Today is Thursday. Hoy es jueves.

2 weeks ago, today, we were scrambling to say goodbyes to everyone around us. We drove out to my Mom’s house and said bye to her, and 6 of my siblings, including one who’d driven down from Oklahoma so she could wish me bon voyage, and so I could meet her son. My nephew. My big nephew who giggles at the world around him.

My grandfather came over and saw us off. My Grandpa Joe. Yep. I have a Grandpa Joe, just like Charlie Bucket. But mine plays guitar, and has hosted radio programs, and served in the military.

My Mom called my Dad so he could say goodbye too. He works as a funeral director, and on that day he was super-crazy-busy with funereal responsibilities. But he had a pocket of time in there, that he was able to come see us.

After that, we were supposed to go hang out at my sister’s apartment, but her husband was working late, so we went back to our house to finish packing the SUV, and cleaning the house.

We worked, and worked, and worked. Another “plan” we had, was for our 2 year old to go to sleep. Buuuuut nope. When my brother-in-law got off work, he picked up my sister and they came over to chat with us for a bit, and then they told us goodbye and headed out for a quiet dinner.

Not a great pic, but ehhh watch gonna do?

I have 5 sisters, but she’s the one I’ve talked to the most since I left my parents house, especially once we moved back to Texas. She lived in the town right next to me, and we’d bring surprise coffees over to her, and she and her husband would drop things by our place.

It took us so long to get everything cleaned & packed, that it wasn’t even worth going to bed. Phillip had drank lots of coffee and was raring to go, the kids were still awake (except for the 2 year old who had finally crashed, and I just don’t sleep right before a trip.

So off we went. Around 11pm, we loaded everyone into our cram-packed SUV, and we hit the road. Phillip tried to get me to sleep on the drive, but I’m a nervous passenger. Things feel different when you’re half asleep, or maybe it’s just me.

But I started drifting in and out… I call it twilight sleep. You’re not really asleep, but not really awake either. By all appearances you’re sleeping, but you know what’s going on around you. And just before Texarkana, I opened up my eyes and I knew that Phillip’s coffee was wearing off. So we stopped for the night.

In the morning we ate at Cracker Barrel (a road trip tradition of ours), and we hit the road again. When we drive, we have 2 rules. One is a general “usually applies” rule. The other one is pretty hard and fast.

Raymond enjoys pancakes

1. (The general one) Every stop is a fuel stop.

Meaning, most of the time, if we stop for any reason we also get gas.

2. (The hard and fast one) If one pees, we all pee.

Okay, I know this sounds like we’re entering Monica Gellar-Bing territory, but bear with me. When you have 6 kids, if you just stop whenever one needs to go, you’ll be stopping all day. And there’s actually more to this than just going to a rest stop. If we stop, we change anyone who’s in diapers (don’t worry that doesn’t include Phillip), and I feed the baby (also not Phillip).

These 2 rules saved our butt, From Texas to Virginia is an 18 hour trip, not counting any stops. We left 11ish at night on Thursday, and arrived Saturday night.

Us leaving Thursday night meant we had a little more leeway to stop and see the world around us. We detoured briefly in Memphis… at first on purpose, then by mistake.

Memphis Queen Riverboat
One of the cool things we passed in Memphis

We pushed our dinner to later in the evening so we could have gyros in Nashville*. And we stopped to gaze over a mountain view just an hour away from our new home.

Purple Mountain's Majesty

So here we are. In our new home state of Virginia. And the adventure’s not over. Now we’re going through the process of buying a house. But more about that next week.

*By the way, King Solomon’s Gyros in Nashville, Tennessee were absolutely delicious. So tender, and oh my goodness, they absolutely stuff their pitas. Phillip also vouches for the falafel. He said the spice was on point, and that there are few things that can make him enjoy a meatless meal, and falafel succeeded.