We had our whole day planned.
9:00 a.m. Our G3 arrive
9:45 a.m. Leave for the zoo
12-noon Picnic at the park
2-3 p.m. Play!
Our plan did not come to fruition, however.
Everyone was in the van securely buckled.
Me, three teenagers, and six children ready for an animal adventure at the zoo!
And then - the van would not start.
The ten of us exited the van, I sent the kids off with the teens to run and play in the front yard, and I called AAA.
A polite and jolly gentleman named Joseph pulled into our driveway 14 minutes later, ran a test on the battery, charged it, and said, "If you turn the motor off it will not start again. Drive straight to the dealer so they can run their own diagnostics and either charge your battery or replace it."
A Ford service center on a Monday at 10 a.m.? Seriously? With nine children in tow?
I thanked him and waved goodbye as he pulled away, and then stood in the middle of the driveway staring down the street as leaves from the trees blew through the sky like snowflakes, and thought, "You have a choice, Michelle. You can choose frustration and anger or you can choose JOY. This is not what you had planned, but it does not have to ruin the day. Choose wisely, because everyone else will follow your lead."
I took a deeeeeep breath, grabbed all of our loot, and piled everyone back into the van.
We pulled into the service center at the dealership, were kindly greeted by Victor, who took care of us immediately (and raised his eyebrows while eyeing the crowd in the back when I said I would wait for the van to be serviced), and then we poured out of the vehicle once again to invade the service center restroom and diminish their hot cocoa supply.
When we walked outside I spotted the Ford logo - and laughed. This was not the way I envisioned our day, but we could still make it fun!
I would have taken photos to chronicle our zoo adventure, so I decided to do the same for our "alternate adventure." Lions and bears or jumper cables and batteries - both are memories!
We walked half a mile to the cinema center nearby. Apparently, a group of ten walking humans draws the attention of drivers, which ended up serving us well since we had to use two major crosswalks each direction between the dealership and the theater.
The theater and most of the restaurants were not yet open, so I let the kids run and scream and play in the wide open spaces. They LOVED it!
We didn't know if we had a 45-minute wait or a 2-hour wait, so I needed a plan. Caleb checked the movie listings and lo and behold, the animated Christmas story was playing within the hour.
We ate lunch at a sandwich shop, crossed over to the cinema, and settled in for a delightful Christmas movie about the birth of our Lord. All of the little kids sat perfectly still without a sound the entire length of the movie and laughed in all the right places.
It was the best way to spend our 90 minutes of waiting!
30 minutes into the movie, Micah snuck up behind me to tell me that upon arriving at our house, Luke sent him a text which read, "Hey - you forgot to put the hockey net away when we left, so someone took it. They thought it was left on the street for 'free.'"
Like salt - in - the - wound.
I shook my head, and thanked the Lord for the gift of grace.
And then - all was made right when we returned to retrieve the van and the clerk at the service desk uttered some of the most beautiful words in the English language,
"The repair was under warranty."