*This post is part of a series originally posted on my former blog, Stinker Babies. I’m reposting here for families who are interested in learning more about the process of being matched with a service dog for their children. This series was written during March of 2013.*
They say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I say, “A journey of a thousand miles (or 785 to be exact) begins with a portable DVD player.”
We started our adventure yesterday afternoon with a rented Chevy Traverse crammed full of everything we might even remotely find possibly necessary for the next couple of weeks. There is even a Crock Pot and a toaster oven somewhere in the pile.
We made it out of Florida before someone had to stop and go potty. Before you are too impressed, let me admit that we only live about 10 miles from the state line.
Our goal was to make it to Chattanooga, TN before finding a place to stop for the night. Our kids will not fall asleep in the car so driving all night was definitely not a good idea. For anyone. We found a Holiday Inn Express just off the interstate that worked perfectly for us. There is something to be said about just walking in with no reservation. If you get a smart employee, they will usually give you a bit of a discount. And put you on the top floor. At the end of the hallway. With the stairwell between your family and the nearest neighbor. Our kids who were so sleepy when we stopped were miraculously energized by riding the elevator. It was a long night.
When the sun rose the next morning, we looked out over the beautiful Tennessee hills and couldn’t wait to get back on the road. After breakfast downstairs, we hopped back into the rental car (that I am totally in love with and wish I could keep) and tried to get a good start before the rain caught us.
To keep the kids entertained, I had a proud mommy moment when I came up with a fun game. We named all the colors we could think of and wrote them on a score card. Each time we saw a semi truck, we would put a tick mark next to the matching color. We called it our research project and planned to find the most popular color for semi trucks.
I did not think this thing through. Do you have any idea how many semi trucks are on the interstate on a Monday? Combine the hundreds of trucks out and about with the obsessive tendencies of my sweet son (who would be an incredibly thorough research assistant, by the way) and you have a game that was forbidden to leave the state. The most popular color (by far) is white. You know. Just in case it ever comes up. Like at a dinner party. At a truck stop. Or Jeopardy. Who knows?
We made it to Kentucky just in time for lunch. We were pretty tired of sandwich-type meals, so Jake suggested KFC. I knew they had stuff besides fried chicken these days, so I agreed. When we got settled in at our booth in the window that looked out over the misty foothills while Alison Krauss played on the radio, I started giggling. The fact that we were eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky just entertained me way more than it should. That’s when I knew delirium had set in.
A few (hundred) hours later, we didn’t think we would ever see Ohio. Then we rounded a curve on I-75 and there was Cincinnati just across the river. It was beautiful! And terrifying. We timed it just right to see what rush hour is like. But it didn’t matter! We had made it to Ohio!!!
After making it through bumper to bumper traffic and then immediately getting us lost in more bumper to bumper traffic, we finally rolled into our Home Sweet Homewood Suites.
Just in time for the free supper (with wine!) and to meet fellow blogger and 4 Paws classmate, Nicole, from Modified Mamas.
We got all unpacked in our comfy room and settled in and now I cannot sleep. I am so excited and nervous and happy and scared all at the same time. In the morning, we will meet April. I hope everything works out beautifully. I will try to blog at least a short update every day. I know there are a lot of parents who are considering a service dog for their family, so I want to give you an honest insider’s look into the good, the bad, and the amazing during this experience.
For those of you who are headed to 4 Paws in the future, I just have to say we’ve been really pleased with Homewood Suites (the recommended hotel). They have been very accommodating during the reservation process and check-in. The free nightly meals are pretty decent, too! Here are a few pictures of the room for any of you in upcoming classes who want a good look! We have the one bedroom suite with two double beds.
*I may have lost the pictures from this post. I’m working on finding copies and will update if I do!*