If you know me, or if you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you know that I have a love-hate relationship with plans and planning. I love having a plan, but hate when the plan goes awry. This past weekend was a perfect illustration of why I feel the way I do when it comes to plans.
What was planned…
Thursday. On the agenda was moving both herds, caking the calves, and putting out enough hay in bordering pastures that with a simple herd move on Saturday chores would be easy-peasy whilst we were away.
Friday. Check water, cake, hit the road to a dear friend’s wedding that Tenley and I were in by 9:00 a.m. at the latest, get checked into our hotel and to the church for rehearsal a little early.
Saturday. Tom was going to take the kids swimming while I got my hair done and hung out with the bride and the maids. Then Tenley and I would head to the church for pictures at 1:30 p.m., wedding at 4:30 p.m., and dinner, dancing and fun following the nuptials.
Sunday. We were going to get up early for breakfast and a little more swimming, then lunch with Tom’s sister and her family before hitting the road home.
Monday. Business as usual back at the ranch.
Thursday. I loaded the caker, parked the pickup, and had the calves all-but moved by the time Tom got back from the first-calf heifers and started feeding hay to the calves. He had the kids with him, so I took off for the heifers with two horses and three dogs to get started on the second herd move of the day.
I had just pulled through the gate at my destination when a call came over the radio (because cell phones don’t work here) that the hay feeder had broken down and Tom was essentially done feeding until he made a parts run. So, I headed back to get him and the kids. They spent the afternoon in town and I spent the afternoon moving the heifers.
Using the parts they picked up in town, Tom got the hay feeder put back together with some daylight to spare and started feeding. He fed one load (six hay bales) before the hay feeder was on the fritz again and spent the rest of the evening and into the night repairing it. By 11:30 p.m. he had it up and running again… Thank God for head lamps and neighbors who have the parts you need.
Friday. The new plan was to start the day early with Tom feeding four loads of hay while I got the car and the kids ready to go. Things were going beautifully until the call came in that someone had missed the curve in the road, taking their vehicle through the fence into the pasture where the heifers were now residing. So, out to the pasture I headed armed with fencing pliers, a fence stretcher, extra wire, t-posts, t-post clips, staples, and gloves.
Working together, Tom and I made quick work of the huge-hole-in-the-fence situation and had him back to feeding. He fed two more loads of hay and we were on the road a mere forty-five minutes behind schedule – not too shabby.
The six hour trip across the state went smashingly. The kids were fantastic travelers and there were no construction stops on the interstate. By waiting to check into the hotel, we were able to arrive at rehearsal not only on time but a little early. However, as we were stopping at the interstate off-ramp, there was a big “clunk” and when the light turned green and I stepped on the gas another big “clunk”. The rest of the way to the church there was a grinding noise each time I made a left turn. And when we were safely parked at the church, Tom observed oil leaking from the seals on the front differential. Not good.
I will admit this is where my attitude started to turn this adventure into an ordeal. Thank God for friends who’ve become family to turn my frown upside down and help us get our vehicle to a trustworthy mechanic. A mechanic who, I might add, was willing to come to work on a Saturday to look at our vehicle.
Rehearsal went off without a hitch. The kids and I borrowed the bride’s car and checked into the hotel while Tom and the bride’s cousin and cousin in-law took our vehicle to the shop. That night our baby did not sleep, and to be honest, I was dreading the next day.
Saturday. This was about the only day that went off as planned, but with a couple of minor additions. We woke up had a delicious breakfast in the hotel lobby. Tom took the big kids swimming while the baby and I went up for hairdressing and wedding prep. Tom brought Tenley up after swimming and she got her wedding hair done.
While Ten and I were prepping for the day’s festivities, Tom’s folks brought us their pickup to borrow, and possibly drive home, depending on what the verdict was on our vehicle. Seriously – I have the best in-laws. And they ended up spending most of the afternoon with Tom, Tripp, and Tagg, while Ten and I headed to the church (again, in the bride’s car) for pictures.
The wedding was simply beautiful, and we got the somewhat positive news that our vehicle would likely be on the road again by Monday afternoon. We spent the rest of the night surrounded by friends, dancing the night away and celebrating the wedding of a wonderful couple.
Sunday. Since the repairs would most likely be complete by Monday afternoon, we decided to wait to make the trek back home. As a result, the kids got to go swimming again. We also were able to have lunch with My Sheila and her family, followed by an extremely fun hour at a trampoline park and an afternoon of hanging out with a few of our favorite people. And we enjoyed a steak dinner served with a side salad, grilled onions, and baked French fries that delicious doesn’t even begin to describe prepared by Bo, husband to My Sheila.
Monday. We spent Sunday night at casa de My Sheila, so Monday morning was filled with lots of laughter from the wee ones, waffles, and working out. Tom spent most of the morning on the phone figuring out the vehicle situation, which turned out better than we expected.
Yeah, we needed a whole new front end. And yeah, it was going to cost a pretty penny. But, the guys at Jensen Service and Diagnostic in Omaha shot us straight and worked their tails off to get us back on the road by late Monday afternoon. Enter snow.
We set out to drop my in-law’s pickup off with Tom’s sister before making the trip back home, but ended up having an impromptu sleep over on account of our level of fatigue and the deplorable road conditions. It ended up being more fun than you could shake a stick at – and that my friends is a lot of fun.
Tuesday. Everyone was up and at ‘em dark and early, so we could beat the morning rush and get a good start on the road home. Making excellent time, we stopped for brunch, a little shopping, and good coffee before finally arriving home at 1:30 p.m.
As you can see, this trip provides a pretty good example of why I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants rather than having a plan. It also provides the perfect example of how His plans are greater than ours. If the car had not broken down and the snow had not fallen, we would have missed out on quality time spent with family and friends.
It would have been really easy to sit and sulk about our situation, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t do that just a little bit. But for the most part, we stayed positive because sometimes you just have to let go and let God. And by doing so, we were able to recognize and enjoy the blessings He laid before us.