Vacation ’08: Day 1

Well this day was one for the books. Where do I start? From the beginning I guess.

Murphy lives in my house. He’s usually very quiet and keeps to himself. Honestly I never really pay him much attention until he decides to mess with me. Yesterday he decided to make up for all the times he’s ignored me.

First let’s start with the night before we left. We were doing laundry, getting last minute things washed for the trip. This meant the pair of jeans I was wearing. I had a hamper with just my clothes ready to go. Problem was, I had my debit card in my front pocket. Now this is nothing unusual for me. It is either in my wallet or in my pocket if I had to get gas (which I did). Normally I would take it out and put it on my dresser so I know where it is. I thought I did that but got distracted by the list of things TODO before we left. So anyway I did laundry. Wash, Dry, Fold. Till 3am. Keep in mind we were supposed to get our rental van at 8am in Sanford and hit the road from there.

Fast forward to 7am the next day… or 4 hours later. We all get up. Becky checks her email and discovers and interested party in our old double stroller on Craig’s List. Suddenly we have someone coming over at 9am to look at it. Long story short we sold the stroller. We thought WOOT God giving us a little extra cash for the trip. Awesome! But then as I was getting all my stuff together Murphy decided to visit. I couldn’t find my debit card. The hunt begins.

Looked in my car, the clothes on the floor, the washing machine, the dryer, the clothes in the dryer, the clothes I folded before the load in the dryer, under the bed, in my computer bag, my wallet, the couch, etc etc etc. No luck. The card literally went POOF and vanished.

So we thought we’ll transfer money to our joint account and use that debit card. So we go to my bank and order a new debit card and cancel my lost one just in case it fell out somewhere. Then we go to the other bank and move cash. Then it was off to the Sanford airport to get our rental van. We get there and I go to rent the vehicle. Hand over my debit card… DECLINED! WHAT!? Try it again please. DECLINED! Now it’s locked out for 24 hours for fraud protection per Thrifty Car Rental policy. Oh and they do not accept cash… ever. Great.

We drop the hamster (Hammy) off at Becky’s brother’s house. Then head home to look for the card some more and basically just try and accept that we may not be able to leave until Friday now, very disappointing. Beck’s mom calls to see where we are on our trip. We relate the events thus far and just about when we were ready to give up and go to bed for a nap, Mom comes to the rescue and gives us a blank signed check and tells us to cash it for enough money to cover the van rental. Okay off to the bank again for Beck and the girls.

As Beck returns from the bank Chad and I looked for my card again one piece of clothing at a time. Then Murphy cut me a break. There was my card! In a spot we had all looked in at least 5-6 times. Okay cool so now I have my card again, but it’s been deactivated!

So we get all in the van again and set off for my bank to reactivate my debit card. Okay that’s done then we head off to the airport again. We get there and this time Becky has to rent it using her debit card because mine is locked for fraud for 24 hours.

She waits in line behind a family of Brits with 3 kids and a houseload of luggage and no reservation. She gets to the counter and rents the van. Luckily we had called and extended our reservation, 4 times actually. Anyway she goes to get the van while the kids and I circle the airport waiting for her. She calls me and tells me the van won’t start. Great. She goes back in to ask how the heck to start the van. They tell her it’s a new ‘keyless’ key. What the…? Anyway it looks like a toy and you just stick the peg in the ignition and turn it. Okay, so she gets it started. We head to her Aunt’s house to drop off our van and transfer all our stuff to the rental for the trip.

I open our back hatch and the cooler with ice, Cokes, juices, milk and eggs dumps out, spilling all the ice out and cracking every single egg we had slated for breakfast the next morning in North Carolina. Great. We repack the cooler and figure we’ll get more ice later. We pack the rental van up, park ours and seal it up.

FINALLY! WE ARE ON THE ROAD! It is now 4pm and 10 hours of driving still to go.

The drive was great and uneventful. Then we hit Columbia, SC around 10pm. A TON of lightning in the sky. Very weird lightning. The wind started to pick up. Then small showers. Then suddenly the sky turned this weird blue/green/teal-ish light and it glowed like that for about 20 seconds. It was very freaky. Becky says’ “Well at least the rain isn’t too bad.”

Murphy had hitched a ride and was listening. Seriously, as soon as she finished the sentence it was like one of the 4 horsemen was released. The rain hit like a wall, the wind was blowing us back and forth, hail hit, lightning, etc. We actually thought maybe a tornado was moving through or something. It was just that kind of weather. We pushed on.

We made it through the storm and then about 30 minutes after that I started to nod off. I had been driving for like 8 hours on 4 hours of sleep. So it was time to turn the wheel over to Becky to finish the trip. So we switched. I immediately fell asleep. Some time later Becky stopped for gas. We fill up and head off again. But the A/C in the van wouldn’t turn on. Weird. So we turn off the van and restart it. Then the A/C works. Hrmm. Then on the dash the Change Oil message flashes. The hits just keep on coming.

We are driving and I’m in a half-sleep state. I hear Becky sighing and grunting under her breath which of course wakes me up. It is pitch black outside and she has no idea where she is. She thinks she turned right when she should have gone left. So I wake up and get her turned around and sure enough she went the wrong way. So we now finally arrive at the house… at 2am!

We do a quick unload and just throw the kids into bed. At last peace an quiet. A quick shower to rinse off the day and try to relax. Then the nap I had kicks in and I’m wide awake. So I finally dozed off around 4am again. So that is 9 hours of sleep in two days. Fun.

What a trip. Life is an adventure for sure.

Okay that was Day 1. I think Murphy had even had enough and jumped out somewhere outside Spartanburg, SC.