5000 miles with the wife, baby and dog.  And a breast pump.  It was a blast.  October 16th through November 1st.


Living in Denial Road Trip '07!

Sarah and I fight the dying of the light of our spontaneous youth by heading out on a crazy-ass road trip with baby and Paco.  My 97 Corolla is tuned up and ready to tack on another three thousand miles.  Our first stop is in Omaha.  We don't know anybody there, but soon will as a woman responded to my ad on Craig's list and is letting us use her house.  She even has a back yard for Paco.  We're hoping she doesn't kill us and steal Quin.  But I asked her that and she said she wouldn't. 

But if you know someone named Allison in Omaha and she's an f'n nut, please let us know. 

Quick tip:  Here is the best gift to give any newly babied couple.   And here is the second. 


Inauspicious Start

Jared (to Paco):  We're off, dude!
Sarah (over Quin):  Do we have a map?
Jared:  What?
Sarah:  Quin just shit his pants.
Jared:  Should we go back?
Sarah:  Drive. 
Coming soon!   How Not to Greet a Nebraska Police Officer and Tornado Allie

Denver to Omaha

Google Travel Time:  7 hours 37 minutes

Our pace:  11 hours and some change 

I don't know if it was a "How can I help you?" or an "Is there anything I can do for you?" Either way the emphasis was on irritate when I questioned the Nebraska police officer. Sarah and I were off the Interstate. We were off the road that we took to get off the Interstate. We were so far out of the way that the traffic from the highway was only loud enough to make you feel lonely. Paco barked at a willow. He might as well because there was nothing else around. Sarah sat in the car and changed Quin. I ran laps (one really) around a big bald spot on the prairie. I was thinking about ticks migrating to my groin when I saw the cop car barreling towards us. It was dark but he'd lit himself so he'd be visible from space. I knew he was coming for us. Well, there was no one else, but I could tell our car and our activity, this lively aberration on the surface of the moon, had startled the locals. He skidded up to the back of our car. He had to have been disappointed. No one ran. No illegal aliens tossed a baby full of crack into the bushes. Sarah continued to coo at Quin. I stared into his spotlight battling the impulse to run and get my camera. My rushing to pull and point something at Officer Twitchy would not be a good idea.

Moments later I asked him what I could do for him in my snotty bad waiter voice. Not a great idea as this got his cockles all crazy and he scurried up to me with his flashlight in that dual purpose illuminator/skull cracker position. He peppered me with questions. What was I doing there? Who was I with. Where did I work? Who did I know in Omaha? He asked what I did for a living and I refrained from saying "self-employed". I'd never realized how loud that screams "Drug Dealer!"

His purposed deflating and my defense bulletproof, the officer slunk back towards his car. From behind his open door he explained that they'd had a lot of trouble in that spot. This spot so far from anything that you'd almost want to encourage trouble. How many loner Ted Bundy types has this guy chased back into the city? Some guy's waxing hopeful to a porn mag and pulling the heads off Barbies, and from this crater pitted of people and attractive plant life officer Desert Speeder is running them back into civilization. We really should convince suicide bombers to blow themselves up in Nebraska.

The dusty plains just beyond Oglalla is our precious Holy Land. Spread the word.

And our Omaha stay was delightful. It was wearying and sometimes frustrating, but that wasn't our hosts fault. I will blame the baby for that. Allison, or Allie as her roommates and friends call her, let us stay at her sweet collegiate digs. I say collegiate not in the sense that they were on campus, but this was address that every college kid knew. Beer cans and cigarette butts filled the barbecue on the back porch.

Do you remember that house you had right after school? You still felt like you were a student. Your flexibility hadn't gotten all salty. You still had the patience for someone else's dishes, someone else's music and their inability to get you 1/3 of the electric bill every month. This was Allie's house and it smelled like tangy shores of irresponsibility. Sure college loans had piled on the tsunami about to suck you into a sea of change (piss off, it's late), but that makes for even more fevered partying.

Everybody was awake way past our arrival at 2am. This was a normal hour for Allie and her friends. Quin fit right in.

Paco was near suicidal.


In Minneapolis

Google travel time:  5 hr 41 min

Our Travel time:  9 hours


Just so you know, the Red Roof Inn takes pets.  Maybe not after Paco lost his nut on the maid service, but they do for now.

Last night getting Quin to go down was like slaying an elephant with a hairbrush.  He just laid there and kicked and grinned.  That was cute for a few minutes. 


Paco takes one for the Minneapolis

Rain's pounding the Twin Cities and our band of four remains hopeful that we'll be in Chicago by tomorrow afternoon. We just pulled in to our Minneapolis motel. You know your life has taken a turn when you look for a Hooters to find your home.

We've had a good day. I was up until 4am trying to keep Quin from getting my ass beat by the trucker next door. Maybe that's his plan. Then Paco, who's a nervous wreck wondering why we're letting all these people roam free around our temporary shelter, ripped off a few barks at seven. Let the day begin.

We did laze around long enough to see Drew Carey on TPIR. He and Brian Griese and Jake Plummer should share notes on filling big shoes. Carey does a good job but right now I think he's just trying too hard. And we must recall the words of Bob Barker who reminded the world that his replacement would not be another Bob Barker, but someone with their own style. So I was surprised to hear Carey ask us to neuter our pets (and maybe he should mention a trained professional do it). Shouldn't he have his own cause? Something with eyeglasses for kids or something. But a bigger question is this: What in the hell his wrong with hotel TV volume? You're just one click away from losing your QuinTV.JPGhearing to a Seinfeld rerun. One click down and it's back to an eerie Poltergeist murmur. The whole process rests on the same hair trigger mechanism that controls the water temperature.

After gathering up our traveling circus we went into downtown Minneapolis to see some friends. Jim and Connie have five kids and nice big, historic house to fit them all. Even better is they have a back yard where Paco would get to meet their dog, Joe. Although it was raining, and Paco's fur is mostly for decorative purposes (no seriously, on average my chest hair is twice as long as Paco's longest strand,) I figured he'd love to play outside.

lonelyjo.JPGConnie was also excited about their dog getting a playmate for the afternoon. Joe, however, had other ideas. He's a rather amorous fellow. I let Paco out and, with the satisfaction of getting him some physical activity, went back inside for some warmth and refreshments. A while later, after what must have been like very bad first day at prison, I revisited the back porch. I found only Joe, no Paco. The big, black lover was standing on the patio overlooking the backyard. He was staring at something in the bushes. In the foliage I could see the cowering and violated figure of our soaking wet and shivering friend. His nose and the dark eyes peered from the hedges. With great trepidation Paco emerged from hiding and sprinted past the longing gaze of his lonely friend. Joe made a few more moves which made it a whole lot easier to get Paco to wait in the car instead.

Later on we all went out for the Latin fusion offered by Cafe Ena at 46th and Grand Avenue. I highly recommend it. Sarah got the Vegetariano and loved it. Quin was a huge hit with the pretty people of the late-evening set. And here's a quick tip for new parents: Kid a screamer? Who cares! No one can hear him in a crowded restaurant hotspot. Make sure it's a popular place with loud drinkers.

Here's another: When holding the baby in the "football position", pay close attention to whether or not he's leaving a trail of vomit across one of the nicer restaurants in the Twin Cities. I didn't know he was horking until he landed some in my shoe. Otherwise I was riding high on the herd of the Midwest's sexiest people cooing over my boy. I wriggled the two of us out of the crowd, juked around a waiter and weaved amongst the tight fit of the finely coiffed patrons. The whole time Quin was unleashing a rancid milk rainstorm, splashing diners and a busboy, whose catlike reaction to the spray made me wonder what was wrong with him. The good thing about a really cute baby is that people are very forgiving. There's something entirely different from his burp-up to my running through and regurgitating a twelver and a pizza. Thankfully so.

I have to thank Jim and Connie and Anna for muscling through an evening with the crazy kid. After five of their own (the eldest, Anna, helping with the other four) a screaming kid is about as distracting as white wallpaper.

And thank you Allie for the entertainment...

She plays keyboards and guitar, too.