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.