Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One heck of a story...

I had planned to jump back in with both feet once we came back from our trip, but things didn't go as we planned.  I just have to take a second, share our adventures, and then I can jump into life (and blogging) again.  So, sit back and relax and join us on a little stroll through the events of the last few days...

As you all know, we were out of town last week.  We were visiting my husband's family and we had a wonderful visit.  We stayed with my brother-in-law and his family.  4 adults and 8 kids in a townhome for a week.  It could have been a recipe for disaster, but it was just the opposite.  The entire week was great. There was no family weirdness or fighting cousins.  It was relaxing and uneventful and wonderful.  We had originally planned on coming back home on Saturday, but then my husband's other brother told us that they were planning on blessing their baby in church that Sunday, so of course we decided to postpone our trip home for a day.

We spent the week in Virginia, and the blessing was in Pennsylvania, so we woke up early on Sunday morning, loaded the kiddos and all of our gear into the car and left for PA.  After the blessing, we ate lunch with the family, and then piled back into the car for the 9-10 hour drive back home.  We left PA at around 1 pm, so we knew we were going to be getting home late, but it wasn't going to be too bad.  Hopefully the kids would sleep in the car, and everyone would get enough rest once we were home to get back to work and school without any major issues on Monday.

For a few hours all was well.  Then it started snowing.  The further west we went, the worse the snow got.  My husband was driving about 45 mph on the highway and had been for a while.  He needed a break and it was dinner time, so we decided to stop at Burger King.  (Normally we bring food in a cooler so we don't have to spend any extra money...especially on a Sunday...but we didn't this time).  My husband turned into what we thought was the entrance to BK but then we realized that it was one more entrance down.  We had to drive a little bit up the road until we found a parking lot to turn around in.  As he was turning around, the car slipped on some ice and slid into the curb.  No big deal right?  WRONG!  It broke our rim and the air in the tire immediately started whooshing out.  In less than a minute, it was completely flat.   Luckily it was in a well lit parking lot, so we were able to see while we tried to swap the flat tire for the spare.

We have a Suburban and the spare tire is mounted underneath the car.  My husband is a burly guy who has changed many tires and can fix pretty much anything.  He is no stranger to DIY projects and can figure almost anything out.  We weren't worried in the slightest that we would be able to change the tire, go get some dinner, and get back on the road fairly quickly.  WRONG!!  We messed with that spare tire for over 2 hours and couldn't get it to release from under the car.

We finally gave up and called road-side assistance.  They sent a guy who worked on it for over an hour and finally gave up.  So we called road-side assistance again and asked them to send someone else.  At this point, it was 9:30 pm and the kids were starving.  We bundled them up and walked to the Burger King so we could eat before the lobby closed at 10 pm.  The other guy wasn't going to be able to come for another hour, so we had time.

We got to the BK and ordered our food.  We only had 30 minutes, so we were trying to hurry the kids but the manager said we could stay until we finished.  Then he later asked if we were stranded.  We told him what happened and he offered to let us stay until they shut down the drive through at midnight.  He found coloring pages and crayons for the kids and gave us some extra food--for free--and let the kids run around.  He also looked up the numbers to the dealerships in the area just in case we would need them the next day.  His name is Jim and he was my hero when I really needed one.

The second guy that came to get the spare tire down worked on it for over an hour and was still not able to do it.  He finally gave up as well.  By this time is was almost midnight and we needed to figure out what we were going to do because the BK was getting ready to close.  We could walk to the nearest hotel about 1/2 a mile away in 20 degree weather (not including the wind chill) in the middle of a snow storm with 4 kids ages 2-6 years old and stay the night or we could walk to the parking lot just up the street and sleep in the car.  Either way, we had to wait until morning to have the car towed to a dealership to get it fixed.  We opted to stay the night in the car.

My husband folded the seats in the middle down and layed out the pillows and blankets we had from our trip.  The three oldest kids just slept there and they were fine.  I slept on the back bench and my husband slept on the front bench by the steering wheel with the baby laying on his chest.  Luckily we had just filled up with gas, so we had enough to leave the car running to keep us warm.  The kids were amazing and it was a pretty uneventful night for them.  My husband and I didn't sleep very well, but atleast we were all warm and safe.

We called the tow truck at about 8 am and then bundled everyone up and headed back to the Burger King for breakfast.  I ordered our food and asked the lady if we could stay while the car was getting worked on.  She said we could, so we sat down and ate our food.  Just as we were finishing up, another worker brought out kid's meal toys for each of my kids--free.  About 1/2 an hour later another worker (who was sent to go buy salt for the sidewalks) showed up with salt and coloring books and crayons for my kids--free.  She said if my kids couldn't be happy in a BK, then they were doing something wrong.  I just about cried as I thanked them for what seemed like the hundredth time.

At about 10:30 am the car was fixed and my husband came to pick us up.  By 11 we were on the road again.  We only had about 4 more hours to go and we were really looking forward to being back at home.  We hit another snow storm, so it was slow going, but we finally made it home at 6:00 pm.  I fed the kids cereal for dinner, pushed everyone through the shower, and put everyone to bed by 7:30.  All three big kids slept until 7:45 this morning and the baby slept until 10:45.  Hopefully we will be back to our normal routine by tomorrow.

So, the moral of this story?  Don't know.  All I can say is that even though it was NOT fun, through the whole experience my husband and I were very away of how much worse it could have been and how blessed we were to be happy, healthy, safe and warm.  I will also pledge unfailing allegiance to Burger King...especially the one in Brookville, PA.  :)


Jenn said...

Only you and Ben could have survived that with such a positive attitude! What an awful experience!! I bet you sure enjoyed finally getting home!

wilkinson_fam said...

You need to send this to John's superiors. BK corporate, maybe? All I can say is that I'm more likely to stop at BK now more than ever before. Bless their big, northeastern hearts.

Glad your safe and sound! Happy New Year!

Corinne said...

I am so glad you made it home safely! Thank you for staying out late with me the night before!

Jenn @ Livin' the Simple Life said...

WOW, what a story! I couldn't imagine trying to take care of the kiddos in that nasty weather and dealing with the car. I locked my keys in the trunk the other night and thought spending 3 hours in 40 degrees with the locksmith was miserable, but that's nothing compared to you guys! Your kids are such troopers :)

Glad you made it out safely!

Tiana said...

Holy snot!