I am easily distracted. Do you all know that? Right now I am sitting here, getting ready to tell you all about the trip we just had to Utah, and I am distracted by what looks like green watercolor sprayed across my bedsheet. How did that happen? Why do I even ask? I have four kids. Mark asks questions like this all the time. He called yesterday from his first day back to work, and I picked up the phone and instead of saying hello, allowed the screams in the background to greet him, and he at first sounded alarmed. He said, “What *IS* that? Is something wrong?” And I said, “No, this is completely normal. Everything is fine. How’s your day going?”
ANYWAY. The TRIP. We got a whole 1 1/2 hours away from home before the van started smoking and slipping out of gear. (We were on our way to Utah for Mark’s family reunions – 17 hours away!) We pulled over, got it cooled down and were able to get it to a mechanic who didn’t have what we needed, but told us we could last to the next Honda dealer in Salina, and we got there just before they closed, so they had just enough time to advise us not to drive it any further and get it in first thing in the morning. Woohoo!
Luckily there was a hotel right behind the dealership and they had a two room suite with a bunk bed and a great pool and breakfast, and the kids had a blast… while Mark and I fretted about what to do about our van. We were already set back a day of driving, so we were faced with a LONG 15 hour drive to make the reunion in time. Mark went over to the dealership and found that we’d need a new transmission – over $4000. And they wouldn’t be able to do it until the next afternoon.
Ideas that were tossed around over the phone while I sat in the stairwell of the hotel, and he was at the dealer…
1) go home, scrap the reunion thing all together
2) buy a new van – but there were no Odysseys on the lot – and I pointed out that that would take hours, and we don’t have extra time
3) rent a vehicle from the dealer – they had 2 types available… an Impala (6 passenger, 3 in front, 3 in back NONONO!!!) or a 12 passenger VAN. No minivans available!!!! A quick internet check of other car rental places in the Salina area showed no minivans available anywhere. Sigh. So – 12 Passenger van, here we come.
It took him an hour or so to do paperwork and transfer all our junk from the minivan to the “bus” as Jill called it. Josh and Sam each had their own row. The kids were in great spirits! What an adventure!!! Until we hit about 10 minutes in and realized there was nothing to do. I had only brought DVDs and a couple of books to read out loud to them for entertainment. And a coloring book. With about 5 crayons. The older boys had a couple library books, Josh had his crappy iPod that used to be MY iPod, that I got rid of for a reason (it doesn’t hold a charge for longer than 45 minutes) and his cell phone that he could text on. Oh, and a few audio CDs mixed in with the DVDs. That’s about it.
So… throughout the course of the trip, Sammy had a mental breakdown in the form of sobbing quietly into his blanket for 20 minutes, and since we were in such a big van I was able to go back and talk with him and help him feel better. Before that, Josh had HIS major freakout when I tried to play Les Miserables and he started screaming and crying – “Turn this music OFF!!! You are torturing me!!! This is TORTURE!!!! You are doing this just to try to KILL ME!!!!” etc etc etc. I refused to turn it off, however, because there was nothing else to listen to, I don’t give in to fits, and he was being ridiculous. I did however, after he calmed down a bit, figure out how to balance the audio up to the front so it wouldn’t be *quite* so painful to his ears. After I had my counseling session with Sam I was able to have a session with Josh, then with Ben and Jill. Being in a big van had its benefits.
We arrived at around 12:30 a.m. Utah time. We had lots of fun seeing Mark’s awesome family, both his Mom’s and his Dad’s side. Lots of people put in tons of work and it was fabulous, and went too quickly. There are certain people in the family I particularly love to sit and visit with and wish I could see more often. I’d elaborate but this is getting really long… and my kids are starting to drive me nutso over here.
We decided to do half the trip overnight to cut down on fighting and whining about nothing to do. So we drove to Denver to see my parents, which was wonderful – we had missed them on the way out. It was too short of a visit. My mom has been losing weight, she looks fantastic. We left around midnight and drove all night to reach the dealership in the morning and pick up our newly transmissioned minivan and say goodbye to the Bus. We had vacuumed it out the night before and threatened the kids not to eat anything in it so we wouldn’t be charged with a cleaning fee. We’ve already spent enough! Sigh. So, $500+ for the rental. $4000+ for the transmission. Who knows how much for gas. Etc etc etc for food, lodgings, reunion stuff, an inverter for the bus to watch movies on the laptop, a haircut for Josh so he wouldn’t be nagged by his grandfather anymore…. Much deniero.
These are the things with which memories are made… right?