On our way back from Chicago, we had booked a hotel in Chattanooga instead of Nashville because we had this grand idea of utilizing an indoor pool. In the end, it was useless because we forgot floaties and Elliot is still terrified of the pool. He won’t even go in with us holding him; he clings to your flesh for dear life, his tiny nails digging in so hard he’ll draw blood. SO, anyway, we ran into a whole lot of southbound traffic – other holiday travelers – and were way behind schedule. Outside Nashville on the way South, we decided to look online for a restaurant with a play place, preferably Chik-Fil-A, since that’s the only fast food the kids eat anyway. However, there weren’t any so Ash started looking for McDonald’s, simply for an indoor playground. Their website allows you to search for locations by play places so we found one, input the address into the fancy new GPS and got off the interstate.

Well, I tell you, this McDonald’s was a.) in the ghetto and b.) did not have a play place. We got back on the interstate ASAP and started looking again. This time, their site sent us somewhere southeast, on a road headed to Knoxville. We ended up in a fairly nice little place where they had those cool new outdoor mall type shopping places and diamond stores. More my pace (more on this idea later) but the McDonald’s definitely had an indoor play area. While Ash and I haven’t had their food (minus ice cream three or four times) since 2004, Elliot has had it exactly twice. The rule is that he can have fast food if he’s with someone else who has it. Like, he ate it with my parents once. He was hungry so he got a cheeseburger and I ordered Isaac some chicken fingers. Which he did not eat. I ate them and they were HORRID. ANYway, we went back to the play place which was semi-closed due to a broken step. But we were so frustrated we decided to play anyway, along with a few other kids. I prepped myself for the manager to come tell us to get out but it never happened, thank God. I probably would have gone off on him. After the first mishap and it being late and everyone hungry, we were all on edge. The kids did have a great time playing and it was a much needed break from the car.

When we were about 45 minutes from Chattanooga, Ash sought a Dominoes that wasn’t far off the highway. He ordered his pizza and we timed it just right to pick it up and not be far from the hotel. I had never done this before but it worked.

All of this just reminds me how much we rely on technology now but it still lets you down. The website for McDonald’s was clearly not updated. And something I think GPS devices should come equipped with is some kind of meter to determine what type of neighborhood you’re heading into. We have come to expect perfection, because it’s so readily available and easy. But it’s clearly not foolproof. I learned quite a bit on this trip, about the way we expect devices to be and our expectations of our morals. We don’t eat fast food but if we’re in a bind, we’ll go ahead and do what we have to do. There have to be exceptions for everything. Things cannot be ideal all the time. Hell, we got into that hotel so late that all we pulled out were toothbrushes, etc. We all just took our clothes off and got into bed; screw pajamas. I went down to the car the next morning to gather clothes. It wasn’t perfect, far from it, but we still managed and are not worse for wear. I am really glad we decided to drive in the end. It taught me a lot and I hope the kids got something out of it as well. And I know for sure I won’t be eating McDonald’s again for a long time!

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