getting out of Dodge

Here is the much delayed response to how we got out of town three weeks ago with our new car. It’s this week’s column.


We bought a new family car.

For the past four years I’ve been coasting around in a luxurious Toyota Sequoia, complete with eight seat belts, a power universe, and a kitchen (almost).

But now that we’re jumping the pond to Germany, it’s time to down grade. Last month we sold our beautiful gas hog and have been on the lookout for a Mazda 5. It’s small, easy on the budget, and manages to seat six with seven square inches to spare. Perfect for all those little cobble stone streets.

We found our car on Tuesday. It was supposed to be here Friday so we could pack it up and leave for vacation at 6:00 am Sunday morning.

It took nearly two anxiety-filled days to finally get our car. Gone went Friday, poof went Saturday, then finally at 4:30 on Sunday morning, less than two hours from our scheduled departure, the car rolled into town.

Goodbye schedule, hello crazy town.

You would think that Mr. Prompt and I (usually right on time for almost everything) would be kicking and screaming at the situation we found ourselves in. But instead of tearing each other’s hair out because the schedule went bananas, we both remained impressively cool and collected amid the onslaught of morning punches.

But the fool who drove the car from LA took his wife with him. They casually decided to “stop in Vegas” for the day instead of bringing our bought and paid for car home so we could get packed for our vacation. That same fool put oil in the car, then drove away and left the oil cap in California, crossing four states with oil sloshing all over the engine.

I don’t know this guy, he’s probably nice and probably needed to escape his kids, and maybe the stop in Vegas saved his marriage, but really? Really. Jesus and I can only take so much.

So we picked up our smoking car and tried to start it. The battery was completely dead.

Seven hours and eleven misfit oil caps later we finally found one that fit, replaced the battery, loaded up our luggage topper, strapped in the kids, then drove .8 miles down the road to stop for lunch.

But the best part of this scenario? Despite the all the travel bugs, neither of us yelled, stomped, or lashed out with our feet. We handled the morning like ice skaters–smooth and cool about the whole thing.

(Although the hour it took Jason to install the battery was a little touch and go; we kept a 12 foot cushion between us and him the whole time. Also no one spoke.)

Twelve hours and 37 public restrooms later, here we are basking in the cold June weather of lovely Sun River, Oregon. Our kids are at the movies with their grandparents, Jason is snoring away on the couch next to me (looking cute as all get out–I just might have to disturb him when I’m done here), and I’ve got a bowl of peanut butter M&M’s and a book and you to keep me company.

Life doesn’t get much better than this.


  1. Peanut butter M&Ms are the best!!! My staff gave me a ginormous bag of them for my b-day. Best. Present. EVER!!!

    PS — glad you finally got your car and everything fixed without a major jihad

  2. Haha. I woke up down today. YouÂ’ve crheeed me up!