I know that you thought that Part II was never coming...but here it is...
The kids and I headed to the training room to assess our temporary residence. They were wild, as most toddlers would be after a 6 hour car crawl. I moved the chairs to the side walls to give them room to run out their bottled up energy. I designated individual chairs as the 'snack' chair, 'drink' chair, 'diapers/wipes' chair, etc. I pulled out the air mattress and proceeded to get ready to blow it up, when, alas...it was not a self pump mattress. In the madness of Target, a lady had taken pity on me and handed me one of the last available mattresses. I had not even thought to make sure that it was self inflating. I looked on the counter top and spotted a pump! Gloria had purchased one...thank you Jesus! I opened the box and read the instructions. 1. check 2. check 3. check..."Note: Pump takes approximately 10 hours to charge".
I put that project on hold and moved ahead.
The kids were starving, and I actually was too. I walked across the hall to the kitchenette and popped the bagel bite pizzas in the microwave. I placed three plates with pizzas on the floor of the training room. The kids sat momentarily and took a few bites, but the built up energy overruled and they continued their laps around the room. I tried to take a bite myself, but was still too wound up to eat.
I proceeded 'nesting' by pulling tags off of pajamas, putting the cover on the body pillow, and getting the sheets ready for whenever I could get the air mattress inflated. Peers of Nick's filtered into and out of the training room, as it was the room with drinks and overnight necessities in it. But I assure you that no one tarried long. It is a really good thing that his company is so family oriented...or we might have been evicted.
I made phone calls and sent texts at this point that we were all safe and sound in the training room of Nick's office, and all of our family members voiced their relief.
I found Gloria and she relayed that she had another pump and that there was food upstairs for anyone that wanted it. The kids and I went up to the second floor and scoped out the food(which still wasn't appealing to me) and explored a little. We went to Nick's office and got another Ipad charger and a phone charger. Then we greeted everyone else that was staying at Hotel Work that night. And I mean everyone. The kids always make their presence known wherever we go, and this was certainly no exception.
We made our way back down to our new abode, and I plugged in all of the electronic devices. I gave the kids some of the sweet snacks that I had purchased and pulled out their toys. Of course they had chosen toys with assembly required, so I started putting them together. Then I started working towards bedtime.
Let me assure you that bedtime is no piece of cake at home--on a normal day-- with two of us.
As I was trying to calm the chaos, one of Nick's coworkers with a 4WD came back to the office with an additional air mattress and sheets/blankets for us. He didn't live far, and he had been one of the ones trying to get people home if possible. He had seen the craziness of my clan entering the building.
This is what it is about people...taking care of each other.
I was so thankful! It was such a little act of kindness, but when you feel completely lost without your support by your side, it is so much more than that. He helped me get the two air mattresses blown up and made into some semblance of beds.
Now that our 'bedroom' was ready, I changed the kids' diapers(which was way overdue, by the way), and put their new pj's on. I was hoping that this would steer them towards bed.
The kids were wound tight--as was I. And we were all exhausted. But kids do this strange thing when they are tired...they get wild. At least mine do. So my tired, done self was trying to deal with my tired, done kids--at Nick's place of work.
I finally got them all down semi-watching a movie on the Ipad, amidst games of 'musical sleeping places'. You see, at home, everyone has their own sleeping spot. And that works pretty well. But here, we were all vying for the perfect spot on two air mattresses. And it is unfortunate that mommy only has two sides...because everyone wants to be by mommy. Two is never enough--whether it be sides, hands, eyes...
Can I get an Amen?
Another funny thing that kids do is fight the urge to sleep. So if they are tired, they will do everything in their power to fight being still--because they know that being still=sleep. This is a battlefield that I know well, and I am certainly not always the victor.
Two of the three finally held up the white flag of surrender, and I carefully moved next to my remaining warrior. Once those eyes had followed suit and closed, I laid there wide awake and restless. I recounted the events of the day and my body would.not.relax.
I looked at my emails and checked to make sure that I had texted everyone that I needed to, and then I resorted to the facebook. It was then that I read all of the posts of the days events from friends and felt so thankful that my babies and I were in a place that was warm, dry, and comfortable. I texted Nick one more time and closed my eyes to a fitful sleep.
There were people in and out of the training room all night--much like a hospital room. In fact, one of Nick's coworkers came in the wee hours of the morning. He had been on the interstate for hours and had finally given up and come to the office to wait it out.
I woke up to a text from Gloria. The human resources director and her husband were on their way to the office to try to get everyone as close to their residence as possible. I walked out of the training room and into the lobby to meet Gloria on her way out.
Let me digress for a moment on how I am sure that I looked. Six hours in the car the day before with 3 toddlers--driving an xtra long vehicle--on sheets of ice. A ridiculous run through Target with overly energetic toddlers. Failed attempts to get medicine for my baby. Hours of watching my children run amok in my husbands workplace. No wine. A few hours of sleep on an air mattress...in clothes that I had worn all day. No make up. No make up remover. No hairbrush. No toothbrush. No mimosa.
Gloria told me that we were the first on the list to go home. I can't imagine why we were first on the list...
I went back to 'our room' and called Nick. I was concerned about going home--I still hadn't recovered from the day before--but he assured me that it would be best to get home if we could. I am sure that he was envisioning the havoc that the kids were wreaking on his office. I hesitantly started packing up our temporary home. I had two stacks: 1. things that had to go home with us, and 2. things that could wait in my car until we could retrieve it.
I dressed the kids in their clothes from the day before and asked Nick's coworkers if they could watch them while I loaded my car with the "unnecessary".
Everyone was volunteering for this job.
I ran down and threw the 'not needed' items into my car, and rushed back upstairs for the next load. At this point, the human resources director and her husband were there mapping out every one's residences. I loaded the next batch of items and ran down to deliver them to my car and to extract car seats.
When I got back upstairs, they were ready for us to go. And I mean that in more ways than one.
I buckled two car seats in the 4WD, and realized that another would not fit. (This was the main reason that we purchased our current vehicle...3 car seats can fit side by side on one seat.) I didn't have the booster seat, so I decided to put the babies in the two car seats and Sister in the seat behind me. And I sent up some prayers for safety.
I loaded the 'necessary' into the back of the 4WD and we said our goodbyes. We carefully maneuvered the icy sidewalk and got into the truck. As we pulled away, I saw nick's office building breathe a sigh of relief.
I asked our sweet driver friend if he minded running to Target to see if I could get Linebacker's antibiotic. I wasn't sure when I would be able to get back out to get it. He obliged, and probably questioned why he was the one who drew the short straw to take us home.
We went across the street to Target and I ran in, praying that the kids wouldn't do anything horrible while I was in there. I went straight to the pharmacy and immediately felt sorry for the poor pharmacist who was still there from the night before. The phones were still ringing off of the hook and she looked distraught. I asked her if she could fill my prescription and she said that she could.
I ran to the checkout while waiting on Linebacker's meds to get our driver friend some snacks--he was going to have a long day--and then went back to check on the antibiotic. She had it ready and I continued thanking her as she asked for our insurance card.
I fumbled through my wallet and then it hit me. I had given it to Nick and not gotten it back. They did not have our information on file because we had not filled a prescription there before. I was not overly concerned.
"I will just have to pay for it." I stated. "My husband has our card."
I mean, it is normally $5-10. How bad could it be?
I was naive.
"Okay. That will be $170."
I guess she saw the shock on my face, so she explained that she could reimburse me the balance if I brought our card and the receipt back once I got the card back in my possession.
"Perfect! thank you!" I said.
Honestly, I would have paid that amount for it at that point. Linebackers eye was so sad. I grabbed the medicine and ran out to see what damage my children had done to our friend...hoping that the snacks might help.
I jumped in the truck and we were off. We pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the hill that had taken me home so many times. Only this time it looked like a mountain.
A mountain of ice with stalled cars and 18 wheelers scattered about.
We carefully worked our way through the littered path of cars and trucks and soon saw the winding road that would get me so much closer to home. As we wound through the woods and looked at the damage, I found myself rambling. I was tired and nervous...and so I rambled.
This is, unfortunately, one of my faults.
As we got closer to civilization, we saw people. Walking, playing, exploring.
And I knew that I was going to be okay.
I realized that had we all had warning, everyone would have been at home. Kids would be building snowmen, moms would be making snow cream, and it would be a happy memory. Not so much how it had turned out. I had never really felt negativity towards snow--until now.
We turned onto one of the last roads before my neighborhood and began to talk strategy. My neighborhood is basically all hills--which is not so much conducive to driving when iced completely over. We decided to stop at the top of the first hill and walk the rest of the way.
We topped the hill and parked to the side. We began unloading. We tried to get everything in one trip, but quickly realized that we would have to come back. So we started down the hill with the diaper bag, purse, car seat, Ipad, and three toddlers without snow shoes or proper clothing. We got close to home with only minor slips, but when we were in our neighbors yard, I hit the deck...with Linebacker in my arms and Sisters hand in mine.
So we all fell. Tears began to fall as I tried to help everyone up and assure them that we were almost home. No one felt like crying more than I did, but when you are the mommy--there is no time for that.
We made it to the back door and got the door unlocked.
And then I was reminded of the craziness that had ensued the morning before(as it does most mornings), by the leftover breakfast plates, clothes, and toys scattered about the house. We grabbed a day old doughnut out of Linebackers hands just before it touched his lips. I let our driver friend out the front door as he was going back for the other car seat and miscellaneous items. I stood in my house inhaling the 'not so great' scent of my home to three toddlers, and was so thankful to be amidst the mess.
Our driver friend returned with the remaining items and after thanking him profusely, he left. In fact, he might have run a little. I am sure that he was thanking Jesus for his life as a daddy to just one after he left the mess that is normal at my crib.
I ran down to the garage to let our fur babies out. As excited as they were to be out of the garage, they shared the same amount of enthusiasm that I had for the snow at that point.
I went back in the house and called Nick to let him know that we were home safe and sound. He was not sure what his plan was going to be, as, of course, his flight had been cancelled. I told him to just let me know, but that we were fine and he just needed to be safe, and I busied myself with cleaning the house and the kids.
I am talking about serious baths here!
I heard back from Nick, and one of the men at the meeting had flown his own plane, and he had invited Nick to fly back with him.
Why do I ever even doubt that God has it?
I told Nick to please keep me updated and continued to work out all of the nervous energy from the past day.
I talked to all of my family to assure them that we were good, and that Nick was going to try to get home, when I saw on my flight tracker app that he would be arriving soon. I was doubtful that he would be able to get home from the airport, but I knew that he was on a mission.
When he landed, he called to say that he was on his way home. As much as I wanted him home, I had seen the conditions and his safety was my main concern. But I could tell that he needed to see that we were okay, and there was no use trying to fight about it. So once again, I sent up some prayers.
It was no time before Nick called and said that he was picking up my car at his office so that we would have a car that everyone could ride in if we needed it...and then he was home.
Apparently the sun had melted most of the ice off of the main roads.
I saw him pull to the top of the hill near our house, and make the descent home on foot.
I was so glad to have him home. I was so glad that we were all in the same house and that we were all safe. I cannot remember sleeping as soundly as I did that night. And as I reflected on the entire event, I took away two things.
The first I learned from Sister the day before as she began to eat her lunch in the car in the midst of a true snowstorm . In the middle of a storm, you need to just stop and pray.
And the second is this...God has it. He is all knowing, all seeing, all the time.
If I can just remember these two simple things, my life will be infinitely sweeter.
"One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, 'Master, Master, we're going to drown!' He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 'Where is your faith?' he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, 'Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.'"