Did you guess… Indiana?? Ding, ding, ding! Oh, I know I shouldn’t hate on my home state (Ohio) and its lovely neighbor to the west, but if you spent hours and hours and hours driving with your five-year-old on flat, boring interstates for two days in a row, you, too, might stoop that low.
I spent all day Monday scurrying around, getting books ready, packing for an over-nighter, printing out directions, buying snacks for those left behind. Nina and I pulled out at 5:30pm with me choking back tears because Gabe had been shocked/appalled that I didn’t even know how to turn on the navigation feature on my phone. let alone work it.
Directions are not my forte. I will prove this here in just a moment.
After three long hours and thirty long minutes of driving on Route 70 West and then around the bustling metropolis of Indianapolis (which is under all manner of construction), we arrived at my cousin Brian’s… subdivision. And I would have been pulling into their driveway if I’d listened to the voice on my phone when she said “turn right in 600 feet” instead of turning right immediately. I got all turned around and Phone Lady was no help at all. “You have arrived at your destination,” she said haughtily, as I sat on some lonely road in the middle of nowhere.
“You lie!” I told her and called Brian who got me to his house in a minute or two.
Brian and Christy and Nina and I (well, Nina fell asleep on my lap around 10:30) stayed up until almost midnight chatting about all kinds of wonderful things–our grandparents, happy memories of family get-togethers, s-e-x, Christy’s pregnancy (they have 2 adorable little boys with a baby on the way). We don’t get to chat all that often without countless interruptions from kiddos or a million other (loud, but fabulous) relatives around.
It was good. And we could’ve stayed up longer, but I had a 2.5 hour drive in the morning. Thankfully, I got to sleep in until 6:15 instead of 5:15, because apparently, certain parts of Indiana are rebellious and like to be in their own time zone. If Brian hadn’t told me that Crown Point was an hour earlier than Indy, I would’ve shown up to my speaking thing while all the moms were still in bed.
As I was leaving, Brian told me to go a different way than Ms. Phone was sure to tell me. It’d be quicker, he insisted. He told me which road to take after I got out of their neighborhood, but unfortunately, I lost him after the first left. “Could you draw me a map?” He did.
And then he came outside in a t-shirt and jeans and scraped all the ice off my van. What a guy. Thank you, Cuz.
And then I looked at his map and in less than 45 seconds somehow got turned around, exited the subdivision at the wrong place and promptly got completely lost. As I saw it, I had three choices. Call Brian and Christy and admit that I couldn’t follow the simple map and ask for help. Call Gabe and admit that I was lost again. Or speak, “Bethel Church, Crown Point, Indiana” into my phone and see what happened.
I tried the latter, but evidently, Phone Lady wasn’t up yet. Or maybe there just wasn’t any satellite that reaches to Podunk, Indiana.
I called Gabe, close to tears. I don’t think he believed me that my navigation feature “wasn’t working.” I was actually right (it started working an hour later), but my track record is pretty lame. Eventually, he figured out where I was and got me headed in the right direction. It took almost 20 minutes. I was going to be late.
Except I wasn’t. I got to the church, was greeted warmly, Nina went to her class, and I set up my books and stuff.
My talk went great because 1.) God is awesome and 2.) these gals were fabulous. They bought lots of books and went shopping at my girls’ “Coins for Cambodia” sale and had all kinds of sweet things to say. It was just too cool all the way around.
And then Nina and I settled in for our 6-hour drive home. Lots of windmills, a stop at McDonald’s and the gas station and another gas station and stopped traffic in Indy and a loooooooong stretch of Route 70 (I’ve driven that bad boy 4 times in the past 2 weeks–ugh.).
It’s a huge blessing that Nina can read. She read a whole chapter book-and-a-half on the trip. And when she got tired of reading, I gave her my phone so she could text Daddy. And Pam and Britt and Megan and another Megan and Elizabeth and Daniel and Amy and Ali and Morgan. She even texted Joanne. Everybody texted her back, and she was beside herself with glee. She asked me how to spell several words and did the rest on her own.
I was grinning the whole time at how cute she was. She totally kept me awake when I wanted to just close my eyes for 10 little seconds. When I looked at my phone after we got home, I chuckled at the periods she put after each word. Hi. Joanne. This. Is. Nina.
Well. That’s. Pretty. Much. It. A huge thank-you to Brian and Christy and to the gals from Bethel Church and GOD. And tomorrow I’ve got another little story that may or may not be more exciting than this one (if you can even imagine).
Question for you: What’s the most boring stretch of the U.S. you’ve ever traveled?