Sunday, November 25, 2007

You Can Sleep While I Drive

Ok, I've had my morning coffee, I've had 3 sausage kolaches (4, 5, ok 6 - but they are small; like a cocktail weenie wrapped in 1/4 of a biscuit. Leave me alone! ;) ) to stifle my hunger and I think I can effectively blog now. Although, that last sentence was riddled with spelling errors!

Anyway, we had a nice holiday "weekend" with the parents in LA (that's Louisiana for you west coasters!). We drove up there Wednesday afternoon. The drive is always a chore, but this year with Kiddo newly potty trained and a huge cold front coming in, it was even more taxing. We had to stop several times for potty breaks and fighting the gusting winds from the front really took a toll on my stamina during the 6 1/2 hour trip. But, we made it there safely, and with only one hiccup from the CRV's iffy "car health". Somewhere in the middle of the drive we pulled up to a stop light and it started it's chugging thing again, but the check engine light thankfully didn't come on.

Visiting with the folks was nice, but hard on my blogging as you may have noticed. I didn't get a lot of time to just sit and reflect. I did manage to get some work done, but not as much as I was hoping for - so the next 24-48 hours are going to be a marathon edit session for me. Hubby needs to just keep the water and snacks coming and keep the Kiddo out of my hair and we should be ok.

The weather here is disgusting. Last week we had 80 degree temps and now it is in the 30's and raining. And that leads me to the drive home yesterday...

On a clear day, the drive from my parents house to mine should take a reasonable person with a child about 6 1/2 hours. (it only takes my Dad 5, but that is a post about his crazy driving for another time!) On the way there on Wednesday that was about how long it took. Yesterday though, we were dealing with severely cold temps and rain (severely cold for TX y'all, not the north, ok) so everyone was driving a bit slower than normal. I was a nervous wreck - in my younger years driving in the rain didn't bother me at all, but in October of '04 I was in my first major car accident when Hubby, Kiddo (5 weeks old) and I hydroplaned in the rain on the interstate and hit a concrete barrier. The wreck was terribly traumatic for me and has forever left me with a nervous driving demeanor in less than dry weather. I no longer appreciate the tapping of rain on the roof of the car or the rhythmic swish of the windshield wipers...

Anyway, we cruised along most of the way at about 10 mph below the speed limit and for the most part things were going well. After a couple of stops (for potty and food) we were about 3 1/2 hours into the drive and Kiddo said he needed to potty again. So, I pulled off the road into the driveway of some little closed up business in the middle of nowhere and Hubby took Kiddo out to tinkle (lucky boys that can pee anywhere...). We got back on the road and a couple minutes later I commented to Hubby that the car sounded like it was driving "rough". It didn't feel weird or anything, there was just an odd rhythmic sound coming from what I thought was the engine. Hubby commented that it sounded like the tires to him, and that we should consider having them balanced and rotated when we got home. The sound got progressively worse, and finally Hubby told me to pull off the road so he could have a look.

Our front passenger tire was completely flat! Joy.

Now - I have to interject here that there is something about my Hubby that causes any situation like this to never by "typical" for him. He can't just have a flat or a car malfunction. Something has to be weird or unusual about the situation. I on the other hand, tend to be lucky in matters like this. My first flat tire happened as I pulled into my parent's driveway (I was in high school). My car caught fire as I pulled into my own driveway several years later and we were able to put it out quickly, suffering minimal damage because the hose was right there. Various other car issues happened to me with little incident - cars would die and coast perfectly into well lit, safe parking areas. God has always watched over me and blessed me greatly in times like these.

But my poor, poor Hubby. Unfortunately, my good luck is completely negated when I am with him. His track record for unusual, seemingly impossible situations is stuff of legend in our family (or at least it should be). For example, shortly after we were married we moved to AZ. We had returned to TX a few weeks later to attend a family wedding and to pick up our van that had been left here in the move. After the wedding we were supposed to drive a couple of hours and stay overnight with Hubby's grandparents, then the next day finish the drive to AZ. On the way out of town, something happened with the van and we had to stop in a gas station to make a repair. Thankfully Hubby's parents hadn't left town yet, and they met us at the station to help out. Hubby left the van running and was working on something when his dad got in to check out something else. His dad got out, and in the process accidentally hit the automatic door lock on the door. The van was locked up, empty of passengers and running. Hubby's keys were of course in the ignition and mine were in my purse in the van. We had no way of getting in. After fretting for a good long while, I kind stranger noticed our situation and realized that his youngest child might be able to squeeze through a tiny back sliding window that we just happened to have cracked. Sure enough, the skinny kid slithered though the opening and unlocked the doors. A miracle!

After that, we were on the way to the grandparent's house and got a flat tire. Hubby changed the flat only to find that the spare was also flat. So we called the grandparents (very late at night mind you) and they had to go to Walmart to buy a pump and bring it too us. We were stranded on I10 in the middle of nowhere in the pitch blackness and only by the grace of God did Hubby's grandparents find us! Well, airing up the tire caused our weakened car battery to die, so they had to maneuver their car around backwards on the shoulder to give us a jump. Hubby's grandfather, God rest his soul, was at the age where his senility was starting to set in and for some reason he thought he could stand in the middle of the dark freeway and flag down the big rigs flying by (at oh about 80mph) so they would move over to the far lane. He was standing in the middle of the road, waving his arms like a lunatic and poor Hubby had to tackle the surprisingly strong man and wrestle him back to the safety of the shoulder. Grandmaw and I just sat in the car, trying not to watch and praying with all our might. We finally got everything fixed and arrived at their house quite late.

And I cannot even begin to relate to you Hubby's riding adventures; filled with near death experiences and miracles upon miracles. God works overtime to protect this boy, let me tell you!

Anyway, back to yesterday and the flat tire. Of course, it couldn't be typical. Of course, the rain was falling and it was sooooo very cold. Of course, we didn't have a lug wrench - WHAT??!? That's right, no lug wrench. Poor hubby was using a socket wrench and the seat post from his mountain bike (yeah, you read that right) to try to get the lug nuts off the tire. And, the pièce de résistance, of course, the spare was flat! Oh boy. We were miles from the nearest town, with no real tools or anyone to help us and Hubby was risking pneumonia out in the rain. Hubby remembered he had a hand tire pump for his bike (the small, compact, about 10 inches in length kind) so there he was, out in the freezing rain, pumping like a mad man trying to get some air in the tire. After about 15 minutes, by the grace of God once again some total stranger drove by and saw him furiously pumping away on the side of the road. The man had just purchased a bicycle tire pump for his daughter for Christmas (the kind you stand on and pump up and down with your arms) and thought to himself that at least it might be more effective than the little thing Hubby was using. He turned his truck around and pulled in to help. He and his friend helped Hubby get the tire aired and changed and with only a heartfelt thanks from us were on their way.

We got back on the road, found a Napa auto parts store in the next town and bought a can of fix-a-flat. Thankfully though, the air held all the way home.

We still don't know what caused the flat. Hubby checked the tire for nails and such but saw nothing. I am just so thankful for the kindness of strangers. Those two men didn't have to stop, much less make a u-turn on a busy road to help us. They didn't have to stand out in the cold rain while their hands burned from the cold and the harshness of manual labor. And the driver certainly didn't have to unwrap his daughter's Christmas present to help a stranger! But because they did my family is home now and safe and dry. I pray God blesses them in a special way for doing such a kind act.

So, a few more bathroom stops and much driving later, we made it home after 8 hours on the road. As I said yesterday, I am SO thankful to be home; so thankful for my warm bed and ratty old robe to lounge in; so thankful for my family and the little goodness that is left in the world.

I apologize for the empty blog posts as of late. Hopefully now I can get back to writing so much you have to take your own potty break in the middle! I hope you had a great week, and many wonderful weeks to come this holiday season.

D :)


kimberly said...

You always have such interesting adventures! Glad you are home safe and sound.

BTW-This song was what I sang for a final in school at South Plains College. Glad to know there are others that like it too :)

Jen said...

Oh Dawn! What a drive. I'm so glad those folks stopped to help you. Very cool. God was lookin out for you guys, that's for sure! How crazy, of all things, he had just gotten his daughter that. Wow!

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