I’m baaaaack!! Did you miss me? Oh did I miss you!!! I missed this little corner of the WWW that I call home. This is my home no matter where I go, I have come to the conclusion that Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress is my (steady) home, and that’s because of you. It’s nice to unpack, get comfy, and have my friends (family) greet me. So, grab your PSL or tea or whatever you’re having 😉 I’ve got a story to tell you.
(If you didn’t know.. I took a road trip across America with three kids, a dog, and my sanity. We relocated from South Carolina to Washington state. This cross country trip has had a HUGE impact on my family and I for sure. Not all who wander are lost- J.R.R Tolkien)
It should have been a sign when we woke up late that morning that things were not going to go smoothly, but it didn’t alarm me. Instead I was quite chill, I was trying to keep the calm among the tribe. Once we were all ready we packed the rest of our random items into the Expedition and said goodbye to our home of less than TWO YEARS.
We couldn’t just roll off into our new chapter that would’ve been too easy, we still had to get a lock for our U-haul. We stopped at the closest store, a Wal-Mart, where I found the most fabulous slippers (sarcasm… they’re hideous) for our journey. 😀 Now, this should have been a sign that things were going to be rough: I got a paper cut opening the packaging of the lock. Ummm… paper cuts go right up there with stubbing your toes, nails on a chalkboard, and falling down in front of your crush, in my opinion anyway. I took my paper cut in stride because I knew coffee would be in the near future, but it hurt!
We were making wonderful timing, we thought we would make it to Illinois by 9 or 10 pm. I cannot really explain to you how excited we were. Each state we entered was like a New Year’s Eve countdown to a new beginning, but in our case it was countdown to our old home. All of my babies were born in Illinois, we lived in Illinois before we lived in South Carolina for 8+ years.
(Naperville Il. 2013… I think 🙂 )
When we got to Indiana I am not sure how to explain the thrill of being so close to home came over my family. Perhaps, I could compare it to someone who was anxiously blowing air to fill a ballon in some sort of balloon race. Sadly, that balloon popped. 🙁
After having a Culver’s burger (in what felt like forever), we got back on the road, and that’s where we were given a detour route. There’s two ways to look at the detour route: it was the scariest route or it was the best route ever. If you ask me I would say both.
Detour in Indiana
While on the detour our truck started bouncing, we thought it must be the U-Haul, so my husband checked on the U-hual, it was fine. We got back in the truck, and mind you it’s pitch black, and we’re now in Nowheresville, Indiana. There are barely any streetlights on the detour path and our truck keeps bouncing!! My husband is baffled, as am I. Perhaps it was the roads, they didn’t look the best, but just in case we decided to slow down. I told my husband to slow down and throw on the hazards, it works! The bouncing seemed to lessen and I guess my husband thought we were in the clear, so he accelerated a bit more and that’s when it happened… our Nelly turned on us.
My truck took us to the other side of the road slamming us into a guardrail. It was fast, but I can remember it perfectly looking around and throwing a pillow over my face before impact. Our airbags didn’t go off, but it was okay, because we didn’t need them, thankfully. The kids were crying, I could see them clinching onto each other, nobody was hurt. The shitty part about this, besides the accident of course, is that there was a car coming in that direction, it saw us slam into the guardrail and the people in that car didn’t even stop to check on us. It was dark. We were alone. We had our babies and the furry one too, it would have been nice if they would have stopped. I would have stopped.
My husband and I got out of the truck to assess the damage, it was pretty bad, but the truck seemed to be drivable. My husband wanted to move the truck out of oncoming traffic, so he unhitched our U-Hual and decided to move the truck.
Let’s pause here. When I went to Driver’s Ed I remember being told DON’T MOVE YOUR VEHICLE FROM THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT. Did you learn that too? I told my husband I was quite sure we shouldn’t move our truck, but he had a point, we were in the way of traffic… I guess.
He started to move the truck and we were thrown to the other side of the road but this time NO GUARDRAIL. Our truck is now tilting on a hill and we’re freaking out! The kids were crying, after they had just calmed down, but this cry is harder and we are trying to keep them as calm as we can. It was pitch black, we were hoping that our truck would hang on tight to the road and the hill. I grabbed the kids and the dog and we ran down the hill. I had no idea what was on the other side of that hill or what lived in that brush on that country road, but I was terribly happy to be alive with my family on the other side.
My husband thought he should move the SUV, he was afraid it was going to flip, but we couldn’t let him. The kids and I started screaming for him not to do it. The kids cries that night will never ever leave me. The dark cool night in the brush with the howls of my children fearing for my husband’s life is permanently stapled to my brain. Sheer fear. He heard our cries! “Don’t worry, I’m not going to move it.” Best words of the night! He ran down the hill in his roadside safety vest; that reunion was just as good as the time I greeted him in the gym when he came home from war. Our little family huddled up in a ditch on the side of the road.
Thank goodness for good samaritans.
A trucker saw us, he got out of his truck with his flashlight and came over to us asking if everyone was okay. My husband ran up the hill to talk to him; at this point my husband was already on his cellphone with 911. The gentleman was able to give them our location. He was nice guy from Texas 🙂 he offered all of us tea, he called the people who left before jerks. His words, “I hate jerks like that.” He said that after I thanked him profusely for stopping and helping, because the other people hadn’t. He took his flashlight out and looked under our SUV giving himself some distance from the truck, and said he thought it was our axle arm. Once the Police and the 1st tow truck arrived the nice gentleman left.
(Side note: I’m quite sure good things will happen for this kindhearted soul. Image found on Pinterest)
The Police officer was going to take the littles and I to the hotel, my husband and my older daughter would show up later once they towed my SUV and U-hual, but thankfully another tow truck came, therefore we were able to all leave at the same time, but in different tow trucks. We broke both axle arms, front and back. The closest hotel was a burg over in a bigger burg (town), but not much bigger, it was still probably smaller than my high school graduating class. We stayed at a Hotel 8.
We thought we were trapped at the Hotel 8. Our belongings along with our truck were towed away the night before, we had no way of getting to them. The city we were in had no public transportation of any sort, so we had to find a way to get out to our things- HALLELUJAH for the internet! We are also thankful for having a wonderful insurance company, they were willing to pay for a rental, we just had to find it. It’s hard to find a rental for five people, a dog, and a U-Haul. Just to let you know, most places won’t allow dogs…. but whatever. The biggest issue for us was our U-Haul. Nobody let’s you pull a U-Haul!!! We had to think outside of the box, be creative, and we had to find a place that was somewhat willing for us to be creative. We found a place BUUUUT it was 30 minutes away. Thankfully, they were willing to pick up my husband.
While he was at the rental company I was trying to keep it together. The hotel staff kept asking me questions as I waited in the lobby with the kids and our belongings. They weren’t being rude, they were totally being sweet and thoughtful, which for some reason makes me want to cry. I was trying my hardest not to cry in front of the kids. I didn’t want them to see how shaken up I was, but they’d see that later on. W’ell get to that, but not today. I think I’ll stop here.
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