Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Word for 2009: Flexible/Flexibility

Over on the Five in a Row message boards, at the beginning of 2009, several of us chose a word for the year. Our word represents something we feel the Lord is trying to teach us through out the year, something we need to focus on, etc.

My word for this year is Flexible/Flexibility. In reality, I began learning flexibility in an intense way last year....thanks to John and the events that occurred in his life; mainly, having a tree land on his house...which caused the need to delay the wedding, and all that stuff.

Well, I know there is more I need to learn along the lines of being flexible. Our recent trip to Florida proved that.

We headed over on Thursday, February 12. At first I was planning to just make it a long weekend....but John urged us to take a week, to make the long trip worthwhile. So we ended up being there longer, even though I was actually ready to come home Thursday, the 19 (and John was ready for us to come home then, too! )! The kids were having such a good time with their friends...I hated to pull them away!

One of Jen's friends just turned 15, so she had a sleep over party the night of the 21st, for all the girls in her SS class at church....And, of course, Jen wanted to stay for that.

Tim wanted to go on the bicycle ride on the 22nd with a group from church. And the little guys wanted to play with their little friends, too, Sabbath after church.

It ended up being Monday before we were ready to head home. We loaded up everything, including the dog and the fencing for her pen. I woke about 3:00 (Eastern time) Monday morning, woke the kids, and headed out. My hope was to arrive about 5:00 (Central time) yesterday evening. And most of the trip went really pretty well, and we were making pretty good time...even though I didn't want to travel too fast, since I was pulling a trailer, with sections of fence strapped on top of it.

The van had a slight ticking noise, before we even started out, but I thought it was due to the poorer grade of gas I had put in it. So about Tallahassee, John told me to top it off with a higher grade. It seemed to be doing a bit better after that. We filled again about Pascagoula, with the higher grade. It was ticking more loudly by now.

Even though I was not driving that fast anyway (only about 60-65, the whole time), there was a car that had pulled out right in front of me from an on-ramp...and just slowed way down. So I tried to pass it....and discovered this thing did not have any power left at all! And suddenly the ticking wasn't just a  a ticking!! It was much louder now!

So we pulled off, into a gas station...somewhere between Biloxi and Gulf Port. I called John, he said to check the oil. It was pretty low...we ended up putting in 3 or 4 quarts. Then began our nightmare....er, adventure, of trying to figure out what to do.

In the meantime, a man who is a mechanic, came over, to ask if there was a problem. So he took a listen, said it sounded like a rod was thrown, or whatever he said. He thought we'd be able to make it home, if we drove very slowly (at this time, we were about 130 miles from home).

Well, John was trying to get some other plans lined up. He contacted his ex-mil, to see if she could come with her 11 passenger van (which had a trailer hitch on it), to get us and the trailer. She was so sweet, and willingly came. She brought John's daughter with her, too...so that made Jen happy!

We decided to drive on a little ways, to the Mississippi welcome center/rest area near the Louisiana line, and near the Stennis Space Center. She arrived about a half hour later. And it was then that we discovered that the ball on our trailer hitch was 2 1/2" and hers was only 2"!! And we couldn't get the ball off hers, it was locked on...and we had no big wrench to get just the ball off!

So, off she went, to see if she could find someone to help out. They ended up cutting off the lock....which her husband had had for like 10 years! But then we were able to hitch the trailer to her van....and I decided to drive mine to Hammond, where John had some friends. By this time, I was driving only 45-50 mph!! And the sun had set! And it was getting dark....and later and later.

We got to the exit where we were to turn off; Tim called the man for directions. And of course this meant I was leading the ex-mil....in her big van, pulling our trailer.

We didn't have too much trouble finding the place....except that we didn't see the mechanic shop until I was past the driveway. So I turned on the next road, to see if I could find a cross road, to get turned around....and I couldn't call her on her cell phone, because I couldn't find mine. We ended up at the end of a dead end road, with no place for her to turn around...and barely a place for me to turn around...in someone's back yard!

I got my van turned around...then she decided to try turning her van around...in the front yard. She got onto the lawn, with the trailer, and sunk into the sod! Soft, soggy, south Louisiana lawn!

By this time, I was on the phone with John, trying to help him find us. In the mean time, she contact a wrecker to come pull her and the trailer out. The lady of the house was very gracious. We all stood around, talking, and joking about this adventure we could record in our journals, etc.!

The wrecker came, pulled the trailer out, then the van out. Then we unloaded the most important things from my van into her van, including kids, dog, clothes, school books, and Tim's precious bike he'd just purchased...then we drove home, leaving my van at the shop there.

We arrived home about 11:00, pm, I think....only about 6 hours later than I had hoped. And the ex-mil still had more than an hour drive back to her place. By now, I was feeling the long day, the surge of adrenaline was depleted, and I was feeling nauseated and ill.

My nice soft bed never felt so good!!

Obviously I wasn't the only one learning flexibility by this experience!! But I know one thing for certain, I don't plan to make any more trips without my darling husband!!! LOL And now we need to decide what to do about the van: sink money into it to repair it (it is a 1988!!); replace with it with a newer van; or get a new small car.

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