You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. ~Author Unknown
We were scheduled to make one more stop on this trip...Thursday through Saturday at Carrolwinds, an amusement/water park on the Carolina borders.
On Wednesday I looked over at Hondo and said "baby take me home or lose me forever". At that point I had been gone from home 2 weeks...my back was breaking from the bad beds and sharing with the girls....I did not want to eat out another meal EVER...the close proximity of 6 children was beginning to make me stir crazy...and I missed my 4 legged friends.
We decided that we did not have to make a rushed trip home. Time was on our side...
I saw several bill boards on the way home announcing an outlet mall...you all know Mama likes to shop so I convinced Hondo that it would be a great idea if we stopped and let the kids stretch their legs, and then fed them so that we would not have to cook when we got home (yes girls he fell for it).
Now I have to make a little side note....Aunt Susan had given me about 12 magazines for the ride home...which I put on the floor board along with the stars that I had bought...my purse...2 pillows and a blanket. I proceeded to shove everything that I bought into the floor board...hey I can ride for a few hours with my feet on the dashboard.
So shopping was complete...2 new golf shirts and a pair of shoes...next stop Longhorns.
You can imagine the look on every ones face when we exited Longhorns to find the Expedition literally sitting on the tires. The auto air system that keeps the car level with air bladders...a must when packing for 8 people and 2 weeks...was not working and the car was sitting so low you almost could not see the tires.
We all walked around it...bounced on the bumper...scratched our heads...and tried to come up with a solution. When none was to be found Hondo walked across the highway to a truck stop and I did what every red-blooded woman does...I opened the glove box and read the manual.
Step 1 - find switch for auto leveler- under passenger's seat
Step 2 - make sure switch is on - remove 12 magazines, 1 pair of shoes, a bag of stars, a purse, 2 bottles of cranberry juice and pillows and blankets
Step 3 - use words your kids have never heard because you realize you have to tell your husband that all your crap (his word not mine) caused the switch to be pushed to the off position
Step 4 - call husband and tell him he can walk across 8 lane highway, you have it all figured out
Step 5 - send Noah to Waffle house for some sweet tea because it is hot outside
Step 6 - turn switch back on
Step 7 - watch as nothing happens
Step 8 - Call Ford place and talk to "Steve" a salesman who doesn't know diddly except that the service department closed 15 minutes ago
Step 9 - turn switch on and off 50 times thinking that it will begin to fill the air bladders
Step 10 - unload everything onto the sidewalk at Longhorns - maybe they will fill back up if there is not as much weight on the bladders
Step 11 - watch as nothing happens
Step 12 - up your game on the amount of cuss words that can be placed in one sentence
Step 13 - Unpack cards it feels as if we are going to be here a while
Step 14 - Remember that you have a magazine to read
Step 15 - Send Nick to drive the car in circles around the parking lot- the manual states that occasionally in order to reset the switch you must first get to a speed of 15 miles per hour
Step 16 - Yell at Noah ...who decided this was the perfect time to tell someone who stopped to offer assistance that our car had been stolen...thankfully my bat ears kicked in and I stopped them before they hit send...911 showing up may have pushed Hondo over the edge.
Step 17 - take out camera and ask every one to pose because this is SO a blog post
So here we sit...all of our stuff on the sidewalk at Longhorns in Commerce GA (did I forget to mention we were only 2 hours from home)...Nick driving around in circles...in 100 degree weather...
Several men stopped by to help...everyone with another suggestion...all of which did NOTHING to fill the bladders. One couple who stopped, Anita and her boyfriend (sorry old buddy can not remember your name)....had a friend that worked for Ford...he offered to look at it the next morning...they loaded our stuff in the back of their truck...took us to a hotel...and even came back the next morning at 730 to show us where the dealership was, and to make sure Hondo got there safe. Good things happen to people like that, karma baby karma.
Apparently when I hit the button to the off position, the air bladders emptied while we ate. When it deflated to its lowest position it pinched the hose and pulled off the coupling that held it on. Of course they were quick not to point a finger at me...I think they took pity on me...only saying that sure that "MIGHT" have been how it happened.
So we re-loaded the car, again, and finally made it back to good ole Villa Rica...exhausted, sore and with plenty of memories of a trip that will live in the Caplinger archives forever.
It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.