Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Okay, here goes...

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.158 161 Home sweet home162                   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.172 169

Here I am trying out the fashions.176

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.034 035 037  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!

14 comments:

hedrad said...

It just makes me realize that I don't have to fear life. You went through everyone's greatest road trip fear and look how great it turned out. Everything always works out, it just does. I've got to give Chris a call and thank him again for being so good to you. It's all about those tender mercies. Just keep 'em coming is all I have to say.

Darilyn said...

Look at how you made lemonade out of lemons! I love this story and I will remember it the next time I'm stranded on the side of the road.

Kelsey said...

I'm glad you went to church on Sunday. So many people say it's okay to miss church if you're on vacation. But I say, why miss? What a simple way to say thank you for all the blessings the trip brought, huh?

Mirm said...

Isn't it funny how when you are the most happy and saying, "I'm so happy right now" Somehow something happens. Happens to me and John all the time. Now we just look at each other and smile big and we both know what were thinking. Funny how we think we jinxe ourselves.

Heather said...

I honestly hope that one day I can have just an ounce of your patience and energy! I really STILL look up to you!

Sarah said...

I'm impressed that you were able to remain up beat and make the best of it.

Elizabeth said...

All I can say is, "There's MORE to come?" I can't wait to read the next installment!

You had a great attitude. I love how you found happiness in both peace and adversity.

brenda said...

Your attitude and ability to count the blessings is the real inspiration here. Great story!

Danielle said...

oh my heavens that is crazy! I am so glad you are safe and happy. I think I would have lost it had that happened to me. Isn't it amazing how our trials can become our happiest moments in the end? Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

Troy and Jana Withers said...

You are an inspiration to have a good attitude! I love your upbeat nature. I think that will be a blessing to your children too...they will remember that fun time that you all hung out together..I'm sure it could've been remembered differently. So way to go on having a great attitude.

meganconser said...

Wow- how FUN! It was a hard journey to perfectly spontaneous good times. I personally LOVE square dancing and can not get Jeremy to take a class with me. I have even tried to talk friends into having hoe-downs with square dancing for thier wedding receptions. Too bad I didn't think of that for mine! Thanks for sharing- glad you felt good enough to start taking pics!

Maegan said...

i just love you optimism! you're fabulous. some of my best memories with my family traveling are when our car broke down and our testimonies were strengthened because of the service others lent. thank you for sharing your story.

Heidi said...

Fun to hear the story again. And I love how it all worked out. It makes me almost want for my next road trip to be just as adventurous. Almost.

Dan said...

It's fun to hear the story . . . again! (Rebecca Webb)