Day 1: Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio
Distance traveled: 500 miles
Time: 9 hours
Song of the Day: “Piece of Clay” (Marvin Gaye)
It was an early start on Tuesday morning. I set my alarm for 6:30am so I could say goodbye to Ella before she left for school. At 6:26 there was a knock on my door, and I heard, “MC! It is time to get up!” I awoke quickly, and told Ella to come in. I was moving slowly, and Ella said, “I woke up just like it was no trouble!” (I later found up that she had been up since 4am very saddened by my impending departure). I sat with her as she at her breakfast, and then it was time to say goodbye. Ella cried and cried. I held it together until the car pulled away. My heart was breaking! I knew that she would recover quickly as soon as the distraction of school appeared. I got myself together, and packed up all of the last minute items. I was on the road by 8:45am.
Pretty quickly into my drive, I decided that I should memorize the lyrics to “Life is a Highway.” Whenever I take a road trip (or drive of any length), and that song comes on, I always call my cousin, Leslie, and leave a message with me belting the chorus. I decided it presented a good challenge to memorize the lyrics (Won’t Leslie be thrilled?). Or perhaps I would discover open mic nights all over the country. In the middle of this challenge, I was flooded with the memories of a cross country drive I made 15 years ago. When I moved to Denver, my dear friend Maggie drove with me. We set-up a similar challenge. We tasked ourselves with memorizing “One Week” by The Bare Naked Ladies. It was at that moment, that I decided this memory was good blog material. It was also at that moment that my phone rang. It was Maggie! I am still a little weirded out by that. Not that Maggie called, but that she called AT THAT MOMENT! And, yes, we did revisit the lyrics to “One Week.” Quite successfully, I might add.
My stop for the evening was at the home of Ben & Katie Kerrey and their kids Will, Evelyn, and Thomas. Katie and I were college roommates from freshman year on (excluding the year that I abandoned her to nanny in California). Simply put, Katie is the best friend a girl could ask for. For 20 years, she has been one of my biggest supporters, and has ALWAYS (and I mean always) been there for me, especially at one of the hardest times in my life. Ok, enough of that (love you, Katie!). Oh, and Ben is pretty great, too.
I arrived at the Kerrey’s just in time to go to Thomas’ (3yrs. 9mos) soccer “practice” with Katie. Ben took Will (4th grade) and Evelyn (1st grade) to their soccer practice. After we got back there was a rush to get every child showered and fed a post-soccer snack before going to bed. Katie quickly made 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (like a pro!). Thomas played cars and at his sandwich. Then, as he was escorted upstairs to begin the bedtime ritual. Will and Evelyn came downstairs to eat their snack and visit with me before they had to go to bed. Will shared a YouTube video with me that he promised would be hilarious. It actually was pretty funny (Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”). Then he hurried up to bed. Evelyn was still finishing her sandwich, so we had a chance to chat. She asked me if I was her mom’s sister. I said, “Well, technically we’re sorority sisters.” When I caught a glimpse of the blank look on her face, I said, “Well, we have known each other for 20 years, and we are like sisters. But, I’m not her sister like your Aunt Christine is her sister.” Evelyn said, “Oh yeah, that’s right. You’re my godmother.” Then she wanted to know who Will’s godmother was. Ben and I told her that Aunt Christine is Will’s godmother. Evelyn said, “I want Christine.” I dropped my jaw and said, “What am I? Chopped liver?” She giggled and said, “Well, I really like Christine.” I replied, “Are you trying to trade me in for a newer model?” She laughed, but was sticking to her request. I told her it was too late because I already signed the papers and everything. Why did I tell that story? No marriage request from that girl.
The kids went to bed (or pretended), and we started our dinner. Katie bought a lovely tenderloin, and decided we should grill it. After consulting the recipe, it was determined that we needed a meat thermometer to make sure the meat was cooked properly. Ben and Katie realized that they didn’t have one. I said, “I have one. In the car.” Katie laughed, and wondered if I could find it amidst the treasures. I said, “I’ll be right back. I know exactly where it is. ” And I did. I walked to the car, moved one laundry basket full of spices and other kitchen necessities (why start over with spices?) and one bag. I opened the lid of a shallow rectangular plastic storage container. Voila! There was the meat thermometer. Those of you who know me well (or have worked with me) probably are not surprised to know that 1) I have a meat thermometer, and 2) I knew exactly (and I mean EXACTLY!) where it was. I gave that meat thermometer to the Kerrey’s. If you were around me while I was preparing for this move, NO ONE GOES AWAY EMPTY HANDED! We stayed up way too late, but had a great dinner (Thanks, Katie!), and as always, a great visit. I said goodbye to the kids in the morning, went back to sleep, then got myself ready for Day 2.