Archive for January 15, 2011

Swiped from the 'net .. there was no sun!!


So honestly, after crashing in a more then toasty Consuela while a blizzard raged around us I didn’t feel like going anywhere. I would have been MORE then happy to just spend the rest of my life parked in that rest stop!

Alas, it was not to be!

Fortunately, and thanks can only be given to God, I hadn’t lost cell service so we were able to call the kids back home and check in on them and the dogs. That was a huge relief for us.

Also, honestly, I did wake up a few times but went right back to sleep because I didn’t want to move!!

Can you blame me?

But at 5am, Chief woke me up by yelling IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK .. WE GOT TO GET MOVING!!


But I woke up and we got situated. Thanks to God only again because Consuela started right up. She was getting better as she moved along just like Chief said she would. He still didn’t have heat .. or defrosters and the thought of possibly running the heater we had brought with us while he drove went kaput because the cigarette lighter in the dash didn’t work.. but that wasn’t going to stop him.

Driving INTO daylight instead of night time was a huge advantage too because at least there was the chance of sun and warmth.

So we leave the comfort of the rest stop and start the three hour drive.

You know, we’ve been doing so much driving since November that three hours doesn’t seem like very long. And truthfully, it isn’t.. except the WHOLE weekend was long and arduous and then you have to remember that we still had to drive 8 hours BACK.

Anyway.. so we get on the highway and I have to hand it to PennDot. The road was clear. Dark, but clear.

We pull off at the first exit because we needed to buy wiper fluid :: Chief had told me he had put the rest of the bottle in the car before we left on Friday :: and we decided to put another 50.00 bucks of gas in Consuela and to top off the wagon. The way he figured it, Consuela would have just enough gas to get to West Virginia. We were leaving her there anyway so it didn’t matter if her tank was empty.

Our plan was to drive straight through to the property.

NOTE: Did I even mention that here? Ok.. in our desperate attempt to find some place to live and coming up empty, I found an ad on Craigslist for a double lot of land for 3900.00. The owner of the land was willing to take 100.00 payments monthly for it. He had had to relocate to Florida for his job and having this piece of property for 20 some odd years wanted to sell it. It’s called a Land Contract. The only thing is that he never built anything on it so it would have to be cleared. There were sewer and water lines so we wouldn’t have to dig a well or a septic tank but still needed to be hands on in order to put the mobile home we bought on it. In speaking to the assistant Mayor, we found out that the village had changed it’s ordinance and a foundation was going to have to be laid. That was adding more complications and adding more time to a situation that wasn’t the best to begin with. So the plan was to drive Consuela down there.. leave her on the property so that when we went down to lay the foundation, we would have someplace to eat, sleep and have a bathroom at our disposal. That’s how the whole plan to move to West Virginia came about… completely by chance and Craigslist.

Ok.. so we get everything we needed to get at the gas station and get back on the highway.

I felt better about driving.. maybe it was because we had slept for almost 12 hours or maybe it was because I knew it was going to get light out instead of visa-versa or maybe because I had spent every waking moment praying. And I continued to pray out loud, in the car. It’s funny because Chief tells me I talk alot.. A LOT .. and after a while he says all he hears is blah blah blah .. I can imagine that God felt the same way!! LoL!

About an hour into the drive.. maybe less.. I notice sparkly things in the road and I remember thinking, “.. wow, the salt sparkles like diamonds.”

What can I say.. I have no excuse.

Because it wasn’t salt crystals.. it was snow. We were driving into yet another snow storm.  And trust me, it was just as bad as all the other ones.. and the trucks spraying salt was just as bad as it had been before and I was JUST. SO. OVER. IT. .. but I took deep breaths.. calmed myself.. prayed some more and kept an eye in the rear view mirror for Consuela’s head lights.

At 6am, I was looking for the sunrise.

At 6:30, I was looking for the sunrise.


And finally, it came.. we had finally gotten off of Rt 80W and started travelling south. I don’t remember what the highway number was.. but we were heading south  and that was the important thing.. that and it stopped snowing.

There was only one little snafu .. when the TomTom (who wasn’t trying to kill us this time) notified me that we had to get off the highway, I put my blinker on well in advance so that Chief new what we were doing. It was one of those A .. B .. exits. We had to get off at B but he didn’t know that.. so when the exit came up ( the A exit ) and I went past it, he thought I blew the exit so he lingered on the right.. I was frantically waving for him to follow me and eventually he moved over. He didn’t see me, of course, nor did he hear me screaming No! No! No! but with thanks to God, we avoided a disaster.

And finally.. finally.. finally we saw the sign we’ve been waiting to see:

Welcome to West Virginia.

At that point, we only had about 35 miles to go and I so wished that we were together in the same car when we crossed the state line.

I stared using my fingers to let him know how many miles we had left to go and I was getting anxious to finally get to see where our new home was going to be.

Time seems to move slower the closer you get to your destination and I was trying to take it all in at the same time.

Initially when I tried to enter the street name into the TomTom, it didn’t recognize it because let’s face it.. this is a village with a population of 591. I’m sure most things there aren’t on a map but we had looked at the land and it’s surrounding areas so many times on Google Earth that I felt confident that if we just stayed on the road we were on, we would find it. I was just praying that Consuela had enough gas. She did.

Anyway.. this is where it’s going to get hard. At least for me. So many times we build things up in our minds and then reality doesn’t quite measure up to it.

I call it “tugging on the balloon string”.

There’s a little town right to the north of where we had the land and there were fast food places and dollar stores and pizza joints. Not what I was expecting but actually kind of a little glad that these kinds of places were really within a stone’s throw. We past through there and continued down the road and I started keeping an eye out for street signs. It was only around 9am on a Sunday so traffic was really light but I still had to be conscience of Consuela stopping.

And then I found our street.

And I wanted to cry. I still want to cry. I’m starting to cry.

Nothing any where near what I was expecting.. or even hoping.

These two lots were on the side of a freaking mountain. I mean.. literally. Oh, there were houses there.. people lived there.. but everything is vertical. And narrow.

Ok.. let me see if I get can the picture across this way.

Imagine a horse shoe. Now tilt that horse show to a 45 degree angle. That’s how steep the street was.

I turned the car up the street thinking that there was no way in HELL that we were going to be able to get Consuela up there. I had a hard time getting up there.. and when I did, it was just CONGESTED with houses. Anywhere someone could build a house they did.. in fact, it kind of reminded me of mountain goats perched on ledges. And worse, it almost has the feel of .. well.. a ghetto. Kinda.

I don’t know.. it was just the last thing I expected, I guess, so the disappointed was ripe.

So I follow the road around back to the bottom where the highway was and expected to see Chief and Consuela .. but I didn’t see them. Thinking that maybe he went down the highway a little to turn her around, I pulled over across the highway onto this little piece of ground and waited. Didn’t see him.

Now I started to panic. Of all the times I could have lost him, NOW I LOSE HIM??

So I pull onto the highway and head back toward our street (I’m going to start calling it our hill) thinking that maybe he went back the other way. This jerk was right on my bumper when I pulled out so I couldn’t turn up our hill but was able to pull over at the base of the another street. Looking behind me to back out, I see Chief and Consuela pulling into the same piece of ground I had just been at.

I drive over there and pull up in front of her and Chief gets in the car shivering like you wouldn’t believe. He started putting the heater on high and trying to warm himself up.. I mean, I had never seen anything like that before in my life. He just couldn’t stop shaking and he literally couldn’t even talk.

Once the warmth got to him, he started to settle down and we took another ride up our hill to see this property. I told him I didn’t know how the heck we were going to get a double wide up there.. he said it wouldn’t be a problem. The neighbor’s swimming pool..well, that might be a problem.

Because it looked like the neighbors had erected a really, really nice above ground swimming pool right on our land.

Talk about getting off on the right foot with the neighbors, huh?

Excuse me, yea.. we’re you’re new neighbors.. you need to take down that really, really nice pool you got there.

If I didn’t have an ulcer yet, I certainly started to get one now. Especially because my balloon string was not only pulled down but cut off. I wasn’t enjoying this.

We called the guy who we’re paying for this land and told him what was going on. He’s all aces this guy.. he was a little perplexed but felt terrible and was going to do all that he could do to find out anything he could. He deemed this his responsibility and didn’t want us putting bad tastes in people’s mouths the same way we didn’t.

So after being there for about, oh, an hour? There was nothing else to do but basically turn around and drive home. We left Consuela parked on that piece of ground across from our hill .. locked her all up and headed back home. I would have liked to maybe drive around the area and perhaps attend church services  but we only had 25.00 left in cash and I knew I was going to have to put gas in the wagon. I was only hoping that the half tank we were left with when we got to WV plus the cash that I had would be enough to get us the close to 400 miles home.

I didn’t think so and it was weighing on my mind heavily.

We set the Tom Tom to avoid the toll road so the route led us through West Virginia.. into a little piece of south western Pennsylvania.. back into West Virginia and then through Maryland.. where we hit even MORE snow.. and last,  into south eastern PA.

But the snow didn’t matter because Chief was with me.

I was at a quarter tank of gas when we first got into western Maryland and so I pulled over. I had a decision to make. And it was one that I knew was going to carry a heavy price.

There was 2.00 left on my debit card (by my calculation).. if I ran it through the gas pump as credit, and it worked.. I could get a full tank of gas out it it. It was going to cost me a 35.00 over draft fee but I really didn’t think that the 25.00 cash was going to be enough.

So I tried it.. and thanks can only go to God because the transaction went through and I was able to full the tank and remove the anxiety. Believe me.. it was a HUGE relief.

And as exhausted as we were .. we really enjoyed the ride back. He said to me that with all the craziness that we had gone through, we needed this. We needed to get out and away from everything because he realized that we haven’t been connecting. We go into the bedroom and he’s on his laptop and I’m on mine and this weekend just brought us together.

We talked about how depressing the area the property is in was.. and how neither of us was to amped with having other houses right on top of us. OR the power plant across the road. That was another thing. We were both a little shocked .. a little disappointed and thought that maybe we should rethink this whole thing.

When we finally got back to the house, we left the car to be unloaded for later and threw a quick dinner together for the kids. I called the assistant mayor and told him about Consuela and where she was parked because I didn’t want her to be towed or anything because we couldn’t leave it on the property.

Did I mention that Chief HAD taken her up our hill? When I thought he disappeared he was literally right behind me! But coming off the hill, Consuela started to slide so he had to kind of ram her into a tree to get her to stop. It was either a tree or a house. He opted for the tree.  There was no damage or anything but I’m sure glad we don’t have to worry about snow, sliding cars, sliding RVs and taking down poles or houses anymore.

So that’s the story.. I’ll fill you in what we found out about the pool, the property, the house we’re in now,  how almost my whole unemployment check was eaten up in over draft fees and just how very likely it is that we are going to be homeless in 16 days. And I’m not being sarcastic here.. I’m being dead honest.


And this is a big BUT ..

God is good. I can’t stress that enough. We may not share the same kind of faith and I respect that but I can tell you with absolute certainty that we made it through this weekend the way with did only on His grace.