We are getting this whole road trip thing down, you guys.
Because ticket prices from Toronto to Milwaukee have become unaffordable, we have begun opting for the 10+-hour drive to visit my mom several times a year, usually just before an important Jewish holiday. I know what you’re thinkingâ€”it’s absolutely absurd that a YYZ—>MKE flight has become something of a Pan-Am flight; only the rich can take it. Milwaukee. We can’t afford to go to Milwaukee on an airplane. How is it that air travel has traveled back in time to the 1950sâ€”shouldn’t it be moving in the other direction all Oprah-style? (You get to fly to Milwaukee! You get to fly to Milwaukee!) But alas, $600+ for one ticket? No thank you. The problem with this, of course, is that if you aren’t as adventurous as we are (“Come on kids, let’s jump in TheÂ Wagon Queen Family Truckster and head out onto the wild roads of Ontario!”) or if you live further than a day trip, you don’t get to see your loved ones as much. My family is all over the US, and I’d absolutely love to be able to hop on over to Atlanta or Nashville for a weekend, but it has just become impossible. People are going to have to rely on virtual relationships with family, which, really, is just sad.
Yes, this week we did brave the open roads in our can’t-believe-she’s-still-kicking minivan to head to the land of the free and the home of the cheeseheads for some good quality family time. And, I’ll have you know, it was lovely. It really, really was.Â Josh got a brand-new cheesehead, since, you know, he’s a Packers fan now.Â I got a stack of new books to sink my reading teeth into.Â Isabella learned to play Ticket to Ride and beat us all on her first try.Â We got to have birthday dessert withÂ her.Â I upgraded my US phone to an iPhone4s (“Really?” gasps Shavonne at At&T. “No one has wantedÂ thatÂ this week.”)Â I got to cuddle some delicious babies.Â I got to catch up with the friends who are familyâ€”the ones I grew up with in the Wisteria Lane community of Glendale, Wisconsin. The ones I babysat during the awkward teenage years. I got to catch up with my actual, real family. I got to eat my weight in delicious Jewish cookingâ€”and I got to assure everyone that no, I don’t, in fact, have an eating disorder, unless you count consuming massive amounts of coffee and baked goods a disorder.
And I got to see my sister.Â Oh my heavenly days, it was just wonderful to see my sister.
But it was those 20 hours in the car that made me realize something really important.
My life is a musical.
It’s like I’m being trickedâ€”like The Truman Show.
I have seen the signs before, but ignored them. Sure, your family sings a lot, Ali, but that’s completely normal. Everyone turns normal sentences into sing-songy lyrics.
“Yes, I’ll have a chicken sandwich,” is always sung to the tune of an Adam Levine song.
“What would you like to drink?” always sounds better while done in Jean Valjean’s deep singing voice.
“I really need to pee,” sounds an awful lot better when it sounds like an Owl City song. “I really need to pee…it’s weird cuz I hate public bathrooms. I get misty-eyed when I go in there…”
The mere mention of certain key words always sets people off into song.
I laughed it off. A lot.
Until I noticed that it wasn’t just my husband doing this anymore.
It was all three of my children too.
It’s like my life is that scene in Grease when everyone is sitting outside eating lunch and the girls are all at lunch tables and the boys are all sitting around on the bleachers and then! BAM! the entire population of Rydell High has dropped their lunch and begun singing and dancing about Sandy and Danny’s endless summer nights. How does everyone at school know the song? And the dance?Â
Don’t even get me started on what happens when it rains. The sun will come out tomorrow. Or we’ll be singing in the rain. Or it’s raining men. Or we’ll go somewhere over the rainbow. Or we’re only happy when it rains. Or we’ll blame it on the rain. Or we wish it would rain down. Down on me. Or we ask if you’ve ever seeeeeen the rain. Or we like watching the puddles gather rain. Or we’re not raining on any parades.
Or when someone says “Who am I?” It either goes this way: I’m 24601!! Or, Who are you?? Who, Who? Or what I am is what I am are you what you are or what.
Or when anyone mentions being 16. Because, obviously, they are sixteen going on seventeen.
There always something appropriateâ€”opera, musical, hip hop, bubble-gum pop, rock, 50s music, indie, alternative. Always something.
It seems that my life is a stereo.