So the day seemed to start off perfectly. Kids woke up about when we expected them to. We hopped out of bed and started our day off right with scripture study and prayer as a family. Then we all worked together to get everything packed up, cleaned up, and ready to go, for our trip to NJ for the next week. Our goal was to be out the door by 9:30, and I was feeling quite satisfied with us, when I noted the clock said 9:25 as we pulled out of our parking lot. After a few errands and grabbing some breakfast we were officially on the road by 10:00. Oh, but not until after my ankle decided to stop existing, causing me to fall to my near death experience. Okay it wasn't that dramatic at all, but seriously. I don't know what happened but stepping out the door of my friend's house, my ankle suddenly lacked the ability to support my leg. It twisted all funky and hurt a lot. I laid on the ground and cried, with Aaron watching from the van. Apparently he didn't see the fall, just me laying there. He thought I was tying my shoes. Then he realized I was almost dead and came and rescued me.
The Kids were so pumped to be going to Nana's house and couldn't wait to see Ziggy and Bhodi (the dogs). They were happy with our CD's, snacks, and movies. Then it was 1:00 and time for lunch. My ankle was still hurting, not to mention other discomforts that come along with traveling while 34 weeks pregnant. So we get Wendy's for lunch and it's a nice stop. The next hour is not so nice. Kids were almost asleep when we stopped for lunch, but after eating and playing they had no interest in sleep. They were pretty cranky. No one wanted anything. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth occurred the next hour or so. With a few, "I have to go pootttyyyy" and some "But you just went!"... After an hour of this craziness we decided to stop at a gas station and potty, and fill up since we were at about half tank anyway. We loaded the car back up and announced - "Next stop, Nana's house!!"
Or so we thought.
As we pull away from the gas station we hear a noise. The harder I step on the gas, the louder the noise. Hmm... Well the kids are finally happy. We don't want to stop. So we get back on the freeway. Nothing seems to FEEL wrong with the car... but it sure sounds terrible every time we accelerate. Maybe if I put it on cruise control... nope still sounds terrible. But the kids are so happy and quiet... we can't stop yet!! But after driving about 10 miles we both feel like we should probably stop and at least look and see if we see something stuck somewhere or something.
We get off at the next exit. We are in the middle of nowhere. Literally... we pulled into a gas station, and watched a horse & buggy go by. We looked under the hood and didn't see anything obvious to us. We look around and wonder what the heck are we going to do. Just a little ways up the road there is a tow and repair shop. We wonder if we should chance it. I mean, we are literally in the middle of nowhere. These people will know they are our only help. And we figured they would pretty much rip us off. We have a lot of hope in humanity, don't we? So we said a quick prayer and drove down the road to the shop, feeling like it was our only option.
As we pulled in the lady behind the desk told us it sounded like our exhaust broke off. Or something like that. (I make no promises about correct car part vocabulary for the rest of this post). A few minutes later a mechanic came and looked at it. And confirmed our exhaust was completely rusted and had broken. There was no way we could keep driving like that - and were lucky nothing worse had happened so far. They most likely didn't have the part we needed, but could possibly take it off, weld it and put it back together. They had some master welder dude who would be there soon. So we waited.
The welder guy was there quickly, and so then we waited for them to get the part off. And we waited. And waited. And waited. The longer we waited the more Aaron saw dollar signs rolling around in his eye balls. After almost 3 hours of sitting in this tiny little repair shop office, we were finally told it was done. I loaded the kids up and Aaron went in to take care of the bill. We were shocked at how fair these people dealt with us. For one thing it was a Friday afternoon. They usually closed at 4, but they stayed until after 5 working on our van. Plus, big trucks are their bread and butter. They said they deal with a situation like ours once or twice a year or something like that. All in all, they ended up charging us about a 1/3 of what we were expecting to pay. We drove away with our normal sounding car feeling extremely blessed.
We were three hours behind schedule. Our kids were exhausted. My ankle hurt. And just about everything else on my body. But we knew Heavenly Father was aware of us. It amazed us that we just happened to break down right by this particular repair shop. That I had some extra cash from my birthday that we were able to use to pay for everything. We drove the last 4 hours feeling so grateful for the way everything worked out.