Musing on food and cooking ...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Whine Whine Whine

so I have been getting complaints that I haven't posted.

Well, I haven't posted. Been packing. Been moving. Been cruisin' in Alaska. I just got back on Saturday night and got smacked by the flu-bug. And I absolutely must mow my lawn to avoid the over-four-inches-we'll-mow-it-for-you-$30-fine.

Yes, I rent and I have to mow my own lawn. *sighs*

Nevertheless, here we go!

As most of you know, I recently moved from the Boston area to the Chicago area. I had the bright idea that I would drive my car here, along with the help of mia madre and the vocal protestations of Leo and Pele while the movers hauled my other belongings. Things started off, well, a bit behind schedule. The movers didn't get there until almost 4 pm, wherein they informed us that they were not getting there Monday as agreed, or Tuesday as renegotiated, but Wednesday evening - late. Bastards. So, mia madre and I ran to a friend's house, booked a hotel, and hit the road about 6 pm.

Things went well. I drove for the first few hours, booking it through the Berkshires. We stopped at one of those tollway oasii for dindin. Mia madre had some sort of Philly-ish cheese steak thingy from D'Angelos and I had a 2-piece pizza deal from Papa Gino's. Not bad not bad. I have certainly eaten worse roadside food. But it must not have held me, because not long after we went past an oasis in New York State, where they had Hebrew National Hotdogs.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Oscar Meyer Natural Casing Weiners as much as the next girl, but I worship Hebrew National. Truly, they do answer to a higher authority! I was sorely tempted - but knowing we had umpteen hours of driving to go, I was strong and drove past the stand.

About midnight, I got exhausted and mia madre took over driving. That woman was meant to be a long-haul truck driver, I swear! She can go. And drive and drive and drive. Of course, after our early stop at the oasis, we existed primarily on coffee and diet soda. I attempted to sleep with the aide of my friend Benadryl and managed some catnaps. In the wee hours, we hit Cleveland, and were in great need of a bathroom as the result of our enourmous fluid intake.

Cleveland is the cruelest city. At 4 am, there are open gas stations but they won't let you in to use the bathroom. I guess I look like a robber or some such. It didn't help matters any that Citibank put a stop on my credit card fearing that my many gas purchases along 90/94 were the result of identity theives moving west at a rapid pace.

Finally, we hit Indiana and relief. A bathroom and an Egg McMuffin. I love Egg McMuffins. So sue me.

So, I took over driving again, and at about 9 am, we were 40 miles from Chicago. I was so totally psyched! We were going to be to LFC by 11! I would have keys! The cats would get out of kitty jail! Mia madre could find a comfortable resting surface!

And then?

We went from 75 mph to 0. Dead stop. Everyone at a dead stop. No movement. Nothing on the radio. Just dead in the water. And I am almost out of gas.

What to do? Sit there and idle in hopes that it clears out quickly? Shut down and hope that the car starts up again? Keep in mind, it is already 92 degrees at 9 am - I of course electing to move during the worst heat wave since 1995 and in a car with no air conditioning. Finally, we decide to pull into a truckers' sleeping area (illegally), shut the car off, and get the cats into the woods, where at least there was some shade.

I went around and begged water from some nice fellow travelers (thank you, oh kind strangers). And there we sat. For three hours. Yes, three hours - no food, little liquids, and the temperature going up and up. Finally, it looked like things were moving again. We pulled out of the sleeping area to find it was all a cruel joke. Things were moving but at about 3 mph because there was such a bottle neck. Did I mention I was almost out of gas?

So, we hooked an illegal u-ey (on a tollroad nonetheless), went 38 miles back to South Bend, begged forgiveness of the nice tollboth lady who waved us through (have I mentioned people in the Midwest are kind?), hit the nearest gas station, drained their tank (so many people getting gas because of the jam that tank was running on fumes!), a bag of ice to stick inside the cat jail (makeshift ac), and headed north into Michigan. We went looping around the Lake, into Chicago via the South Side, onto Lake Shore Drive, and onto Sheridan and from there up to LFC.

We made it there at 4 pm. My god. Truly, the trip from hell. I almost had heat exhaustion. Neither of us had had much sleep in nearly 24 hours.

Let's just say we greatly enjoyed the hotel ac.

Well, long story short. The movers didn't get there until Saturday - four days late. And I will never ever do anything like this again. And I most certainly will be looking for a car with ac asap!

Oh! And what caused the traffic jam you might wonder? One of those truckers that took the long journey with us fell asleep not four miles ahead of us and drove into a minivan, killing himself, a 30-something woman, her mother, and her two young children. Awful. Just awful. Picture is above. I am so thankful it wasn't us, because it easily could have been ...

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