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UNIT 14. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID. THE LONG HAUL

JUNE

If there's one thing I've learned from my years of being a kid, it's that you have ZERO control over your own life. Ever since school let out, I haven't had anything I've needed to DO or anywhere I've needed to BE. As long as the air-conditioning was working and the TV remote had batteries in it, I was all set for a relaxing summer holidays. But then, out of the blue, THIS happened - "Pack your bags. We're going on a road trip!" said Mom. This isn't the FIRST time Mom has sprung a trip on us without any warning. Last year on the first day of summer, she said we were going upstate for a few days to visit Aunt Loretta at the nursing home. 

But Mom was just bluffing about going to the nursing home. At breakfast the next morning, she told us where we were REALLY going. "We're going to Disney World!", she said. Me and my brother Rodrick were happy, because we were both dreading spending the first week of summer holidays playing shuffleboard at a nursing home. But when my little borhter, Manny, heard about the change in plans, he totally LOST it. Mom had talked up the Aunt Loretta trip so much that Manny was actually EXCITED about going. So, we ended up POSTPONING our trip to Disney. 

I know EXACTLY where this road trip idea came from, because the new issue of "Family Frolic" magazine came in the mail today. If I had to guess, I'd say 90% of everything we do as a family comes from ideas Mom gets from that magazine. She said this road trip is gonna be awesome and that spending a lot of time together in the car will be a "bonding" experience for the whole family. I tried to talk her into letting us do something NORMAL, like going to a water park for the day, but Mom didn't want to hear it. She said the whole point of this trip is to do things we've never done before and to have "authentic" experiences. 

I thought Mom would've looped Dad in about her road trip idea, but apparently I was wrong. Because when he got home from work, he seemed just as surprised as us kids. Dad told Mom it was a bad time to be away from work and he didn't want to use his holiday days unless he absolutely HAD to. But Mom said there's nothing more important than spending time with your family. 

Then Dad told Mom he was really hoping to get his BOAT out on the water this weekend, and if we went on a road trip, he wouldn't be able to. Mom and Dad get along pretty well in general, but the one thing that's guaranteed to cause a fight between them is Dad's boat. A few years ago, Mom sent Dad out to get some milk, but along the way he spotted a boat for sale in someone's front yard. And before you knew it, the boat was in our driveway. Mom was mad that Dad didn't check with her first, because having a boat is a ton of work. But Dad said it was always his dream to own a boat and that we could spend every weekend out on the water as a family. So Dad got to KEEP the boat, and he seemed really happy. 

Mom said we were gonna leave first thing in the morning, so we needed to start packing for the trip. She told everyone to bring the "bare essentials" so we could fit everything in the minivan. But by the time we got all our stuff out in the driveway, it was pretty clear we had a space problem. Mom wouldn't let me and Rodrick take any electronics on the trip, even though they barely take up any space. She's always saying kids these days don't know how to socialize because they've constantly got their noses two inches from a screen. But I'll tell you this: When I have kids, I'm gonna let them play with whatever kind of gadgets they WANT. If you ask me, electronics are the key to family happiness. 

Even after Mom went through every single item in the driveway and cut out all the things we didn't need, there was STILL way too much to fit in the van. I suggested we rent one of those giant recreational vehicles, because we could fit all our stuff in it and have room to spare. But Mom said RVs are too expensive and they get terrible gas mileage, so that put an end to that idea. Rodrick said maybe we could get one of those trailers you tow BEHIND the car, which sounded smart to me. Then Dad rang in with his OWN idea. He said we could solve the whole space issue by just putting the stuff that didn't fit in the van into the BOAT, which we could tow behind us. I think Mom realized there wasn't really another option, se she caved in. 

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