Saturday, July 25, 2009

When It Rains...

It seems to me, that things only go wrong when Tim is no where in sight. He leaves, and it happens. This time, we are trying to make the trip from Prescott Valley, AZ to Podunk, NE. It's about 1100 miles. The first 200 miles were fairly uneventful. I babied the hell out of that truck, thinking that the load in the Uhaul might be a little too much. The first time, my sister was passing a semi, with a truck pulling a RV hot on our tail, and the damn thing just kinda petered out. The rpm's flatlined at 0 and a few seconds later it completely shut down. She managed to get us off the road, with Thinking it was the tranny, we sat to let it cool. Then it happened again 80 miles later. We limped it in to Albuquerque, where a friend of a friend of my mom's (yeah figure that out) was going to help us. They found a mechanic, so at the moment, we're stuck in Albuquerque. We are sitting in a dealership, waiting to hear the verdict on the burb.

So here we are. We're stranded with three kids and two dogs. My sister and I are trying to tag team them. They were nice enough to let us keep the dogs in the service bay. A perfectly good stranger offered to let us stay with her, to let us hang out at her place until we were able to get back on the road.

So I just got the news, it needs a new fuel pump. $837 dollars I just don't have. Daddy to the rescue again. I feel kind of bad for the poor guy who had to witness my meltdown in his shop. I don't do well with this kind of thing. Anyway... hopefully we'll be back on the road in about 4 hours. After they drop the fuel tank and fix it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Long Time Coming

So I've been lazy about this whole blogging thing for the past month. Or maybe just busy with life. We made it to Arizona. Settled into the outlaws, or as settled as we can be here. It's been crazy. Crazy. Crazy.

Big J spent a good deal of time with us for the 2 1/2 weeks Tim was here. So that made for 5 kids at any given time. I've also had H all summer. We had only been here for about a week when we made our very first ever 'accident' trip to the ER. Tim and I were putting together a trampoline and left my mother-in-law to watch the kids. Big huge colossal effing mistake. From the backyard, Tim and I could hear I screaming. Bloody murder, somebody is injured, screaming. We were kinda at a point where we couldn't very well stop, so Tim calls HIS mom and tells her to bring I outside to us. She brings I out, and Tim notices right away she has blood on her shirt. So we wrestle her down (at this point she forgot about her booboo and wanted to bounce-bounce) and try to locate the source. She had a small, but deep, cut to the underside of her chin. It was deep enough that the fatty tissue was poking out. I was freaking livid. I was even more freaking livid when TIM'S mother had no clue she was hurt, even though she had I's blood on her own damn shirt. Real freaking observant. Anyway, I refused to let her watch J while we went to the ER. Dropped J off with my Dad's wife, and took I to the ER. My little girl is a trooper. She did so good while they were checking her out. It took two stitches to close her chin. She cried. Tim cried. I cried. I'm pretty sure the male nurse holding her head cried. At least he was doing an awful lot of sniffling. Anyway, she cried, but she held perfectly still. Such a sweet girl. We took her back 5 days later to get the stitches out, and that was worse than getting them put in. Both times she got little bears to keep. The second time she refused to take the bear home with us. The first bear is sitting abandoned on the floor. It's the owie bear. She doesn't care for him much.

Ahhhh so much is going on. Tim left on June 16 and it's just been madness since then. 4 kids, 2 inlaws, and me. I've barely had time to think, let alone sit down and think out loud. I'm buried in mounds of dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and just dirty house it seems like. It's been a huge adjustment. A difficult adjustment. I hate it here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

15 Miles To Go

This trip was long and hard. It was absolutely insane with 6 kids. We stayed Friday night in Los Cruces, NM. Long story short, it was 1,100 miles of, "Are we there yet?" "How many more miles?" "How far have we gone?" "When will we be there?"

Yeah... fun times. It really wouldn't have been so bad, but the questions started in San Antonio, which was only about 25 miles into our trip. By Junction Texas, about 200 miles into the second half of a 2100 mile trip, I had told the kids they couldn't ask anymore location questions until after we stopped for lunch on Saturday. That actually lasted for almost 100 miles.

So anyway, we stayed Friday night in Los Cruces. The hotels pet policy said only dogs under 50 lbs and no cats. So basically we had to smuggle two 80 pound dogs and one very angry puddy tat into a hotel room, on the third floor. Saturday morning we thought we would hit the road early, but in reality, after feeding and watering 6 children, 2 dogs and the very angry puddy tat, we didn't get out of Los Cruces until closer to 9 local time. And then we hauled ass... like the devil himself was on our tail. We made Tuscon around oneish, fed children again and turned North. Things were pretty uneventful on the last day. We made it from Los Cruces to Black Canyon City with no major issues.

Then it hit. The last 20 miles or so on the interstate was a 6% mountain grade, going up roughly 4,000 feet in about 12 miles or so. The Suburban struggled with that big damn Uhaul. I thought we were in the clear when we turned off of I-17 onto Hwy 69. There was only about 20 miles to go at that point. I was feeling sorry for the ole truck and was trying to go easy on her. Temps and oil pressure were fine, but she was still pretty sluggish. Just past Mayer Arizona it happened. She just died. Engine shut down, but at least we still had power steering.

So there we were, 15 miles from the final destination, stuck on the side of the road. We think that the transmission overheated, went into 'save my own ass' mode, and just shut down. That's just a theory. Since I don't have a handy dandy trans temp guage, we aren't positive. Stuck on the side of the road with 6 kids, 2 dogs and the very angry (and plotting our deaths) puddy tat. We called Tim's dad to come get the Uhaul and we called my dad to come get animals. For the 20 minutes or so we were stuck there, only one person stopped to see if they could help... a 60ish man on a motorcycle.

Anyway, the dads showed up. Tim's dad took the Uhaul and mine took C and the animals. My poor dogs and cat weren't doing so well, being stuck in the truck with no AC. By then we were able to start the burb with no problems and made it the rest of the way into town with no problems. We haven't had a problem since then. So who knows.

So now we're here. End of trip. End of that story. If I should ever decide to take a 2100 mile roadtrip with half my life in a Uhaul behind me and all my kids/critters in the burb, remind me of all the 'fun' that we had on this trip.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


God bless Texas… with courtesy lanes, kickass barbeque, 80 mph interstate, and wide open skies. The courtesy lanes are a concept that is still slightly lost on me. What looks like a 2-lane highway with really wide shoulders, is in reality used as a 4-lane highway. Those aren’t shoulders, they are courtesy lanes. I thought the guy in front of me was just being… well courteous, when he moved off to the shoulder to let me blow by like the bat out of hell that I am. Turns out that’s the ‘thing’ to do in Texas, drive down the shoulder courtesy lane and let the speed demons go by.

The barbeque… holy hell the barbeque. We stopped at this pit barbeque in Lockhart today. When you walk in the door there is a sign that says, ‘Vegetarians enter here. Normal people go to the back.’ When you go to the back and through the doors, you are literally walking into the pit. There are a few counters with giant steel grills behind them, and then the fire pits below those. The lids on the grills are so enormous, that there were counterweights to lift them. Anyway, we ordered a pound of brisket and a few sausages. They piled this meat up on sheets of butcher paper and wrapped it up with about half a loaf of bread and a half package of crackers. We took that into the Vegetarian room where we got our sides, baked beans (with meat) and German potato salad (with meat). I suppose the vegetarians are supposed to eat the condiments. The whole experience was slightly barbaric. We tore into this pile of meat with our fingers and I think it was probably the best brisket I’ve ever had. When it comes to brisket, it’s hard to beat anything we’ve gotten in Texas. They can sure do brisket.

Yes, I know I’m jumping around a lot. We’ve just passed mile marker 398, which means we are just over half way through Texas. This state is almost half of our entire trip. It’s crazy. The good news is, on this stretch of interstate the speed limit is 80mph. Tim calls it morale speed. Considering we have 6 kids, 2 dogs and a very angry black kitty, 80mph speed limits are a Godsend. A FREAKING GODSEND! We picked up Tim’s stepson H, his brother M and sister K in Lockhart. We’re delivering the latter two to their father in Arizona. I must be freaking crazy for volunteering to do this. The questions haven’t stopped for more than 30 seconds in well over 200 miles. I’m sure there is a special place for people like me reserved at the nut hut.

Aside from all that, it really is beautiful out here. We’re about 140 miles East of Fort Stockton TX and there are clear blue skies, dry creek beds, and rolling hills for as far as the eye can see. Aside from the interstate slashing through it, it’s beautiful. It’s peaceful in the sense that so much of this land is still untouched. It’s nice to see that after living in fairly large metropolitan areas for the past 5 years.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


*Sometime this afternoon* So we’ve left Georgia behind… along with some really jacked up memories/events. But we have also left behind some good memories, and good friends. I suppose I haven’t really been myself this year. I’ve been prone to impulsiveness that isn’t like me. I’ve done some things that are totally against the very person I am and those things have left both Tim and I scarred and weary. I can’t go into detail. I’m not ready to air the dirty laundry just yet. Instead, we’re going to make this 2,100 mile trip… and leave all those things far behind us.

We’re only about 150 miles into the trip right now. It’s 1:23 p.m. CST. We got stuck behind an accident for 2 hours on the interstate. Stuck at a dead standstill. Good thing I packed something to feed the kids for lunch. Nothing moved, except us when we ventured out of the truck to walk the dogs, have a smoke, stretch, etc. And while we were sitting there, those memories and events caught up to us, which led to another awkward discussion and more tears. There have been far too many tears and way too much heartache in the last week or so.

On the flip side of that coin, we’re leaving behind some great memories. We’re leaving behind a very good friend and the area that we both fell in love with and the place we both hope to come back to some day.

*Later today* It’s been a long day. We’re well into Mississippi, only about 68 miles from the Louisiana state line, only about 3 hours behind what we had planned. We were aiming for Baton Rouge for dinner time. Instead it was fast food in Redneckville USA. The kids have had enough. They’re usually really good travelers, but after being at a standstill for 2 hours and allowed to run around the truck and play, they aren’t really into this being seat belted down business.

Anyway, Alabama was a rough state. We had too much time for reflection and discussion. It led to some difficult conversations about some hard lessons learned. It’s true what they say about hurting the ones we love the most. So far Mississippi has been an easy state with no difficult conversations. We agreed before we made it out of Alabama that Mississippi would be easier for us. We still have about 1,700 miles to go on this trip, but hopefully the worst of it was in the first couple hundred.

At the end of the day and at the end of the endless interstate, I realize that the most important person in my life is behind the wheel of this truck. Everyone and everything I need is in this truck and trailer. I’ve got my husband, my kids, and my memories. No matter the mistakes I’ve made, it’s a comforting thought to realize they are still here with me. Even though I’ve been a complete idiot, he’s still here. They are all still here. I still can’t believe that I was lucky enough to find him.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Now this is Patriotism

Somebody please buy this guy a beer... when he's old enough to drink it of course.
Embedded video from CNN Video

Friday, May 15, 2009


Growing up, my parents did foster care. Jimmy was one of those foster kids. He was the one foster kid that would ultimately break all of our hearts. I don't remember how long he was with us, but it seemed like forever. When we got him, he was a terrified little shell of a child. He was scared of everything. It didn't take too long before he came around and it was like he had always been a part of our family. Jimmy was about 10 months younger than me. I got a respite from being the baby, and he got a real family. So it was a win-win situation... at least for the two of us. He knew left from right but I didn't. I could tie my shoes but he couldn't tie his. So putting shoes on became a group effort for the two of us. He would make sure I got my shoes on the right feet and I would tie his shoes for him.

Having Jimmy around just seemed natural. I remember going with my mom to drop him off with his mom for visits. It was usually to some seedy hotel room, and Jimmy never wanted to stay. He didn't want that woman to be his mom. He wanted my parents to be his. I was okay with that. I knew that if I could share my parents with him, that meant I got to keep him too.

My parents were in the process of trying to adopt him. We hadn't planned to let him go. He wasn't going to be another foster kid through the revolving door. We wanted to keep this one!! Then one day... it was over. We lost him. His mother had complied with whatever it was she was supposed to do. She took him. She took him and moved far away from us with him. We never saw Jimmy again. He was the last foster kid my parents took in. After him, none of us wanted to see another child come in broken and abused, only to walk right back out and into the situation that got him/her there in the first place. It was just... over.

Over the years, I've tried to find him. When I was a child, I was foolish enough to hope that just maybe I would find him at school. Or maybe I would run into him at the gas station. Then as I got older, I thought I would find him on the Internet. I thought I could just type his name into some search engine, and there he would be. Now 20+ years later, I'm typing his name into Facebook. There are over 500 Jimmy Bowmans. I wouldn't recognize his face anymore. All I have to compare to, is a faded picture of a 5-6 year old little boy. That 5-6 year old little boy would have turned 28 this January. 20+ years can do a lot to a body. I'll never recognize him by a picture.

At the moment, I'm fresh out of hope again. He could be one of 500+ Jimmy Bowmans. Or he might not be one of them at all. Who's to say, he didn't get placed with another foster family later on. Another family may have been able to adopt him... change his name... give him the life he deserved. For his sake I hope that was the case. For my sake, I hope his name is still Jimmy Bowman, and that one of these days I will be able to find him. Not just for me, but for my parents, my sisters, all of us.