Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Scientific Method

This weekend the J-Fob family drove to Portland to visit our friends the Architect family and FoxyJ's sister, SkyeJ. We had a great visit with everyone and now the kids and I are home while Foxy is spending another night in Portland so she can get back in Jeopardy's contestant pool tomorrow morning. And on top of all the fun we had, the trip provided an opportunity for me to exercise the science muscles I've not used in the ten years or so since I've taken a science class. As you'll see, my grasp of scientific inquiry is astounding. Observe:

Question. It is a well-known fact that car travel with all four members of the J-Fob family is stressful, even nerve-wracking. Why is this?

Background research. I've noticed that long drives by myself are very peaceful, so obviously it is not driving itself that induces jaw-clenching anxiety. Just about every one of the long car trips I've taken with my wife and kids over the last few years, though, has led to headaches and vows never to do it again.

Hypothesis. It must be one of the other members of the J-Fob family--either FoxyJ, S-Boogie, or Little Dude--who is the cause of so much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Experiment. As a control, all four of us drove to Portland together. We left on Friday at 3:30pm and arrived at 9:40pm. For the math-challenged, that is more than six (6) hours for what should be a three (3)-hour drive. Most of it was spent listening to S-Boogie scream "GO FASTER!" or "MAKE LITTLE DUDE STOP SCREAMING!"

The next step in the experiment was to systematically remove each of the suspected troublemakers from a similar trip and compare results. As the first test, I drove home this afternoon with S-Boogie and Little Dude, leaving FoxyJ behind with her sister. We left at 1:35pm and arrived at 4:25PM. That's a little less than the expected three (3) hours, much less than the previous trip's six (6) hours. Most of this time was spent enjoying the scenery while S-Boogie played quietly by herself or napped, and Little Dude did the same.

At this point I decided that the results were conclusive enough that I didn't need to proceed with more testing.

Conclusion. It is clear that the member of the J-Fob family who makes car trips stressful is FoxyJ. In the future we will either leave her home or send her by plane, train, or post. It may seem cruel to thus exclude our wife and mother, but she is a logical woman and I'm sure will agree with the conclusiveness of this experiment, and that her sacrifice is for the greater good of the family. I am also fully confident that future trips will prove the repeatability of this experiment, as S-Boogie and Little Dude will continue to be the pleasantest of little angels without their mother in the car.

I hate to think where we'd be without science.


Samantha said...

Were I in her shoes, I would quickly agree that a plane trip for me and a car trip for the other three sounded ideal.

Mr. Fob said...

Wait a second, you're right. I want to be the one on the plane. Science, why have you betrayed me?

Mama said...

I'd take post, myself. I always wanted to get shipped somewhere. Freight.

Julie said...

LOL!!! Glad your drive home was pleasant, thanks for visiting.

Desmama said...

Oh, how I laughed when you said that S-Boogie would yell "Go faster!" in the car. DesTot does the same thing, usually when we're gridlocked in traffic. I'd like to explain another law of science to her--that two masses can't occupy the same space at once. But, naturally, she'd like me to at least try to see if they can. *Sigh* Not on my insurance, sweetie.

Th. said...


Huh. There's my hypothesis all the way to hell.

Mr. Fob said...

Mama: Me too. It seems like fun, doesn't it?

Julie: We were more than happy to eat your food and keep you up all night.

Des: Yeah, physics seems to be a difficult subject for four-year-olds.

Th.: Well that's what you get for hypothesizing against me.

Rebecca said...

Move over, Einstein! (Two geniuses cannot occupy the same space at the same time...)

Earth Sign Mama said...

You should all read "Mailing May" by Michael Tunnel. It's the true story of a girl in northern Idaho early in the 20th century who wanted to go visit her grandmother down the river a bit. They couldn't afford the railroad ticket, but her dad could afford postage...great kid book!

Mr. Fob said...

Rebecca: That's profound. I think I'll make it a law of physics.

ESM: That's actually the book I was thinking of when I suggested travel by post. Tunnell presented at a writing workshop I was at a few years ago and I thought the story sounded really intriguing.

Th. said...


Doesn't that book have a BYU connection? I seem to remember hearing a lot about it when it came out.

Mr. Fob said...

Yeah, the author teaches (or at least taught) at BYU.

erlybird said...

This is my take on almost EXACTLY the same experiment.

I can't actually blog it though...too I will journal it and then a post here will be anonymous enough to get it off my chest with very little chance of TMI backlash on the blog itself.

I, too, drove to Portland from Seattle a few weeks back with "wife, and two children". Same road. Going down was a bit stressful, coming back was not.

Difference was that in my case on the way down I was still very separated from my wife...each of in separate relationships and doing really well getting along with each other as we organized things for divorce. But, on the the way back a day later...we had both had epiphanies and were so absolutely HOT for each other and ready to dump these "others" and start our married life completely over again that the trip back was utter BLISS.

Whew. That felt good.

Mr. Fob said...

Erlybird: FoxyJ and I were also separated and planning a divorce a year ago, and I remember how exciting it was to get back together and start over. And despite my joking here, I do like to have her around. :) I hope everything turns out for the best for you, your wife, and your family.