Its day 6 of our week long drive to Yellowstone NP. 515 miles of windshield-time from Bozeman to the Black Hills today. Road-tripping with three young children borders on insanity. Endless hours of road time dike up child energy, that subsequently blows with all the intensity of a yellowstone geyser when the van doors open. The only thing keeping me out of a straight jacket and a diet of Haldol is the company of in-laws, who so graciously share in the looniness. Indeed, it does take a village to raise a child. Or in our case, enjoy a summer trip.
Alas, I digress. Onto today's milestone-
Nolan, aka Nolie, tiller, tidda, "you-little-ess-ayche-eye-tee", and an ongoing list of other monikers earned along his three year voyage in life, was the star of today's show. Prequel: somewhere in the wasteland of Wyoming between Sheridan and Gillette, we pulled over at a rest stop to grab a bite and relieve ourselves. True to his daily schedule, Nolan number-twoed as usual. Nothing remarkable, just a little boy and a good little poop. I thought nothing of this and we continued our eastward march.
The black hills are pretty cool. Its Sturgis-eve and bike traffic is at its peak. I think there are more bikes on the road than cars. The local rock station promotes the gigs set to take the stage next week...Shinedown...Sick Puppies...a bunch of metal and hard rock names I associate myself with. And my personal favorite...Aaron Lewis. I told Ilisa to drive on and I'll catch a ride home later in the week. *sigh*
Anyways, fast-forward three hours and we roll into the Sunshine Inn, Wall, SD. Wall is a curious place. Its kinda like that dude in the restaurant with tattoos all over his body. Nothing you'd ever do yourself, but curiosity drives you to look while its in your sights. We check in and little tiller makes a bee line towards the bathroom. Uh-oh. That's never a good sign.
Poor little guy blew out his shorts. Didnt make it to the pot in time. I feel sorry for him, as he expresses his embarrassment and uncomfort with unrelenting sobs. Ten minutes and a quick bath later, he's jumping across the beds with his older brother making a ruckus loud enough to put the Harley pipes to shame.
*interjection* We are getting HAILED upon, as a severe thunderstorm we've been outrunning all day has finally caught up with us. Glad we didnt choose to camp tonite. A biker just walked past the hotel window with his HELMET on, presumably an ingenious and practical way to avoid hail-induced head trauma. Smart biker!!!
Back to the story. The crew walked to dinner at the drugstore. We were enjoying the innumerable oil paintings hung on the cafe wall when Tiller gave me the signal. "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad, I have to go pooooooop." Oye.
Recalling the incident at the hotel just moments ago, Nolan and I briskly walked to the first restroom. One stall and it was occupied. Grrrrr. Nolan and I more briskly walked to the second restroom. One stall and it was...occupied. GRRRRRRRR. Nolan started dancing. Then his faced turned red. Where's the Haldol? We were helpless. Completely, utterly, absolutely helpless. Another dad and his young son were having the same experience we were having with one major difference...they had the pot and we did not.
There was nothing I could do but just stand there and choose to either blow my lid or suck it up and laugh as my little Tiller stood there and balled his eyes out while his shorts were full of the worst smelling concoction imaginable.
After what seemed like epoch of time- the dinosaurs found in these Dakota rocks could have evolved and went extinct in less time than it took for that stall to open up- I finally got in to assess the damage. The underwear were loaded with paste and liquid but it had not yet soaked thru the shorts. *Whew* I steadied the boy and removed his shoes and shirt. Check. Sobbing inconsolably, he did well at heeding my instruction. He wanted this over with as badly as I did.
This is when the real fun began though. I asked him to step out of his underwear and shorts. My intent was for his skinny toothpick legs to escape thru the mess area and not disturb it. No such luck. As he was pulling his first leg out of the shorts, the mess inside miraculously shot out everywhere. Catapulted. Rocketed. EXPLODED. The floor. The wall. MY ARM. There was crap everywhere. You only see this in the movies. Until you actually experienced it. And dont forget this smelled like death.
Somehow the kid managed to escape without getting mess anywhere on his legs. WOW. Dodged one small bullet. All the while cafe patrons were cycling in and out of the restroom. Their noses got a good dose of Nolie-butt. Enjoy the breeze, fellas. So I plopped Nolan on the toilet, where he proceeded to fill the bowl further while I attempted a clean up operation. Bring on the HazMat suit. Yards of toilet paper and multiple trips to the sink were necessary to put a dent in this mudfest. And the kid was still pooping.
Minutes passed and I had restored some sense of order to this most enjoyable scenario. The underwear made a one-way trip to the garbage. I pity the poor summer helper who swaps out that trash bag. The floor and wall were none-the-wiser. And my poor arm was scrubbed clean...but it still carries a faint reminder. That could also be the PTSD kicking in. It took a baker's dozen wipes to clean up Tiller's outbox. Thank the Lord for those jumbo rolls of TP in most public restrooms.
To my surprise, the toilet swallowed the entire mess in a single flush. Must've had a 454 under the hood, cuz it took some serious power to move that clog along. I dressed the boy, who had calmed down enough to re-immerse ourselves back into public without drawing attention. I feel sorry for the poor soul who stepped into the stall as we were exiting...im sure the fumes had him in an altered state of consciousness...maybe he never knew what hit him.
The two of us returned to the dinner table, food ready for consumption. Appetite lost, the ham samich didnt seem as appealing as it did 15 minutes ago. But I got it down and pondered that situations like these are what memories are made of. Sure, the buffalo and geysers are sights to see, but nothing sticks like a good poop story.