Thinkin' crazy thoughts here

I’m pondering the unthinkable: driving to Oklahoma to visit my muddah for Thanksgiving. My youngest sister, my brother-in-law, and two of my nephews live in the Sooner State as well. You caught the “driving” part of the first sentence, right? We’re talking about a 17-hour drive, with an unruly Kindergartner in the back seat. At first, when I brought it up, I thought P wouldn’t go for it. He’d be staying home, after all. I wondered if he might be concerned about having his only wife and only child on the road, far from home. As it turned out, though, he had no concerns about our personal safety whatsoever. I am pretty sure his head was immediately filled with visions of him playing online poker 24/7 and eating Taco Bell three times a day. And possibly not changing his underwear regularly.

There is a method to my madness here. I did some math on what it would take to fly.

Two plane tickets: $900.00 (no lie - I just checked)

Rental car: $336.00

Baggage fees $100.00

Long-term parking @ airport: $50.00

Approximate total: $1386.00

If we drive, we have gas, tolls, food, and two cheap hotel rooms (since we would split the trip into two parts, each way). I estimate the total at $500ish. The biggest toll would be to my mental health, of course. I would expect to hear "are we there yet?" a few thousand times (probably before we even crossed our own state line). With our finances being what they are lately (the water heater died this week – rock on!) though, the driving option is starting to look awfully attractive. Well, not "attractive" so much as "do-able."  I don’t know for certain that I can take that week off from work, but I’m hopeful. The technology biz is typically a bit slow over the holidays anyway.

There are a few other benefits to driving vs. flying aside from the cost. Normally, when we visit my mother, she likes to buy stuff (large, impractical stuff) for her granddaughter and then we run into the issue of a) it won’t fit in the suitcase or b) it might put the suitcase over the weight limit. This way, she can buy toys and whatnot to her heart’s content. My coolmobile has room aplenty. We won’t have to worry about paring down what we bring (and what we bring back). We could even bring some food/drinks from home and save money that way.

So yeah, I’m giving some serious thought to this trip. This may be the surest sign yet that I am slowly losing it. Buying the mini-van was the first sign.  Driving cross-country in the mini-van is the second. My mother and sister are assembling an incentive package in order to convince me and A to make the trip. We require some wooing, you see. So far the package includes a $15 iTunes gift card and the offer to sleep on sheets with a freakishly high thread count.  I think I may hold out a bit longer to see what else they might come up with.  I'm waiting to hear words like "free babysitting" and "expensive vodka."