17 August 2006

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Previously, on "Charis and Judah"... When we left our heroes, Tim and Abe, they were vailantly trying to fix Abe's truck in the parking lot of a truck stop somewhere in Indiana. They had picked up the new hub that they'd had to order the day before, and returned to the truck stop to replace the whole hub (essentially, hub=wheel and all its parts; bearings, etc.) and the brake pads. They had finished the repairs and were about to head home when, on a whim, Abe thought, hey--I'll just check this other hub and make sure that it's okay, too. Big mistake--or, depending on how you look at it, not so much a mistake as pure Providence. It, too, was bad. Very bad. Wheel-randomly-falls-off-while-driving bad. But here's the thing: for one hub to go bad is strange. So strange that the dealer had to order the first one from somewhere else in the state. For TWO hubs to go bad, though...what are the odds? I sure don't know. The nearest available hub was in Indy, an hour and a half drive from the truck stop--and the shop that had it was going to close in 30 minutes. Things looked bleak.

But then, another salesman at the dealership overheard the dilemma, and offered up his daughter's boyfriend as a solution; it turns out he worked 5 minutes away from the shop that had the other hub, and could pick it up before they closed. So this boyfriend picked it up and delivered it to the bar his girlfriend worked at--where Abe and Tim picked it up an hour and a half later. Then they had to drive back to the truck stop and begin the process all over again.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The day had started out ominously. Shortly after the sun came up, Abe woke up and went to take a shower before he departed to fix the truck. Tim did as well. I should point out here that Tim and Beth were the only ones among us in a tent, because the next thing I will tell you is that, shortly after Tim and Abe headed up to the bathhouse, it started pouring. It was raining sheets of water, and the sheets of water were being flung by tempests. It was pouring so hard that they couldn't see the road, which was maybe 25 feet away from the bathhouse. It was pouring so hard that I was scampering to close the many windows on the camper--and indeed, was at the rear of the camper closing the roof vents when I heard a banging on the door.

"Please open the door! Open the door, Please! Hurry! Hurry!" Beth stood outside, clutching a soggy Gideon and herself dripping wet. I opened the door as quickly as I could.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"The tent collapsed!" Beth said. I looked out the window. There was the tent, flattened and being whipped by the gale-force wind. The rain fly had torn off, and the entire contents of the tent--clothes, towels, food, bedding--were drenched. Later, we discovered about two inches of standing water in the bottom of the tent.

The rain cleared for a while, during which the kids all splashed in the mud puddles, but it would only get worse from then on out. The day held rain--lots and lots of it--and very few reprieves. That meant that we all needed to be indoors. In our camper. Four adults and 5 children under the age of 5, in a camper that had seemed huge--but which was getting smaller and smaller by the minute. We would spend the better part of the day in that dumb thing, reading and re-reading every book we had and trying to think of fun things for the kids to do. There aren't that many things to choose from, and we exhausted the list pretty quickly.

It was about 6 pm when Abe called Beth's cell phone. He had both of our phones, and no charger...and both phones were about dead. "Hey," he said. "Wanna hear a funny story?"

"I'm not sure," I replied. "Is it going to cost us more money?"

"Well," Abe said, "We're just going to hop on down to Indy to see Stephanie. We've got to get another hub. We don't have a choice."

At this point, I began to cry. I was so exhausted. All the other parents there could play one-on-one with their kids. But I had two kids, and one of me. And I was not doing well. I sobbed, "I want to go see Stephanie, too!!!" He assured me they'd go as fast as they could, but told me not to wait up. I was despondent. My fatigued mind went into overdrive that night, when everything was quiet and everyone was tucked in bed. I thought about how rough that day had been as essentially a single parent, and it was then that Satan attacked. He filled my head with every possible death scenario. He convinced me that Abe wasn't coming home. I rebuked him several times, and finally fell asleep.

I figured Abe would probably be home by about midnight. So when Judah woke up to be fed at 3:30 am and Abe still wasn't home, I sat down on the bed in a stupor. Suddenly, those scenarios seemed possible, and even probable. I tried to call our cell phones, but they were, of course, dead. Mere minutes later, though, the trucks pulled in, and that's when the floodgates really opened.

Abe and I stayed up to tell each other the stories of our days--which seem a tiny bit humorous now--and then, when we couldn't talk any more, fell asleep.

The rest of the trip was fine, except for the fact that Charis and Gideon would NOT take naps. We got ice cream, we went to the Real Truck challenge on Saturday and Sunday. We laughed. The kids played in the vast field next to our site. We swam in the pool. We gathered around the campfire every night after the kids were in bed and told stories. We even made it home without incident.

Would I do it again?

You'll have to ask me next year...


katie said...

Oh my goodnes..
What an adventure!

Jon said...

*cancels upcoming camping trip*