Moroccan road trip, Loerzel style:
Taking my kids out of school for an unexcused absence (which excuse me, I think being the kids' parent is enough of an excuse) I must sign 3 forms for each kid. Jade, who is now learning her times tables, knows that that is 12 freakin' forms that I must sign. All of which declare that I am indeed the world's worst mother ever for allowing my kids to miss a day at their crap ass school. In addition to acknowledging that now they’ll never get their first choice of colleges and will thus obviously, not amount to anything. And I just can't sign papers claiming I’m the worst parent, because I firmly believe I'm at least the second to worst. So forget the forms. I think my kids are comin' down with a fever. And I think it's called Road Trippin' Fever.
We need to find cat sitters for both our official cat, Maddy, and the unofficial outside stray cats that we feed. Last time we left Maddy she had just had emergency surgery from a stray cat attack (who has since been deported for our neighborhood) and she was on antibiotics that made her puke all over our cat sitter's apartment. This time we're going to have the cat sitter come to our house. What could possibly go wrong? At least she can puke in the comfort of her own home this time. Oh wait, her home is my house. Dammit.
We do not have a dvd player in our car. So, the music we bring on road trips is even more crucial to our survival. So, pre-trip I must rid the car of cd's I play while cruising around town sans kids. You know the really good ones that you jam to by yourself at the top of your lungs with the f-bomb in them. On road trips I resign to a more kid appropriate mix. But, how many times can one listen to the overwhelmingly optimistic song Peace Train without wanting that train to crash? Oh, and the radio stations here? They play a mix of Arabic music, frap (which is my abbreviation for French crap) and the worst American music, which will inevitability have expletives in it because that don't bleep that s#@* out here. And I f&*^%$#% hate that shit!
Most hotels, restaurants and vendors do not take credit cards. So, travelling as a family of 6, necessitates bringing a lot of cash. And ATMs? Do not count on finding a working ATM if you travel in Morocco. Ever. It will inevitably be the day you need it that the atm is not working. No one will know the reason. Or be able to fix it. Which means you need to load up on cash pre-trip like a Colombian drug lord. Carrying around that amount of money makes you a bit paranoid. Kinda like a Colombian drug lord.
Coinage is completely different than cash. After all, coins do not come out of the atm machine. Yet, so many things in Morocco require exact change. So, its extremely hard not to use coins up as soon as you get them. It takes about a month of consciously stock piling change to get enough for a road trip. After all, you'll need it for the bathroom attendants at every rest stop (and with 4 kids that's a lot of coins), the parking attendant and the gas station attendant. Yes, we only have full service pumps in Morocco. It's exactly like America in the 1950's. Except totally different.
What is worse than four whiny fighting kids who don't have a dvd player on a road trip? Four whiny fighting kids who don't have a dvd player on a road trip and are hungry. That’s why we pack lots of snacks. ‘Nuff said.
I can not express how many times ear plugs have saved us from killing one (or more) of our kids on road trips. You think seat belts save lives? I swear earplugs could save even more!
We do not leave home without it. Enjoying a glass of wine with earplugs in while munching on a snack of say... wasabi peanuts is freakin' fantastic. IAnd, it's as close to going on a childless vacation as we're gonna get. Of course if we are on the wine portion it means that we have made it to our destination without killing anyone and we'll need to toast to that. Maybe a few times.
Did I pack my birth control pills? As if the 4 kids we have aren't birth control enough, god knows I do not want to road trip with 5 kids! Not that there is going to be any activity that could possibly result in any births that would need controlling because again, we're traveling with 4 kids! Often times, we're all staying in the same room too. The real reason I make sure I have them? So I don't have to remember to pack tampons.
The chances that at least one kid is going to be sick on the trip? Well, they're pretty high. So we bring our own pharmacy, including enemas for our chronically constipated child (who shall remain nameless). No one wants to be woken up at 2am with a kid in pain because they can't poop. And Moroccan pharmacies aren't open 24/7 like in the states. So, you're a shit out of luck.
Luckily we don't live in the malarial zone. But, what if we run into that one mosquito who's also on vacation and visiting from the Congo? Well, let's just say I'd rather be prepared for that.
Hopefully, we have everything we need. Who am I kidding? I forget something major every trip. As long as we have the kids we can survive anything. Shots of Benadryl are just bonus.