Labor Day means the last long weekend — and last road trip — of the summer. It’s time to turn the minivan into a mobile Dumpster and enjoy the scenery during a leisurely drive through McDonald’s and tollbooths.
We start with the desire to spend quality time with the children. Then we veer right down the road to reality — when the fights start and kids get sent to opposite corners of the car with their iPads, DVD players and Kindles. Just like at home.
Part adventure, part torture and so exhausting that you when you return, you need a vacation to recover from all the family togetherness.
So turn off your GPS, because these QuirkOut directions will navigate you through all the things women do on long-weekend trips.
The hotel desk staff is delighted to see us coming, but that’s nothing compared with the glee of gazillions of germs waiting to greet us in our room. If you were foolish enough to watch the exposés on “Dateline,” you know you’re safer going into combat than sleeping in a hotel bed.
That precious phrase, “Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite,” takes on a whole new meaning in the face of actual bedbugs, doesn’t it?
Thank goodness we can learn from Josette, a seasoned road warrior with good QuirkOut sense.
She arrives prepared. First, she puts her own sheets on top of the bedspread, so none of the family ever touches the human-skin-encrusted throw. Then she puts a baggie around the remote control (considered germier than the New York subway system).
Finally, she replaces the glasses in the bathroom with Dixie cups and sprays disinfectant like the Real Housewives of New Jersey use Aqua Net.
It may seem excessive, but her family happily waits in the lobby while Josette fumigates the room. It’s a lot easier than falling asleep in a hazmat suit.
CLEANING FOR THE BITTER END
When you’re leaving on a trip, there’s so much to do. You buy travel guides. You plan your wardrobe for every weather contingency. And you even break in comfortable shoes (yikes!).
“What if we die on the road? Imagine what our relatives would think if they saw our dirty house?” Anette asks.
Her QuirkOut clean sweep gets every bit of laundry finished, including the linen napkins she never washed after Easter. Wood floors need to be polished. Closets must be reorganized before she can even think of organizing the packing.
We all hope that Anette’s worst fears won’t come true. But what’s really comforting is that when she returns from the trip, for those first 10 seconds, she actually lives in a clean house.
An actual clean house? Now there’s a vacation worth dreaming about.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
We understand there are restaurants and grocery stores and 7-Elevens in every part of these United States. But somehow when we travel, we aren’t sure we’ll be able to make it from one meal to the next.
So Marjorie makes a QuirkOut stockpile of food before she departs, especially when traveling by plane. “I’ve read stories about people being stuck on the tarmac for eight hours,” she reasons.
She stashes protein bars in her purse, crackers in her kids’ backpacks and checks an extra-large Samsonite stuffed with teeny boxes of Cheerios, always great for breakfast with boxed soy milk. (Oh, yes, there is!)
Marjorie makes her final food prep taking great care to book the family in hotels with a free continental breakfast. You know, just in case the luggage gets lost.
One insider tip: It’s tricky getting mashed potatoes and gravy through security, but if you pack it in a 3-ounce container and call it moisturizer, no one’s the wiser.