Hell On The Highway


What do the numbers 20, 17, 16, 15, 13, 12, 10, 8, 7, 5, 3, and 1 have in common? Is it an ancient civilization’s numerical message that holds the answer to the secret of life? The solution to the Da Vinci Code? The next Powerball lottery jackpot?


Those numbers are the ages of the Kellogg children traveling, and living, in the RV pictured above. Yes, you read that correctly. 12 kids + 2 adults + 1 dog = My Version of Hell.


You notice in this picture taken at the Florida RV Association SuperShow (where else?), no one is smiling, and rightfully so. I can’t imagine traveling across the United States listening to toddlers’ tantrums over who last slept on the table-bed by the window in the front of the motor home, and middle-age children sing loudly along with whoever is the pop music sensation at the moment. As for the teenagers, there is nothing like passing through Pensacola and puberty at the same time.

Once again proving the intelligence of dogs, it seems Labradoodle Eddie keeps running away. Eldest daughter, Kerry, also escaped, and is working at a ski resort in Colorado, where she probably has a luxurious single bed she doesn’t have to share with anyone unless she wants to. The parents, Dan and Susie, think she will be back traveling with the family in Spring, but if I were her parents I wouldn’t hold my breath.

On the plus side, the children, who are home schooled, are kayaking their way through our beautiful country. That is one heck of a Geography lesson. Also in the plus column is the fact that…., no, um…., I guess….how about…uh, they are learning to share?

More power to the Kelloggs for making it all about the journey, even though the journey involves spending all day driving, and driving, and driving with 12 children. Imagining the noise, the arguments, my mind reels as I break out in pinpoint red hives. How do you do laundry for 14 when on the road? How do you do laundry for 14 anywhere? What kind of meals can you prepare in two crockpots that the whole brood will happily eat? Remember there are elementary age children aboard. You sure aren’t going through the fast food drive-through in that 36 foot long vehicle. Is there space available in the teeny refrigerator to store enough cheese to last till the next grocery store visit?

The video in the link below shows Susie and Dan talking and looking like regular, normal people! I would be a whimpering, crazy-talking basket case, nursing the scrapes I incurred when I jumped out the back window of the RV. Would you attempt this (the fourteen-humans-and-one-canine-in-an-RV thing, not the leap-out-the-window-of-an-RV thing)?


Project O is here!

In hindsight, I might have elaborated a little more, but I think I covered the bases.  My blog post on http://aopinionatedman.com/category/project-o/ was one of 120 posts from all over the world. It has been quite interesting to see the opinions and experiences of other cultures.

What do you think? Does where and how you “were raised” by your family affect your opinion?

Project O – Article #111: Diane Valerius Radel – Florida, USA (Scheduled for 9 – 28 @ 01:00)

Website: www.thebufferzone.net

Twitter: @BufferZoneDay

Facebook: The Buffer Zone Book

Question 1: Please provide a window into who you are, some background information in a not too overwhelming profile here. I am allowing you as the writer to immediately connect with your audience so take advantage. Remember the point of ordering these questions is to arrange this project so it is easy for comparison and not to constrain you as the writer. Write as long as you need to for each question to get your point across just remember not to lose the reader.

After raising children, and being homemaker for the past 32 years, I am trading in my paint spattered t-shirts and shorts for blouses and dress pants, as I’m about to re-enter the full-time 9-5 work force in two weeks (YIKES!). I have operated my own business, executing faux finishes, murals and furniture restoration for the last twenty years. This allowed me to earn a salary, while setting my own hours, and fulfilling my need to be creative and play with color. As a rookie author and blogger about crazy families, I will be playing with words in my spare time, and reading the many humorous and thought provoking blogs (such as this one) I have stumbled across.

Question 2: If you haven’t already done so please provide your country of origin, whether you are male or female, an age would be nice, and where you currently live if that differs from the country of origin. If you are in America this might be a nice time to explain what state you are from. Also try to give us a brief view of your current neighborhood and what it is like in as specific terms as you like. Why is this important? I believe our surroundings and where we come from have a strong impact on our development of opinions. It would also be highly likely that depending on the safety of the country might also determine how willing one is to express their opinions aloud. Does sex also have something to do with this, as well as age? These are all characteristics that can definitely affect a person’s outlook.

I am a female, born in northern Kentucky in the United States, which is really considered the Cincinnati, Ohio area, 56 years ago. The white sand and beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida beckoned, so we left the nice mid-western culture and gray, dreary days and headed south to raise our three daughters. We live in a large, gated community, with mostly transplanted Floridians, so I am fortunate not to have to worry about safety in my daily life.

 Question 3: Recount the first time you remember having a differing opinion from someone significantly older than you. Do you remember what the topic was about? Did you voice your opinion or hold it to yourself?The first incident that I recall questioning someone significantly older than me was when I was 6 or 7 years old. My parents were both Christians, but different organized religions. I was in a Sunday School-type class where the teacher was telling the class that only that particular religion would go to Heaven. I remember saying that statement couldn’t be true, because it meant only my father could go to Heaven while my mother, who was also a good person, would not be “allowed.” I don’t remember what drivel the teacher said after that, only that she tried to convince me that her statement was correct. I do remember coming home quite upset, and never wanting to go back to that class or particular church again.

Question 4: What levels of respect were practiced around you when you were a child? Was there bowing involved, handshakes, “yes Sirs and yes Ma’am’s,” or some other equivalent respectfulness in your culture’s tongue? Is an honorific given to someone older than you and do you often respect and practice that? How might the culture you were brought up in have affected the growth of your own opinions?

My sister and I were raised to say “Yes/No Sir and Ma’am,” and call everyone Mr. and Mrs., while my children were taught to address adults that way, unless they were friends and close acquaintances. For example: they were to address them as “Miss Nancy,” even though Nancy might be married. Even though the titles were different, the respect for elders was certainly there.

Question 5: How traveled are you and to what degree do you keep up with international news? You might also provide an educational background if you wish and if that education was gained from somewhere other than your current location. How available is the news and what goes on in the outside world to you in your country?

While growing up in Kentucky, we so looked forward to our once a year camping trip somewhere in the state. Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine myself fortunate enough to travel with my husband on business trips and seminars all over the United States, and to Bermuda, Canada, London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin and Munich. These trips have greatly enriched our family’s lives. Besides the usual tourist locations, we always tried to find little, out-of-the-way places that served indigenous food where we could chat with the locals. We keep up with the world news via newspapers, news channels and the internet. What goes on in other countries should be important to every country.

Question 6: If you could share an opinion on a single international incident or topic that you either feel strongly about or that might not be known to the rest of the world what would it be? You have our attention.

Unfortunately, my first reaction upon hearing the news is usually sadness. Thinking of the past recent “big” headlines, with the exception of Prince George’s birth (Yay for you Britain!) and Miley Cyrus (Ugh-this shouldn’t even be a headline), my heart breaks for all the victims of war, repression, and tragedy.

 Question 7: What does the right to an opinion mean to you? Is it essential to freedom to have this right? How far would you go to protect that ability? The world is on fire with people of passion, how passionate are you about things you value?Everyone should have a right to an opinion. And, yes, I would say it is essential to freedom to be able to state your opinion without fear of punishment, while still remaining respectful of others’ opinions. Given that I have always had this right thanks to the people who serve our country, I can’t imagine looking over my shoulder all the time to make sure I was acting or speaking in a certain manner. While I would do anything to protect my family and my six precious grandchildren, I honestly don’t know if I could be as brave as those who suffer for other’s basic rights.

Question 8: Is it ever right for you to be allowed an opinion while someone else is denied that same right on the same topic?

We must be allowed to express an opinion, even though others are denied that right. In doing so, we could possibly bring about some change in the thinking of those who would suppress others, a proverbial “light bulb going on”, if you will.

 Question 9: The last question, upon completing this template and hopefully contemplating the issue what does this project mean to you? How can Project O potentially enlighten or help the world?Project O was a brilliant idea by Opinionated Man. I have been anxiously awaiting each new post to see where each respondent lived, and what they had to say. I usually write humorous (at least I hope so) stories about dysfunctional families, not the heart-breaking ones you hear about so often, but the crazy families we all have. It was quite different for me to really contemplate and answer these questions, and I thank you for allowing me to express my humble opinion. It has also started me thinking about whether the crazy antics that happen in extended families in the States, would happen in other cultures. Maybe a “Project Buffer Zone (as in the buffer you need from some of your relatives)” is in order. Who knows how Project O could enlighten the world? As in any movement, or change, it starts with one person.