After a week in Tennessee, all the garbage had been dumped, the trails had been painstakingly hiked, the rivers had been tubed, and it was time to pack it in and head home to Florida.
Click here for the YouTube video with all the pictures:
Normally, the drive home is pretty uneventful and there isn't really anything to write home about but as it turns out, this was not your average road trip back to the Sunshine State. The day before we left, Shrimp and dad went to go visit some friends in Georgia and mom and I went to Mercier Orchards to pick cherries.
My cherry picking skills in action!
Mom and I had such a great time that we missed not having Echo for the day since she loves picking stuff and the cherries on the cherry trees are the perfect height for her. So when Shrimp and I made our final stop at Mercier the next day on our way out of town to stock up on enough fried pies and cider to get us through the drive home (approximately a dozen per hour per person is our personal equation), we thought we'd go ahead and let Echo pick a basket of cherries as her last Tennessee activity.
One for the road!
Naturally, we got there at the peak skin cancer time of noon so it was like picking cherries on the surface of the sun, but we still had a good time. And since Mercier had also planted strawberries for the summer, they let us pick as many strawberries as we wanted also since it was the end of the season. Which means the strawberries were way too ripe to make the trip home, but were just right for the purpose of being shoved in our pie holes a la Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory. But it wasn't just me and Shrimp eating the strawberries- we gave as many strawberries as a not-picky three year old can handle. And that's a lot. Eventually, we cart all of our purchases up to the register, hand over our last shillings, and load up the car for the rest of the trip home.
At this point, I had already eaten about five pounds of raw cherries since I started the day earlier and although I kept promising Shrimp explosive cherry diarrhea, it had yet to materialize. We're about halfway through Georgia and the trip is going swimmingly. Echo is watching her movie in the backseat and we only hear from her when she runs out of juice and we are hit on the back of the head with the empty box as a subtle reminder that she needs a refill. I'm driving and we're running low on gas and looking to pull over anyway when Echo pipes up from the back with, "I have poopy!". I say to Shrimp, "Hey, at least it's not exploding out of her pants" when I look over my shoulder and see that it is exploding out of her pants.
She's just wearing a diaper and has her legs open spread eagle so that we can see it bubbling out from her diaper like black gold in the opening credits of the Beverly Hillbillies. I'm trying and failing to tamper down my gag reflex and Shrimp is making her customary frustrated "ugggghhhhhh" sound (which Echo imitates perfectly- its very funny). We pull over at the next exit and pull into a gas station. Shrimp takes Echo out of the seat and starts cleaning up the 'overage' while I exit the vehicle like the roadrunner running away from the coyote and pump the gas. I finish up and I open up the back to get out a towel and I hear Shrimp say, "Oh, Echo!" and I look over to see Echo squatting over a puddle, which turns out to be her own urine. Best. Moment. Ever.
Close approximation to the size of the urine puddle
So after I wiped my eyes from crying, I took it upon myself to clean up my niece and it's a testament to how much I love that kid that I didn't puke all over myself or her. It was, in one word, disgusting. I don't know if the ten pounds of strawberries and cherries she ate had something to do with it or if it was just all the overall junk food that she'd been eating, but next trip, we're double-bagging her with an adult diaper.
We get back in the car and things go fine for a while. We pull over at exit 427 once we get into Florida because they promise to have over 50 restaurants! We only find five but whatever. We get back onto 75 and just keep on trucking. There are cop cars everywhere so we have to go about the speed limit and I pass the time playing with Echo for a while. Finally, I actually pay attention to the road and make this astute remark to Shrimp, who is now driving: "Hey, isn't it funny how in Florida, the exits go up in number instead of down?"
Like Dumb & Dumber. Only blonder.
I swear to Jehovah that I actually uttered something that stupid. It was then that we realized that no, the exits are not going 'up' in number, Florida is not actually becoming more mountainous, but instead we had been driving north for the last hour or so. Yep. It was just that kind of day.
If I see one more case of explosive diarrhea I'll shoot myself!
About 12:30 am, we finally roll up to my house where I run screaming from the vehicle, pounding at the door to be let in, for the love of all that is holy!
What was I most looking forward to? Having my own bathroom again. I avail myself of the resources, which were freshly cleaned by Bobby (thanks honey!), go to wash my hands, and see the captain of all roaches crawling over the light fixture. I had to get out the Dyson and use every extension possible to suck it up so I wouldn't have to smoosh it myself. Welcome to Florida.