Monday, October 27, 2008

an exercise in impatience

Every year, Timothy's hometown church has bible camp throughout the summer and a retreat in the fall. Tim and I hadn't been in years, and Alex has never been, so we decided that this year's fall retreat would be as good a time as any for him to have his first experience at Victory Bible Camp.

We had planned to leave around noon on Friday, but as my luck would have it, the "check tire pressure" light came on in the van that morning. Not exactly what you want to see before a five hour trip to a campsite in backwoods Arkansas. And, before I proceed with this story, let me just mention that this had been a particularly stressful and exhausting week for me, due to more (ridiculous and petty) reasons than I care to share, and I was soooo not in the mood to have to deal with car issues on top of everything else I needed to take care of. Of course, when I took the van by the dealership to have them take a quick look, they found a nail in one of the rear tires. And because our fancy mini van has fancy tires that allow you to drive on a flat up to 50mph for 125miles, replacing or patching a tire is not a simple task.

I was told it was going to take "an hour and a half", and at that point I got really flustered because a) Lord knows that keeping Alex entertained for an hour and a half, during lunchtime, in a place where he's not allowed to wreak havoc, is nearly impossible, and b) I had planned on packing everything into the van after getting the tire fixed, but with it already closing in on eleven, our delayed departure time would surely interfere with Alex's much-needed nap, and c) the Head Mechanic Dude mentioned something about our warranty not covering the new tire, when I was pretty sure that our warranty covered everything, but not so sure that I felt comfortable arguing with him about it.

I frantically called Timothy, aka my voice of reason, who talked to the Head Mechanic Dude about the warranty and said that the dealership would take us home in the courtesy shuttle so that I could feed A and get our stuff completely ready to be loaded into the van as soon as it was done being fixed. Crisis averted. For now.

I left the keys in the ignition and proceeded to pull the car seat out of the van, along with the umbrella stroller and as many toys and snacks as would fit in my purse, in an effort to control all six tons of a squirming, restless Alex as we waited for the shuttle to show up. About ten looooong minutes later, the shuttle arrived, we got the car seat reinstalled, and were headed home. We pulled up to the house, and as the driver followed us to the door with the car seat in hand, it suddenly dawned on me that my house key was on my keyring. The keyring that was attached to my van key...that was still in the ignition...back at the dealership.

Yeeeaaahhhh, I pretty much lost it. I had the driver hang around for a few minutes, and after attempting to break into my own house by every reasonable means possible, I gave up and called Timothy. Not because he would be able to help, but rather, to inform him that I was giving up, that I was just going to lie down on the front lawn and take a long nap while the shuttle driver took Alex for ice cream or french fries or a full-fat mocha latte, whatever, I just didn't care, I was tired and frustrated and ready for another bad day to be over. Instead, he talked me down enough that I was able to ask the driver if he could run back to the dealership, which was only a mile or so away, and pick up my key so we could get in the house. I was so embarrassed and tried to explain that I wasn't normally such a flake, that it had been a rough few days, etc., etc...Thankfully, he didn't mind, and I was able to take my nap on the front lawn until he got back.

The Head Mechanic Dude called me around noon to say that our vehicle would have to undergo a warranty claims check, which basically meant that before the dealership could proceed with the tire replacement, they had to take pictures of the damaged tire and submit them to the warranty department for approval. It's a completely random check that they perform to discourage false claims, and we were the ones selected!!! Lucky us, huh??!!! That meant it would be at least one-o'clock before it would be done. Sigh.

I heard from him again a little after one, when he called to say that our claim had been approved, and that they were working on the tire. I asked him whether we should head back to the dealership so that we could take the van as soon as it was done, so that we could pack it up, hit the road, and get A down for a nap as soon as possible. He said that it was a good idea, since the driver goes to lunch at 2, and we wouldn't be able to ride the shuttle after that. So a few minutes later, our driver showed up, reinstalled the car seat, and we headed back to the dealership...

...where the Head Mechanic Dude told me that they had to get a part from another dealership in order to mount the tire, that it took longer than expected, and that they were still working on putting the tire on. Here it was, one-thirty,
we're already running an hour and a half late, A never really got a lunch other than milk because I was busy organizing for our trip, it's past his naptime, and I'm back to entertaining him in a place where he's not allowed to wreak havoc, for an undisclosed amount of time. I mean seriously, people. Timothy got another flustered phone call with the update, and while he sympathized with my plight, he told me that all I could do at this point was to laugh it off, it didn't matter if we were running late, and, oh yeah, let Alex wreak havoc if that meant maintaining my sanity.

Another hour and a half later, after numerous trips to the vending machine, countless tours of the Honda sales floor, and just a little bit of havoc, the van was finally done. Fortunately, A managed to stay mostly out of trouble, and he was so distracted by all the new things to look at and people to amuse that he forgot it was two and a half hours past naptime. But once he stopped moving and got back to the car, the beast emerged and his sleepiness caught up with him. We got home and I packed the van as quickly as possible, and we finally hit the road around three-thirty.

I'd like to say that all was well from that point on, but that simply isn't the case. A slept for about an hour in the van and rode pretty well otherwise, and we got to camp after 8pm. I was a little worried that A would be cold sleeping in the cabin, despite a heater, his blankets, and his warm jammies.

He woke up crying throughout the night and would fall back to sleep after a few minutes, so we just assumed he was adjusting to his new surroundings. After the third or fourth time he woke up, I kind of broke down because, truly, the only thing that really stresses me out about these sorts of outings are how Alex will sleep. Generally, when he wakes up during the night, the best strategy is to let him cry himself back to sleep because if we go to him, he wakes up completely and thinks it's party time. But in my gut, I kept wondering if he was too cold to stay asleep, which made me feel terrible about letting him cry, and I was really in a predicament about what to do. When he woke up whining for the sixth time at 5:45am, I finally decided to risk waking him, snuck over to his bed, and piled a bunch of heavy blankets on top of him. He stopped whining right away and went back to sleep until 7:20. Shame on me for doubting my instincts.

None of us slept at all that first night, but luckily we were so excited about camp that we didn't mind being sleep-deprived. The rest of the weekend went great, but instead of tainting those fun stories and pictures by adding them to this crabby post, they'll get their very own happy post, coming soon...

1 comment:

Day Family said...

Its good to know that I'm not the only one who call my husband in the midst of crisis to tell him about it even though he can't physically rescue me at the time!