After many, many, many grueling and torturous hours in the car, I have learned that there are a few things you should keep track of throughout your travels. These things range from annoying-if-lost all the way to holy-crap-where-is-the-_______ (fill in blank with your own alarming lost item).
Things that are mildly annoying if lost:
Inevitably, these become lost in the moments just before placing the car in ‘park.’ This also usually occurs when someone really, really needs to exit the vehicle quickly—for example, if your husband refuses to stop more than once every three hours and you really, really need to get to the ladies’ room.
These are important, especially if you have a slave-driver co-pilot who insists on making you drive for more than say 15 minutes at a time. That’s about my limit with the whole boredom/driving thing, and the only thing that keeps me awake is munching on something. Keep the snacks handy and easily accessible.
Some sort of radio signal.
I enjoy listening to fuzz as much as the next person, but after a while, a person wants some variety. Where the HECK does the radio signal go, and why can’t I find it when I’m the only one awake in the car?
Chapstick. Aspirin. Eye drops.
Why does it only take an hour or so on the road before I feel like a squinting, pruny-lipped troll with a headache? Probably all the stress from not being able to find a stinking radio station!
Things that are holy-crap alarming if lost:
As in, “Holy crap! Where is the crab!??” This is likely to happen if, in your traveling wisdom, you deem it necessary to buy your child a hermit crab at the beach. Which I totally didn’t. Because that would be ridiculous.
Seriously. Who is going to cart a crab home in a little tiny cage for a 20-hour road trip and hope that by some miracle their 8-year-old manages to go the entire way without inadvertently knocking the lid off the cage? Not me, by golly. I would never…
Ok, I would. And believe me, it was a brilliant idea at the time. Genius, actually.
And it was the cutest little crab in the cutest little cage with the crummiest lid ever invented for a cage! We probably would never have noticed the little guy was missing except for the fact that Marissa came out of her car-coma in a screaming frenzy when she noticed that Herman was missing.
Since everyone else in the vehicle was also in a car-coma, it took a few moments for that little bit of reality to sink in. Crab. On the loose. I remember something about the van careening wildly across different lanes as the manhunt began, probably because Jason expected Herman to crawl up his leg at any moment, which, I have to admit, would have been hilarious. HI-LAR-EE-OUS! (Seriously, I’m pretty sure that would have been the highlight of the entire trip.)
But alas, Jason was crab-free when we finally pulled into the next rest stop. Herman, however, was still unaccounted for. We had turned every bag inside out. Marissa was wailing about Herman's fate. I had my feet on the seat hoping not to get pinched.
As soon as he was able to throw the van into a jolting ‘park,’ Jason threw open his door, and almost immediately thereafter shouted, “I have the crab!”
Herman, in his evening adventure, had made his way into the wheel well right by Jason’s foot. (Oh, so close! My entertainment would have been made complete had the little guy only made it to Jason’s leg and started crawling up!)
Herman was placed gently back in his cage, and we all lived happily ever-after. The end.
The moral of this story is that you should always keep track of your crabs…especially in the car.