Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sesame Place Trip, part 1: When nothing goes as planned

Eric was teaching the night we left, so I packed the van and let the kids stay up until it was time to go get him. Jeb must have told me 12 times, "Mom! We get to stay up while daddy teaches the college kids, and we do NOT have to go to bed!" I know, kid, it was my idea :) They were so excited and absolutely wild, talking nonstop and asking if it was time to leave every 30 seconds.

My mom rode up to the school with us so she could drive Eric's car home, and we were finally off! Almost 2 hours in, the kids were sound asleep and we stopped at a rest stop for a late night snack. Eric turned the car off, but everything else in the car running, including the air conditioner, and an extra long line at Burger King killed the battery. We called our insurance because they offer free roadside assistance, but because we were on the Ohio turnpike and only one tow company has permission to service the turnpike, we weren't covered. Luckily, a big pickup truck pulled up and offered to give us a jump. By this point the kids were up and asking a zillion questions. "Why are all those semi trucks over there?" "They SLEEP in there??" "Do we have to put our car battery into a charger?" "Can we help plug it in?" And around and around again. We did have a nice conversation about how God puts people in the right place at the right time, and we reflected on the prayer Eric said before we left.

We got the van started, thanked the man, and re-situated the kids. Then Eric put the car in gear, started beeping. You know the noise it makes when the key is in the ignition and the driver's door is open? It made that noise. In the middle of the night. In the middle of nowhere. We didn't want to spend the night where we were because we'd only been driving a couple of hours and it would mess up the rest of the trip. We read the manual front to back and it wasn't helpful at all, so we decided to just keep driving. This is where having 3 small children comes in handy-we can tune out anything! We drove into the night, but our plan of driving half way and finding a hotel didn't work because there weren't any hotels halfway. So we kept driving until we found one (we needed a specific hotel because we had enough points for free stays at this hotel), but it was booked, and so was the next one. By that point it was almost 6am and it seemed silly to get a hotel for 4 hours, so we just pulled into a rest stop and napped for a couple of hours. I had been napping on and off all night so when I woke up, I switched seats with Eric and drove for a couple more hours. By that point the kids were waking up and we were low on gas, so we pulled off to fill up and I made peanut butter sandwiches for the kids. We got out to stretch and an employee at the gas station called the kids over to see this cool butterfly:

While we were there, we heard from Eric's aunt, who was going to be our next free overnight stay. Luckily she had taken the day off, even though we weren't supposed to be there until dinner time, so when we got there before lunch, she already had the inflatable pools blown up and filled. Don't they have a great view?

While the kids swam, Aunt Chris and Eric went to a local car shop to have them look at the beeping problem, then we went to her office so she could show us off, and then out to lunch. We came back for a nap and they called to say they had fixed the van, so Eric went back to get it. We decided to drive to the hotel at Sesame Place that night, rather than having to wake up and drive the hour and a half that morning. We all needed a solid night's sleep. Luckily they were not booked and could give us a room.

After dinner, we repacked the van while Jeb got to drive Uncle Howard's tractor. Then came the highlight of the day-going to the airport to play in Uncle Howard's plane!

After we said goodbye, we headed to the hotel. In our nice, non-beeping van.
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