July 17, 2023

Home Sweet Home

Yesterday was a loooong travel day home from the upper peninsula. I do plan to write about our trip; I'm still trying to gather pictures from everyone. Hopefully I'll write about it tomorrow. Today, I'll just write about the "great" start to our trip home yesterday.

We were in the upper west peninsula (where Jerry's face is). When I took this screen shot, the kids had gone out for a few hours, which is why they are farther north on the map.

Since it's a long drive from Jeanie and Shawn's cabin to our house (anywhere from 8-1/2 to 10 hours, depending on construction, rest stops, and traffic), we wanted to get an early start. Ava had to be home for cheerleading by 6:00, which was plenty of time, and I wanted to get home and unpack, shower, eat dinner, and start laundry before bed. (Getting home from a trip and having so much to do is the worst!)

Surprisingly, all three of the teens were ready and packed in time to head out. I had been planning to bring Joey home with us, but he was having so much fun on his "vacation" that I felt bad. (Jeanie said his favorite thing is the doggie door--being able to go outside and come in over and over whenever he wants, haha. If we had a fenced in yard, I was definitely get one!) Shawn is coming out here next weekend, so he said he can bring Joey with him then.

Anyway, we all piled into the rental van (our cars were just too small to take essentially five adults and all our luggage). We barely got into the van before the kids were all asleep.

And then.

We turn onto Jeanie's road from the driveway and I noticed that the light for a tire being low on air came on. Whenever that happens (where I live, anyway), 99% of the time it's because of the change in air temperature and the pressure will go back up after a little driving. This time, though, the pressure of the left rear tire was at 7--it should have been at 35!

Jerry got out to look at it, and sure enough--it was a flat tire. FLAT flat. I immediately started to feel panicked. We were in the middle of nowhere (cell service is really sketchy there), with a rental van, and a nine-hour drive ahead of us. I called the roadside assistance number for the rental car company--since we were in a safe location (back in Jeanie's driveway) it wasn't considered an emergency.

The person I spoke with said that she couldn't find my location via my phone GPS or by my sister's address (which is new, now that they moved up there only a month or so ago). That took a while to straighten out. We confirmed that the van did not have a spare tire. Then she told me that because there was no emergency, we would have to wait for the nearest Enterprise to open, which was at 2:30 pm at some airport we'd never heard of. And we would need to get a ride there if we wanted to swap vehicles at 2:30, or we would have to wait for someone to drive out to us after they opened (she said it could be 9:30 pm).

At that point, I kind of lost it and I could feel a panic attack coming on (ever since I started my mood stabilizer, panic attacks don't happen nearly as often as they used to--maybe twice a year?). I handed the phone to Jeanie, who was trying to describe exactly where her house was located. Then I took a walk around her property, fighting off the panic attack.

If you've never had a panic attack, all I can say is that it's super scary. It feels like you're dying. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, I got really dizzy, and I felt like I couldn't take a breath. The breathing part is the hardest for me--I can't take a deep breath, which causes more panic because I feel the need to, you know, BREATHE.

Meanwhile, Shawn and Jerry checked out the tire to see what the problem was. If they could fix it, we wouldn't have to wait until 2:30. There was a very small nail, basically the size of a trim nail, in the tire. They pulled it out and managed to patch the tire--I can't even describe the relief!

The panic attack may seem totally dramatic, but I could feel it coming for weeks and I just kept trying not to think about it. With so much piling on over the last year, my mountain of overwhelmedness just got to be too much. 

By this time, it's 7:30 or so, and we finally get on the road. I took my anxiety medication and just tried not to let the morning cause a damper on our trip home. Noah had mentioned previously that he wanted to try a coffee shop that was slightly out of the way on the way home (only 10 minutes or so) and I insisted that we still do that. The shop had the coolest little table set up with a bunch of clothing on it and this sign:

I thought that was such a great idea! Especially considering the cost of thrift store clothes now. Basically, you just bring in (gently used) clothes to leave and you can take clothes you see and like. Isn't that a cool idea?

And then we drove the rest of the way home without event (a good thing at that point). The kids slept almost the entire time and Jerry and I listened to the Stuff You Should Know podcast (a podcast that both of us actually really like--the rest of our podcasts are totally incompatible with each other's). The drive felt twice as long going home as it did driving up there, but we finally made it home.

Not even an hour after we got home, Jerry went to the store to get some sourdough bread because one of the episodes of SYSK was about toast--and it made us crave toast so badly! Hahahaha. However, while he was there and getting back into the car, he heard some tires squeal and he looked up in time to see a car pull out of a parking space (it had been backed in) and slam into the car across from it.

Suddenly, two young girls (Jerry guessed about 10 years old) jumped out, grabbed a baby from the back seat, and ran inside the store (to find their parent, one can only presume). Jerry ran over to the car, put it in park and turned off the engine. Then the mom came out, carrying a toddler, and was screaming at the girls for ruining the car. (Jerry felt bad for the girls, after what happened with Eli's accident.)

Long story short(er), Jerry called the police; and because Michigan is a "no-fault" insurance state (remember, I just wrote about how it sucks if you get in an accident in Michigan, even when it's not your fault?) and the accident was on private property (Kroger parking lot), the police wouldn't even come take a statement. Jerry explained the situation about the kids being alone in the car--it wasn't a normal fender bender--but they brushed it off. I couldn't believe it! Especially considering there was an infant in the car (Jerry said the baby was in a carseat, but the carseat was turned sideways in the car).

Anyway, by the time he got home, we were hungry and exhausted from the long day, so we made our toast (it was so good!) and went to bed early. Today, I've been working on laundry and all that fun stuff. I was SO happy to see Duck when we got home! (And the other cats, of course, but you know how close I am with Duck.) Our cat/house sitter is FANTASTIC and the cats (and squirrels) were all well-fed and happy.

Duck was probably just smelling my breath, but we'll pretend he's kissing me on the cheek.

I was really great to see Jeanie and Shawn without a ton of other people around because we got to catch up with them one-on-one. But I'll write more about that tomorrow. Today--it's cleaning and finishing up laundry before going to Jerry and Eli's softball game! (Did I mention Eli is playing softball all summer/fall with Jerry and his coworkers? They needed a player a couple of weeks ago, so Eli filled in. The guys asked if he wanted to play weekly, and he said yes. I love that he and Jerry are doing that together.)


  1. What a "trip!" I'm so sorry about the tire and panic attack. Panic attacks are just the worst. Someday I'm going to write a blog post about my panic attack "cure" (not entirely, but enough for me). Glad you were able to get through yours. Big hugs!

  2. Love the U.P. My daughter went to NMU in Marquette. I live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago and driving back and forth in the winter and after the sun set could be a little hair raising. You definitely are in the boonies and I too had my fair share of car/weather issues. Good thing Jerry was with you and you hadn't gotten very far. Looking forward to the next "chapter".


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