Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 7: The Night We Sleep in Our Own Beds

This is the day, Sunday June 4, that has been weighing on our minds all week. How are we going to get home after we return the rental car? What are we doing with our van sitting 5 hours from home? Jeremy told me he would figure it out and he did. For as much as Mom and I thought about it, I know Jeremy was doing research, talking to his trusted advisors and trying to also be present with us for the days he was in Ohio. He considered everything from buying a car in Ohio to having us rent another van to drive the 5 hours from Somerset, PA to home. Here's how the day went down...

Jeremy left our house at 7am driving my grandparents minivan to meet us at the transmission garage where our van sat in the parking lot. Mom, the children and I have a lovely breakfast and a quiet morning in the hotel. When I checked in the lady at the front desk asked what brought us into town and so I gave her the 30 second story of our van breaking down and my husband coming from MD to pick us up in the morning. She asked where in MD and I gave my standard answer, Ocean City, because a lot of people know OC, MD. Turns out this lady had worked at a hotel on the inlet in Ocean City last summer, totally understood beach traffic on Sunday mornings and told me to let her know if we needed a later check out time in the morning. She was more than happy to give us a check out time of noon when I talked to her. We spent the morning watching Nick Jr. and coloring. Mine is still hanging on the refrigerator.
The hotel Jeremy got us was just 15 minutes from the transmission shop. We loaded up to get there about 15 minutes before Jeremy to get all of our personal things out of the van and prepare to move all of our luggage from the rented Traverse to my grandparents minivan. Both of my girls were all tears when they saw the van. I could not cry, but it was a bit emotional for me too. Jeremy arrived when we expected him. He had his own questions about our van--remember our description? It quit going forward. It smelled hot. And later when I turned it on in the garage while he waited for the rental it overheated. Those things did not add up in his mind. Being that far from home, it was hard to just take the word of mechanics he had never met. So Jeremy hopped in the van, started it up and drove around the block. No problem. It accelerated. It did start overheating, but he wasn't too worried. Mom and I just kind of looked at each other. A guy's gotta do what he's gotta do. So Jeremy got in our van, Mom drove my grandparents minivan and I drove the Traverse and we started out. We had 20 miles to where we needed to return the Traverse. We made it 10 miles...with stops to let the van the cool down. It wasn't going an inch farther. Now Jeremy knew exactly what was happening and could describe it to Dustin, the friend who has walked him/us through this. So we left the van on the side of the highway.
Next order of business--return the Traverse. Mom and I were only too happy to turn in that key. So much pressure to have 4 kids in a rental car. We had so much luggage that the floor was pretty well covered. We returned it in good shape. Of course there was no eating and minimal drinking while we drove it too.

By this time it was way past lunch time. McDonalds again. I got in the front seat of the van, grabbed Jeremy's hand and immediately started crying. Tears ran. They were supposed to wait until I got home, but they didn't. I should have just stayed in the car, but responsibility called. I wiped the tears and stepped up to order the kids food. I got through the order and then she asked what size tea I wanted. I started crying, my voice cracked. It was terrible. It was a waterfall of tears again. A mom stranger gave me a hug to reassure me that she has melted down in McDonalds too. lol.

After we ate, Jeremy went to a corner to make some calls and figure out our plan. He rented a uhaul and trailer to bring the van home. He would drive the uhaul and Mom and I would drive the kids. We drove the 10-15 minutes to the ski shop that rented uhauls where Jeremy had just made a reservation over the phone with Uhaul national. Jeremy went up the door--IT WAS LOCKED! No lights on. They were supposed to be open for 45 more minutes. There was a number to call for after hours. Jeremy called and the guy was on his way to Pittsburgh--he would call one of his guys to see if they could come in. So we sat and waited.
A man came in a reasonable amount of time. I was not about to leave Jeremy until I knew for sure that he was set to drive home. We drove back to where we had left the van on the highway. Now we needed the van to drive up on the trailer. This was no small feat. The first try it wouldn't even move forward. The second try it was inches away fro being on, but didn't go any further.
Third time and it was on the trailer. Josiah rode with Jeremy in the uhaul truck and we were all on our way home--a 5+ hour drive.
It was a long, long 5 hours. The highlight was stopping at a rest stop and Aliza found an Alaska license plate. Did I mention that was her entertainment this trip? She isn't able to read or look down in the car for any period of time. And talking...she did a lot of talking!

But we got home at 10:30pm! Utterly exhausted, I threw everything on the kitchen floor to deal with in the morning. Jeremy still had to ride with my Mom--another 1/2 hour--to pick up his car from their house.

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