A Father and Daughter Take a Little Day Trip

The Oppressed spent a weekend at my parents one time. It was originally meant as a girls’ weekend with a cousin who was close to her age. Unfortunately, the cousin wasn’t feeling well; so, it was just The Oppressed with her grandparents. It was a great time for her because she was getting the chance to spend time with her grandparents. My parents liked it for the same reason. Wife and I said to each other, “One down, five more to go.”

We met each other halfway between my house and my parents’ house. We had an early dinner together and then parted ways. The Oppressed kept in touch with me and Wife during the weekend, letting me know what they were doing.

We were also making plans for picking her up on Sunday and bringing her home. The Oppressed had been wanting to go to Newbury Comics for a long time, but we hadn’t been able to fit it into our schedule. Sunday seemed like the perfect day to go. We were taking a long drive, anyway. It would allow us to get something to eat, hit Newbury Comics, and talk about the weekend she had at her grandparents’. A road trip seemed like the perfect way to cover all of these things. As usual, things did not turn out as we planned.

Newbury Comics

We left my parents’ house in the middle of the afternoon. It was a Sunday, meaning that stores were going to close early. Needless to say, time was of the essence.

I haven’t lived in the area in a long time, but I still have a good idea of where things are. Still, we were on a schedule, and I didn’t want to waste any time and take the chance of taking too long and getting there after they closed. On top of that, getting to Newbury Comics sooner meant getting something to eat sooner, which meant we could take our time and not worry about having to rush things.

Exterior shot of a strip mall on a cloudy day with cars driving by.
No Newbury Comics.

I used my phone to find the closest store to us. It wasn’t too far from us, which meant my plan was unfolding in grand fashion. I plug the address into my GPS and we begin our first leg of our journey home. During the road trip, we talked about what her mom, her siblings, and I did during the weekend. We talked about the things she did during the weekend. It was a great weekend for her and a great ride for the both of us. While we ride and drive, I tell her to keep an eye open for a place she might like to stop at for dinner.

We see a ray of light shining down upon us as the interior is filled with heavenly sounds of a choir of angels.

The GPS leads us to the parking lot of a strip mall. I must say, I am a little disheartened at what I see, or I should say what I don’t see. There is no Newbury Comics. The Oppressed and I look at each other. It looks like we made this short drive for nothing. I do notice a storefront that may have been a former home to Newbury Comics. I suggest we stop inside and see what’s there.

Inside a store with shelves of books. Vinyl records are on the floor.
Books and music as far as the eye can see. That’s the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” to the left.

We open the doors and what do we see? A ray of light shining down upon us as the interior is filled with heavenly sounds of a choir of angels. We see shelves upon shelves of books against the wall. Not far from the books are DVDs. In the middle of the floor are racks of CDs. It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

The Oppressed and I walk around the music section of the store. She is interested in finding something from Queen and something from the Beatles (bless her heart). There are plenty of things to look at, not just in the music section. However, we have other things to do, like find something to eat and get back home where Wife is trapped with five other children. I ask The Oppressed where she would like to eat on this particular afternoon. She and I both noticed we passed a certain place not far from where we ended up purchasing our CDs. I’m not going to tell you the name of the place. You’ll find out why as we go along.

What’s for Dinner

The Oppressed and I agree to check out this particular place. I remind her that there are other places nearby for dining out, and we can even continue our road trip home and continue to look for another place to eat. This nice place appears to pass inspection with her, and we decide to enter and dine.

A tween girl looking back at a mounted flatscreen showing an NHL hockey game.
Dinner and hockey. The day keeps getting better.

There is a nice man who greets us upon entering. I’m going to call him “Rick”. Rick pulls two menus and leads us to our table. Upon sitting, we order drinks. Rick leaves to get our drinks. The Oppressed and I continue to talk about the weekend. There are plenty of things on the menu that look good and we’re both hungry. We start with an appetizer and continue to look at the entrĂ©es. A little more chatting. Soon, Rick returns with our appetizer, and we place our orders for dinner.

A tween girl posing with her wrap and french fries.
Ready to eat dinner.

Dinner is finished, and we both need to use the restroom before leaving. We’re both in the restroom for a long time. We’re discussing this as we walk back to the car.

“Good Lord,” I said. “What did I eat?”

“I don’t know,” The Oppressed answers, “But I had the same thing happen to me.”

“I was not well.”

The Oppressed said, “I think they gave us food poisoning.”

And now you see why I didn’t want to tell you the specific name of where we ate. I assure my daughter we didn’t have food poisoning. We slide one of the new CDs into the stereo (Queen) and begin the final leg of our road trip home. Due to the detour to the store and the restaurant, we are taking a different route home then we usually take from my parents’ house. That’s alright, though. I don’t mind it, and neither does she.

Back Home

We get home just in time. Our tummies are hurting again. We go inside, say a quick, “hello” to Wife and the children, and race against time and our stomachs to the bathroom again. We both emerge from our respective bathrooms (I am continually thankful for having more than one bathroom in our home, and I don’t know how families survive in houses with just one bathroom.) and see Wife, who is in our room. She asks us about our day together. We tell her about everything we did.

We tell her about the road trip, about my parents and how they are, and we tell her about our shopping excursion, Queen, the Beatles, and dinner. Wife asks about dinner, considering we ran in different directions looking for a bathroom as soon as we walked in the house. I’m reminded of another time I had with The Oppressed and The Boy. On that day, the meal happened to be the highlight. You can read about that day here.

“Dad and I have food poisoning from the restaurant,” The Oppressed tells her.

I explain to Wife that we don’t have food poisoning. The Oppressed respectfully disagrees. We didn’t have any incidents after that evening, but my daughter has still reminded me that we got food poisoning from that restaurant. I have tried to explain otherwise, but have you ever tried to explain something to your kid?

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Child on the Go

“You know I can’t stand still.” – AC/DC

The chair is only in the room for decoration.

One of the complaints about baseball is that it takes too long to play. In Major League Baseball, steps have been taken to help speed things along. There were some people who didn’t like the batter stepping out of the box after each pitch. The pitcher would walk around the mound, blow on his hands, wipe sweat off his forehead, grab the resin bag, motion for the hot dog vendor to bring him something to eat, run to the bullpen to see if anyone wanted something. There were little things that were taking time away from the game itself.

I think of this as I tell you about my son, The Boy, who can take the simplest task and turn it into a union project that makes the Big Dig look like a quick run through a fast-food drive-thru. For my friends who do not live in Massachusetts, look up The Big Dig.

We’re still not sure what it is exactly that ails The Boy. It could be Ants in the Pants, hyperactivity, boredom. Pick something. We’re open to suggestions so we can identify it and treat it.

One of the Gaggle first noticed it about the boy. When the family sits down to dinner, it will be a matter of seconds before he is out of his seat, running around the table, playing with the cat. It has now reached the point where The Gaggle will watch the clock and let everyone know how long he was able to sit still.

This constant need for movement and inability to stay in one place is not just limited to the dinner table. One of the underlying issues of The Homework Wars involves Boy Genius’ stroll around the bedroom after writing one word. After two words, he needs a snack. Three merits a bathroom break. Four? He’s tired and he needs to lie down on his bed.

Math involves the same. He does one problem and he needs the bathroom. Wait. I haven’t dressed yet. I need breakfast. (I made it for him two hours ago.) He wants to check on Kitty. He wants to see if Doggie is okay. He just needs to lie down on the floor because David had five apples and gave two to Omar. The mental stress of that calculation may have wiped him out. He needs a nap and maybe a snack. Maybe he just needs to use the bathroom. His room is upstairs. He needs the bathroom in the basement, of course.

As I patiently await him to complete the four-word sentence he merely needs to copy, he laments over his unfair lot in life. He throws himself on the bed and wails to anyone in the house who will hear. He slaves everyday on his work. He works so hard but his father doesn’t know it. He wishes he had a nice dad. Other dads don’t make their sons do this. I remind him every kid in his class has the same assignment as him. Of course, that doesn’t matter. His classmates have nice parents.

Time for another nap. Not in his bed, though. This time, he needs to go downstairs and lay down on the couch. One of the Gaggle, done with their work, is watching TV. The Boy thinks he’s no one will notice him under a blanket. He is found and he runs back upstairs. Hopefully is hiding in his room… At his table… in front of his work with a pencil in his hand. We all have our dreams.