I took the kids and went to Alabama for about 5 days. We were getting along and I had a captive audience (literally) so I played the audio book my dad bought for them last year and once we could all get past Rush Limbaugh’s atrocious nasal voice, we enjoyed it. (Not enough to buy the second book, Dad.) We stopped at a rest area outside of Shreveport, LA and walked around a bit. The kids got to see that Spanish moss is not just a prop in old movies but a real live thing. We got back on I-20 and within a mile I ran over a piece of retread that had come off of an 18-wheeler. The front end of the car started to shake so violently that I thought I’d blown a tire. I pulled over and checked….everything looked fine. All four wheels were inflated and I suppose that I should have reached in and checked the tires manually but come on! I had been driving 80 mph and it was in the high 90’s and that’s a lot of heat to be sticking my hand into. So I drove on. The car was fine until I hit about 60 mph and then the front end would shake again. So I figured there was something wrong with the alignment and just crept to Mobile at 60 mph all the way. When I asked my cousin about it, he said it sounded like there may have been an air bubble or something causing the alignment to be off and that we would check it in the morning. Only he left for work at 6:30 a.m. So I talked to my uncle and he said, “Let’s go take a look at it,” which I thought would be interesting since he’s completely blind and we walked out and I showed him which wheel and he felt around and told me, “Baby, come take a look at this.”
I did. OH CRAP. I had driven across two states with only half the tread on my front tire. The inside half had come off completely and this was why it was such a rough ride over 60 mph.
During the course of the visit with my most amazing relatives, my oldest son and I were developing a cough. He spent most of the week on the couch and I was fighting an urge to spit because I’m too much of a girl and can’t hock a loogey without getting it all down my clothes and chin or swallowing it and dribbling just saliva down my face. We went out to my other aunt’s house to say “Hey” (that’s pronounced with 3 syllables in Alabama) to them and my cousin and her family who had just come back from Germany. Then we took off to Dauphin Island for a quick trip to the beach. I hadn’t been to Dauphin Island in over 20 years and my first time back I threw up and wet my pants while doing it. Yay aging. I thought it was just being dehydrated since I’d had 4 cups of coffee and no water all day. It was pretty hot out there. We went home and the kids all got showers and I changed clothes and took a nap. My aunt had started the shrimp gumbo in the morning before we left and I managed to get up just in time for dinner. She said I always did have a knack for timing.

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