After we collected 3 of the four kids, we headed home to prepare for an early trip to Texas the next morning.
Not really wanting to shop for a vehicle with four children, Lance called his cousin in Dallas to see if they’d happen to be around. What a blessing that they were! “Yes, bring the kids! We’ll watch ‘em, and you have to spend the night. When will you be here? What can we feed you?” and on and on. Ah, such a relief to have that taken care of.
I spent the evening packing bags, gathering snacks and drinks, and praying. A lot. Lance spent it on google, mapping and printing various routes and directions, depending on how much time we have and where we need to go first. (Yes, we’re old school. No GPS needed. I truly am seriously disturbed by the sheer number of people I know who cannot follow a map or written directions, but that’s another post…)
In the middle of all the packing, gathering, praying, and googling, my aunt (who had two of the kids that day) called to let us know we left a puddle of “slippery liquid” in their driveway. Really?! What little mojo I was mustering up for this trip rapidly deflated. Lance went out to check the van and the “leak” that was no longer there, and came back in rather certain that it must have been overflow (or something) from the newly fixed air conditioner.
“Lord, I pray my husband is not losing his mind and that we will not pay dearly for our craziness,” or something like that went through my head.
Onward. Child #1 returned from a birthday party at about 11pm, angry that she didn’t get to spend the night “because we have to go to Texas. What’s in Texas, anyway?!” That was fun.
We finally gave up on last-minute preparations at about 1 in the morning, and set the alarm for 4. Got up, fixed breakfast for the road, loaded the van, grabbed the children, and hit the road at 4:55AM. The drive was smooth, the sunrise beautiful, and the kids did great. We crossed into Texas at about 11:00, nearly the same time our cell phone rang.
It was the dealer that had our #1 choice. The one closing at 2:00. “Just wanted to make sure I told you we don’t take out of state checks.” Say what?! We are paying cash for this vehicle!!! (Well, cash in the form of a check. People don’t really lug around thousands of dollars do they?!) It’s good that I was driving and Lance was taking the calls. Mr. Dealer Man did NOT need the wrath of an emotional, tired pregnant woman. My level-headed hubby replied that it would have been helpful to have that information before driving for five hours, and what would he suggest we do about wiring money on a Saturday afternoon when our local bank closes at noon?
Thanks God, for local Tiny Town banks. We called, and our contact offered to fax a statement showing our account had the funds. Could we then write a personal check? Wire on Monday? Lance talked to the finance guy at the dealership and he confirmed that plan. All this, and we haven’t seen the vehicle yet!
Around noon we’re obviously nearing the city of Dallas. I’m still driving, he’s still on the phone. I know the original plan of “see our favorite one (on paper) last so that we don’t have to backtrack if we like it” isn’t going to work because there’s no time. In fact, looking at the map and our directions and the clock, there is precious little time to even drop the kids off. We. Are. Pushing. It.
When the time comes to head east (to his cousin) or west (toward our #1 vehicle choice) Lance is on the phone. I am concentrating on the road, and the signs, and the exits. (Um, the “city” we go to most often in Kansas is a fraction of the size of Dallas. A fraction. Let’s just leave it at that.) I ask him which way I should go, but I don’t hear a response. Instinct (or something… is it you, God?) kicks in and I head east.
When he gets off the phone, he says “Where are you going? I was pointing west.”
Well, decision made. We’re heading to the cousin’s. And… all those directions we printed out? None of them were from our house directly to their house. No worries. Lance calls for directions. He writes and talks me through it while I drive through the biggest city I’ve ever (ever!) driven in. I’m climbing loops and ramps and it all looks like a big ol’ carnival ride. The kids’ jaws have long dropped to their knees, and I’m just thankful that I’m not trying this during pelting rain or an ice storm.
We exit off of a main highway, but our directions don’t tell us if we should go right or left, so Lance gets on the phone again while I find a place to pull over.
When we get squared away (we were supposed to go through the intersection) and I press the gas pedal, the van lurches for the first time, and my memory flashes to circa 1990, when the transmission went out in our family van in the middle of an intersection in “the city”. Embarrassed teenagers don’t forget such things.
(to be continued…)