The last day in Texas had arrived. Sunday morning we went to John and Mandi's church and then out to a Mexican Restaurant afterwards. (We had to have a well rounded taste of Texas right? ;). We quickly packed up everything into the minivan and were able to capture a family photo before we left. It was truly a delightful 3 days, and we are very thankful to John and Mandi for their hospitality. We miss them and (Hercules of course!!) already and are praying that someday, somehow, we could all be closer.
So off we went, with 8-9 hours ahead of us till we made it to our destination in Texarkana, where we would stop for the night and then hope to make the grueling 18 or more hours home completely the next day. Or at least that was our plan. We didn't have our friendly buzzing hornet strap problem, but apparently God didn't think we had learned enough patience, or complete reliance on Him (which would be entirely true) because He set another challenge in front of us. Before we had left MI on this venture, we had known that our driver side window was being a little persnickety about coming back up, but while we were in TX, we hadn't had an issue with it at all and had pretty much forgotten about it. Well, Sunday afternoon, right after lunch at "Senor Jaimes" we swung by the post office to drop some post cards in the box. Of course we rolled the window down... and of course it refused to come back up. All the time we were packing, the guys were playing with the window, wiggling it, hitting it, taking it apart, fiddling with it.. nope nothin' doin'.
Not wanting to be too delayed on our departure, and thanking God for the 60 some degree weather we drove northwards with a lovely breeze blasting us through the open window. But the direction of our driving and the time caused us some anxiety. That's right I said northwards, of course, and it was late afternoon so the temperature was dropping, and besides all that, Dad was having a hard time hearing anything, and the rest of us were looking a little bit like dogs in front of a blow dryer. (maybe not that bad, but it wasn't lovely)
We had just made it through Houston and took an exit to get gas. As we tried to locate the gas station, we caught sight of a Home Depot sign. Quickly we swung over and Dad and Josiah ran in to buy some heavy duty plastic, duck tape, and scissors (those guys think of everything :P). We then went on to the gas station where us girls ran in for a restroom break, while the men tried to tape up our window. When we came out, a nice gentleman was helping them fit the plastic in and tape it properly. It turned out he was homeless, and we were very thankful for his assistance. So we took off, Arkansas bound again... but very quickly we were made aware of a problem caused by our solution. There was no more breeze but... it was deafening. Despite our attempt to tape it super tight, the plastic acted as a drum, serenading us with a horrible symphony of pounding. Faith (who was driving) was going bonkers, and the rest of us were getting sore throats from trying to talk over the noise. Finally Faith shouted above the cacophony inquiring if we had an extra pillow. The pillow was passed up, and we all sighed with relief. Silence, or at least close to it. A second pillow completed the remedy, but of course entirely blocked the view out the left window, making driving rather stressful.
We didn't find the particular place so we kept on going.... back into Texas. :P
We never did find the particular shop, but God led us to "meineke" car care center. They didn't specialize in windows but they said they thought it could be fixed, so we all trooped into the waiting area and we waited and waited.
Thankfully they had some very interesting books (on birds and planes :) to bide our time with, and soon enough the man came to tell us that the motor was busted, but that they were able to pull up the window, and tape it. They also in his words "put a wedge in so that the window won't fall down when y'all go over any bumps. It's not the prettiest thing, but it'll work."
... This was our wedge. :) They most likely found it on the ground out back, but hey, it did work, and it provided us with some really good laughs!
So we drove and drove... through Missouri...
...over the Mississippi river...
and through Illinois, laden with the hope of Spring. As darkness fell and we made it closer to Chicago, it began to snow, almost a white out. This of course slowed us down some, and our ETA was moved to 3 AM. Yes a bit late but we would rather just drive through than stop at a hotel and have to drive a little way the next day.
Finally we sighted this friendly sign. Ahhh... Home sweet home, Oh Michigan my Michigan! :)
4 or so hours later we pulled into our snow covered driveway. The temperature, in stark contrast to the high 50's of that morning - a blazing -1 degree!
We were so grateful for a delightful trip and safe travels, but were glad to be home, and now our visit to that warm sunny land almost seems like a transient dream...