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Destin Vacay: Part 1, On Empty

I’m going to preface the next few posts by telling you that Aaron and I had a great vacation in Destin this past weekend and I would go back in a second. The beaches were beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, and we ate some really delicious food.

With that said…

I have a few stories to tell about our actual trip getting to Destin before I show you all the glamorous photos of a ginger on a beach after we actually made it. I’m so glad the vacation didn’t turn out the way it started. The devil worked really hard at trying to steal our joy because it got off on a seriously bad foot. Like, the kind that makes you want to cuss and maybe that happened and maybe it didn’t. But there were a few panic attacks along the way, I’ll say that.

Aaron popped out of bed at 3:30 Thursday morning to hit the road by 4 so the 10-hour drive would put us on a beach by 3p. I didn’t pop out of bed. I never pop out of bed. I do more of a grunt, roll, and crawl out of bed to the bathroom. I’m a lot like waking a slumbering bear that’s been poked by a hot branding stick. Mornings aren’t pretty at our house. I keep a post it on my bathroom mirror that says, “God let me see you and hear you today.” When I read that aloud I’m reminded that it’s hard to see and hear God when you’re too busy acting like a witch. That small prayer helps me start off my day by putting on my happy britches. Yes, I put on happy britches. Surprisingly, I was pleasant this particular morning and kept my level of grumpiness to a minimum by staying quiet and pre-packing everything in the car the night before. And by putting on my happy britches. So we just got in the car and drove away after a quick shower and a cup of coffee.

I slept for a good 3 hours until we made it into Lake Charles. From there I was wide awake and we put on Jenny Lawson’s audiobook “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” and I found myself pausing several times trying to catch my breath from all the laughter. Good start, right?

With my new car having a range gauge that tells you how many miles are left to go on a particular tank of gas, we were able to make plans to stop right inside Mississippi to fill up the gas tank and to stop for lunch. That would be perfect timing according to the range gauge.

(Sidenote: neither one of us have ever had cars that had a range gauge. New technology to these old geezers.)

We decided that with 60 miles left on the range we would take it to the next town for gas. As we’re driving along, just passing Slidell, Louisiana and crossing over into Mississippi, my gas range now at 35, changed to zero. ZERO. No warning. No gradual or even quick decline. Just 35 meets zero. I automatically made a note to self: my car lies and should never be trusted again.

(Sidenote: I’m so traumatized and paranoid from this event that I now fill up at half a tank.)

As soon as that range hit zero both of our hearts started pounding out of our chest. We were nervous. I quickly pulled out my phone and searched for a gas station. The absolute closest one was 7 miles…behind us. As the gas tank light started flickering as if yelling at us, “FEED ME GAS NOOOOOWWWW, YOU IDIOTS!!” we decided that our only option was to turn around and pray we could make it to a gas pump. Aaron started saying, “I think I’m going to be sick.” as he covered his mouth to keep from doing so. I was shaking and praying and felt the overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom. When I was in theatre a director told me that everyone handles nerves in one of three ways; They are either a pooper, a pee-er, or a shaker. Apparently I’m a triple threat. I choose to believe that it’s just the most nervous I’ve ever been, rather than believe the fact that I loose control of all body functions when extreme nervousness hits me.

We turned off the air and unplugged my phone as if that would make a modicum of difference. It made us feel better though. I know God can do miracles and I continued to pray that he would forgive us for putting too much faith into a machine, and help us make it to a gas station with plenty of gas left over. I talked to God a lot in that 10 minutes. Mostly about gas…both crude and human. Aaron wasn’t doing so hot, but once he did some of his quick, magical math he realized that we could make it 7 miles based on the mpg/tank size math. No room for mistakes, though.

We exited the freeway and automatically saw 5 different gas stations to choose from. The first one could have been double the price and we wouldn’t have cared – we were stopping at the one closest to us. The 30 second wait at the light to turn right into the gas station was the longest 30 seconds of my life. I talked myself off a ledge by reasoning that at least we were close enough if our car did die, we could push it to the pump. No fun, but doable.

As we pulled up to the gas pump, the knots in both of our stomachs released. We could breathe. And we could both go to the bathroom. Aaron filled up the tank as I went to the bathroom and browsed through the convenience store. We took a few moments to catch our breath, calm down, and relax and high-fived each other and God for making it safely to a gas station.

When we got back in the car, Aaron started the ignition and put the car in drive when his phone went off. It was a text message from a friend of his who is a bank branch manager down the street at the same bank company Aaron works for. The text read…

“Please be okay. Hope it’s over and everyone is okay.”

I glanced down and was able to read the text. I immediately dismissed it saying, “That’s weird. He probably meant to send that to someone else.” Aaron does get a lot of butt dials for being the first one in friends’ contacts with a name starting with “Aa..”

Aaron stared at the phone for a second, then his eyes got big.

“Oh my gosh. No, I think it’s real. It sounds like my bank branch just got robbed.”

It did.

***

Make sure to come back for Part 2, posted tomorrow!

 

  • Kasey - I can’t believe you left us with such a cliffhanger! And I leave for family vacation tomorrow with no Internet! Glad you made it to the gas station and ultimately to a great vacation. Keep it coming.ReplyCancel

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