Yesterday, I had a plan.
It was a tightly woven, rather intricate plan that covered a variety of bases in a way that made sense and was as efficient as it could be. It went something like this:
10:30 drive 1.5 hours to farm to pick up our processed cow
12:00 drive 1.5 hours back home
1:30 sort and put away beef; friends will swing by and pick up their share of the beef after the later Mass
2:00 grill out, etc
3:30 take naps as needed while 1/4 cow remains in cooler
6:30 head over to dave’s mom’s and drop off her 1/4 of the cow and we will hang out with some old friends who are in town
If that had been what happened, it might have been blog worthy all on its own, because that’s a pretty packed day. (Albeit a bit boring.) But we don’t really do boring around here, so this is how it went down.
10:30 leave for farm
So far so good. Dave and I were very much looking forward to a mini-road trip. We enjoy driving together. Despite having six children, we still really like each other, and road trips are a great way to have a conversation while the kids are strapped down somewhere safely. (Wish we could do that at home, but are afraid of certain authorities finding out. At least in automobiles it’s still legal.)
Our conversation veered toward the topic of how busy we were and the work that needed to be done on my van before we took a real road trip soon. My turn signal had been out for a while and it has to do with the wiring. I had 2 flat tires in July (one rear tire, then the other) and after the second time, hadn’t had a chance to replace the second blown tire and was still driving on the spare, because it had been such a hassle last time taking all the kids to the tire shop. The van itself is 25 years old, and we reckon the tires were too. We decided we should just replace all four tires and the spare and were discussing when we could fit that in, seeing how our weekends had been booked the entire summer and how they would continue to be booked for the foreseeable future.
As we’re talking about the tires, I hear an all-too familiar noise.
“Honey, what is that? Is it just the road?”
“I think the tires may be out of bal-”
A third blown tire – this one the spare that was still on from last time.
So we are sitting on the side of the highway an hour from home with no spare (funny, the one time I had my husband with me who knows how to change a tire). I immediately called for roadside assistance and discovered that we were a mere 2 miles from a Wal Mart whose tire center was open and which HAD our tire in stock. (They hadn’t had it at the tire place last time, and had to order it!) When we got to Wal Mart (about forty minutes, a tow truck and a car service later) we were the only ones needing service at the tire center, and they actually had four of my tires in stock.
While we were waiting, Estella, who’s been taking one step lately before sitting down or grabbing onto something, took two consecutive steps in the waiting area. (At Wal Mart? Really?) She is 12 months and 3 weeks old.
About an hour and a half later, we were finally back on our way. Out of habit, Dave depressed the turn signal as he changed lanes. We were both startled by the clicking noise – it suddenly worked again! Dave commented that it seemed to be God’s calling card… He had heard us talking about how we had no time for fixing our van on our time (and we never would have taken a Lord’s Day to take care of this kind of business) and He gave us a very pointed gift by saying, “I can provide for you – even extra time. Go ahead, do this on Sunday.” What Providence. We are quite thankful.
By now it was already 1:30 and we had to rearrange our whole day. We made it to the farm and were able to meet our friendly beef farmers, hear about their intricate process of breeding the cows for meat, see some of the farm (and their tree house), meet their children and hear how they met. Then, as the men were loading the meat from the freezer to the van, Estella took five more consecutive steps on the tile floor of the barn. She was quite pleased with her new trick as her siblings never fail to hoot and holler at her every accomplishment.
Then it was back in the van, but instead of going home, we went to deliver to friends who were getting 1/4 (as they’d already been home from Mass quite a while). This meant unloading the entire cow into their house and laying it all out by cut and dividing this into fourths and then re-boxing it for the 3/4 that were coming with us. It was quite a task, to be sure. Then we decided we should just drop the other 1/4 over at his mom’s rather than going home first, so we did that out of order as well. Finally, we arrived home about 5:30pm. We had enough time to unload the food, arrange it amongst 2 freezers, and load the dishwasher before leaving again about 7:15 to go visit those friends at Dave’s mom’s house, where Estella continued practicing her walking.
And we all came home a few hours later and had a good night’s rest. The end.