do. On the one hand, he wants to go home today and doesn't want to spend another day traveling. On the other hand, he wants us to drive back to Indiana and get his plush family. And we alleged grownups can't decide either, at least not until I get the hotel's head of housekeeping on the phone. Which is turning out to be a major project in itself. And until I do, we can't even be sure that Cattie is with Comfortable Blanket, or if we lost it somewhere else along the way. Because we needed another thing we need to worry about right now.

Finally I get her on the line, and she confirms that they have Comfortable Blanket, Cattie, Unusual Lizard, and Other Blue Guy. With them are Dinosaur and Owlie, a couple of friends he's picked up along the way. They are, respectively, a stuffed jellyfish and an inflatable wolverine (not really). And how do we know it's Other Blue Guy and not Blue Guy that we left behind? Because Blue Guy is here. Other Blue Guy is there. That's how it always works with those two. They have kind of a fucked-up dynamic.

She also confirms that she's boxing them up and affixing the FedEx label with my credit card number on it, and the driver should be there to pick it up later today. There's nothing left for Trash and M. Edium and I to do but get the hell home.

Even our longest drives on this trip have been fairly laid-back, with plenty of stops for gas and bathrooms and food and views and what have you, but today we're all exhausted and eager to get home. We leave Starved Rock at around 9:30. Soon we're on the once familiar corridor from Illinois to Madison, which is now lined with water parks and mini-golf where once there was nothing but Jim Anchower. We stop to pee near the Wisconsin Dells and get to the Twin Cities as fast as we can.

A high, nasal voice will issue from the back seat: "Where's Cattie?" At first we think it's M. Edium talking, but that's the voice he uses when acting as a surrogate speaker for one of his plush friends. It seems Blue Guy is wondering where the boss is. After all, Cattie is at the top of the stuffed pecking order, and his absence leaves a big hole. M. Edium and Trash explain to Blue Guy that Cattie stayed behind in the hotel, but he'll be home and back with them all tomorrow.

Five minutes later, a high, nasal voice asks, "Where's Cattie?" This time it's Butterscotch (who is, believe it or not, an exuberant-looking NeoPet in hot pink) asking. Butterscotch is brought up to speed. We realize that this is M. Edium's way of working through the stress of the temporary loss, but an outsider might reasonably assume that it's just the same conversation happening over and over, with different stuffed animals, from Rockford to Eau Claire.

One last fuel stop a few miles from home -- and we don't know how seven-eights of a tank got us five hundred miles when the last eighth doesn't get us the thirty-some miles from the Minnesota state line -- and we finally pull up in front of our house. Unpacking is going to be a long process, but emptying the truck will have to be a short one, because we have to get it back to my parents tomorrow. On the other hand, that bin of food we just carted through eleven states? That'll be emptied in about two and a half months

That evening, as much as we all just want to hunker down at home, we also want to catch our niece Deniece's last home soccer game of the season. M. Edium hasn't seen her for a few weeks anyway. When he sees her, he asks, "How come she's shorter?"

Never let it be said that travel doesn't help you grow.

We've got stuff to do tomorrow, and returning the truck is only part of it. Until that's done, this vacation isn't over. More on that later in the week, when I finally wrap up this epic odyssey.

posted by M. Giant 7:19 PM 1 comments


I just wanted to say I've really been enjoying your travel descriptions, and am now very curious as to how much mileage you put on the truck.

By Anonymous lsn, at September 28, 2010 at 8:56 PM  

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