Tag Archives: car trouble

To Monatana and Back

Memorial Day weekend was a whirlwind. With Paul’s brother getting married a quick trip to Montana was on the agenda. With all the stops for the kids, especially with a newly potty trained (as in a few months) boy, the trip takes 18-20 hours. And yes, Jacob is officially day and night time dry!!! WOOHOOO!!!

So, trying to get out the door to Montana was a challenge in itself. We were supposed to leave early Thursday morning. This is how the days leading up to the expected departure went:

Monday morning Emily tells me that her head is itching – yup, that is when we find out about the second lice outbreak and I seriously consider withdrawing my kids from school permanently – heh. So Monday is spent shampooing kids hair, doing haircuts, and deep cleaning the house – shampooing carpets, and laundry – we had to wash every blanket and clothing item in the house – and pillows, and stuffed animals, and….. and did I mention this was the SECOND time this year I’ve had to do this??? Anyway, need clothes to pack if we are going on a trip so I was up to my eyeballs in panicked laundry while we bagged everything else we possibly could till after we got back.

Tuesday I am finishing up the cleaning stuff when Paul comes from work asking me if I put x-amount of money on the credit card for the USPS – “No,” I say, “I never use the credit card.” Yeah, turns out some one tapped into pauls credit card. So Tuesday is spent trying to take care of all of that and canceling the credit card.

Wednesday (day before we are supposed to leave I might add) we realize that we forgot to get the car up to the mechanic for breaks (gee – I wonder why we forgot?) and Paul is ready to take van in, then he realizes – ack! We have no way to pay for it. Our credit card is canceled, any extra money in the account is for gas, and the savings was wiped out do to paying the last property tax payment. Hmmmm…. now what? Paul’s parents came to the rescue and helped us out. Breaks were fixed and after some manic packing we were ready to leave Thursday morning – and at least the house was spotlessly clean! 😀

The drive there was incredibly good and we stopped at this amazing rest-area just outside of Ceour De’laine (I don’t know if I spelled that right) Idaho. They had this big boulders the kids loved playing on. So, we stopped for a much needed playing and lunch break.

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The wedding was wonderful, and it was awesome to hang out with all of Paul’s family. It was a whirlwind and all too soon we found ourselves heading back to Oregon. If we thought we would have a nice smooth ride home, we were greatly mistaken.

Somewhere near Pasco, Washington we pulled off to a rest area where a fellow driver flagged us as we pulled off the freeway.

“A while back on the freeway I saw a bunch of smoke poor from your van and a belt came rolling down the freeway,” he tells us.

Ahh, so that would be why the AC quit working. Paul checks the engine at the rest-area and sure enough the AC belt is gone, but everything looks ok. So we are back on our way – hot but happy none the less. The kids are restless, but not too bad and the portable dvd players are doing their job at helping to entertain the little people. (marvelous invention, that)

We had just made it the other side of Hermiston, Oregon – ie – middle of NOWHERE – when the dashboard completely blanks out. We can’t read any of our gauges. We have no idea how fast we are going, how much gas we have, car temp – nothing. With hazard lights flashing we pull off the road and proceed to try to figure out what the heck is going on. Paul checks all the fuses, hoping it is just a fuse gone bad. They all look fine. A lengthy phone call to our mechanic only increases our worries that something is drastically wrong. The mchanic tells us that he is worried that it is either an alternator problem or a battery problem and instructs us to make the rest of the trip home without any extras on – not even the radio. So we do the only thing we can do. We pray.

Paul feels like he should switch the fuse out anyway, and does so. The dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree and we sing our praises and hop on the way with only the sound of five extremely tired children who want nothing more than to be home accompanying us on the way. I read Harry Potter for hours, hoping to entertain them until the light is failing and finally they are induced into sweet slumber.

We made it home, thankfully, on the power of prayer. We need to get the van into the mechanic to find out what was wrong with it – I am currently driving Moby Dick (our big white boat of a car) it fits me and all five kids – the kids like it because they get to ride in front (it’s really old, so no air bags), and Paul has been driving the Silver Bullet (the little grey truck some will remember from college days).

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Filed under Family, Miracles

Blessings Out-Weigh Bruised Bones

This weekend I learned that when a person gets older the ground really does become harder. I never really got that before. I was always of the old addage ‘air matresses are for wimps’. Well, ummm . . . I’m a wimp. Yeah. How did I make this amazing discovery?

Paul and I packed up the four kids, our tent, sleeping bags, a few clothes and wood and food and such and took off early Friday evening. We headed down an old back road towards the Oregon Coast where we knew there some little known podunky campgrounds where we were sure to find a spot for the night. Find one we did and I built the fire and started the hotdogs roasting for the kids while Paul erected the tent. The evening was a hoot as we ate hotdgs and smores, sang songs and told stories around the fire. It was getting late so we sent the kids off to the tent and not to long after the snores began Paul and I turned in.

The ground was really hard, and rocky. I even had a thin bad underneath that kept some of the rocks from jabbing into me but it did nothing to comfort the dull ache on my body from the hard ground. Everytime I rolled over I thought to myself that it had to be morning now, only to realize that maybe a 1/2 an hour had passed by. The night creeped along like a slug trying to make it through a patch of salt. It felt like every bone in my body was bruised no matter how I laid.

Finally I thought I heard the sound of my salvation as a thin small voice began singing wordless melodies of his own making. Jacob! Surely it was morning now, but alass it was only 4:30 a.m. It was quite hilarious, trying to sleep on impossibly hard rocky ground being serenaded by our 16 month old from 4:30 until 6:30 a.m. when everyone finally was awake and we proclaimed it a decent hour to end our torture. 2 hours of joyous music that made me giggle even through my torture.

To say we were exhausted is underated beyond comprehension and the plans of continuing out to the coast for a fun day at the beach were quickly squelched as we staggered and stumbled into the cool mountain air. We cleaned up camp quickly and headed back to home. We were only an hour away and as we drove we realized we would be back easily in time to go to the local ‘Old Fahioned Days Festival’ parade. This brightened the children considerably.

It must have been fated that we would have a terrible night, and we are very grateful for it now, for on our way home, as Paul excelerated from a stop sign, the engine revved manically but the car went nowhere ending in an aweful sounding, chunk-chunk-chunk. We coasted off to the side of the road. Paul hopped out and looked under the car and hood and found nothing aparant. He hopped back in and put the car into drive. Though it shifted into drive it would not shift into any higher gears after that and we limped the last few miles home at an excrusiating 20 miles or less an hour. We were very grateful that we hadn’t gone further into the wilderness and had this happen. So now we were without a family car. We walked the mile to the parade, enjoyed it, and came back home to sleep for the afternoon. We bought a new battery for my parents little honda that we can at least fit one adult and all the kids in so we could make to church the next day and I would have some mode of transportation while the van is in the shop.

I feel like I am driving a little clown car right now. It is a small blue honda accord, two-door. I pull up and all these little people come popping out of the car from all sides. There is a lot to be grateful for. The honda is for sale, thank goodness it hasn’t sold yet. We could have been stranded in the middle of nowhere, or me alone with the kids. We are not of the cel phone carrying crowd yet, though at least we have AAA. 🙂 The blessings are great and the inconveniences are few, especially if our warranty (that we purchased when we got our little van) covers whatever needs to be fixed. So we hope and pray that is the case, for we cannot afford major car expenses right now, and there is no way a new vehicle is possible. Until then the Elizabeth and Dot will get to have fun taking turns riding in the front seat. Quite the adventure for them. 🙂 And with Jacob singing everytime I turn around things can’t be that bad. 🙂

Oh, speaking of singing, it melted my heart yesterday. I was asked to fill in as the organist at church yesterday and the closing song was Families Can Be Together Forever which my children know VERY well. I could hear the three of them above the organ and everyone else singing just belting the words out at the top of their sweet little lungs. Everyone smiling and chuckling at our little family choir just singing away. Something about the words of that song and hearing my children sing it so sweet, so loud just melted my heart and made my sould smile. 🙂

(and we are getting an air mattress before we go camping again . . .)

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, Lizy, Parenting, Religion