Friday we rented a van and drove to Boston, MA. We had hoped to leave around noon, but didn't actually leave until after 2 PM! The trip started well enough. Thanks to Mike we had a portable DVD player to keep the kids occupied. We got tied up at a rest stop along the way, when the Subway employee first couldn't figure out how to handle the VISA machine, then couldn't figure out how to print a receipt and simply opted not to, without telling us. I pointed to the sign on the counter that read "If we don't give you a receipt, your meal is free!", and asked for a refund. The employee of course couldn't figure out how to void our transaction, so she gave us an 800 number to call. Big help.
The kids went to sleep around 10:30, and Carina and I listened to the audiobook version of "Wasteland", the third in the "Dark Tower" series by Stephen King. Around 2 AM -- still about an hour out of Boston -- I saw two ambulances pull onto the highway ahead of us. "Uh-oh," I though, grimly. Sure enough, just ahead there was an accident. A car, sitting perpendicular in the road, was on fire. The flames lit up the dark highway in staccato burts. We were about ten cars back in the queue the formed. We waited. And waited. And waited. The kids both woke up and asked a million questions about the accident. About an hour later, as people were milling about, I overheard a conversation between two other motorists. Appearently the reason the wreckers hadn't yet moved the accident off the road was because there was another accident at the end of the line of cars, blocking their access to the first accident! Finally the road was cleared, and we resumed our drive. We pulled up to our lodging around 4:30 AM, utterly exhausted. The inestimable Jude and Jen put us up in their awesome apartment for the weekend. Carina, the twins and I all stumbled wearily to bed.
Saturday we rose late, had breakfast at a horrible restaurant, and then went to meet Carina's aunt Birgitta. Staying with Birgitta were Carina's cousins from Sweden. We had a delightful afternoon, bonding with relatives that Carina had spoken to but never met. The twins (and I!) had a great time playing along the river bank, collecting shells. The highlight for the girls was the discovery of a horsehoe crab shell. We said goodbye around 7:30, and headed back to take Jude and Jen to dinner in town. We ate at some fancy-pants seafood restaurant, and introduced the twins to fresh seafood. It was delicious!
Sunday I left the gang to meet a friend of mine. I've know Chris for about eight years now, and have talked to him on the phone only once, almost three years ago. Carina, Jude and Jen all teased me, claiming this was some kind of mystery date. When I told them that I'd never even seen a picture of Chris they cackled with laughter. I met Chris at a place called Capt. Fishbones (and I got lost en route, of course), and was pleased to learn that he was a real human being, and a nice one to boot!
After I got back from breakfast, we packed up the car and hit the road. The drive back was much more harrowing, as both girls got restless (and mouthy). Fourteen stressful hours later, we were back in Columbus.