Last Saturday, as we were hurtling down the interstate with our minivan stuffed full of children, the dog, and all the paraphernalia that such creatures require (oh, and also a bit of stuff for Art and me), Art and I got talking about how easy our kids have it. When I was a kid, a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in upstate New York required eighteen hours in the backseat of our Ford Tempo, with the coolor between us and no air conditioning. Mom and Dad would roll their windows all the way down and we would blow away all the way across the Midwest.
Now, we load the kids into the minivan with its big seats, roomy interior, and air conditioning, and we drive a whole three hours to get to my parents’ house. If we take our time. Usually it takes us closer to 2 1/2 hours. Our kids have it so easy.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
We got in the van this afternoon to make the drive from Omaha to A Suburb, Iowa, and within just a few miles of the Big Green Bridge we noticed a distinct lack of cool coming from the vents of our minivan. After a few more minutes it became obvious that the air conditioner, well, wasn’t.
We stopped at a rest area to move the dog from the back of the van up to the front so she could have some air circulating on her.
We stopped a little bit later at a Dairy Queen, where we bought Arctic Blasts or something like that– you know, slushies.
We stopped about ten minutes later because Sam needed a potty break.
We rolled all the windows down and told the boys they could take off their shirts if it helped them be cooler. Conversation was minimal because we couldn’t hear anything with the windows down anyway. We fed the dog the remnants of Art’s slushie, which satisfied her thirst and turned her tongue blue.
The boys experienced a most amazing sugar high and then crashed about twenty minutes from home.
We got stuck in rush hour in Des Moines, which might not be much of a rush hour but is still annoying when what little bit of coolness you have is dependent on the movement of your vehicle.
Our faces were red, our skin shiny, our clothes stuck to our back.
And somehow, in the tradition of our forebears who made great treks across this great land with no air conditioning (and no Dairy Queens!), we survived.
Now the boys are running around in their underwear, Gracie is chilling in her diaper, and I am in shorts and a tank top.
And we have never been as thankful for the air conditioning.
Or the fact that I forgot to turn it off for the weekend.