Life happens: Hoarders on a road trip

By Aprill BrandonIndulge me for a second, if you will. I want you to close your eyes and picture the following:
Dec. 5, 2013 at 6:05 a.m.

You're driving down the interstate, minding your own business. Perhaps you are heading home after a long day of work or maybe you're picking up your kid from soccer practice.

Or it could even be that you are on your way to dinner reservations with your in-laws, which you're dreading because Phil always has too much to drink and then plays his favorite game of "Insult His Daughter's Husband Until It's Time for Dessert," after which you will go home and get in a huge fight with your wife because she never stands up for you. Oh no, she could never stand up to her ultra-macho, conservative father. No one stands up to Phil. Phil fought in the war, for crying out loud. And what have you done with your life, Shirley? He calls you Shirley. Just another way for him to emasculate you. Ugh, Phil. You hate Phil - so much.

Or whatever, I don't know. I don't know your life.

But the point is, you're driving down the interstate, when all of a sudden, you pass a tin can painted red that is disguised as a car (a Hyundai Accent, to be exact). Upon closer inspection of this "car," you see a man, a 7-months-pregnant woman and a neurotic dog with abandonment issues squished up against the glass and surrounded by what looks like every single thing they have ever owned ever.

And for a second, all your troubles are forgotten, since you can't help but ask yourself "What the heck is going on in there?"

Well, let me tell you what the heck is going on in there. This past weekend, a man, a 7-months-pregnant woman and a neurotic dog with abandonment issues all thought it would be a great idea to take a 14-hour road trip to Ohio.

And it technically was a great idea - in theory.

Where things went horribly, horribly wrong was on the way back.

See, the reason for the trip was so that the couple could have a baby shower with the majority of their family. And granted, I've written in the past about how much I hate baby showers, but let me tell you, it's a whole new world when it's being thrown in your honor. Turns out it's just like having a birthday party, the only difference being that getting drunk, making out with someone and then crying on the bathroom floor about how old you are is generally frowned upon at the baby shower.

Now, they say it takes a village to raise a child. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that it takes a village to afford one. And our village was extremely generous (big shoutout due here to all the future grandparents, great-aunts and my 52 female cousins). This kid will truly never want for anything for at least the first year of his life (wanting a mom who doesn't sing "Close To You" off-key before he goes to bed every night notwithstanding).

And we couldn't be more grateful to everyone who came. However, it left us with the following dilemma:

How do you squeeze 1,000 square feet of baby stuff into 10 square feet of car?

Luckily, all those years of my husband blowing off doing anything productive and eschewing socialization with actual humans to play Tetris instead paid off. He managed to get it all in there. Well, almost all. At one point, there was a fear of damaging the structural integrity of the car, so he had to stop.

However, this meant we had to drive more than 800 miles with a dog sharing the passenger seat, limited visibility in all the windows and boxes hitting the back of our heads even though the seats were pushed up as far as they could go (which was super fun for the 6-foot, 2-inch daddy-to-be).

And even that wouldn't have been that bad if it weren't for the fact that I am not the world's greatest driver and that it had snowed the night before (Weather: If you don't like it, you are probably in Ohio).

For example, within 30 minutes of leaving, we encountered construction (Construction: If you are dealing with it, you are probably in Ohio). It was pretty straight-forward construction, but I nonetheless managed to go the wrong way, and we spent the next 30 minutes trying to find the interstate again from backcountry roads that had their very own banjo soundtrack.

Somehow, we did it, though. We made it back home in one piece. Even the baby, who was squished for no less than 400 miles by a highly excitable dog. And I now have a new sympathy for hoarders.

I'm just dreading finding all those dead cats once I finally build up the stamina to put together the nursery.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at



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