I decided to be a good husband and somewhat good father and made the trip out to Salina, Kan. with my wife and the twins and toddler for a four-day trip.
I would have picked Okie-Vegas, myself, but then Kate would have ranked me just below the mosquitoes that have caused Jayden to get huge red welts on his back.
Kate makes this trip every year with her family. Salina just happens to be where I worked for five years before moving to Greeley, so it's not all bad.
But the trip was not easy.
In fact, if I didn't have my kit to survival, I may not have made it, or I would have at least written another whiny post like the one below, which is nearly as bad.
So I present it to you. You may substitute "Salina" for "Any Lame City, U.S.A." with the in-laws.
1. Patience. Patience. The patience Iggy showed in his awesome WSOP run. If you ask why, you've obviously never taken an eight-hour trip with one-year-old twins and an easily bored 3-year-old. And, really, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, except maybe those responsible for Sept. 11. It ran out at 11:30 p.m. in a hotel room in Goodland, Kan., when the kids still didn't go down after an hour, but no rants escaped my mouth that night. I almost cried, but that's another story.
2. Earplus or a good iPod - I chose the iPod and listened to old Ante-Up podcasts. Try strapping a twin in a car seat for eight hours and watch what happens. It's fun. Just bring something to help with decible levels that will turn your eardrums into pools of searing pain, even eardrums already numbed by years of Metallica and Iron Maiden concerts (and trumpets, but the metal concerts makes me sound a lot cooler).
3. Tolerance for all things fried or otherwise bad for you - Only someone who lived in the midwest for as long as I did could have the tolerance for the diet I exhibited this weekend. So I don't suggest you dive in. When I ran seven miles today I could still feel grease leaking from my pores.
4. A DVD player - Remember the old days when your parents expected you to spend three straight days in the car with an Etch-A-Sketch and Mad Libs to keep you entertained? Yeah, me too. But I don't begrudge our kids for getting to, like, watch movies and TV shows while we pound the pavement with our mini-van. In fact, thank God for it. Jayden was a very good boy for those two days in the car. If he was acting as bad as the twins, I don't think I would have survived. But the DVD player numbed his brain just enough to keep him quiet.
Still, god DAMN that DVD would have been nice when I was 8.
5. A Dial-A-Shot call from friends - I got a rare (OK, my first, I'm not as popular as you, OK?) Dial-A-Shot call late Friday night, and hearing this guy's voice and knowing that lots of others I have come to call friends were thinking of me really helped me through Saturday's car trip back. Now next time I'll leave my damn phone on past 9 p.m. Friday instead of watch "Once" on my laptop (although what a terrific movie it was).
6. A Coffee Shop - Kate's grandmother does not have Internet, so I had to seek out a coffee place one afternoon in Salina to send off a couple stories and...OK, mostly to scratch my itch. I even played 10 hands of poker because I missed it so much. I lost $2.
I'll never buy anything but a laptop again.
Oh, and I apologize there hasn't been much poker on this blog, but really, there's a lot better players who score a lot more than me every single night. I just play three $.25/.50 tables four nights a week and slowly build my bankroll. Booooring.
7. A huge box of crappy toys - I am talking the kinds you find in a Carl's Jr. meal, not even the quality stuff you get in a Happy Meal. But any new toy, one two certain twin girls haven't seen before, will stop the fuss for two minutes, and that's two minutes of pure gold.
8. A pair of running shoes - But be careful, Salina, like most places, is a humid, swampy, hot mess in the summer (and how do you people stand it?), so running intervals is probably not a good idea at 4 p.m.
9. An understanding family - I've decided what I needed to say here and have decided to take most of it down after getting it off my chest. I'm still disappointed in Kate's siblings' sulking at the twins' and Jayden's crying and noise.
That's because parents of twins, we're sensitive to all the stares we get in restaurants and whispers behind our backs (probably overly sensitive, to be honest) and we quite frankly don't need that from our family.
At least Kate's mother and grandmother pitched in and were a lot more understanding.
10. A video camera - How else are you going to record all the wonderful memories? And there were a few. Seriously.