Friday, April 19, 2013

A Most Unusual Birthday

April 19 2013 birthday

Note:  If you are getting what looks like a place for a video on your browser, don’t bother trying to watch it.  So far, there have been no videos posted to my blog. I have no idea why it appears.

Memories of Dad: I was seven years old and for Christmas, my father gave me a camera—a grey and black mostly plastic Diana camera that took 120 film. It was the first time I ever wept with joy.  Not long after that, he took me to the nation’s capitol and I took a picture of the Washington Monument mirrored perfectly in the reflecting pool, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a very good picture and I thought I might actually have talent.  My father gave me the gift of photography, a gift more precious to me than I can say.    

The Universe seems determined to make me practice the act of choosing faith over fear—by constantly throwing fear-stuff at me. 

We spent the night in Scott County Park, but it was terribly windy and cold.  The RV bucked and rocked and I heard noises all night that sounded like something flapping or tearing off, but when I went outside to look, I could find nothing. Even with two space heaters, it was quite chilly outside of the bed (which has one large man, two cats, and plenty of quilts and blankets to keep me warm).

Still grey and miserable this morning, only windier and now it was snowing.  Snowing!  On my birthday!  My birthday is supposed to be quintessential spring weather, light-jacket weather, with hyacinths in bloom and trees budding out and birdsong.  This cannot really be MY birthday, can it? 

Very depressing and with the weight of the grief over my father’s death laying heavy upon my spirit, I found it hard to rally my inner resources. 

We called the Baymont, where we planned on spending the weekend—the best price in town, and it is going to be way too cold tonight and tomorrow night to sleep in the RV.  The Baymont said our room was ready and we could check in any time.  This was at 9 AM.  Thrilled, we disconnected, battened, and pulled out as quickly as we could.  The wind on the roadways was awful, gusting and pushing both vehicles around in their lane (the Eddie Bauer Explorer and the Honey Bee). But the RV started and ran so we were happy.  We only had about six miles to go. 

As we approached Eldridge on Highway 61, Rick called me and said he had lost power in the Honey.  He pulled over onto the shoulder only about ¼ mile from the Eldridge exit.  I turned around at Eldridge, went back to the Parkview exit and headed back south to pick Rick up.

We went drive into town and checked with Automotive Central, who remembered us from last week.  Dee (office manager) assured me they could get to the repairs today.  We just had to get the RV to her. Once again, we called AAA.

And once again, we waited hours for the tow truck to arrive.  After grabbing breakfast/lunch at Hardee’s we returned to the RV, not wanting to leave it unattended for long. We waited until nearly 1:30 PM for the truck to arrive.

The wicked wind rocked us and the RV relentlessly.  The shoulder on 61 is sort of narrow and I was constantly fearful of the trucks and other traffic speeding past us.  My anxiety grew with every gust.  At one point, I returned to the RV to use the bathroom and the buffeting it took while I was there escalated my anxiety to outright fear.  The wind literally cried aloud as it moved in around the door frame. And as is nearly always the case, anger followed close on fear’s heels.  I hate to feel afraid like that, afraid and helpless.  It ticks me off.

To add to the stress, I was desperately worried about finances.  I had no idea how we were going to pay for the repairs.  I had no idea where we were going to go Sunday night, nor where the money for gas or food or anything else was going to come from. (As a wise man once responded to this issue:  “It will come from wherever it is at the moment.”)

I got back to the car, crying, sad, frustrated, cold, scared and truly pissed.  I sobbed and ranted and yelled at the idiots who were supposed to be helping and yelled at the Universe and then just gave in to complete grief and a vast sense of defeat. 

“Maybe we should give up on this,” Rick said. 

“No,” I told him.  “I’m not going to quit just because I’m scared.  I’m an Aries, I’m brave.  And being brave means doing it even if you’re scared.” 

One moment of complete surrender and sorrow, followed swiftly by the determination to keep going.  Sometimes I wonder where it comes from, this courage.  At other times, I know—it comes from the Divine Source.

Another hour later and the tow truck finally showed up, after numerous calls where we were assured he was “on his way” and would be there in “ten minutes.”  At last we got back to the shop.  Rick tried the engine and it turned over right away.  Of course.

But by the time we got everything checked in, the Honey refused to start (for the first time in the company of a mechanic).  Yay!  That was what we needed. 

After moving things we would need at the motel into the Explorer, we checked into the Baymont.  Dee called and told us what was wrong with the Honey Bee and said it could be fixed today.  Another yay!

Rick went out to purchase sodas and a few minutes later called me.

“How would you like to have a hot dinner from Cracker Barrel?”

“How are we going to afford that?” I asked.

“Oh, I found some money while I was out.”

“How much? Where did you get it?”


Rick had called our credit union and arranged for a small, short term loan.  Or, as he puts it, “pulled another rabbit out of my ass.”  It was enough to cover repairs and dinner and then some.

Rick has just returned from picking up the RV, and we are settling into our room with a hot meal from Cracker Barrel and a cat on each bed.

“Happy birthday, baby!” Rick says, grinning triumphantly.  Happy birthday indeed. 

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