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2010-05-28 digital edition

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2010-05-28 / Community News

Roadkill, Bug Art, & GPS Insanity

Our family went on a road trip this week. As always, it was a traveling circus. We had the typical “Are we there yet?” questions uttered in annoying frequency, of course, but we also had some questions that are, perhaps, not so typical.

“What’s that?” was generally asked while passing roadkill that was particularly mangled and, as such, unrecognizable. The reason for this is that my eleven-year old son was keeping a running score for each type of animal. If he could get a consensus from the rest of the family on what “that” was, he’d place a tally in the column for that animal. The most tallied animals were raccoon, deer, squirrel, fox, rabbit, and one skunk that might possibly have been somebody’s cat. We put it down as a skunk, regardless of the absence of any stench, because we didn’t want to upset my daughter who would have expired at the thought of some tractor trailer callously running over a fluffy feline.

From the depths of the motor home, we heard my youngest child yelling something about a porcupine on a skateboard. We discounted that idea not only because of the improbability of the event, but because a porcupine who is a skilled skater was obviously not dead, and therefore could not be considered roadkill. Only true roadkill made it to the list.

Another member of the animal kingdom that did not make it to the list, regardless of whether or not it had a pulse, is insects. The reason for that is, although we had a million bugs hit our windshield, not many of them could be identified. My son thought that it would not be fair to count only the ones that could be identified, so he disqualified all of them. At one point in our journey, our windshield began to look like abstract modern art. In fact, if you looked at it just right from the outside with your head tilted to the left and the sun hitting it from the east, you could just make out a picture that was either Elvis or Jesus Christ. I wonder how much our bug-splattered windshield would sell for on E-Bay?

We had our GPS unit with us. Not because it could be relied upon to get us safely to our destination, but because my husband thought it could. I, of course, brought a map. If there was ever a discrepancy between “Maggie”, as we call her, and the map, I insisted on using the map. I didn’t want to take a side trip to some scenic location just because Maggie thought it prudent to check it out. It didn’t help that, out of the blue, Maggie started mooing like a digital cow for no apparent reason. I think she’s losing her marbles.

My youngest child had used his sticky fingers to press just the right combination of buttons and somehow ended up setting the Security Lock on Maggie… which meant that we could not enter any location. The location that he had punched in before locking it happened to be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We were trying to go to Buffalo, New York. So…you can see how this might have been a problem.

Maggie did, however, keep track of our speed. My ten-year old daughter, trying to be helpful, took great pleasure in reading it and calling out the speed whenever it changed. “62…63…65…70, daddy not so fast!”

We’re going down a hill, I can’t help it!”

“…68…slower!…64…62…okay you’re doing good, daddy.”

“The speed limit is 70 here, you deranged child!”

“Oh…64…faster, daddy!…67…”

After a brief interval of that insanity, Maggie needed to be retired until we could figure out how to make her useful again.

All in all, it was a very successful trip. Successful, that is, if you use our typical barometer: Whether or not you had an accident, a flat tire, or someone puked in the backseat.

You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.

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