Wednesday, May 28, 2014

FBW: Type A-Ness

Since I fired up this blog a little over 3 months ago, I've tried with all of my might to follow a twice-weekly posting schedule. And thus far, I've been pretty successful. In fact, considering my utter lack of self-control around corn chips and hoarder-themed reality TV shows, I would say I've performed nothing short of a miracle by posting on the regular. But last week, I fell short of walking on water. I managed to doggy paddle, but doggy paddling doesn't exactly generate devout followers. And if I didn't feel bad enough for only posting once last week, I think I just compared myself to Jesus. When it comes to the missing post, I do have an excuse. When it comes to comparing myself to Jesus, that may be a reach. Damn it. Guess I'll have to flog extra vigorously today. This intro is really long. Too long. I'm stalling. Gotta write the post now. Going to write it now. Now. Now. Writing now.

Normally, I spend Wednesday evening and much of Thursday composing the finest of blog posts. And, yes, "composing" sometimes means "writing a sentence and then scrolling through Facebook and then starting a new sentence and then looking up a synonym for 'butt' on and then eating candy." But last week, there was no time for composing. No time for "butt" synonyms. (There was, however, time for candy, because there is always time for candy.)

Instead, I had to pack. For a road trip. With my husband. And my child. And my dog. A 2-day road trip with my husband and my child and my dog. To my in-laws'.

There are Type A people and there are Type B people. I don't think I am overstating matters when I say that I am a solid Type A-Plus. There is nothing I cannot plan. Nothing I cannot list. Nothing I cannot iron, starch, fold, and place on a tidy square of shelf. Nothing beyond the scope of my anxiety. And on a scale of 1 to 10 of anxiety, a lengthy family road trip ranks a conservative one-billion-million with a side of trichotillomania. In planning for this trip, I entered the fabled, deep, and murkiest waters of Type A-ness.

For the record, I should state that I actually like my in-laws, like them a lot in fact, and not just because they might read this post. (Hi, Mary Jane!) But being a guest in anyone's home can be stressful: What if I want an extra serving of food? What if I don't want an extra serving of food? What if I run out of toilet paper? What if I clog the toilet? The opportunities to humiliate yourself and estrange family are endless.

And did I mention the 2-days in a car with my husband, child, and dog?

In the spirt of Type A-ness, I have created a numbered list that details how this little family vacation played out in my head:

  1. Pack for the baby: size 4 diapers, overnight diapers, swim diapers, diaper wipes, diaper cream, diaper bag, portable changing pad, baby powder, V-Tech toys (because I hate myself), books, onesies, blankies, footy pajamas, a stroller, a portable crib, a baby monitor, baby sunblock, a sunhat, Mum Mums, apple puffs, Cheerios, sippy cups, snack cups, and, of course, Pork Chop's beloved and besnotted stuffed elephant
  2. Pack for the dog: dog food, dog treats, dog bowls, a dog leash, and a dog collar
  3. Pack for me: maxi pads, bras, migraine prescriptions
  4. Watch as Shelby packs all of his vacation gear into a carry-on-sized bag in under 30 minutes. Try not to set Shelby on fire.
  5. Jam all of our luggage into the SUV. Realize it won't fit. Decide to leave maxi pads and bras at home.
  6. Wake up 2 hours early, but still succeed in leaving 3 hours late.
  7. Get exactly 5 miles from home before Pork Chop blows out a diaper.
  8. Pull into a gas station. Change baby. Hose down car seat.
  9. Where is the dog?
  10. Go home and get dog.
  11. Decide that a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin and a large McCoffee are in order. Profoundly regret this decision somewhere in the Virginia hinterland, where the taxidermy shops far outnumber the rest stops.
  12. Get stuck driving behind a flat bed truck hauling a load of metal beams, lumber, buckets of dangerous chemicals, and chickens.
  13. Listen to too much talk radio. Have a panic attack about global warming and cost of limes.
  14. Blow a tire.
  15. Help Shelby change the tire -- in the pouring rain -- which leads to a lively discussion about divorce.
  16. Where is stuffed elephant? Sweet Mother of God, where is stuffed elephant?
  17. Retrieve stuffed elephant at the McDonald's where I bought the McMuffin of my undoing.
  18. Order Chicken McNuggets with a side of apple slices for Pork Chop. Feel like a good mom for getting those apple slices.
  19. Realize that after a full day of driving, we are 10 miles from home.
  20. Call the in-laws. Tell them that we will be visiting via Skype instead.
But Type A-ness, for all of its orderly, list-making power, tends to skew reality. We did not, in fact, blow a tire. Pork Chop didn't even blow out a diaper. This is how it really went:
  1. Pack all the things and load up the car. 
  2. Leave 30 minutes behind schedule.
  3. Blue skies and open roads!
  4. Okay, #11 actually happened.
  5. Arrive at destination 2 days later and 30 minutes behind schedule.
Thirty minutes behind schedule! What a nightmare. But it wasn't talk-radio-lost-elephant horrible. And life at the in-laws' has been lovely. No clogged toilets to speak of (yet)! Although, one pulled pork sandwich was viciously maimed in the making of this vacation:

The horror! The horror!


  1. Please tell me that the original #4 was also true. So that I do not feel alone in the universe. LOL

    1. Okay, ya got me. #4 is totally true. My husband a seasoned traveler. He may one day win a Nobel Prize in efficient packing. Whereas I may one day be convicted of war crimes against my suitcase.

  2. It is like you are inside my brain, except about 5 years ago. The panic I used to feel while preparing for trips to Pittsburgh, was off the charts. That panic only worsened after I had Eugene. Traveling with a baby, as you now know, is no one's idea of a good time. But, somehow by the grace of God or my shear loss of will, I stopped caring, stopped panicking, and just learned to go with the flow. I still make lists, and yes I have clogged the toilet at Gene's grandparents house then managed to convince everyone it was Gene. I also got explosive diarrhea at his Aunt's house in PA. Even after defiling several toilets in the Pittsburgh area, they still invite me back. Glad you guys survived the trip! -Sarah

    1. Loss of will may be the key to dealing with most parenting problems. I bet that's why you're such a good mom. (Love you!)

  3. If the Virginia hinterland is near Harrisonburg, VA, you're welcome to stop by my house for a bathroom break or to find another stuffed elephant. :)
    I'm loving your blog!

    1. Thanks, Cathy! If I need to defile your bathroom on our return trip, I'll let you know. And if you're ever in the DC Metro, I'd be happy to return the favor. Moms: We each other's backs (and butts).

  4. Hilarious! So relatable! #4 is my favorite!!!

    1. So glad I'm not the only one who is utterly baffled by her husband's ability to vacation for a week with only 1 t-shirt.

  5. Yes to all, most especially 4, 9, and 10. When the kids were really little, I had master packing lists on the computer so I would forget anything. I'm a little less Type A now, but not much. BTW, I spit out my drink reading, "And if I didn't feel bad enough for only posting once last week, I think I just compared myself to Jesus."

    1. A master packing list on the computer? You are a genius! Thank you for enabling my list-making obsession. (And I'm glad I made you spit out your drink, even if it was because I am just that un-Jesus-like.)

  6. Jessica, your post reminds me of this commercial:

    1. YES! That is it exactly. The first time my husband and I saw that commercial, he just turned toward me and gave me a look that said, "Does what you're seeing look, um, familiar to you?"