I am a slow learner. Could it be that I was dropped on my head as a child? Or maybe that my brother got all the brains and I got the "fun" gene? Or, maybe, I am an optimist and think that even though previous trips have had "complications", that couldn't possibly happen on this time.
Whatever the reason, I should not ever be surprised when our trips go awry. As I look back on all the trips that Brad and I have taken over the years, I can count on one hand the trips that have happened with NO problems. How about the first camping trip that Brad and I ever took and overnight there came a toad strangler (for you non-Southern folks that means there was a torrential downpour akin to a monsoon) and our tent was set up right in the middle of the runoff from the mountain. Or the time we were heading to Florida, with Brad's mom in tow, and stopped in Hattiesburg, MS because she was complaining of her knee hurting. After a quick trip to the Emergen-Care clinic, we realized her knee cap was broken (!) and we had to return home. Just a few of many cancelled or rescheduled trips.
This scheduled trip to California began like all other trips with the planning, the packing, etc. Somehow, Cole and I talked Spencer into going with us and then flying back with Brad at the end of the month. So, on Saturday morning at 6:45 a.m. we loaded up and headed out. We stopped at Kroger to top off the gas tank and get Red Box movies and then hit the road. As I was exiting onto I-430 (approximately 8 miles from our house), I heard a beeping sound coming from the back seat. Spencer's feed pump. Not just one beep but a constant beep beep beeping. Uh oh. As I listen to him working with it, I know I need to pull over. I exit the freeway and pull into McDonald's. After working with the pump for 10 minutes, I decide to head home to see if I can fix it there.
However, once at home, we realize that this problem is not fixable. It's not the bag or the food....it's the pump itself, which means it's a Defcon 5 emergency. No pump equals no food.
Spencer called the equipment company and found out that someone will be out to the house to bring a replacement one or try to fix this one. Always being the wise and realistic young man that he is, Spencer is sure that the pump will not be an easy fix and that we should go to California without him. Insert devastation here. I was crushed that we had to leave him. The thought of him being with us for two weeks had made me giddy and now all I could think about was 24 hours in the car without him.
After many tears, Cole and I left. Not a word was spoken by either one of us for the next hour. Cole was as sad as me. To add to my sour disposition, it was foggy, cold and raining. It seemed as if the weather was mimicking the feeling in my heart.
As we neared Russellville (about 100 miles from our house), my phone rang and it was Spencer. The equipment company found a replacement pump and Tammy had delivered it to the house personally so he was all set! I could hear the excitement in his voice and I KNEW that I had to turn around.
An hour and a half later, I pulled into our driveway with a smile on my face to match the one on Spencer's face.
Our departure on Sunday was not marred by any unforeseen event. I must admit that I held my breath when Spencer started his pump but my ears were met with silence. Whew!
Twenty-four hours and 1,681 miles later, I don't think I have ever been so happy to see that LA skyline. Two miles from the apartment as I was honking and yelling at the car next to me, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the smiles on my boys' faces and was reminded how blessed I am, Ewing travel curse and all.
Snow everywhere we looked on our drive.
"But each has his own gift from God, one this way, another that."
~1 Corinthians 7:7