Setting the Scene
It starts by loading a gazillion bags into the truck. Everyone has to take their own backpacks and luggage (naturally the spiderman and cheeta print suitcases have to be included). We likely look like modern day hillbillies when we finally show up at our destinaton - pencil crayons and markers bouncing out of the truck as we open the doors...but we wouldn't have it any other way.
Our vehicles are never new, never clean, and will (always) have a few dings from unfortunate mishaps along the way. I remember one time specifically we pulled up to a hotel valet; here we are beside the prettiest G-Wagon I have ever seen. It was metallic, rose gold even....ultra bougie. We pulled up with our scratched up Dodge Ram with knick knacks falling out of the doors. It took us a solid few minutes to unload (the 12 bags we needed) for the four of us from the back of the truck. I'm not sure what gathered the most attention; Was it the GAYLORD name plastered all over our truck, bags, and clothing (we love a good Gaylord merch moment). Or was it the scene of us unloading our vehicle, we've got doll car seats, books, backpacks, and special treasures likes rocks (if you have toddlers/kids you know the power that rocks hold) that we found along the stops en route to the hotel.
With our kids, we've always steered away from offering them technology in the car (hey, this may not be for everyone...but it's our thing). With that decision comes an ABUNDANCE of things; colouring and activity books, dolls, dinosaurs, crafting supplies, books, puzzles, and all the snacks. It looks like an explosion of junk, but it works! Our kids have been happy travellers from day one...well maybe not day one but okay. I think I've blocked out some of the trips for my own mental sanity -- Like Ophelia's strong dislike for the car when she was an infant and her screaming bloody murder the entire time. But you forget that right? We've always taken our kids on business trips from a very young age. It's important to introduce them to Clients and show them the importance of nurting relationships in the business that provides for our family.
The most Epic Gaylord Trip
Our most epic road trip to date is best known as our "90-hour trip". The kids were three and five at the time and we honestly still shake our heads wondering how we did it. The kds were amazing the entire trip, and didn't complain once about getting back in the car pit stop after pit stop. It certainly helped having Grandma Judy travelling with them in the back seat, providing endless hours of entertainment. Stories were read in a Kindergarten teachers tone and inflection that kept them mesmerized and engaged in each story as it unfolded. The trip was suppose to be a straight shoot to Florida to go to the International Builders Show with a few days of down time in Flordia to relax as a family. Of course, that seemed to planned and easy for us... Greg ended up scheduling us to do a "couple deliveries". Actually, we did four deliveries along the way from Long Island to Miami. My geography isn't the greatest but I should have known better than agreeing to a "little detour to Long Island"
Fall 2023 Gaylord Trip
Our most recent trip was a last-minute decision to join dad on another deliery. It was one delivery this time to the Hamptons and we were going to visit some job sites and clients. I had hoped to add an extra day to head into the city to visit our friends in Brooklyn with kids the same age as ours. The trip went off without a hitch, we were able to see a gorgeous house that was just completed by BJC Luxury Homes. The property was stunning from top to bottom, truly a dream home if I've ever seen one. (See the stunning property here) Of Course, on the way there, Edison had just finished another art masterpiece in the back seat which had left his hands covered completely in bright blue marker. We were frantically searching the truck to find a couple of napkins and half a bottle of water to clean his hands before turning up to the home tour. Of course, this didn't happen and his hands were stained blue (Wow, do I ever wish we were still in the baby wipe stage... those are exactly what we needed). We spent the next 45 minutes ogling over how gorgeous the property was, and trying to get some photos of the floor for our portfolio while constantly saying "don't touch that".
Next, we visted another project and we were greeted by Rob from Breskin Development. Ophelia has met Rob a few times; he recalled meeting her when she was barely walking and handing our brocures at a trade show. The kids were excited to see him and give him some Canadian Maple Syrup!
Edison decided now was a good time to wildly thrash around like a caged animal that was just released. They found a big dirt pile from an area that had been recently excavated and we let them go to town digging for fossils to find new treasures. After the visit, we found the beach and we let the kids run and explore finding neat shells and rocks (see, rocks are still a hot item around here). Greg and I joked around thinking how we should have brought them here first and maybe Eddie wouldn't have acted like such a wild animal at the last job site...we won't make this mistake twice! Once we burned off some energy, Greg toured us around the area showing us homes that we have supplied hardwood floors to. This lasted until the kids had enough of driving. It was pretty impressive to see all that Greg has accomplished through putting himself out there, visiting builders/designers, talking about his product and what makes the business Gaylord Hardwood Flooring so special. True proud wifey moment.
The next leg of our trip had some unexpected hiccups. Our orginal plan was to stay in Manhattan and connect with our friends in Brooklyn. Unbeknownst to us there was a flash flood warning and the streets of New York - in particular, Brooklyn were flooded and a state of emergency was declared. Not knowing it was this bad out, we parked our truck and trailer 40 minutes outside of the city and hopped into an Uber. Traffic soon came to a halt as the roads flooded and sirens whizzed by to accidents ahead of us. In the Uber, Greg and I reflected on all the good luck we've had while in NYC. Like the time we were there and a massive snow storm shut down the city when Ophelia was a baby. We wanted to make the best of it, so some humour certainly helped.
Three hours later, we arrived at our destination (yes, three hours later...in an Uber). Our location was smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Time Square where everyone was trying to avoid getting drenched in the rain storm. Us trying not to get wet ourselves, and to try and wrangle Edison from jumping in every puddle he could find as we only had brought him the one pair of shoes (We didn't know it was going to be a flash flood and torrential downpour okay). Again, we had a change of plans as we had originally planned to meet our friends at the Color Factory but got an email saying they were closing their doors early due to the storm. We did what any sane people would do and bought rain ponchos and toured the city in the storm! Let me tell you, the hop on hop off bus rooftop deck is a vibe in the rain, but we loved it. Luckily, we were still able to take the kids to the Color Factory the next day and it was a big hit!
Kids Favourite Part
We asked the kids what their favourite part of the trip was (after fun dinners, time square, shopping, and the Color Factory) both of the kids ageed that feeding birds was the highlight of their trip. Go figure right? A simple reminder that sometimes simple things are the best things! This whole thing happened by accident as we were touring through the Hamptons and Ophelia needed a bathroom break. I saw a trail with an outhouse - perfect I thought! We quickly veered off and got out, sprinting back to the car immediately after witnessing the sight of what one would call the aftermath of explosive dirrhea in the outhouse (Some things you just can't unsee). We ventured a little further down the road and saw a conservation area which included washrooms and a trail. We figured this was a sign to use the washrooms, take a break, and explore the conservation trail. Along the way, we came across two lovely ladies both with bags of birdseeds and their hands stretched out feeding the birds. The kids haulted, entranced by the sight of the birds coming and nibbling on bird seeds right from their hands. The women quickly called the kids over and asked if they would like to try. Spilling mounds of seeds into their little hands and joking with them about who had the bettter seeds. We chatted and they told us how they used to come here with their children, when they were little and do the same thing. The kids eagerly held their hands out and waited for the birds to swoop down, perch, and nibble at the seeds. A while later, we met another nice young woman who had peanuts and showed us how the birds really enjoyed them! An hour an a half later (on our quick washroom break), we were finally back on the road. This detour was truly meant to be and worth every second of it. Seeing the joy and excitement in both of the kids eyes as they engaged with nature was really special.
Our trips always come with some ridiculous stories that have a lot of layers, but we love travelling together as a family and seeing Greg in action at work. I honestly can't wait until our next trip together to explore, connect with Clients & Builders, and make some more memories.