There has been some real problems with Google ads recently. Every few days or so, the ads get disapproved from the landing page (destination) not working. Their words, not mine. I have gone round and round, attempting to alter the landing page, making sure the updated page has been crawled and indexed by Google, yet I am still faced with a disapproval. The quick fix I have found is merely duplicate the existing disapproved ad, and pause the original. So far it has done the trick. I have yet to have a duplicate be flagged as disapproved.
My concern is that the tracking template that is in place (before I started) is causing some breakage in the final landing page url. This has been something I haven’t been able to adjust because I have been told it is linked to other form fields in other platforms. Adjusting or scraping the Value Track parameters may break the systems in place.
The best thing I can do, is continue to research and understand what has been put in place and why. Then I will be more versed in how to alter the systems for the better.
Leaving Nevada Friday night, arriving in Illinois mid-day Monday
I slept during the day of the start of our adventure so I could drive at night and the kids and wife could sleep during the longest leg. Going from Nevada to Colorado would take approximately 12 hours. On paper this was an ideal situation. The kids were already excited about the adventure, having been on long car rides before, but not to this extent. Kids and wife nodded in and out of sleep, but I can’t imagine any of them got a full REM cycle, before being awake and alert.
Once we hit Colorado, on top of the overall excitement, lack of sleep, being cramped in the car, potential altitude sickness, and motion sickness, it seemed to become too much for our daughter. She looked up with a quiet, yet frightened expression on her face before evacuating her stomach. Now, to put into context, my wife has a sympathetic gag reflex. Which includes, but not limited to: sight, smell, and thought. With her window rolled down, and nearly having her head out the window, my wife is doing everything in her power to keep the contents of her stomach intact.
We pulled off the next exit we could find, drove down the road a bit, and pulled off to an expanded shoulder. We got our daughter cleaned up and back in the car. Luckily we were able to get into the suitcase and get fresh clothes without pulling everything out of the car. This is also where my wife and I switched seats so she could drive some of the way.
Our daughter’s next stomach evacuation happened shortly after. This is when we started to fear a stomach bug was afflicting the lot of us. We all had the same breakfast, but neither my wife, son, or I had experienced these ailments. We were just past Vale, with nowhere to stop, going up and down through the mountains. Same situation as before, but now my wife is driving with her head nearly out of the window. Thinking back on it now, we laugh about the absurdity of it all. A comedy of errors.
We found the next rest stop for everyone to get out, get cleaned up, bathroom breaks, stretch, and air out the car. There was still a lingering smell, we did the best we could, but a faint odor still emanated. At this time we were about 20-30 minutes away from our first stop of the trip in Aurora, Colorado. This is when our son had that same ghastly look on his face, and then the faucet of stomach contents showered his chest and lap. This is when we decided the tablets needed to be surrendered and powered down. We have never had an issue with motion sickness with our kids, but thinking to all the other variables, it was apparent they were much more susceptible to motion sickness. However the thoughts of a potential stomach bug came creeping back, and the terror set in. Thankfully, we were able to eliminate that plausibility because we didn’t have any symptoms. Outside of my wife’s sympathy gag reflex.
We got to the hotel, stripped our son down in the parking lot, put on fresh clothes, and got checked in. We were absolutely exhausted, but there was still things to do. The hotel offered onsite laundry. This was a huge plus, because we had three sets of clothes to clean to eliminate the lingering vomit odors. While the clothes were washing, I went out to the car with one of the plastic cups from the hotel room, with liquid laundry detergent, and hot water, mixed. Using baby wipes, and my cleaning concoction, I wiped down every surface in the car seats. For whatever reason we have the only car seats that the liner isn’t able to be removed from the plastic base. Otherwise I would have been able to put them in the onsite laundry with the clothes.
Cleaned the seats the best I could, leaving the detergent mixture in the cup in the cupholder of one of the car seats to help air out the interior of the car. Went back to the room, waiting to switch the laundry from washer to dryer, we needed to eat. We tried to go downstairs for dinner, our kids were so off the walls from being cooped up in the car for so long, we didn’t want to have them out in public. The hotel offered some food options, but limited menu due to COVID restrictions. They also had snacks in the convenient store (where I got the laundry detergent), but nothing that could be considered a meal. The staff was super friendly and made us feel very welcome. We ended up looking up a local Chili’s that offered Doordash. We had food delivered and ate in the room.
We finished eating, got the kids ready for bed, got ourselves ready for bed, and everyone passed out. This was around 6pm local time. We all slept for about 11 hours. We all needed it. The next morning, my wife and I were on the same brainwave, looking up signs and symptoms of motion sickness and found children’s dramamine is available over the counter.
There was a fast food establishment nearby, a gas station, and a Walgreen’s. So we were able to get gas, breakfast for the kids, and get the children’s dramamine. Unfortunately, Walgreen’s was sold out, but the grocery store across the street had one package left. After wiping the dust off, getting back to the car, we gave the kids one tablet each (as described by the instructions on the label). We probably should have done some more research because on a full belly, and now having the motion of the car, the kids knocked out within 20-30 minutes. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, dramamine has decongestant, and causes drowsiness. This worked very well to our favor, as the kids slept for another few hours, and woke up in stellar moods.
Beyond using dramamine, we also read that looking out of the window at stationary objects, and rolling the windows down for fresh air help alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. When the kids woke up from their naps, and they asked for their tablets, we were constantly asking, “how’s your tummy?” “Did you see those cows?” “What clouds do you see?” With this rolling the windows down occasionally to keep their stomach contents at bay. The drive from Colorado to Nebraska was somewhat uneventful. This is good, but the landscape kept getting flatter and flatter, and each mile began to feel like ten.
Our next rest stop was in Omaha, Nebraska. No exciting stories about motion sickness, but the hotel we stayed in was built in 1923, incredible architecture, and classic feel. This is where our daughter decided to lock the bathroom door, and close it, locking us all out of the bathroom. Frantically, we are trying to figure out what we can put in the lock to turn the cylinder. Bobby pins, mascara brush, coat hanger, nothing is working. I go downstairs to try and ask for a skeleton key. Assuming from the age of the building, a “skeleton key” is appropriate. Or I have been so indoctrinated by mass media/entertainment that this is not a real thing. The front desk manager looked at me quizzically and asked, “a what?” At this point I have to explain the bathroom door is locked and we have no way of getting in. She mentions in the years she has been working at this hotel this has never been a problem. Maintenance had already gone home for the night and she was going to call the Director of Operations to see if they had an answer. I went back upstairs, defeated. A few minutes later, there is a knock on the door. It’s the front desk manager. She comes to inspect the lock and said she had tried on another vacant room and was able to get into the bathroom. She tries our bathroom door, with no avail, asking if we had gotten anything stuck in the door. We offered up our attempts to solve the locked door, but nothing remained in the lock. She then flashes a long metal rod dangling from her keyring, puts it into the lock and twists. The door slides open. We all have a sigh of relief, elated, I exclaim, “so that’s what that is for!” The front desk manager chuckles and exclaims, “yup! Now I know!” During all of this she was offering us a new room, but that would mean, packing everything up and the establishment having to clean two rooms. We were all thankful that was avoided.
We ordered room service (technically to-go) from the in house bar/restaurant. We tried watching part of the MTV movie awards, but we have been so out of the loop, we didn’t recognize anyone and we decided to fall back on one of our favorite rerun-always-good-show, Impractical Jokers. All fell asleep and in the morning up and ready to hit the road for our final home stretch.
For those not familiar, Omaha, Nebraska is right near the border of Iowa. More flat farmlands. The last leg of the drive was very similar to driving through Nebraska. The only exception was the rain. We had pretty significant downpour and one of the last things I meant to do before we left Nevada, was replace the windshield wipers.
The remainder of the drive was somewhat uneventful. The kids got their dramamine, we continued to ask about their well being like broken records, windows down a crack every little bit, and look out the window. Once we made the last few turns, and then saw our POD in our driveway, we had done it. We had made it home.
It’s been a week since we have been here, the entire upstairs flooring is redone, the paint is done for the most part. We have gone full blown HGTV with the house, and we still have 30 years left on our mortgage. We are making this house our own.
Needless to say, we are never moving again or traveling across country with two small children and a dog. At least not until the littles are more grown.
I have been renting my entire life. Same with my wife. We now have everything to fulfill the “American Dream.” Two kids, a dog, a car…etc. But no white picket fence. That is shortly coming to reality within 25 hours time. We will finally reach the full circle of a mortgage. Thinking back about my youth and what that meant (think of the movie Cable Guy, “Someone has to kill the babysitter”), was mortgages involved a lot of fights over money, working all the time and briefly interacting with the kids. Maybe everyone says, “I’m going to be different.” I don’t want to diminish my hopes and dreams, but the television that raised me hasn’t always turned out to be right. This is not to say my mother didn’t take an active role in my youth. She worked extremely hard to ensure we had a good life. We just lived on different schedules. While she worked nights as a bartender, I was sleeping. When she came home to sleep, I was getting ready for school. She always made sure her days off were special days for just us. Looking back, I should have been more grateful for the things she did for me. What’s worse is it has taken nearly 20 years to realize this.
This wasn’t meant to be an “oh woe is me” post. Merely the excitement of closing a previous chapter of my life, and beginning anew, with a rewrite of what the television has taught me.
It is a very strange thing when you Google your old handles and find old accounts filled with old memories. That instant punch in the stomach, who you were with or without. The memories of where you were, who you were. Who you wished you weren’t. In the moment you think about what happened next after that memory. Would you have made the same choices if faced with the same life? It’s that old proverb of, “if I had a time machine…” I thought this was a fun memory. Only because it was me, and only me, after Lateralus by Tool had released.
It feels like eons ago. I was just starting undergrad. The next two years proved to be the degradation of me as a person. I shed the skin of who I thought I was. Looking back, I was molding myself as a chameleon to check the boxes of someone else’s needs. I was so willing to eviscerate everything I was to please someone else. It is a shame to realize it literally took over a decade to truly discover myself and what my happiness really means. They always say, you can’t love anyone until you love yourself. Not only am I my own worst critic, I always seem to need to learn things the hard way. Maybe that is the ongoing human condition. Not willing to trust others that have experienced hardship and be able to apply the lessons to their own lives. Be it arrogance, stubbornness, or disbelief. Not sure. All I know is my life wouldn’t be as good as it is now, without learning the hardships and lessons I have learned. For that I am thankful. But I wouldn’t do it again. Unless I absolutely had to in order to reach the bliss I have now.
I’m not a blogger. I enjoy writing, and it was always my dream to write the next great American novel. You know, the one all the high school kids are forced to read. Some do, some don’t. It was my experience the majority of them didn’t. Which shouldn’t be surprising coming from a small mountain town. What should have been surprising is how many graduated, with honors. Then again, I may be projecting, because the majority of school, I didn’t care about.
But I digress. This is the beginning of whatever this is. Maybe it’s something, maybe it’s nothing. I wanted an outlet to write about anything and everything I have going on. Maybe this is just the soapbox I need to gather the inspiration to chase the dream. Then again, I kind of feel like “Creed’s Thoughts” where Ryan Howard opens a word document and tells Creed he’s editing the internet.