Sunday, August 03, 2008

Last Roadtripping with Wicked...the IA edition

July 24th-28th

Ok, so home for like 2 days and it's time to pack it up and head on out again!

This time to IOWA! It's time for our annual golf open, which we unfortunately we do not get to every year. This year, however we are so there!

Uncle Leo: Where's my eff-ing ball? It is insanity at it's best! Tons of people come to take part in the golf open. They all golf, drink, and have dinner afterwards. It's not just family either, it's the locals who all know my father in law and family out there. We make no money off it. The proceeds are barely enough to cover the greens fees, cart rentals, bar tab and food. It's all just for fun!

This year Boy Wonder wanted to golf. This would be his first time out on a course. He has been to the driving range a few times. Teen Queen was my golf cart chauffeur for the day. She just drove around behind them as I worked on a crochet bday ghan. Many people were amazed that this was Boy Wonder's first time on the course. He was often out driving the men on his team.

It was a beautiful but long day out there.

Sunday the kids wanted to go fishing. They had gotten 'hooked' on it a couple of years ago when we all went down to the creek not too far from the old farmhouse in IA. Nothing too strenuous, just bluegill, the occasional catfish, and sunfish. Usually bring a couple back to the house to feed to the farmcats. I was feeling artsy with the camera.

Monday it was time to get back in the car and head back home...9 hours.

It is amazing to me that after all that car riding time that my poor car was not smelling like all kinds of ass!

Part Three Roadtripping with Wicked...the High School story

July 22nd-23rd
After arriving home from what seemed to be the trip to FL that would never end we slept and slept fast! We had a morning meeting with the principal of the high school we had been trying to get Teen Queen into for months.

Where we live they have this Traditional Program for schools, along with the resides schools as well as your school clusters. It's all enough to make your head spin. When I had to tour schools to determine which kindergarten I wanted my kids to go to, I felt as if I was scouting out colleges!

The Traditional Program dictates that if you go to this Traditional Elementary School, then you will automatically feed into this Traditional Middle School and when the time comes, this Traditional High School. While we have had issues with the elementary school at times in the past, the middle school was a great experience for our daughter and our son is heading there this year. The High School, however I have had doubts about from the beginning. From it's location so far away and it's less than desirable surrounding area, to the sporting facilities, to the overcrowding. Needless to say, the more time I spent at said HS, the less I wanted our kids to attend there.

In 8th grade our daughter was able to play softball up at the HS level. I saw more of what we didn't want for our children. Also, in 8th grade they had to choose their locker buddies. With the ovecrowding, this school has 2-3 kids sharing a locker! I do not know about you, but when I went to HS, I could barely stuff all my junk into my very own locker! SHARE IT??? Are you kidding me?

We had filed an application to the Board of Education to our next choice of High School. One which is closer, has far better academics, sporting facilities and location. We were told to apply for a transfer. OK. Transfer request submitted. We were denied, without reason. We file an appeal...again, denied without reason. At this point we are pissed off and frustrated beyond belief, that the system has failed us. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that our daughter will have to do freshman yr at less than ideal high school, and try for a mid year transfer to our choice high school. Doing this, she would not try out for any team sports. For the fact that should she play ANY time at all playing varsity, and transfer to another school...she would become ineligible to play for the new school for a full year. If by some miracle we did get to transfer her, we wanted her to be able to play her sports at our choice school.

Living at the ballparks as we do and speaking with other parents, they told us to contact this coach, who also happens to be the head coach at our choice high school. Now, we have never been fans of the 'it's all about who you know' way of doing things. But, in all fairness we had followed the proper steps and proceedures and it failed us...and this was for our daughter afterall!

Rambo got in touch with and sent off an email to this coach before we left for FL. While on the road the coach called and wanted to set up a meeting with us, himself and the principal as soon as we got back.

So, there we were, fresh off the road trip, with denial papers and appeal letters. We met with the head softball coach who took us to meet with the principal. He listened to us, was shocked to hear about our denials with no reason given. Even more shocked that he was never even contacted about this. He said it was a pleasure to meet us and that he was going to make a call and we should know by Thursday. We were 2 steps out of his office, when he approached us and welcomed us to his High School for the next 4 years. They were also quick to ask if she has any siblings. We told them to expect Boy Wonder in about 3 yrs. We filled out some papers in counseling for school change and register her for classes. About an hour later, the softball coach calls and says, “Oh yeah, I spoke to the Field Hockey coach and she wants you at tryouts today 4-6.” Talk about moving fast! It is refreshing to see a coach who encourages his players to participate in other sports and be willing to work with it. The field hockey coaches were THRILLED to see Teen Queen. Not only because she is a goalie, but they have seen her in action with her former middle school. Her team had only one loss last year. The tryouts was a 3 day process, we missed Monday. She must have made such an impression on them that they told her they would be ordering new goalie equipment for her for this season.

The principal was apologetic about the fact we followed the proper (legal) steps to have our daughter transferred and it failed us twice. Oh, and he told her that she will have her very own locker. Needless to say this makes for one VERY excited family!

Sometimes, it IS all about who you know!

Second part of road tripping with Wicked...

July 19th -22nd

After the softball games were done and our team was out it was time to get things packed up and ready to head on out the door in the morning.

checkout of condo.... so long beach

I did not sleep very well. I am pretty sure it was due to knowing full well the weirdness we had to next encounter. The weirdness, of which I speak; is going to my mother's place. Since moving to FL in 1990 (I think it is) she has not left the state. Well, ok she did come to GA for our wedding in 92 and to NC in 94 to see Teen Queen at a couple days old...but other than that? NO WAY, NO HOW! Not even when there are statewide evacuations for hurricanes!!! They have never been to our current home of 12 or so years, last saw Teen Queen at less than 1 yr old and have never met Boy Wonder.

The relationship between my mother and I is an odd one to say the least. We are not close but not fully estranged either. I have a deep respect for my mother and how she ever managed to raise my sister and I alone is amazing. While I don't agree with how she did some things raising us, she did the best she could with what she had. After having my own kids, I found out that they do not pop on outta there with little how to manuals! I also learned that some things that I may not agree with helped to make me who I am today. Which I am pretty cool with who I am and how I turned out. I have to add that my making conscious choices to change certain behaviors and things in my life have added to my ultimate cooooolness.

My sister on the other hand...well we won't get into that! Suffice it to say that some things you just cannot make up.

At 9am we packed up the car and were heading the 1 hour to mother’s.
My mother… to describe? She has not changed at all with the exception of a couple more wrinkles and has darkened her hair. She still has the same basic hairstyle she has had forever; she likes her some big ole hair with lots of spray. She still has super long nails, still wears short skirts, as well as tops to showcase the ta tas, still tan and she still wears heels 24/7. Bob is still Bob, just older and shaggier. Back in the day, he did not have facial hair. They are a cute couple, she is still hot stuff and he is still dapper. They have a dog, a miniature pinscher, Max. Max was not fond of having guests in his lil world. oh yeah, and he isn't very fond of cameras either!

Everyone had a good visit. They enjoyed seeing the grandkids and hearing about what they have been up to. The grandkids enjoyed meeting their Florida grandparents and seeing their place. I think their favorite place was on the dock. Years ago, the 'rents had a very large sailboat. I think it was something like a 46 ft Catalina. Which is why they bought the condo they did with it's own dock.

and one of my favorite photos

After a couple days, it was time for us to get back on the road and on our way home.

Family Photo Op...get it while the gettin' is good!

The main purpose for the visit, since we were down that way; was to pick up some family furniture. They are downsizing, realizing that they do not need 2 guest rooms, they are turning one into an office/exercise room. I inherited my mother's 1940' solid maple bedroom suite, an antique tea table, drop leaf table and a couple boxes of antique glassware. They were considering giving/selling it to strangers. HELL NO! That's MY family stuff. Stuff that I grew up with, stuff that should be handed down; not sold off to someone who has no bond to it.

The uhaul place did not have the smaller truck that would have more suited our needs, so we had to go larger... not only cost us more to rent, but every 200 miles Rambo would stop to put gas in it… $85.00. It’s a 700 or so mile trip. That’s a lot of gas! Especially considering that the Hybrid Camry only took one tank of gas enroute. Started with a fullish tank and had to fill it one time on the road. $42.00 SWEEET!

Rambo and Boy Wonder back there in the Uhauler

Teen Queen Making the Most of Having Whole Back Seat to Herself

yes I took it while driving!

Got home just after midnight I think...have to get up early to meet with principal at desired choice of high school for Teen Queen....

Family Downsizes from SUV to Hybrid...

Here is my gushing on RoofBag. In fact, this is the 'testimonial' email I have sent to the company.

These day's easy to find a company or person to gripe or bitch about; they are EVERYWHERE!!! People have lost their manners, as well as their sense of accountability. I often bitch about these bufoons in my daily life. When one comes across a company which has shown excellence in customer service as well as offering a great product at an affordable price...well it's brag time baby!

my letter:
For the past 8 years or so I have either had a van or an SUV. Having extra space for road trips was never an issue for this family. This past March we traded in our Chevy Trailblazer LT 4x4 for a Toyota Camry Hybrid. We knew we would lose extra space, but the savings at the pump would be worth it.

In July we had a road trip to FL for Fastpitch World Series. Quickly my thoughts went to lack of space and how to get a family of four, ten days worth of belongings per person, pillows, towels, blankets as well as our daughter’s gear bag. Being a catcher her bat bag is jam packed with catchers gear, bats, mitts etc. Her bag alone takes up a good portion of the trunk. One thought was to unload her bag and pack it all individually into the trunk, then place everything else on top. Would that give us enough space, without having to flood the kids with stuff crammed into every nook in the backseat? Another thought was a roof top carrier. We used to have a hard shell carrier when we owned the Trailblazer; but now no roofrack, and on a HYBRID!?!?
I quickly went to one of the Hybrid forums I belong; to ask if anyone had traveled with a rooftop carrier on their hybrids, how it worked out and what kind of soft carrier did they use. Most of the carriers talked about, when more info was found by taking a good close look, are made for and recommended for use *with a rack*. This posed an issue for me, as I did not like the thought of using a bag not made for use without rack and having my family’s belongings scatter all over the interstate!

A quick search online brought ROOF BAG to my attention. Specifically, for use with or WITHOUT a rack! After browsing your site and all of your products, I knew I had found what we needed. Now the question was which size and would it get here in time? I sent off and email to inquire about which size would be best for my car. To my amazement, a reply was sent 2 hours later with advice and size recommendation. WOW! Now that’s service! I placed my order immediately, knowing that we would be on the road in 2 days. I ordered the 11 cu ft CrossCountry in gray, storage pouch, protective mat and set of 3 duffle bags. Even with overnight shipping the cost was far cheaper than most hardshell carriers on the market. offers a large variety of shipping options.

Happily, my order arrived on time as stated online. When it came time to pack, it was a breeze. The duffle bags made loading and unloading quick and easy. It was super simple to attach and load onto the car. The kids loved that they actually had space in the backseat and did not have to be squished for an 11+ hour trip!

The RoofBag did not shift once during the trip. It’s ability to not shift was put to the test, when wildlife crossed our path late at night and dodging and hard braking became necessary. It was also completely waterproof, as I drove through quite a few rain/thunder storms during the trip.
The fact that once we reached our destination, we removed the RoofBag and folded it into it’s little drawstring storage bag and tossed it into our trunk is an added bonus. As we drove around the ballparks and surrounding areas for the next week; I saw many roadtrippers driving around with their hard shell carriers still attached to their vehicles. This left me feeling pretty smug for having RoofBag.

We are super happy with the customer service as well as our RoofBag! You can bet that we will be recommending this to everyone! Thank you for offering such an amazing product at such an affordable price!!!