Ten Things I Learned On Vacation

1. It’s good to misplace your own antiperspirant among your bajillion pieces of luggage because then you get to use your husband’s Old Spice deodorant, which actually works.

2. Cracker Barrel is a great place to bring your three-month-old because the place is basically run entirely by grandmothers and aunts. Also, there will always be another child there who is louder and more poorly-behaved than yours. Fact.

3. Just when you’re ready to laud your Garmin as the miraculous culmination of all the technology that came before it, it will pronounce Whole Foods as “wa-hole foods.”

4. The relief you feel the moment you pull in to a Hampton Inn after an eleven hour car ride with an infant is comparable to the feeling Industrial Age children experienced when getting off of work from the coal mine.

Nothing says “business suite” at the Hampton Inn like this classy touch.

5. Many alternate lyrics to “If You’re Happy and You Know It” can be concocted while in the car with an infant. For example:

“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you can’t do that, just sit right there.

If that is still too difficult for your cognitive level,

Just blow spit bubbles and blink your eyes.”

6. The moment I take over driving for my husband, a hurricane will make landfall. This is the Murphy’s Law of roadtrip driving.

South of the Border, for all you fancy-schmancy people who need real roadside attractions

7. When you are on a budget, trips to rural gas stations can be substituted for pricier tourist attractions. We stopped at one BP in the boondocks of Florida that was run by three men, the youngest of which was roughly 85. They were smoking pipes and selling shriveled sweet potatoes at the front counter. I don’t think British Petroleum authorized their inventory.

8. No matter how many exciting activities you planned for the week, you will still hear a child say, “I’m bored.” And responding to this comment with a suggestion to do chores around the family’s rented beach cottage is never a sufficient response to said child.

Huzzah! Teenagers strike again!

9. Make sure you accumulate as much garbage as possible in your car. All those empty water bottles can surely be used for a craft project when you return home. When your spouse asks you if you were going to throw away the spoils from the baby’s latest diaper change, tell him that you were planning to keep it as a souvenir.

10. Always prepare yourself for the worst the instant you open the door to your home after a two week absence. That way, when all your stuff is still there and the place isn’t burnt to the ground, it’s an added bonus.


  1. clownonfire · · Reply

    South of border for me is………………. hehe.
    Le Clown

    1. Many people have been suckered into going to the NC/SC South of the Border because they subscribed to your definition. ;)

  2. Hahah! Oh, Emily, this post was like a trip down memory lane. Very funny. South of the Border was always a must. How can you NOT visit after reading all of those delightful billboards.
    “Chile today, Hot Tamale.” See, I remember that one from my youth.
    Glad you survived!

    1. Those billboards are epic. We live within an hour’s drive and I am always trying to get my husband to take us. No luck yet, but not to worry. Once C is talking I’m going to get her to jump on the bandwagon.

  3. Emily, this was so funny and so great. Have driven by South of the Border many times and the description of the elderly guys at the BP — perfect. Glad you survived and had a great time.

    1. Thanks! Gas stations are always hotbeds of culture, and way less expensive than the Lourve.

  4. Oh, I remember the endless singing of songs to pacify the babies. Funny. They don’t seem to want to hear my singing now that they’re older. :)

    1. Just sing some Bieber and that’ll assuage them. Actually, better not do that either.

      1. Yeah, my boys would really wallop me if I sang Bieber. They have no love for the guy. Then again, neither do I…

  5. It tells me I am still following you. Love the tips. Road trips with kiddos the salt of life.

    1. Was this post in your feed? Apparently everyone who opted-in for receiving email updates are still getting them, but I’m still unclear if the new updates are showing up in the “blogs I follow” feed.

      1. The link saying you had moved was. But not the post I don’t think, but my feed only shows me half the blogs anyways.

        1. Well boo. I’m going to try to see the glass as half-full on this one; if someone really wants to follow me from here on out, they’ll find me.

          1. I will let you know when you pop up in my feed.

  6. It’s these hard won lessons of life that make it all worthwhile!
    But you had a fun trip, right?

    1. Oh, absolutely! I’ve been a little depressed today because we are finally back at home.

  7. Haha, I just found a “souvenir” today, myself! Parenthood would be incomplete without one. I had forgotten about South of the Border from my days of roadtripping between VA & Myrtle Beach in college – roaring fun memories you evoked – thanks, Mrs. Em! Too bad the souvenir I found today wasn’t a tacky sombrero instead.

    1. No problem! What’s interesting to me is that the #1 thing people have mentioned in the comments is South of the Border. Had I known it had such resonance I would have actually stopped there in order to collect “data” (AKA a sombrero) for a full post.

      1. It may well be worth its own trip…I would LOVE your take on that joint!!

        1. I will have to convince B. He is not too keen on roadside attractions. Yet somehow we make it work ;)

  8. I’m twelve years old, I can’t stop giggling at the dune asses sign.

    1. I am apparently a twelve year old too, then. Babies having babies.

  9. You are hilarious! Your rendition of If You’re Happy and You Know It is awesome…as is that towel tie! Nice going, Hampton Inn!

    1. Thanks! I have to give B the credit for that one. He is a born lyricist, in the same league with Bernie Taupin.

  10. Oh got to love having to use the husband’s deodorant. I have done that because either a. Mine disappears and strategically does not reappear until vacation day 4 or b. We are at the inlaws and I can’t find mine right away so instead of emptying the suitcase I use the first stick I find, his. Oh well here is to smelling like Ocean Breeze or Glacier Rush at some point in our lives.

    1. Amen to that! Smelling like a manly man whilst on vacation is highly underrated. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Emily! Or shall I say Editor Vasco? ;)

  11. LOVE the towel art! I’ve seen all kinds of different things but that is the first tie :) Last time I stayed in Newport Beach there was a turtle towel I swooned over.
    So many hilarious elements to this post… my dogs keep looking up at me like I’m crazy with my sudden bursts of laughter in an otherwise quiet room.

    1. Yep, you get towels like that when you refuse to spend more than $80 a night for a room. Classy, classy. :)

  12. We’re taking Sonia on a 5-hour car ride this weekend, and I am so nervous. 11 hours? You guys rock!

    1. You are going to do great. Just be ready to sing. A lot.

  13. Hello from San Diego : ) I absolutely love CRACKER BARREL. My mom’s side of the family is from a small town called Baytown in Texas and every time I visit her, Cracker Barrel is a MUST destination.

    For Valentine’s Day three years ago, I took my husband to the CB in Yuma AZ, and he was SO happy : ) Totally worth the three hour drive….

    And you’re right, the whole place is run by “motherly” women : )

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll be following you as well!

    1. Cracker Barrel is the best! If only I could buy all the crap they have for sale in the store. I would die a happy person.

      Welcome and thanks for popping by! :-D

  14. Road trip food: Cracker Barrel, Roy Rogers, and Waffle Houses. These places seem to only exist in close proximity to turnpikes and interstates. The signs are often bigger than the restaurants and promise comfort food at any hour.

    1. Sadly, we actually live up the street from a Waffle House. Just one more reason we need to move.

      Glad to see you’ve returned to blogging after your hiatus! Missed you.

  15. Loved it! I am so glad I am not the only one who imagines the absolute worst whenever I am away from home. Conflagration is always at the top of the list.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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