Two Thumbs Walk into a Car

Thumbs up:  I’m baaaaaak.  And out of the car.  Happy dance.

Thumbs up:  I thought I could.  And I did.  Ate well.  99% of the time.  If you don’t bring it in the car you can’t eat it in the car.  What a simple idea!  In the almost 36 total driving hours, I snacked on seven colored peppers, two bags of snap peas, a half-dozen apples, a smattering of cheese and jerky, two ounces of almonds and two servings of sugar free candies.  I ate my packed meals for lunches and dinners (three salads from home for the trip out and two salads from the store for the trip back).  Thumbs up for Wegmans:  OMG – this grocery store’s prepared food section is amazing!

Thumbs up:  Restaurant meals.  Yes, I stayed on plan even at my three meals “out.”  One night I had scallops with broccolini and roasted tomatoes with leeks, and just two very small bites of my husband’s molten lava chocolate cake.  (Of the five people at dinner, I was the only one who didn’t eat at least one roll or order dessert.)  For my one lunch (outside the car) I had a yummy salmon with pineapple and mango salsa and double veggies on the side instead of the starch.  Thumbs down that I suspect the veggies were only pretending to be healthy since they tasted awfully good, making me suspect the addition of butter and cheese.  My last restaurant meal was a quick dinner at Panera near our hotel at the end of a long day.  A small thumbs down that I was so tired that I didn’t realize that I had been given a baguette instead of the whole grain roll I requested, until I was halfway through eating it.

Thumbs up:  What I DIDN’T eat.  That my husband or meal companions DID.  Candy and more candy and, yes, more candy.  Cookies, and more cookies, and MORE cookies.  French fries.  Banana chocolate chip bars.  Chocolate covered granola bars.  Ah, bars.  It was interesting to reflect on how I would have eaten had I not been really motivated to stay on track on this trip.  And, just for Leslie, I need to add that I walked right past a display of Devil Dogs with hardly a second thought!  (Hubby said, “You should take a picture.”  So I did.)

Thumbs down:  Technology.  No surprise with my track record.  Top of the list are the CD player that broke halfway through our first book on tape and the spotty cell service that meant losing this post midway through my first unsaved draft.  Thumbs up that I did manage to have some internet time from the car, slow and intermittent as it was.  The internet in the hotels was equally uncooperative.

Thumbs exhausting:  Apartment hunting.  On Saturday we saw eight in eight hours.  Or maybe it was nine.  (There was a lot of “down time” in between since we had no idea how close to schedule appointments.)  Thumbs up that we found several viable options for our son.  Thumbs crossed that the one he wants is still available by the time the credit check gets completed today.  Thumbs down that he chose the most expensive of everything we saw.  But it’s his money and his choice and with his new job he’ll be able to afford it.  It’s a brand new unit in a building that is still under renovation.  It’ small but very nice.  And in a great location.  Thumbs up for walkable Historic Downtown Bethlehem.  Thumbs down for street parking.  Thumbs up at how excited I am for my son and I hope he feels it too.  Thumbs down that he can’t take occupancy until a couple of weeks after graduation so will have to figure out what to do with his stuff in between.  Thumbs down that I can’t let go yet and am sending many email reminders of things to add to his “to do” list.  Sigh.

Thumbs down:  College housing.  All I can say is OMG.  My son’s house was a disaster.  He says it’s his two housemates.  He might be right.  But I’ve seen HIS room too.  Just saying.  Because I’m a mother and a neat freak, I couldn’t help myself from suggesting he not let his pristine new apartment get like that.  Note to self:  add “buy cleaning supplies” to son’s “to do” list.

Thumbs up:  Girlfriends and girl friends.  We got to meet our son’s girlfriend.  I’m not sure that’s how he refers to her but according to Facebook they have been “in a relationship” since mid-February.  She seems very nice.  We went out to dinner with her and one of my son’s housemates, probably his best friend at school, who happens to be a girl.  (We’d met her last summer when she drove back to Kansas with my son for a week.)  Thumbs up that against the odds, the three main women in my son’s life are all redheads!  Although the girlfriend dyes hers.  (Okay, I dye mine too, but only to cover the gray.)

Thumbs up:  The weather.  In PA.  Thumbs down:  the storm that rolled through about 9:00pm on our drive home.  There were warnings about like “high winds” and “hail.”  Fortunately it wasn’t that bad and we got out of it relatively quickly and decided to take advantage of our early morning start and fast pace to drive straight through.  We got home around 1:00am (cst) which to me felt like 2:00am (est).  Thumbs down at how thoroughly drained, physically and emotionally, I feel today.  I think a return to bed is in order.  Okay, I’m back.  Feeling a bit better after my first nap but still like I have a car trip hangover.

Thumbs down.  Ouch.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  For some reason my shins were killing me beginning on Saturday morning.  My guess is that my lack of cardio (since early December) was making my legs complain.  Loudly.  Uphill.  Downhill.  Upstairs.  (And thumbs down that all the stairs in Bethlehem seem to be unusually steep and shallow.)  Thumbs down that my back really, really, really hurt.  Saturday was not a good “body” day.  Thumbs up for my mom’s lumbar support pillow that I used in the car.  Thumbs up that with all my other worse aches and pains, my calf didn’t bother me at all.

Thumbs up:  Sleeping pills.  Thanks to my mom, again, for teaching me that travel trick.

Thumbs explained:  Why drive?  A reader asked if there was a reason.  No and yes.  We had looked into flying at first.  But our son was taking a while to figure out a game plan, which would impact flights, and maybe he’d even find a place all on his own requiring no visit at all!  By the time we had figured out firm dates, the airfares had skyrocketed.  And there are no direct flights, so it takes a fair amount of time and the hassle of changing planes.  My husband actually prefers to drive so he can be master of his own destiny rather than at the mercy of the airlines.  And I do appreciate being able to over-pack if I want to:)

Thumbs to come:  Future road trip(s).  Or maybe plane trips.  The jury is still out on how we’ll get back to PA for graduation next month (between helping my son with whatever he needs help with and my having to now request time off from work).  Because, as with our last trip, dates (other than commencement itself) are up in the air.  And chances are pretty good that I’ll be going back again for the big move in early June.

Thumbs up:  Dorothy was right.  There’s no place like home.  Hope my son feels the same way about his new place AND about this house where he’ll always be welcome.



Filed under vacation

48 responses to “Two Thumbs Walk into a Car

  1. I’m with the reader on flying… I hate travelling and was grumpy about 2hrs in the air to travel what would have been days of driving (between Brisbane and Melbourne here in Oz), so you’re far more tolerant than I!

    But it sounds like you did a good job on the snacking….And I’m sure your son appreciates the help – plus you got to meet the other redheads in his life. (That must say nice things about you, if he’s going with what he knows and loves!!!!)

    Fingers crossed that he gets the apartment!

    • He submitted an application Monday and is waiting to pass the credit check. Next step is putting money down on the actual unit he wants. I hope he hears soon – I’m impatient!

  2. What the? WHO ARE YOU? Snacking perfection? Now the pressure is on me. Thank you. Candy in the car? You are a SAINT! My husband tried to sneak Cheezeits into the car yesterday and I nearly had a coronary. I guess if you set your mind to something and plan well in accordance with the mind over matter thing being set – you can do anything.

    So happy for your son. So exciting to launch the baby bird out of the nest onto a soft feather laden newly constructed old town located pillow.

    And as usual, I will refrain from making any jokes about your red head trio. I want to. Badly. Thumbs up to my containing my childish nature. Sorta. OK Thumbs sideways.

    Glad you are home safe. You know I worry.

    • Cheezits would be hard for me too because you can smell them a mile away! Same with the gingersnaps my husband was eating. MMMMM. Good smelling food is the worst temptation in the car. Thumbs up FOR your childish nature:) You always make me smile.

  3. Miz

    I love the thumbs posts!
    and 99%? YOU ARE A ROCK STAR.

  4. When your son and friends came to visit they brought a huge bag of candy. I was asked if I wanted some and I said that I wanted it, I just wasn’t going to eat it. Oh that was a good day. Then we bought a HUGE bag of malted milk eggs after Easter. A very bad move.

  5. I could live in Wegman’s!

    Good job with the snacking! If I can’t reach it, I can’t eat it, and if I’m stopped and am getting a snack from the back of the car, I’m far more likely to just grab a few almonds or an apple and get back on the road.

  6. I agree with the whole Road Trip versus Plane Trip thing. It’s usually cheaper to drive… especially when more than one person is traveling. And you’re not limited on what you can take. Traveling with an animal is even worse — do you know they charge at least $150 one-way for an animal. So. Not. Worth. It.

    It’s incredible how quickly you can lose the stamina and endurance when you don’t do cardio for a while. I learned that pretty quickly last night at CrossFit.

    • Just keep that in mind when you are thinking about puppy cuteness! And driving with them is a hassle. Ours used to whine as if she needed to “go,” and then would just get out and sniff. And then do it again. And again.

      • Oh, the puppy cuteness! I know. It’s crazy. Sadie (English Springer Spaniel) used to puke if she were in the car for more than about twenty miles. Clinton, however, was perfect in the car no matter the distance.

        I’ll have to resist puppies this weekend. It just dawned on me that this Run with the Dogs 5k is merely a ploy by the Humane Society to adopt out the dogs. Since I don’t have a dog, they’re letting me borrow one for the walk. And I assume the hope is that I won’t be able to give him/her back and want to adopt him. I’m definitely not falling for it — no chance of it right now. I’m firm in this decision right now.

  7. Congratuluations on your road trip successes, but most of all on your sons graduation and gainful employment!! Maybe we will cross paths visting our sons in PA next year. 😉

    Have you looked into PODS for temporary storage? You could have have one delivered to his college, fill it there, have them store it for a few weeks, and then have it delivered at his new place. We’ve used them in VA and to move and store my daughter’s stuff when she went from New Orleans to Colorado.

    • That would be fun! Where will yours be?

      PODS is a great idea but fortunately he doesn’t have anything big, like furniture, so should be able to get by if a few local friends are willing to take his bigger things, like his TV and desktop computer. He had hoped to be able to gradually drive stuff over before he had to vacate his house and get deliveries of things like a bed before he moved. Oh well, it will all work out, I’m sure.

  8. Good job staying on track during a road trip! I know I’m guilty of snacking on road trips with the girls or the bf in college.

    It IS simple …if you don’t bring it in the car, you don’t eat it. But it sounds like your companions had no qualms snacking so good job ignoring temptation! 🙂

    It sounds like you had a fabulous time! Super exciting meeting your son’s gf 🙂 how cute about the red heads part!

    • My husband and son (and his friends) are lucky to be able to eat sweets with moderation and/or no weight gain. Sigh.

      I’d seen her photos on facebook and she’s a brunette in those! Imagine my surprise:)

  9. Yep, I’d prefer a road trip to flying in a plane, for the same reason your husband states (in those words, too), not to mention avoiding the “unwashed masses” (my father’s words LOL).

    I am in awe of your snacking restraint…I’d prefer not to even need snacks, because if I am in that munchy mood, raw peppers aren’t going to cut it.

    And yes, Wegmans rocks. I was introduced to Wegmans when my stepson was at Syracuse U. Wegmans hasn’t made it to Connecticut.

    Anyway, congrats to your son…and glad he’s found a place!! What kind of job did he get?

    • Oh yes – I’m with your husband on that one! The good thing about the peppers was that they have a high water content and I wasn’t drinking nearly enough. Hubby ate grapes in the car for the same reason. I didn’t join him because they had seeds in them (despite being marked “seedless”) and that made for way too much work for me.

      He’s going to be a Project Software Engineer. Whatever that means!

  10. Great post. I say that a lot here. 🙂 I really love it when my head is in the right place and I’m able to resist those things I should not have. You did a great job on the trip. We also prefer driving to flying and my husband likes to drive. I do not. 😦

    We tend to do Subway on road trips plus we take fruit to snack on and mini cheddar rice cakes for him. His favorite snack is Cheez-Its (which we no longer purchase) and the rice cakes are a sub for that.

    • My husband prefers to do most of the driving too. I think I did maybe seven hours total the whole trip. I prefer to nap, if I can:) Makes the time pass faster. My husband had Subway. I had done that on our last roadtrip and would have joined him there for our final lunch if we’d not driven straight through. I can get a little crazed over the bread though, so wanted to avoid having it for too many meals. I’ve never tried their salads. Have you?

  11. Yahoo Karen – & welcome home!!! YOU DID IT! You are so much stronger than you think! 🙂

    Yes, I dye my hair too! 🙂

    On the leggies. Whenever I do something different, even though I exercise like crazy, I feel it. For example, lots of walking, especially hills or stairs, I feel it cause I am used to running & other forms of cardio… even though I do some hill work & StepMill – it ain’t the same! 😉

  12. Welcome back Karen.

    I had to laugh at the snacks in the car. Way back, boyfriend (now hubby) drove to Newfoundland. I bought a bag of lettuce substituting it for chips (lettuce chips honey!). Didn’t swing it, at all. We both laugh at that one.

    Thumbs up managing all that social eating! And your calf is still injured – so frustrating!

    • Oh that’s funny! Two years ago for a roadtrip when I was really trying to stay on plan, I dehydrated veggies for snacks. Like cucumbers. Didn’t cut it either.

  13. The only thing I like better about flying than driving is that you get there faster. But you get there having been chewed up and spit out my airport security, small tight space on planes, breathing stale plane air… I actually like car trips when time is not of the essence.

    Glad the trip was great, and not a bit surprised you nailed the healthy eating. And how great your son has an apparent preference for red heads!! 🙂 They’re mostly gorgeous, don’t you know?

    • Well, LOL, I think the redhead thing is just coincidence. Or maybe Freud is right?!

      When I go back for graduation I might end up flying one way if my husband stays longer to help our son pack up. So I can take less time off work. And then maybe take off time again to go back in June for the big move. Maybe.

  14. Hooray for you! So true on not being able to eat what isn’t in the car. I just figured out that I’ll be traveling at least one week a month for the rest of the year… I definitely need an excellent plan. 🙂

  15. You know me, Road Trip Queen. I’m always gonna drive and make an adventure out of whatever I can find between point A and point B. 36 hours at a time – no way, not me, NEVER!

    Gotta find me a Wegman’s. Maybe on this year’s summer trip.

  16. A big thumbs up to you for sticking to your food and plan! That is a GREAT achievement. Looks like it was thumbs up for your son, too (did you like the girlfriend??). I am betting once he is out on his own, he will dream about the good old college days when he was paying for everything! Reality shock is coming…..

  17. Jan

    Glad you are back safely after a productive and good eating (?) road trip. Sometimes it is just a quick to drive as to fly considering you have to get to the airport so darn early and hopefully have a direct flight.

    For many years I hated road trips and preferred just to fly. Now if we have to the time to make getting there part of the adventure, I enjoy it and like you, don’t have to worry about over packing. Plus, Sue does all the driving. I’m a great sleeper.

    • I thought of you at one point when we passed a camper! I like to sleep in the car too; it makes the time pass faster. But I don’t nap well, constantly waking.

  18. Love road trips. I love driving with the music cranked. It’s kind of like the hypnotic effect that you get with running (after a long while).

    • Typically I have the radio off in the car; I like the quiet. Except on long trips. Then a little rock is fun. I hate when you find a good radio station and then drive far enough that you can’t get it anymore:(

  19. Hi Karen! Well, I just loved the food analysis in the above post. You didn’t order dessert and didn’t eat a roll, and you bought smart choices for your traveling food. No wonder that you’re quite slim. 😀

    🙂 Marion

  20. Congrats on your major road trip success Karen! My hubby is the same way, he would much rather drive than fly! Loves to be in control of the time frame, when to stop, what to eat and so forth. I like road trips too.

    On planes and in movie theaters I hate to sit so close to strangers!I don’t like making small talk with strangers either! I’m not unfriendly, just shy!

    I was looking at flights to go visit my parents and the prices are terrible right now.

    • I definitely have personal space issues! Small talk – funny thing is that I can do it better with strangers out and about than with someone at a party that I don’t know. I’m shy too:)

  21. Love this post! Congratulations on taking healthy snacks and making the right choices. I hope I can be as strong on my upcoming road trip to Montreal next week. I’m going to be nervous, too, because it’s a whole big, life-changing reason we have to go there, but I’d better make sure to take the right kind of snacks. OR just drive myself because I tend only to eat when I’m a passenger…

    • I hope it is a great trip in every regard:) One thing I did on a trip a couple of years ago (and forgot about until now) that helped me… kept a small notepad in my purse and wrote down all my snacks that I ate on the road.

  22. So glad you had such a productive trip! And fantastic job on eating so healthy on the road, it’s hard I know. I love that your son’s ‘girlfriend’ has red hair like you, too cute.

  23. Karen, congrats on so many thumbs up with your eating! planning ahead certainly did the trick in keeping you healthy. Glad to hear your son is surrounding himself with redheads too – what a sign of great taste. 🙂

  24. Tish

    Congrats on the great road trip. And 99%?, that’s an A+ in my book! We love road trips. DH does almost all the driving, which suits me fine. We have a Wegman’s relatively nearby. I go about twice a month!

  25. SO glad you’re home safe and sound, Karen. And YAY for you for walking past those Devil Dogs (I was wondering if those would find their way to you!) Welcome back 🙂

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