I’ll take my points to go, please.

I took this picture on Thursday. This is 2,280 miles from my house:

This picture, taken on Saturday, is 2,350 miles from my house.

For those of you who, like me before this week, have zero familiarity with the upstate New York area, those pictures are Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario.

Himself and I spent the week hopping about the country, spending Monday and Tuesday in Minneapolis with friends of mine before jumping back on a plane Wednesday morning to head to upstate New York by way of Detroit. On Monday we woke up at 3 a.m. Pacific time to leave at 4 to catch an airplane at 7:50. On Wednesday we woke up at 4 a.m. Mountain time, which was 2 a.m. Pacific time to catch a plan at 6:30. With each eastward shift we were rising earlier by our internal California clocks until finally in order to catch our plane, we had to wake up half-an-hour before we went to bed.

Kids did not accompany us on this trip, it was mostly visiting with people who they 1)hadn’t seen since they were tiny, 2)hadn’t ever met, or 3)hadn’t ever heard of. And as much as we would have liked showing off our kids, kids tend to get uppity when they feel they are being placed on display, ordered to speak on cue and have their teeth inspected. Not an ideal family vacation for teenagers. Plus, it’s really expensive to cart them around the country in anything other than the back of ’96 Camry, and we were worried that if we tried to take that road trip that the end result would be a “National Lampoon’s Vacation” meets “Lord of the Flies.”

So travel = exhaustion.

And the reason for the sore knee is the nudnik in the seat in front of me on the way to Minneapolis deciding that he no longer needed to keep his seat in its upright position right when I opened up my laptop and tried to use it, of all places, on my lap. The reclining seat jammed the laptop into my knee. It hurts and I thought nasty, drink-spilling thoughts at him for the entire trip.

And other than internet withdrawal caused by sketchy, unreliable wi-fi and the utter impracticality of trying to do much besides saying “HeY thEre” on an iPhone, the trip was lovely. Although the weather in every state we set foot in behaved with all the stability of a teen-aged girl with PMS. We were invariably, inevitably dressed incorrectly.


A committee should  be formed.

And lest anyone think that I was shirking my duties while jet-setting about the countryside, let me assure you, shirk I did not. The Points were part of my awareness at all times.

So here’s “In Pursuit of Martha Points, Special Travel Edition.”

Previous score: +8 points

  • Tidily packing all liquids in zip-lock bags: + 4 points
  • Forgetting shampoo and conditioner: -3 points
  • Fitting everything for a week’s worth of travel (including shoes) into ONE mid-sized suitcase: +6 points
  • Packing exactly two pairs of socks: -2 points
  • Remembering ancillary items like tylenol, nail clippers, band-aids: +3 points
  • Falling asleep on the couches of people I’ve never met: -6 points
  • Calling people I’ve never met the wrong name 9 minutes after being introduced: -7 points
  • Navigating husband and rental car successfully through upstate New York and parts of Canada via iPhone for 4 days: +10 points
  • Empirical scientific study to compare the qualities of chocolate almond custards in the Great Lakes Area: +6 points
  • Remaining moderately rational and courteous despite being jetlagged and toured to approximately 4,364 upstate NY residences to meet various friends of family of the husband: +8 points
  • Eating French Fries at every single restaurant in two countries: -12 points

Bringing the new total to: +15 points

Which is REALLY good cause the house lived for a week with two cats, one 18-year-old and no adults.

But I’m going to give myself a couple of days to try and cope with that before levying any serious MP penalties.

And it’s good to be home!


  1. I am going to be laughing all day at national lampoon’s vacation meets lord of the flies.
    I think -12 pts for french fries is a bit harsh. Can it not be thought of as study of fried potato quality in 2 countries?

  2. Oh, how I love the Griswalds! And I’d stick my neck out and say the Great Lakes region has the top sinful, fattening treats anywhere.

    If we’re talking packing, I think my husband could outshine Martha. He’s nearly intolerable when it comes time to pack a suitcase. He’d be impressed with your fitting in that amount of stuff in that size of suitcase though.

  3. Okay totally jealous of your trip! I love upstate new york. There’s just nothing like it. So how can I get me some of this custard?

    1. I suspect shipping chocolate almond custard (which is basically an ice cream) may present certain logistical challenges.

      I’ll put my brain to it, though.

  4. Hi! Came over here from your comment on a centaur deprived existence at the Bloggess’ and think I’ll stay awhile.
    I reckon you’re owed more points for the navigation thing: points for getting directions right, points for talking your husband into doing something exactly, points for successful use of technology.
    Also, I hope you’re going to give your house and yourself some time to recover from your absence before you start counting again!
    And a question: do you think you can use the Martha point system for academic writing? And teaching (like: didn’t kill any students today – 5points)?

    1. I’m still an a “no centaur” funk. Lovely as my cats are (in a totally evil way), they’re just not centaurs.

      And I think not killing students totally warrants points. (The MP Scale is VERY flexible.)

      And many thanks for visiting and “welcome!” But don’t sit there, it’s sticky. ; )

  5. aww Lori it’s so nice to see people loving you for being you.

    The thing I love best about this blog is that I can HEAR you saying these things. It comforts me.

    Yes the teenage pms weather analogy is brilliant, but so are you so I expect that level of funny.

  6. Coming over from SITS…and love this post! I too am a frequent traveler so can relate to the trials, tribulations, and gorgeous photos. Seriously, did you take that one at Niagara?? Love the Martha points!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Careful about the cat-hair, it’s EVERYWHERE. : )

      And yes indeed, I did take that shot myself. (Along with two dozen that I’m never showing anyone!)

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