Paul Hennessy has grown accustomed to his stay-at-home wife Cate taking care of their son and two daughters. His job as a sports writer kept him on the road a lot during the kids' formative years. But when Cate decides to return to work as a hospital nurse, Paul takes a job as a columnist and agrees to make the duties of raising the kids a shared experience.Paul fondly remembers the days when his daughters would sit on his lap singing silly songs, and he was their hero for scaring away monsters from under the bed. But those days are long gone.
Cate sends Bridget and Kerry to their grandmother's house for a visit after the Hennessys decide against vacationing at the family cabin. But while on their road trip to grandma's, the girls are shocked to find Cate at their father's favorite saloon with a mysterious stranger. Meanwhile, Kerry makes Rory's life miserable when she discovers that he has a crush on her friend, Rachel.
Upon discovering Cate in the arms of Artie - Paul's successor at the newspaper - Bridget and Kerry decide to blow off their planned trip to their grandmother's and take to the open road to sort out their feelings. But after meeting up with C.J., the girls find themselves at a familiar location that was beloved by Paul. Meanwhile, Rory continues to pine for Rachel Sharpe, who confesses her true feelings for him.
Cate banishes C.J. and grounds Bridget for going to C.J.'s college keg party; Jim has to take a written drivers exam after being pulled over with an expired license.
After witnessing some strange behavior from Bridget and Kerry, Cate tries to find out what they are up to -- not suspecting that they might be trying to set up a special Mother's Day getaway for her. Meanwhile, C.J. and Rory doubt Jim's ability to put an engine back together after he falls in love with a classic car -- which is in for a wax job at Rory's new detailing service -- and decides to fix a noise in the motor
When Bridget is busted over a school dress code violation, Cate is called upon to meet with her new principal, Ed Gibb. But Cate is in for a shock when she discovers that she went to high school with Ed -- who remembers it vividly -- though she doesn't remember him at all. Meanwhile, when C.J. becomes his massage therapist, Jim hurts his feelings when he refuses to admit that his wayward grandson has become good at something.
Part 1 of 2. Cate finds herself once again in the awkward position of having to deal with Principal Gibb when she forgets to turn in a health form for Kerry's trip to Europe. Meanwhile, Cate is resentful of Jim's relationship with Tina because she still hopes that her father will reconcile with her mother, and Rory plays a nefarious joke on C.J. when he sets him up with girlfriend Missy's already engaged sister, Sissy.
Part 2 of 2. When Cate discovers that Bridget took the fall for Kerry for organizing the school sit-in, she agrees to have coffee with Principal Gibb in order to set the record straight. But the girls are convinced that their mother's innocent coffee meeting with their principal is really a date. Meanwhile, Kerry is furious when Bridget is elected student body president and wins a trip to Washington, D.C. -- because everyone thinks she organized the school sit-in -- C.J. keeps deluding himself that he's been chosen to be a roadie for Aerosmith over the summer, and Jim agrees to let Rory travel with him to Florida -- where he plans to try and win back his wife's affections.