(Guest Post by the lovely Melissa Gafford of yesterday’s adventures…)
You know those kind of days when you crawl into bed at night, reflecting on the last 24 hours and you think to yourself, “Huh; that didn’t go at ALL like I planned.” Yep; that was today and the start to our 10th anniversary trip to Chicago.
While the plan may have been rather last-minute, it was in fact a plan. Reservations had been made through Priceline, tickets were waiting for us at will-call for “Beauty and the Beast”, and arrangements had been made for Mom and Dad Gafford to meet us at the Ikea in Schaumburg to take Addison and Allie back to Indiana where we would meet them in a couple of days. Our first time leaving Addison for the night, but a fun opportunity to celebrate our decade of wedded bliss in one of our favorite cities.
I was driving the Outlook so David could be working from the passenger seat. Addison was happily watching “Finding Nemo” in the back seat for her 31st, 32nd, and 33rd time (it’s her favorite) and Allie was snoozing along in her crate. All was well and then the “change oil soon” message lit up on our dashboard. “Ok, no problem,” we thought. We can take care of that while we’re in Indiana. Over time though we began to notice our temperature gauge spiking and grew concerned. Fortunately we were pretty close to our meeting place so we pressed on. David called Dad and he was pretty confident that we could make it.
Once Mom and Dad arrived, we popped the hood and discovered that the radiator lacked any coolant. Dad made a quick trip over to Wal-mart and picked up 2 gallons. We poured it into the radiator reservoir but couldn’t get it to circulate into the radiator. Getting to the radiator cap turned out to be more complicated and time consuming than we would have liked. Meanwhile Mom and I had Addison playing with toys in the kids department in Ikea, and Allie was tethered to a nearby tree while David & Dad worked. All the while, our window of time that we’d allowed to get downtown, checked into our hotel, and eat dinner before the show was quickly diminishing.
About 90 minutes before the show was to begin, we thought we’d finally fixed the problem and proceeded to change to our “evening wear” in the back of the Outlook at the edge of the Ikea parking lot. Just as Mom and Dad were beginning to pull away, Dad noticed that the radiator appeared to have a very significant leak. How were we ever going to make it downtown in time?!? Mom and Dad followed us to a nearby dealership whose service garage had closed just 5 minutes previously. Fortunately we were still greeted by a very kind employee named Allen that was on his way to his car and he was able to quickly get the Outlook checked in and ready for service first thing tomorrow morning. We frantically transferred all of our bags over to Mom and Dad’s van and booked it to try to make it downtown in time.
Of course there was traffic along the way. When is there NOT traffic around Chicago? We watched the clock tick on and really couldn’t see how this was ever going to work out. Then, I kid you not, I looked over to Addison with folded hands who said clear as a bell, “Daddy pray”. So we did. We prayed for a miracle.
By the grace of God, we pulled up to the theater at 7:27 where we jumped out of Mom and Dad’s van at a red light, literally ran to will call to collect our tickets and were in our seats (after crawling over about 10 people to get to our seats in the exact center of our row) with about 20 seconds to spare before the show began. We were so frantic we were shaking and all we could do was laugh at the absurdity of it all.
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad continued to our hotel where Mom fought to be able to check in on our behalf and leave our luggage in our room for us so they could finally hit the road back to Indiana. When we finally got to the hotel a couple of hours later, we were scolded and shamed by the dude at the front desk for not having Mom’s name on our reservation with us. He just didn’t get it no matter how we tried explaining the circumstances.
Now here we sit having finally eaten dinner at the 24 hour Dunkin’ Donuts down the road, the only food place we could find that was still open. No, today didn’t go quite as we planned. We HAD plans for tomorrow too, though I have a feeling tomorrow won’t quite look how we expected it to either. We really have no idea what tomorrow will look like. Our car is in Schaumburg and we’re downtown Chicago without it. Will the car be fixed in time for us to pick it up tomorrow and carry out the rest of our plans, or will we be renting a car and figuring out a plan B. Only the Lord knows and we’re trying really hard to just enjoy this very nice hotel room and not worry about it.
We do know one thing for certain. We will always remember our 10th anniversary get-away and the “adventure” that came with it!
And finally, I’ll leave you with this little visual image: In the flurry of changing in the back of the Outlook, David and I both forgot to change our shoes. You should have seen me rocking the little black dress with my “matching” Crocs.