Good Day, Rock Star

You’re here.

Front row.

After waiting in line for tickets.  In a freakin’ online snow storm.

After printing out The Celine Dion post and keeping it under your pillow.  Because it’s comic genius.  And because you like to laugh in your sleep.

After applying for citizenship in a new land.

A land where the Constitution is called “When Someone You Love Has A Blog: Part 1 and Part 2.”

Everything you have done has led you to here, my friends:  an intimate, acoustic, one-night-only performance in the smallest amphitheater in the blogosphere.

Please welcome the wonderful and talented Empress from Good Day, Regular People!

(cue air guitar medley)


Marriage and Travels and Travails

by The Empress

A Road Trip with your spouse.

Upon hearing those words, there are those who find themselves shuddering with unpleasant memories, and others who smile serenely, and say, “oh, I LERVE road trips with my spouse!”

I’m the one shuddering.

There can be little more that is as stressful a situation for me.  Aside from bringing home your first baby, being on the road with your spouse can make you question, “for better or for worse,” because “for worse” is all the scenery you get for a good, long while, incarcerated in that car.

I remember being so very shocked at the personality change that would overtake my husband once he got behind the wheel of a car, destination in mind, a precisely creased folded map in his lap (should’ve been my clue as to his personality…umm…”type”) and the next 3 states ahead of him to cross, timeline in hand. In this case, we were headed to Indiana, from Wisconsin.

You see, I saw this travel time on the road as an opportunity for bonding, for speaking, for sharing our deepest thoughts, for discovering who we were, and laying out our hopes for the future, “our” future, together.  I was ready for a solid day of travel in a car with my best friend, my husband, our bond deepening as we chatted merrily all the way.

My spouse, however, saw it this way:  a personal challenge to cross 2 state lines before nightfall.  He was armed, mapped and dangerous.

And, herein begins the 1930’s classic TNT movie of the babbling, blubbering crushed wife, and the James Cagney grapefruit-in-the face husband.

Because, oh, yes, it went down just like that.

Three hours into the trip, I found myself in the delicate, non-moveable state of the fullest bladder I have ever had.  So full, I literally was sweating with fear that it would explode.  I could hold my full bladder no longer.  My husband, on the other hand, needed to clock 20 more minutes on this leg of the trip, or he wouldn’t stay on his schedule.  Yes, on schedule.

Since he had a schedule, that meant my bladder-emptying needed to be done on schedule.  I was told I had to “hold it.”  Do you feel my incredulousness at the thought of being told I had to “hold it?”

Now I knew how our children felt.

No, I could not “hold it.”  I had to go, and I had to go now.  And the importance of his schedule just became more apparent as the trip went on.

I wish I were saying, “and the trip just became more wonderful as time went on,” but I can’t, because that would be lying.

I was allowed to finally relieve myself at the filthiest gas station ever seen by human eyes.  I was in such pain, such crippling pain, from the dangerously overextended bladder that I actually had to hobble into the gas station.

The filth of the restroom was such that you could hear my screams 6 states away.  I was not going to sit on that toilet seat in that gas station, oh no.  I would hover – which, if you are able to take the crippling pain of my permanently disfigured bladder into mind, should have you in sisterly tears with me at this point in the story.

My husband had pulled over, and kept the car running the whole time.

Now, for a woman, you know what is next in importance to bladder emptying, right?

It is low blood sugar.

With the painful reminder of a full bladder now alleviated, my hunger came roaring full force to the forefront.  Just like a baby after a fresh diaper change, I now needed to eat.  Not wanted to eat, as in a little hungry, but needed to eat, as in black spots before my eyes and a perspiring upper lip hungry.  But guess when I needed to eat?

Yes, “on schedule.”

Guess what wasn’t penciled in to occur just yet?  Yes, a “food stop.”

“We can’t eat until we’ve been driving 6 hours.  Have a snack.”  A snack?  I needed to eat a full, warm, 4 grams of protein-minimum.  We continued to drive under these 24-hr fasting detox conditions for about an hour, when soon things began to swim before my eyes.  My palms were getting sweaty, and my vision dotty.

“Please,” I turned to face my husband and weakly begged, “please, can we stop?  I’ll eat fast.  Anywhere.  Please.”

I must’ve looked the part, because prior to my partial black-out, I remember my husband’s eyes widening as he looked over t0 me and quickly pulled over.  I was allowed 20 minutes, but was told no further bathroom breaks in order to make up the time.

I was so low on the blood sugar level, I agreed to anything.  Just feed me, since my hands are too shaky to hold a fork.

We did finally arrive at our destination of Indiana, although 1 hour and 45 minutes later than he had clocked the trip out to be.

Not something that was easy for him to accept.

I now see how he saw our road trip as a project to be delivered on time, and I saw it as the awesome opportunity of having a captive audience listening to me, me, me.

We did survive our first road trip together, and we love telling this story now, and laughing about how different we both thought that this trip would be.

And that is what being married can mean, in so many other situations, too.

It’s seeing the different expectations, and acknowledging them, and realizing, “yeah, that was pretty bad, but I’m still here.”

47 thoughts on “Good Day, Rock Star

  1. A comment. Yes, I’d love to leave a comment. Who is that crazy ass man you married? And why do you let him tell you when you can empty your bladder or not.

    Sheesh, woman, grow a pair.

    Thanks for the opportunity of the awesomeness of being on the Chalupa’s Main Page.

    woot *fistbump* lookame!! Lookame!

    Love you, baby girl..thank you for the sweet spot here today, and get back to it, soon. We miss your genius. xo

  2. Om my goodness… you poor thing. That was some road trip… I remember this one time when we went to some place… we were all packed together, all uncles and aunts and their children, grandmas and the likes… in the end, we could not find a single good place to eat, the one place that we found had cobwebs hanging from the walls and ceilings… and because everyone wanted to save their face, we all started blaming each other, since that day, we have kept our trips to our respective families… to my happiness.

  3. Oh, remind me to tell everyone the story of my roadtrip with my husband, then boyfriend?.


    (And my bladder just totally cramped up in sisterly solidarity!)

  4. i used to get so focused on the goal…i can understand this…i think a lot of it has to do with the wny we are traveling…ok, i cant dig him out of the hole…sorry…smiles.

  5. That’s so funny…i started taking road trips with my husband pretty much from the get go as I lived in New York City and he was in New Jersey. I husband knows better than to mess with both my bladder and my blood sugar. There have been plenty of difficulties but, in my case, road trips weren’t one of them.

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  7. I am laughing hysterically! Why are husbands so darn focused on crazy travel time schedules??

    My husband drove for miles, miles I tell you in the thick of the night looking for a gas station. He wanted to see how long he could go with the glowing orange light telling him he should have filled up AN HOUR AGO! Passing a few biker bars, parking lots filled with pick-ups and gun racks he decided “Maybe waiting so long wasn’t a good idea after all.”

    Ya think?!

  8. Ha, feed me because I can’t hold a fork. Love it. Or LERVE it. For some reason that word made me leak.

    At least he didn’t hand you an empty Coke Zero bottle. True story. I didn’t do it, though. I made us crash into the back of a Prius so I could escape to the woods.

    Love it, Empress.

  9. Ummm… Grow a pair? Of what exactly Empress? Do I want to know? Are you sure we didn’t marry twins separated at birth? He does let me pee. Because I lean over and take hold of the wheel. He knows I’s a strong wheel wielding woman. Now I just take along my trusty laptop, know this will be “quiet” time and we’re all good.

  10. How do I know God has a sense of humor? He made women with bladders that can retain no more than 4oz of fluid at any given time and He made men with a secret desire to be Transporters or at the very least, UPS drivers.

    Now that D1 is potty trained, we’ll pee just before leaving the house on a roadtrip and even before we hit the beltway, she says, “I need to pee.” I look over at my wife and say “She takes after you.”

    “yeah, that was pretty bad, but I’m still here.”

    Love that quote. Marriage isn’t always bliss, but hey, it could always be worse!

  11. That was you screaming, A? I don’t do well when my blood sugar drops, either; I feel your pain.

    This post is hilarious! It bring back old memories of a day trip last May. My husband suffers from Gypsy Incontinence; he doesn’t find me all that amusing. OK, sometimes.

  12. My hubby is more likely than I to stop for the bathroom, and he lets me navigate. He just does all the driving, because he is a horrible backseat driver, or sideseat driver, whatever.

  13. Oh, I am SO with you on the whole potty stop/low blood sugar thing. If I have to go, I want to do it NOW. Not on a schedule! And when I need to eat? Get outta my way, man. Now, baby, now….or I may eat your hand as it grips the steering wheel in your mania to reach our destination.

    Whew, I feel better now.

    And Empress, I hadn’t yet found you when you posted about your amazing tie with Celine. I see it, I do…..but I’m pretty sure she’s happy to look like you.

    What a great guest to have, Tarja! Two of my favorites in one place…

  14. funny how we more or less make our schedules whether or not we pee now or later so why not now, ace studs of the world? a big bag of sam’s or costco trail mix is good for just in case…and in case the guy driving has the hearing of a catfish, do scream a very short command directly into the ear of he who will not hear and i guarantee a stop at the next station. and for emphasis, de-crease his road map. oh, it’ll piss him off at first but the respect will grow before your very eyes. baby on board? it’ll get really bug-eyed as he/she learns those necessary lessons about mom.

  15. I WANT to say “Oh, how sweet.”

    But I want to curse the person who wouldn’t let you pee. Who, in my house, right now, the person not letting me pee, is me.

    Stupid, stupid, me.

    Gotta run!

  16. I feel you. Truly, I do. Dots swimming before the eyes and all.

    Please tell me that the arrival of children has ummmm…softened the importance of the schedule a bit.

    Please. For the sake of the chilren.

  17. I’m with you on roadtrips with your signif other. Can’t we bond another way? Preferably, a way that doesn’t involve my butt hurting, getting motion sickness, or alternating between eating Doritos and Twinkies. I mean, I love both but still….

  18. I when I ride with the Big Tuna, am like a hostage at the Daytona Nascar Race. I limit my liquid intake in order not to annoyed the Mr. I am Bill Elliot on steroids with pititful potty break needs.

    Stopping over based on Snuggle Wasteland suggestion.

  19. It’s funny cuz it’s true.
    Actually, that’s the reason it’s NOT funny. This happens to me every time we go anywhere. Thank God I can use the kids now, “The KIDS have to go, they’re gonna explode!”
    He has a LITTLE more sympathy for them.

  20. So hilarious I would’ve wet my pants except fortunately I’m at home and NOT on the road with my husband.
    Who would have done the same thing.
    And let me black out to skip that meal stop.
    Ah yes. Commiseration is a dish best served cold. Or hot. Or anytime when your blood sugar is THAT LOW.

    Better luck next time. (with the whole choice of whom to take with you on a road trip, I mean.)

  21. This post is so rich it’s like a full-course meal! I could dissect it and say something about each little paragraph.

    My mother had the same crippling bladder experience with my father and it took her so long to go because it was wired shut by that time and they ended up spending longer than if they had made an earlier stop.

    There is this great show that we saw on dvd about Men are from Mars, etc. It’s educational, but in a stand-up-comic kind of way. It’s in french though – the guy’s belgian. But he talked about the car trip!!! How fast they get there is indicative of how competent the man is. If he meets up with another guy, that’s the first question the guy’s gonna ask him.

    So funny these Martians (not).

  22. “Just feed me, because my hands are too shaky to hold a fork.” DYING! This cracked me. I would never have survived that journey since I have to pee every 15 minutes and I also become a raging psychotic lunatic when I am not fed every two hours. So glad you both made it through and can now laugh about it!

  23. My Lord! In our car my hubs is so freaking worried about the dog needing to pee, and I’m all “He can hold it for 8 plus hours while we are (were in my case) at work you freak!!! I think he’s good for an hour until we stop!”

  24. Oh man, I have so been there, not with my husband, but my dad!! So far, in nearly 11 years of marriage, we’ve only gone on 1 roadtrip. I think that’s how I’ve managed to not suffer. Although, I would just flat tell him, “If you don’t stop, I will kick your @$$ and then YOU will be cleaning up pee in the car, dude.” But first, I would tell the kids to cover their ears. It’s that submissive wife side of me, you know.

  25. Try driving with your husband through Hungary, I can highly recommend it… (Me:’we need to go left’ He: ‘No we don’t, everybody knows women can’t read maps, so we are going right’, ‘ok, fine go right’, 20 min later, He: ‘eh, we already passed this point, how comes this?’ Me: because you, Oh wise one, insisted we go right, where I said left’)

  26. Senseless! Senseless of him, I tell you. In the end, what difference does it make if a 1/2 lunch break is taken at point X or point Z? It will be the same time spent out of the journey, since if you break at X, you won’t be breaking for lunch at Z. The 1/2 hour is the 1/2 hour! Poor you, I do feel for you. The bathroom conditions on a trip alone are enough to make me cringe at interstate travel.

  27. Stupid question, but my comments aren’t appearing – are they going through?

    ANyway, a 1/2 hour break is a 1/2 hour break, whether it’s taken at point X or point Z. It’s still 1/2 hour out of the driving time, so who cares if it’s taken “on schedule”??? If you break at X for lunch, you won’t break at Z, so it comes out the same. Gack. Poor you, I do feel your pain. Topped off with the bathroom situation, well, that’s why I cringe at interstate driving trips.

  28. I remember loving this one, Alexandra! And I think this is the perfect symbolic episode of marriage. I’m hoping that over the years you and your hubby have found other times when all the expectations mushed just right. It would be great if you wrote a follow up piece, like, marriage 20 years later or something like that.

    Love your writing, as always!


  29. Should I be happy, or sad, at Poor Stretching Imaginations’s dilemma.

    Since we all know I have issues, let’s acknowledge how misery loves company and I am a little bit jumping for joy and socking the air that, she, too, has disappearing comments at Chalupa’s.

    Hey, just being honest here.

    Love you, girl…

  30. As my bladder got really, painfully full I’m pretty sure I’d have completely lost my sh*t and started flailing around shrieking things like “I hate you I hate you I hate you!” thus causing husband to think I was insane and he should pull over in case I needed to be restrained. Which I probably would need if I wasn’t allowed to pee and eat when I needed to.

  31. That was great…as was the comment 😉

    I remember that the first road trip I went on with my husband did not turn out as I had planned either. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Thankfully he didn’t end up dead that night…because that is the direction he was heading (I type that with much love in my heart for my husband and with zero homicide plans presently in mind)

  32. I can relate! My husband also makes me hold it. What’s even worse? He forbids food & drinks in the car. We can only drink water. Please feel very sorry for me.

  33. Most excellent post… and so funny!

    Although, my husband knows from experience to schedule in food stops. Listening to me whining about how hungry I am in the car? It makes the string of “Are we there yet?” from the kids pale in comparison.

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