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Home » Open Road

A Family Tour Epiphany

Submitted by on April 14, 2011 – 8:38 am2 Comments

We want to welcome Marcus Milukas, the newest member of our Road Tripping Family! Marcus and his family actually did what we here around the office consider the dream of road trips. They sold everything and spent 18 months on the road. You can read more about their trip at Family Tour USA. Marcus will be writing a column on why they took the trip, and what they learned. He’s also recruited the family (who still begs to go to the camper to play games and would go on the open road in a heartbeat) to cover some destinations for us. Welcome, Marcus!!

In the summer of 2003 my wife and I had an epiphany. Actually on my end it was more of a hissy-fit-melt-down, but she still kindly refers to it as an epiphany. We had just recently sold our Mom-and-Pop business which, after the first of Celeste’s three difficult pregnancies, had quickly become a “Pop” business. I worked 364 days a year, and I saw little of our young children.

She, meanwhile, had spent a number of years pretty much single-handedly raising three small children amid periods of bed rest and lived a 24 hour-a-day schedule which looked something like this: diaper change, diaper change, feed, clean, feed, diaper change, diaper change—[cry]—feed, laundry, diaper change. By far she worked harder than I did. The kids looked quizzically at me half the time I came through the door, no doubt trying to place where they had seen me before, and Mommy’s ears never stopped ringing.

It was during a rather hot July day when my meltdown—I mean, “the epiphany”—occurred. Having changed careers to the more sedate work of lobstering, I had just returned from a rather hot, sweaty, breathless day on the water where I had pulled empty trap after empty trap, yet again unable to recover the bait and fuel costs of the day. The living room where I was standing had overflowing toy shelves, more stuffed animals than any 64 children should own, and cardboard box upon box of goodness-only-knows-what waiting to be lugged up the steep stairs to the attic. Clutter and stuff seemed to rule our lives, and we worked simply to keep it all dry and out of the rain.

Cuties amidst the clutter

Celeste joined me where I stood stewing and despite not having slept in close to two years she mustered up her unfailing love and concern and asked if I was OK. “No, I’m not OK,” I said. Then I launched into what I now consider my epiphical moment (yes I am making that word up, but I really like it!): “We both work too hard,” I began, “just to pay each month for this big ‘box’ we live in to store all of this junk!
Boxes and boxes of God only knows what! Books we never read, baubles and doodads from places we’ve never even been to, a closet in the hallway we can’t open without setting off an avalanche.” I ranted, “The kids have a truckload of stuffed animals and enough toys to fill a dumpster, most of which they never even play with!”
I continued to bellow, “We have dressers and closets full of clothes we either hate, or are ripped or stained or too small or too big or too stretched out or too dark or too light or. . . or just. . . well. . . suck!” I caught my breath as Celeste listened surprisingly calmly waiting for whatever came next. It was at that exact moment that the light went on! “We should just get rid of all of it!” I said quite frustrated. “Sell it, give it away, pack it up and throw it out if we have to, but I am tired of living hand to mouth just so we can provide a comfortable resting place for all of this stuff!” I finished with a dramatic flourish; veins were bulging, I was out of breath and my eyes were no doubt the size of dinner plates all of which may have frightened another person. But Celeste just looked at me; not surprised, showing no signs of shock.
She seemed as if she were lovingly waiting to see if I was finished. When she realized I was, she said very agreeably: “OK.”
To be continued…

2 Comments »

  • Roni says:

    I can’t wait the read the rest – we are always debating what’s better to go off to a long trip and then get back to “normal” life or try to combine the two by taking a family trip every 2-3 months.

  • Marcus says:

    Hi Roni!
    My first reaction is: what constitutes “normal” living? {laughing} We found that the answer is: whatever you are used to. It was remarkable the transformation from “vacation” mindset to that of “we live in a house that rolls”. I’ll be continuing this post soon!
    Thanks for commenting

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