Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Midwest Is Trying To Kidnap Me!

If you are looking for one of those cutesy, inspiring or nice posts, you might want to close the browser on this one. It isn't going to be cute. It isn't going to be full of inspiration. It won't even be nice.

I gave you a cute puppy... but this is the only cute thing
about this blog post!
So, here is your warning. If you are looking for a cutesy post. Leave now.

It was the best of vacations and it was the worst of vacations.

We left our house on Dec. 20th. We were excited. We had a nice long vacation and we were going back home to spend it with my family. Things were going too smoothly. I should have known then that something was going to happen. The packing went way too well and I was done without stressing at the last minute. Wisconsin was in the middle of what they coined the Snowpocolypse, but because of when we left, we were missing it. In fact, it was nothing but sunshine the entire drive there.

We drove. It is the most cost effective way to do these kinds of trips when you have 3 kids. We don't mind. Our kids have driven through a good portion of the United States because of our road trips and they have seen some great sights. However, the drive is never easy. To save money, we push straight through until we get there. For the most part, from my door in California to our first stop, it usually takes us about 40 hours. That is enough to kill almost anybody. But we do it. Why? Because we feel it is important to try to make it back to visit family at least once every year. Our kids are young and it isn't fair for them to be torn between two families because we met in the military and our families live thousands of miles apart.

So the trip is starting off good. I am all smiles. Except for the time when I threatened to duck tape my kids to the roof of the car if they wouldn't stop fighting in the backseat. But hey, 40 hours in a car is rough on anybody. We made it alive and the kids stayed in the backseat. Score one for us.

Upon getting to my parent's house, my mom was sick. Not much we can do, so we made the most of it. I spent a good portion of the vacation fending off the cold that took out both my parents. Because we were sick, we stuck to immediate family. I figured it was ok to share the germs with them (since they started it), but didn't really chance it by going out to see many friends. But it was a great vacation because we did get to spend a lot of time with family.

So now is the time to bring in the New Year. Unfortunately, when the clock struck midnight, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. As a glass went up for a toast, it shattered as it hit the ceiling fan. No big deal. No one was hurt. I got lucky. Two shards of glass were in my glass of champagne. I caught them before I swallowed.

Raise your glass but watch out how you raise it! If you catch
it in a ceiling fan, it is bound to shatter and spread glass
throughout the entire house!
I should have known by now that this was were things were going to take a turn for the worst. Shortly after arriving at my parent's house, our yellow check engine light went on. We had just had the car in for service, but we figured since it was just an emission light, we were good to go. Probably due to the temperature, we figured. But we aren't mechanics.

By the end of the day on January 1st, I was feeling the full effects of the cold that my mom had and I had been successfully fending off. I sent my husband to the store to get medicine. That was the first time our vehicle died.

It overheated and he coasted it into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Since there was no other option with it being a holiday, we put the car in timeout and hoped that by the following day it will have chilled a little. (The antifreeze blew out of it, we refilled it assuming the specs weren't right for the cold Wisconsin temperatures. The next day, with new antifreeze in it, it started up fine and was running like a champ! We tested the light and we were told it just needed a tune up. Easy fix - right?)

So we didn't let it stress us out. We didn't have the time to fix it there since there was no appointments available before we were heading out, so we figured it can be fixed when we got back to California because it was just routine maintenance... or so we were told!

We headed out on Thursday with plans to stop in St. Louis to visit my friend Kelly - The RealHousewife. This wasn't the first time we stopped by to say Hi on our way through. But, we did plan to crash there Thursday night, spend the day there Friday, crash again and leave early Saturday morning.

I am going to tell you right now.... That DID NOT happen!

We got there late on Thursday night...stayed up chatting and finally headed to bed about 3 a.m. It was a good night. Everybody woke up late the next morning and my youngest Max was burning up with a fever. That put a damper on any plans made to explore since we had a sick kid on our hands. However, he felt fine enough for the adults to head out for a nice dinner and then we headed back to watch a movie.

We were fortunate. Knowing someone in
the area made waiting on the car to be
fixed much less stressful.
Saturday morning we woke up, got everything packed up and said our goodbyes. About 30 minutes into the drive, the yellow check engine light started flashing. I had never seen that before. We turned around and headed back to Kelly's house. That way, we could get the car fixed real quick and we didn't have to worry about entertaining the kids at the mechanics.

With each call, the problems got worse and worse with the vehicle. For something that started out as a $200 dollar fix, quickly came up to $900. We went back to the house to wait it out. The place closed at 7 p.m. and we were thinking we would be on the road by then. That still gave us enough time to get home in time to get my husband to work and my kids to school.

That DID NOT happen!

By the end of Saturday night, the shop had closed and they still couldn't figure out what was wrong with the vehicle. In fact, it couldn't even be started right now.

I slept in late Sunday morning. A big part of me was secretly hoping that by the time I crawled out of bed, the issues would be resolved and we would be ready to hit the road.

That DID NOT happen!

What did happen... the bill jumped up to almost $1700 and they were still not sure whether or not that would fix the issue. So we needed to find an alternate solution. After all, we were starting to be the new fishy pet in Kelly's house! (You know the saying, after three days fish and company are the same... they start to smell!) We had to get home.

To make a long story a little shorter, we ended up renting a car, transferring and jamming every bit of our belongings from one car to the next. We were stuffed like sardines, only I am pretty sure the sardine stress level is usually a little less. We drove straight through... another 31 hours in the car.

I would love to say our luck started turning around after that, but it didn't. Not only is our car still stuck in Missouri, but our house keys were as well. Good thing we had some friends watching the house for us and they were able to let us in.

 Knowing our luck, we probably would have gotten arrested for breaking into our own house!

It just seems to me that the Midwest is trying to kidnap me. We moved to California in December of 2010 and were outrunning a blizzard. Every single time we have gone home and tried to leave, something happens. One time we had to wait out a tornado. This time, it was our car blowing up in Missouri. I have to admit, I prefer the weather setbacks. I am not sure the next time I head back to Wisconsin, we will make it out alive!


  1. er.... welcome back? (typed while reaching around from behind desk chair)

  2. Wow. That sounds harrowing. I would say- FLY? And what the heck are you planning to do with your midwestern kidnapped car????

    1. Sadly... I think the car is toast. We have now been home for 2 days and I haven't even heard anything more about the car. For all I know... they still don't have it fixed. But sadly... for us to go back, pay for the repairs and reclaim it, it would cost us almost 4000 to 5000. It would almost be cheaper to pay the final car payment and then buy another car. So sad!

  3. Wow! That's all so horrible - except getting to spend the extra time with Kelly, because I'm guessing that was fun. :) I'm glad you guys are home safe and welcome back to the blogging world!

    1. Yeah - glad we were able to get stuck with Kelly. That was the positive of the situation! :)

  4. That sounds extremely frustrating. And your car is still in Missouri. Eek. How does it get back to you? Or are you just going to sell the thing? Well, like Tammy said: you're just getting all the murky stuff out of the way and now 2013 is going to ROCK! :)

    1. I think we are going to end up doing a mechanic lien to take care of the repairs. It sucks, but it is going to end up costing us more than it is worth otherwise. Totally bummed.

  5. Eish! That sounds like a holiday travel from hell. Something you'd watch on National Lampoon's Holiday or something. Glad you're back in one piece, and hope things turn out better with getting your car back!

    1. That's it... I need to write a book about our adventures... sell it and make millions! Then I can buy a new car! LOL - yeah - the vacation was great but obviously it had it's hard times. At least we are home safe and sound!


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