Just last week, I decided to drag BFF to the crazy family reunion we were having in Iowa. Why? Well, let’s just say I hang out plenty with her family so it was time for her to experience the crazy Irish loud Midwestern family that I have. To say there are a lot of us, is quite the understatement. We were planning on just three generations showing up and that meant about 50-60 of us. So, after months of planning, Bubby, BFF, Pocket GF and I headed out to Iowa to immerse ourselves in hot dish, Maid-Rites, and Mountain Dew.
We stepped off the flight in Kansas City, collected our bags and headed outside to grab the shuttle to pick up our rental car. That is when it hit us like a wall of water…humidity. BFF immediately turned to me and said, “Oh. My. God. What is that? It feels disgusting out here.” And indeed it did…at 11:30 pm it felt disgusting. Pocket GF stated she felt as if her already curly hair was getting even curlier. BFF and Pocket GF had never been to Iowa, so they were unprepared for humidity. Both of these gals grew up in Arizona, where we lovingly call it a “dry heat”. Seriously. It could be 120 degrees outside and feel like you are scorching your skin off, but there is no humidity. It was so gross. I actually felt like it was hard to breathe because the air was so thick. Ew. How do people live like that? That, for sure, is one thing I do not miss about living in the Midwest. My naturally wavy hair immediately began its transformation into what I can only describe as an Afro clown wig. I would spend the rest of the weekend attempting poorly to tame it into shape.
We stayed the night in KC only due to the red-eye flight we took out of Phoenix. It was a good idea since after picking up our rental car (where the gal told me we didn’t need to pay for a separate driver since Bubby and I were “together”. Hello! We are NOT Appalachian! But ok…less fee for us) it was about 1 am. The car ride began with BFF and I having the following conversation:
BFF: “What is the difference between Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas?
Me: “They are in two different states?”
So our trip to Iowa began in earnest after a quick stop at a McDonald’s. I am happy to report that EVERYONE was accounted for when we got back into the mini van and began the drive to Iowa. Nobody got left behind this time. BFF and Pocket GF are in the back seat and I must admit…it is a little like traveling with two 5 year olds in the car. All Bubby and I could do was shake our heads. There was constant chatter and singing. The best part was when they started asking what was growing in the fields as we were passing farms. When I answered corn, the squealing began. They were that excited about corn. The squealing grew in pitch and tone when they saw…not their favorite NKOTB member…but cows. Yes, you read that right. Cows. Bubby and I are now laughing because they are so excited about cows in fields of grass. Just your normal everyday cows. Hanging out. The best was when we stopped at a rest stop to go pee. You would have never thought the two of them had ever seen a REAL rest stop.
Now, let me clarify. In Arizona, rest stops are scary places where you wonder whether or not you are gonna get butt-raped by some homeless vagrant as you attempt to pee. Sometimes there is just a porta potty to use. The vending machines, if you are lucky to have them, are locked up and behind cages. Rest stops are usually things in Arizona we avoid, taking our chances on the homegrown version of herpes that the local gas station has to offer instead. Rest stops in the Midwest are truly things of beauty. There are lush lawns, ramadas with picnic tables and grills (yes…people in the Midwest actually use rest stops to eat lunches. I distinctly remember this from my childhood), vending machines allowed to roam free and not be caged, and this one even had Wi-Fi. There was one weird thing about the bathroom stalls in these rest areas. Are they made for midgets? The stall walls came about to all of our shoulders. You could literally stand up and see over the stall and ask the person next to you if they were pooping. I mean, are all the people in Iowa that short that they felt it would provide too much privacy for the stall walls to be higher? Bubby says it was the same way in the boy’s side, although he was so tall that the walls came to his elbow. Weirdness. BFF and Pocket GF wasted no time in taking pictures of the rest stop. It was too cute.
The rest of the trip up to my small hometown of Ankeny was pretty uneventful. The weekend, however, was filled with so much food that I am certain I gained at least 5 lbs in just dessert eating. I shall save the details of the reunion for my next blog….I am still trying to decide who in my family to embarrass (insert evil laugh here). I will just say, it was the weirdest surreal moment to see various family members downloading my book onto their phones or e-readers or ordering the paperback off Amazon. I even watched my Bubby download it in the airport. I have so much to share with you that I am sure there will be multitudes of blogging to come…for now I shall leave you with BFF entering the state of Iowa
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did survive a car ride with two girls who got excited about cows, corn and rest stops but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl surviving the humidity of the Midwest with my afro clown wig and gorged on desserts running. The experiment continues….