Stealing Teen Time

Stealing Teen Time

My van, is now the primary mode of transportation for the newly formed Day Camp Division of Camp-Run-A-Pup.

The director of Day Camp (my teen) claims that his Audi is not an appropriate dog vehicle, and the VW bug is too small. The vanonce MY vanis just right. With a few modification, of course.

The van now sports Camp-Run-A-Pup magnetic advertising signs on both sides and the rear bumper. The option of flipping people off no longer exists. My teen reminded me that I never honk at other drivers, much less flip them off. True, but I enjoyed the option. 

Four crates have replaced my back passenger seats. The good news, I still have a passenger seat. And, my teen explained, the grocery bags can now ride in a crate; this prevents the bags from tipping over and my cantaloup and little Cokes from rolling all over the van. Woo Hoo. 

I think I know how Henry Ford felt when his son joined the business.

Next, my young whippersnapper informed me that buying two side loading crates would make the side-crate doors more accessible. I agreed and informed him that his Day Camp budget could fund the crates. Ha! Camp CEO scores a point, and the whippersnapper hits Craigslist.

Several hours later, he found two side-loading crates in good condition for a bargain price. In Freeport, Illinois, 180 miles from Chicago. Before I could add miles, gas, and snacks to his bargain he started selling me on the fun of a mother-son road trip. The child I gave birth to was tricking his mother into funding the road trip for his bargain crates. No way. He then reminded me that one of his best friends had just left for college. He may have had a tear in his eye. Way.

As we traveled on the I-90 towards Rockford, work crews were tolling away. We’ve traveled this road often over the last three years, wondering if the tollway would ever be finished. It will be. In 2018, this $3.4 billion dollar construction project will wrap up. The IL tollway sign at the Starbucks Oasis told us so! The State of Illinois wouldn’t lie, would it?

The landscape along the drive was pretty, miles and miles of bright yellow fields. Let’s hope that the fields glowed from the change of seasons and not from Monsanto’s products. The trees aren’t changing yet, but they are on the verge of bursting into color.

We reached Freeport and drove to our final destination. The exchange of cash for crates was remarkable easy. My teen and I aren’t used to easy. We were grateful but a bit uneasy. Were the crates stolen property? Would we be apprehended before we crossed the city limits. It could happento us.

Living on the edge, we decided to stick around town a bit and explore Freeport. We discovered Freeport’s nickname is “Pretzel City.”  Let me share the twisted, salty tale. It all started when Freeport was an outpost settled by German immigrants. The city had at least six breweries in the late 1800s and, according to local legend, produced more beer at the time than Milwaukee. To complement the local brew, the Billerbeck Bakery produced a steady supply of salty pretzels. In fact, Billerbeck produced so many pretzel that the local newspaper in 1895 dubbed it “Pretzel City.”

The name of the football stadium is Pretzel Field. The high school cheers for the Pretzels. Mothers of pretzels (M.O.P’s) is the name of the school’s mothers association. The city does not have a pretzel monument, at least not one that we could find.

Learning about pretzels made us hungry. Yelp reviews recommended a downtown grill called “This Is It Eatery.” We hoped that the name wasn’t an omen of things to come.

Arriving, we took it as a good sign that the This Is It Eatery seemed like a popular hometown place. Seated at a table next to an older couple, we could not help but notice their lack of conversation. The sour twosome did not utter one word to each other before, during, or after their meal, and they seemed to resent that we were having a good time. We found this funny, which did not improve table relations. My cheeky son was just about to inquire if their steak was good, when our focus shifted. A parade of homecoming girls walked into the restaurant.

These girls caught our attention with their unimaginably ugly and unbecoming dresses. The whole restaurant seemed to be in shock. Cole wondered what they were thinking; I wondered what their mothers were thinking.

Antagonizing the Grumps and judging the homecoming dresses ended when our food arrived. It was tasty and the bill reasonable.

Back in the car, we continued our homecoming dress discussion. “Awful,” I exclaimed. Cole agreed. I couldn’t imagine why the girls’ mom’s let them buy such unattractive dresses. I would have directed my daughter to a different style of dress. My teen told me that if I had done this, my daughter would have developed poor self-esteem, eating disorders, and cut herself. Perhaps, but her homecoming dress would have been attractive and would have fit. Later, she would have thanked me. Priorities, dear boy. My teen then reminded me, once again, how lucky I am to have a boy. I smiled. Road trips are the perfect vehicle to have heart-to-heart conversations with your son.

No dessert justified a second Starbucks on the way home. I have a $50 gift card. Don’t judge. Besides, I needed to visit the ladies’ room. Let me review it for you. It was clean. An arm pull made it unnecessary to open the door with your hands. The flush handle was designed to keep the flush and germs minimal. A sign hung on the hand dryer prompting us to feel good for saving the environment by not using paper towels.

The effort to create a more germ free, ecologically conscious bathroom would have been more appreciated if I hadn’t dropped my keys into the toilet. In a panic, I recovered the keys, and while washing both my hands and the keys, I wondered why they didn’t provide a net for key-fishing purposes. That would be helpful. And germ free.

When I told my teen about my key-fishing expedition, his response was to worry if the water had damaged the electronic part of my key. No, it hadn’t. What is the opposite of a germaphobe? That would describe us.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. It was a beautiful evening, traffic was light, and my teen and I exchanged lighthearted banter. Once home, my boy headed off to be with friends. Our time together had ended.

The ‘road-trip’ cost more than the bargain crates, but I got a steal.

Odd Loves Company,


New Modification – Rascal Approved.

Start of Fall.

12 thoughts on “Stealing Teen Time

  1. I hope you gave a honk and a wave as you drove under the Town Hall overpass to let me know you were passing by…that is the overpass just past Chrysler plant. I am hidden behind those corn fields. Soon to be an off ramp heading east that you can take to stop by on your way home and have a coke with me.

    • We commented on the Chrysler plant as we drove by. If our trips were more planned I would call you and we’d toast the day with little cokes and rootbeer floats! I’m sure our travels will take us that way again soon. It was so pretty.

  2. I still cannot get over the fact that you went to Freeport! Some of our best friends (neighbors) still live on Running Deer Lane. We did move before the boys had to become the Fighting Pretzels which honestly—they have thanked us for time and time again. Love Freeport and the last time we stopped it had changed a bit but still that kind of small town feel to it. Glad that the adventure was successful even if it did cost you a bit of your hard earned cash. The pups will be super happy riding in style now.

    • I bet your boys were very happy! I mean really GO PRETZELS?
      Freeport does has a small time feel and seems to blend the old and new nicely.
      Yep the pack should be very happy!

  3. Men’s rooms are never decked out like that. I’m relieved.
    Van looks good. Did Cole draw the signs? Do they benefit your side of the business too? Might need to talk to that boy.
    Sounds like a good trip all around.

    • Relieved?
      Yep, my teen designed the signs. They might benefit my side of the business…and my boy doesn’t need any help!
      :-D. It was a fun trip.

  4. The dog show is over and so is all the fun. After running non-stop for two weeks I’m pretty tired but it has all been fun.
    Liked the pictures. Would have liked them more if my Grandson had been in them! Or perhaps my daughter!

  5. So you drove through Rockford ? I would love to go there in a couple of weeks to admire the beautiful changing favorite time of year and Rockford is so pretty especially this time of year.
    Sounds like you had a fun trip…thanks for sharing . 😀

    • We did. The fall is so pretty. You really should plan during the fall. Perhaps, you can bring my Mom with you!
      My pleasure.

  6. Nice road trip for 2 crates! Nice scenery, a local eatery, bonding. I enjoy pretzels, but really wouldn’t want to be known by pretzel. Were any of the homecoming dresses as short as the one in Cole’s graduating class??? Hope not. Soon you may be trading in the Audi & VW for another van…
    Good evening!

    • It was fun. I agree, it would be twisted to be known as a pretzel.
      The homecoming dresses. Our senior girls dresses were certainly very short. And without arguing if the dress were appropriate they did fit and the girls had the right body types to wear them. In fact in some cases they fit too well, perhaps. The girls wearing the homecoming dresses did not have the body type for short, tight dresses. And they were not only tasteless they were ugly. Sequins on top and split hula type stripes on the bottom…awful.
      Another van would be nice….:-D

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