Friday, September 16, 2005

On the Road Again........With a Twist

Well we’re off to New York on Sunday to visit some family. We’re making this another road trip so things could get interesting which will make for some good blogging material the following week, or not. In all honesty, our kids are pretty good on the road with the exception of our last trip coming back from Detroit (see The Trip). Even though our road trips are usually uneventful I think the Detroit thing scared my wife for life. We sat down this week, ok wait; my wife sat me down this week to tell me how we were going to make this trip work. She proceeded to tell me that my assignment for the week was to go and get a DVD system for the car so that the kids would be entertained. Now, I blogged a little while ago about possibly getting rid of our TV (See Good Times in Cleveland). I felt that the kids were watching to much and needed to spend more time outdoors. That was during the summer, but since they are in school, television time has been cut down significantly. That said, I am still questioning the TV in our house. So here I am backed into the corner by my wife telling me, not asking me to get this DVD thing. I thought back to the road trips I had gone on as a child, and I didn’t remember having a TV in the car, yeah I know, there wasn’t a Starbucks at every single rest stop on the turnpike either, or EZ Pass. I didn’t know what to say to my wife, she was definitely set on me getting this thing and felt that it would make for an easier trip. My response was not thought out, I said NO!

So I find myself in the electronic store the following morning searching for the best reasonably priced DVD system for our minivan. I swear buying one of these things is like shopping for sneakers now a days. Remember in the good ol’days you walked into a shoe store and your choice of sneakers consisted of Adidas or Converse, and they usually just came in white, or maybe one other color. Now you have to choose from 50 brands 4,000 styles; air or no air, cross trainer, basketball, tennis, high top/low top/mid top and let’s not forget about the 62,000 colors each one comes in. Buying a DVD system was sort of like that. There was a whole wall to choose from and they all looked the same to me, or not that significantly different. I asked the sales person a bunch of questions about a few specific systems and he proceeded to read the box to me. Really people, what ever happened to knowledgeable helpful sales people, I can read a box too. I guess we shouldn’t blame them though, how is it possible today for one person to absorb all the information on the gazillion technology products that these companies are producing.
Finally I found one that fit the bill; two 7” screens so that my two older kids don’t have to fight for positioning, they each get there own screen that attaches to the head rest in front of them, a remote control that I can use to turn off the darn thing in case I get sick and tired of hearing Nemo or Kim Possible whining about something, or Thomas the Tank Engine having a problem with another engine and then ultimately the two becoming best friends. They each have their own volume control and the screens tilt up and down for optimum viewing clarity, I think that last one cost me an additional 30 bucks. Amanda doesn't get a screen yet, but when it's time I'm going to send her mother to do the shopping.

So it’s off to New York on Sunday and hopefully our investment will pay for itself. Did I forget to mention that I’m going to the bank today to take out a second mortgage on my house so that I can pay for gas? We’re walking next time. Time to get sneakers for the family, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.



Naomi said...

We did a fair few road trips as kids. No we didn't have a DVD player but I do remember lots of fighting over who had to sit in the middle and lots of "are we there yet" type whining. But we also had fun playing games - making faces at other drivers, seeing how many people we could get to wave, I-Spy, etc.

On one trip with my gradma & granddad they had packed us each a goody bag of small gifts (all wrapped up so it was a suprise), every hour we were allowed to choose and open a new parcel. I have great memories of that trip.

If I was taking a long road trip now with the kids I'd definitly be investing in a DVD system.

Belovedlife said...

Thanks for agreeing with me Naomi. Truth be told our parents all suffered, so why should has advanced to that now we will get a headache from Kim possible and Thomas, instead of crying, whining and fighting (I hope)

Kim Ayres said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kim Ayres said...

I think part of the problem now is that the kids have to be strapped in. When I was young, my brother, sister and I used to move about, create dens with cushions and blankets, as well as playing travel games. The greatest fun was to be had by drawing faces on our feet, then lying on our backs so that our feet were pressed up against the rear window and we would create foot-puppet shows for the drivers behind us.

Mind you, I guess I just have to be thankful that my father never crashed on any of those journeys or we'd have been gonners.

However, with regard to the DVD players in the back - I think I'm with you on this one BStrong. I think there's a lot to be said with trying to cope without the TV.

Maybe it's the same thing, although it feels different to me, but on long journeys our kids listen to their walkmans if they want to. With their headphones on it means Maggie and I can have a conversation without too much noise from the back (apart from when Meg starts singing along too loudly). And a few months back I spent a day reading all Meg's favourite stories into a microphone attached to the computer, and made her up a CD from it. This is now one of her most loved things to listen to. Double whammy - she's happy and I feel like I actually did something right as a dad.

Just a thought - hope it doesn't cause any arguments...

BStrong said...

Thank you for agreeing with me. The foot puppet thing is pretty funny. I like talking to my kids while I drive and unfortunately with the addition of the DVD my words will fall on def ears. Besides, when you’re in the car there is so much outside to see driving from one state to the other.

You mentioned that you have memories from when you went on car trips, some good and some you would maybe like to forget, but you had memories of those times.
With the addition of our DVD my kids won't have any memories. What are they going to say 15 or 30 years from now; Oh I remember that trip, we watched Lilo and Stitch. It doesn't really make for good story telling. Anyway, I gave in and bought the darn thing, and maybe it will help settle things down in the car, but it will be a part of their childhood that is lost.
by the way, did you just ad that picture or have I just been so oblivious to things. Looks like all is well.

Naomi said...

Yeah, I just added the picture and in the process discovered that I have very few photographs with me in them.

Just because you have the DVD player in the car doesn't mean it has to be on continually.

Tara Marie said...

You did a wise and honorable thing young man,,,,you gave your wife the opportunity for a sane trip! :0)

I bought a DVD player [my inner voice kept telling me, no, we will never own one of those things] but a road trip from NJ to Minnesota last summer made me realize that listening to Elmo singing was a lot better than 'are we there yet!'.

Enjoy your trip and Godspeed.

Peace, TM

Beckie said...

Ahhhhhh, road trips. When I was growing up we took many of those. From CA to IL and back to see my Dad's family. I remember my mom saying in a very exasperated voice "can't you get along for more than 2 minutes??". One trip, when it was just my younger brother and I left (the other 4 siblings were quite a bit older and all married or working) we decided to see if we could go a whole day without fighting. We did it! And it was just as pleasant for us as it was for my mom and dad. But we resumed normal (bickering) behavior the very next day, why??? I'm not sure!

Anyway. Hubby and I took a long driving trip with our kids this past summer. From IN to OR and back with some sightseeing on the way back. We took CD and tape walkmans and toys, snacks and lots of books. My two older kids love to read and I actually got aggravated with my 14 yr old because he hardly ever took his nose out of a book to look at the beautiful scenery and the amazing landscape that we drove through and past. So I guess the books aren't much different than a DVD would have been. And we actually had some relatively peaceful times. We also played lots of games and sang together. All in all it was a great trip with lots of good memories.

Hope your trip is/was great too!