We never do things the easy way in our family.
Or, it seems that way.
Even when the plan seems clear and fairly straightforward, we will find a way to make it more difficult.
For example...our latest road-trip.
My big family always gets together in Texas for New Year's. We usually arrive at my sister's house a day or two before New Year's Eve and hang out and visit and play BAGGO and spike ball and put together some amazingly difficult puzzles and watch football and play UNO and Apples-to-Apples and the game where you wear a headband that has a card with a word written on it and everyone else gives you clues to help you guess the word written on the card in your headband...and EAT SO MUCH FOOD!
We always have a big family-friendly New Year's Eve party...and then we pack up and head home early on New Year's Day.
This year, we planned on leaving for Texas on Sunday, December 30. Easy enough, right? Well, it would've been easy, if we could've all left from the same place at the same time, but nooooo.
Jim needed to take our dog to stay at the "grandparent's house," and so he and Joshua headed down there on Saturday. Logan and Morgan decided they wanted to go with them because there's this big garden park in that town that has big light displays for Christmas. Logan and Morgan hadn't been there since their first year of dating, and they really wanted to go back. So that's 4 of our group staying the night at the grandparent's house.
Also, Jim thought this would be the perfect time for me to finish painting our bedroom.
Awww...isn't that so sweet? "Honey, to get out of your hair, I'll go to the lakehouse and visit with my parents and eat out for dinner and go to bed at a decent hour and sleep in a bed...and give you the time you need to climb on the ladder and stand on and move furniture and run a paint roller up and down the walls for 6 hours. You're welcome."
Now, that's not what he said...and that's not how I took it...at FIRST. But about 5 hours in when I'm the only one up and I'm doing all the work for OUR bedroom...my bad attitude and the paint fumes were making me one sad girl.
Plus, I had to sleep on the couch because of the paint smell in the bedroom...so there's that. And I'm using the word "sleep" very loosely. But I did sleep some, and I got up early and cleaned up the kitchen and straightened up the living room so that when we came back home, things would be neat and clean.
And Clark and I, we picked up Faith, and took off in my new vehicle that I had only driven once at this point, and headed to the meeting place to get the others. Easy, huh? Except that Jim had decided that he wanted to take a couple of our bikes with us down to Texas. My sister, Robin, had told him about some trails, and he was wanting to ride them one day while we were there...with either Logan or Clark.
Before he left for his parent's house, he had loaded the bikes and the bike rack onto the back of my vehicle. I was a nervous wreck with those things on the back, but I tried to keep a watch on them. All of a sudden, I noticed that one bike looked "different" than before. Eeek! I was convinced it was falling off, so I turned on my flashers, pulled off the interstate and Clark jumped out to check on the bikes.
Let that sink in...my baby...my youngest child...jumped out to check the bikes while I am STOPPED ON THE SIDE OF THE INTERSTATE.
I was so nervous. I was watching these big 18-wheelers go flying by...and, hello? I thought it was a new Arkansas state law that you move to the left lane when there's a car on the side of the road. Very few cars did. And I said to Clark's girlfriend, "I am so nervous for Clark," and there was dead silence. I turned around to face her, and SHE WAS OUT ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, TOO.
Mom of the Year.
So Clark does something with the bikes, I have no idea what...and we get back on the road. I am still all jittery about those dang bikes and all I can think of is the time the mattress fell off the trailer when we were moving Logan back to college.
Anyway, a little ways down the road, one of the bikes starts to look "funny" to me again. About that time, Faith gasps and goes, "oops! I think one just fell down."
Back off on the side of the interstate...the kids jump out and I call Jim. At this point, it would be good to know that he is a "just the facts, ma'am" type of person, and my love language is a world in which things don't fall off the back of my vehicle while I'm driving.
So here's how our conversation went:
Me: "something is wrong with the bikes."
Jim: "what do you mean?"
Me: "they are trying to fall off."
Jim: "I don't understand what you mean."
Me: "what do you think it means when someone, who has two bikes on the back of their car, says that the bikes are trying to fall off? THEY ARE TRYING TO FALL OFF."
At this point, if he had been anywhere near me, I would've used Annie Downs' book, "Speak Love," to beat the fire out of him.
I'M JUST KIDDING.
Instead, I gave the phone to Clark and he talked to his dad and did something with the bikes...and we made it to the meeting place w/o incident. Unless you count profuse sweating and heart palpitations as "incidences."
At the meeting place, we left one of our vehicles and picked up Jim and Joshua. Holly and Aaron met us there in their own car with their little dog, and Logan and Morgan jumped in with them (we can't all fit in one vehicle with all of our luggage and Holly's little dog). Jim checked the bikes and we left...and, WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, had absolutely NO TROUBLE with the bikes for the entire rest of the trip.
And between 2-3 p.m., 9 members of our family plus one half-a-dog...arrived safely in two vehicles to my sister's house.
Let the fun begin!
"Let Your unfailing love surround us..." Psalm 33:22