Tennessee doesn't welcome you. It liiiiiieeeeessss.
In case you actually wondered where I'd disappeared to over the holiday weekend, Jason and my in-laws and I made a flying trip up to Illinois to see my family one last time before the baby comes. I had a baby shower thrown for me and got to see some relatives and family friends I haven't seen in forever and had just an unseemly amount of fun.
It's a little late in my pregnancy for inter-state travel, but my doctor was willing to approve it basically entirely because we agreed to stop all the time and take long walking breaks. I was very, very persuasive and agreeable to all her suggestions and I sure fooled her.
Here's my problem with car rides; I hate them. Basically, it's an aspect of my fear of Death by Narrative (please go read this post if you haven't before - it will explain so much about me. That's not necessarily a good thing, but still.) and my innate worry that I will die in some horrible flaming car wreck when it is most cinematically meaningful.
In this case, I felt like the headlines were all but writing themselves. I'm in the last trimester, we're driving halfway across the country to go see my family, it's the last time before the baby comes we'll be together and I won't even be able to go back to Illinois until next year... there's just too much, you guys.
So I was a nervous wreck.
"But you're always a nervous wreck," You say. "That's... kind of the whole point of that anxiety thing, right?"
Well, that's true. But I'm worse in cars. Especially cars that travel across states.
Especially especially cars forced to drive over a bridge that construction has down to one lane on either side, and the lanes are narrowed so half the cars are barely making it through so we are just craaaaaaaawling across a bridge that only half exists in basically standstill traffic while I am trying not to just start bawling uncontrollably as I picture what's left of the bridge crumbling underneath us and our car just in free-fall into the water and by the way thank you so much, Tennessee. You are not nearly as welcoming as your Welcome Center led me to believe.
Tennessee may have I-40 running through it, but I'm getting the feeling they don't actually want anyone to drive on it, since they seem to always have parts of it shut down or half-destroyed in such a way as to make traffic as horrible as possible. Although in the case of the rock slides, maybe it's more accurate to say that Nature doesn't want I-40 to exist.
I was trying to explain how I fooled my OB by saying we'd stop a lot and then I kind of got lost in how much I hate I-40. Let's try again.
We did stop at a hotel close to the halfway point for the night, breezing in around, oh, midnight (we couldn't leave until Jason had finished work. Gold medal to him for working a full day and THEN driving five and a half hours and not killing me). So that counts.
But we definitely didn't stop as often as my OB probably would have wanted us to. I just don't like to stop. Once, when Jason and I made the drive from South Carolina to Illinois a few years ago we actually managed to drive five hours straight before we had to stop to use the bathroom and I was just embarrassingly proud of us that day. Proud enough to bring that particular non-accomplishment up in a blog entry five years later, so. There you go.
Don't get me wrong - we did stop at Tennessee's Welcome Center to use the bathroom. But to stop as often as I had been told I should just seemed kind of wasteful. We were tired! I wanted to sleep, and I couldn't sleep until we got to the hotel so let's just get there as fast as possible, right? Right. Glad you're with me on this.
We fell into bed at the hotel, where my in-laws were waiting for us, and got up the next day to finish the rest of the drive, which was largely uneventful (except that there's another big bridge in Louisville that I also hate. At least Louisville had more than a single lane to funnel traffic through; Kentucky understands my plight).
We stopped at Steak 'n Shake, a restaurant chain that got its start in the little city that is right next to where I grew up, and where I've spent much of my life going for their chili and cheese fries and hey... now I want chili and cheese fries (that is not an unusual want for me).
I started this intending to write about the thoroughly lovely baby shower my family threw for me on Saturday, and instead basically just wrote you a long and rambling screed about how much I hate travel and I-40 and bridges.
Now all I can think about is steakburgers.
Let's... pick this back up later.