This is a long story. But since I don't journal, I really want to get it all down here. A little over 3 weeks ago my little family packed up our Subaru and headed out the door. Our destination was Utah, where I would be performing at Education Week. We decided to leave Friday night and make it a 2 day trip rather than doing the whole thing on Saturday. I was excited to have sleeping children, and stay at a hotel, and then have a short drive the next day. It was going to be perfect. We had our DVD player, snacks, and everything else you need to enjoy a road trip.
Everything was going according to plan. There was a full moon with plenty of light on the road, it was a clear and beautiful night, and the kids had fallen asleep without any trouble at all. I was driving and Jake was watching Batman Begins on the DVD player. We had just started into the Blue Mountains when I turned to Jake and said,
"I'm so happy right now!"
And I was. I was off for a 2 week vacation with my family, the trip was going perfectly, and life was good. Well, that's when all heck broke loose. Suddenly the car just stopped working. I was headed up a mountain, and it just quit on me. Not like the battery died, but like something just snapped. I was freaking out, and asking Jake what I should do. I pulled over and did the first thing I could think of. Pray. Sage woke up in the commotion, and we were left with a car that would not start. It was 11:30pm. I was distraught. I had two kids on a mountain pass with no car!!! We called anyone we could get a hold of....our first blessing through the trial was that we had cell phone service. Any further into the pass, and we would have lost it. Both Heather and my dad were wonderful and helped me cope, but I was sure that my life could get no worse. Heather found us a tow truck guy in Pendleton, and was sure that he was the best. They made fast friends over the phone, and he even said to her that he was excited for the beautiful drive he was going to have in the mountains. He called me and told me not to worry, he'd be there soon. And not only that, but he quoted Heather $130 for the trip. I was amazed. We were 30 miles past town, and he was going to have to drive up and back. More than being amazed, I was grateful for the 2nd obvious blessing in the trial.
Finally at about 1:30am (did I mention Sage was awake and fussy the whole time...) Chris showed up and saved us. He was hilarious telling all his exciting tow truck stories. He was just what we needed to get us out of our miserable mood. He took us to a Motel 6, and got us a great deal on a room (blessing #3) and dropped off our car with a promise that he'd be back in the morning to take it to the shop. Sure enough he called right when he said he would and took Jake to the repair shop and then to a car rental place. And after all this taxi service, he kept his end of the deal and charged us $130. Any other tow service would have charged $1000 for that kind of service. It was the 4th blessing, and it was a big one.
So here we were, in a random town, with no prospect of getting anywhere soon. The kids and I had Shari's for breakfast the next morning which was great, luckily it was right next door to the hotel, and then just waiting for Jake to come back with the rental car. He came with good news. The car, which we were sure was shot, ended up only needing the timing belt replaced which would set us back $400 and be ready on Monday. Much more doable than the $10,000 a new car would cost. Blessing #5. He also said there was a cheap waterpark in town. Well, it just so happened that we had our swimming suits and it was 100 degrees outside, plus we had nowhere else to be. It was perfect! $8 to get the whole family inside, and the kids absolutely loved it!
After a few fun filled hours we went back to the hotel and showered, then headed over to Shari's for dinner. It was just our luck that kids ate free on Saturday and Sundays. We ordered more than enough food and got a free piece of pie, and cookies to boot! On a trip to the bathroom I overheard a conversation and learned that there was a square dance festival going on that night. WHAT? That was something that I needed to see. I told Jake about it, and despite his skepticism, he inquired to one of the square dance couples where it was being held. Jackpot.
It was at this point in the trip that I was feeling upbeat enough to start taking pictures, because the blog post was already forming in my mind.
Here are the ridiculously large cookies we got for free. The kids were thrilled. Home sweet home After dinner we packed up the kids in our nifty, and clean, rental car and made our way to the annual square dance convention. It was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. I turned to Jake after a few minutes and said,
"I'm so happy right now!"
The irony was thick, and I couldn't believe how this trip had turned upside down. Rather than spending my day rehearsing, I had a fun filled, memory making day with my family. I really was just as happy as I had been before we broke down in the mountains less than 24 hours earlier.
We watched Michael Phelps win another gold medal that night and drifted off to a peaceful sleep. Through all this I had been conversing with my director of the show I was supposed to be in Utah rehearsing and performing, and he decided to fly me out of Kennewick on Sunday evening so I could make it to the Monday rehearsal. It worked out great, because I could take Sage with me and then Jake would just have to travel the rest of the trip with Jaxon. The next morning we got dressed and ready for church and headed out to find a Sacrament Meeting we could attend somewhere near the airport. We did, and it was great, and then we found a park that my friend Lacey had taken us to before. It's such a fun part, and the kids loved it. Here are a few pictures. Jake got me to the airport in plenty of time, and the flight to Utah was perfectly uneventful.
And that's just the first 3 days of 2 weeks full of adventure. More to come!