On the tour bus, there are 26 rows of double bus seats. Unless you know to negotiate this in your contract in advance, everyone has to share their “row” with someone else. However, a couple of days per week, you get to have a “swing seat,” which is your very own double bus seat to yourself. This is especially exciting on days where we board the bus at 5 a.m. and drive until 3 p.m.
Sam and I always had our own bus seats because there was school on the bus and he needed his space. Now that school has ended, we are sharing our seat unless it is a magic swing seat day for us. Lucky for me, he is a “floor sleeper” which means he is ok sleeping on a makeshift bed made out of bath mats and blankets, while I luxuriously stretch out on my double bus seat and try to sleep while 1) not kicking the guy across the aisle from me in the face and 2) not hit my feet or head on the arm rest.
Many of the cast members have been on tour before, and they know how to make the most of their space. There are floor beds made out of egg crates and blankets and handy shower caddies attached to seats and windows to store their water bottles and toothbrushes. Some even decorate their widows with pictures to make it feel like home.
This past weekend, Sam and I went home to AZ for 36 hours. For Sam, it was a lot like getting on the bus and finding out he did not have a swing seat that day. He couldn’t get comfortable there. Carlotta is in his room now, and the other kids have a daily routine that doesn’t include him. Everyone tried to adjust, but it was strange. Mostly he was shocked at how neat and organized our house is now. He kept wandering around shouting, “What’s wrong with this house? Why is it so clean?” He went into our pantry, and, frustrated, he said “I can’t find anything to eat in here. It’s spotless!” Which really means that Carlotta and Craig threw away most of our chips and candy, and anything that could be considered a carbohydrate.
There was a heavy air hanging over both of us in those two days, knowing that we would not return again until July 1. We won’t see the kids again until the end of June in Portland, OR. Every snuggle, every kiss, every happy moment had a melancholy to them. Aidan said sadly, “I wish this could all last forever.” Before we left, we had a Brady Bunch family meeting moment where we all hugged and reminded each other we had made it 5 months and there was only one more to go.
Monday night, Sam & I took a red eye to Atlanta, where we then took a cab to to hotel where the cast was staying. We then took a bus to Morganton, NC for a one night show with a stop in Greenvile, SC for lunch. The Carolinas are beautiful, although Sam and I are too exhausted to appreciate them. We did crack each other up wandering around Morganton, not being able to find somewhere to eat. Finally, one of the local stage hands named “Shaggy” helped us find our way. Thank you Shaggy. Who knew they had great greek food in the mountain country?
We are now back on the bus, headed to Columbus, GA for 2 nights of shows. We are stopping in Atlanta for lunch. Back and forth, around and around the country. We don’t have swing seats today, so I’m writing this perched over a sleeping Sam. Soon we will both be home, where we will be back in our regular spaces.
And when we return, I’ll re-stock the pantry with Doritos and marshmallows. Not for me, of course. Just to help Sam feel like he’s home.