Day 4:  The Art of Reframing, or, The Day that was Only About HOT WATER

Last night, Jason and I were discussing Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. We're going to the Storyline conference in November, and the premise of the work you do while there is based on Frankl's theories as a Holocaust survivor. While in the camps, Frankl observed that those who tended to survive were the ones who were able to find redemption in the midst of their own suffering, and were able to find some sort of meaningful work inside the camp. After the war, Frankl found his way to Vienna and put his theories into practice while working in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. When he arrived, the suicide rate of patients after receiving care was dismal. He endeavored to change those outcomes by actively training patients how to find redeeming elements of the negative events in their lives.  Simultaneously, he encouraged patients to find work that held meaning for them. These two practices were the keys to helping suicidal patients embrace life again. 

Thus, the art of reframing. 

Now, we are not suicidal nor survivors of an atrocity, but this premise is incredibly helpful in ordinary, mundane, everyday life. It is ESPECIALLY helpful in an epic family road trip. Jason Pett was born with the reframing gene. I, however, was NOT. I have to practice this anew every day. EVERY every every every day. And today was no exception. (Of course, my magical thinking, ridiculous inner voice said--GAH! Here's what you get for talking about Frankl! A day full of having to actively practice this stuff!)

The day started innocently enough.

We had a lovely night of sleep and a delicious, leisurely breakfast. 

Gold Star to Uncle Mike Hennessey for the using-the-griddle-outside suggestion!  🌟

We noticed that we were the last ones at the campground. Hmmm. Guess we got a pretty late start. 

  Whoops! Left the side door open. 

We arrive at Yellowstone!

Carter declares, "I guess they do build things out of Lincoln logs!"

After waiting through a long traffic jam, we finally arrive at Old Faithful. 

  The kids are starving again (wait...didn't I just feed you?), so we give them a quick lunch in the RV and head to the visitor's center. While Jason is in the bathroom with Carter, the rest of us watch Old Faithful erupt. (Not the best timing, to be sure. But we couldn't google when it was scheduled to erupt! More on that later)

The entire eruption was punctuated by Landon exclaiming, "Look at that hot water! I want to mouth it!" The crowd around us burst out laughing. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Because of a bathroom break, we will now be here for an additional hour and a half until the next "scheduled" eruption. Stay'll never know what the boy might say next!  Jason was less than pleased, which looked like a regular person's pleasant expression.  By the middle of our geyser exploration/stroll alongside the population of a small city (the bigs were disappointed because they were expecting a serious HIKE), I decided that we should rename our family the Chippy-Chippersons. We are so chippy that we require a hyphenated surname.  (NOTE: Jason does not agree with this assessment. He thinks it's not that bad. Which of course he would think. HE'S JASON). 

Things are getting terse up in here. The littles are exhausted and nuts from both being confined in the RV and literally dragged around all over God's beautiful creation. And we have acquired two Junior Parents who, despite trying to be helpful, are stepping on our toes. So the littles are bombarded with corrective instruction from every angle, which makes them positively shrill. Jason and I find ourselves saying with great regularity, "Guys! I've got this."

Today was the Day of Death by One Thousand Cuts. Some examples include: 

Possible 30 minute delay ahead. Fantastic. Possible means DELAY. 

A five year old, whom shall remain nameless, had a giant, anxiety-fueled crying fit because we were on top of a volcano and walking on lava! But, perhaps his fit was also exacerbated by Spencer telling him that if he eats sulphur, which was all around us, he will die in 30 seconds. (Thanks a lot, Junior Parent wannabe). 😡

Rain. Rain. Rain. 

An overtired three year old whose intense screaming during a time out made me want to eat my own eyeball. 

Just to name a few. 

And, because of various annoying factors, the ONLY thing that we had time to see today were geysers, or as Landon declared ad infinitum, HOT WATER! HOT WATER! 

 Jason and I discussed this fact at length amidst the sulphuric vapors. 90% of this trip we are able to successfully follow our trip motto: Do a few things slowly. 10% of the time we revert to our type A, uber-productive selves that feel compelled to SEE AND DO IT ALL!! That's when all the reframing comes in. 

Which comes naturally to some...      ...and not others. 

And time for a True Confession:

I really like the Internet. A lot. A LOT a lot. AND WE HAVE HAD NO INTERNET FOR TWO SOLID DAYS. 

I don't mind being unplugged from email and the administrivia of my life, but truth be told, Google is my bestie (my deepest apologies to my actual besties, but I REALLY love me some Google). I like to have answers to all the questions. I like to know the weather forecast. I like to keep up with FB and IG and Twitter. I LIKE TO POST TO MY TRAVEL BLOG IN REAL TIME. I REALLY like to know where I'm going. For heavens' sakes, we had to use one of these: 

There were SO MANY THINGS I WANTED TO ACCESS. I am such a spoiled technology brat. Today, we were left to wonder about things, which provided us with lots of rambling, circuitous conversations. It was like 1990. I wish I could say I didn't mind, but in the midst of certain rambles, I hated that I couldn't just drop some googled info into the conversation and END THE DEBATE. 

Hi. I'm Jenny. I'm a Google addict. And a Willie Nelson lookalike. 

Hi, Jenny

But, as Jason said, (please prepare yourself for the PROFOUND Quote of the Day):

A bad day with my family is in the top 1% of all days. And this wasn't even a bad day. It was just, at times, annoying. 

Too right, Mr. Reframe. Too right. 

PS...All was not lost! We saw an elk on our drive to the KOA!!! How's THAT for reframing?