Sunday, August 02, 2009


That could well be the title for this entire trip. I am in Montana right now, sitting in in our ramshackle family cabin and looking out at Queens Bay and the Mission Mountains. Turns out that the bed & breakfast just up the hill has wi-fi with no password required, and my Mom brough her mini laptop (which I am exceedingly bad at typing on). The contrast between primitive cabin living, with no phone, spotty cell coverage, an outhouse (we have an indoor toilet now, too) and wireless inernet is funny, I promise you.

The trip up was the stuff of legend. In Mesquite, where it was 113 F, I filed a missing person's report with the San Diego Sheriff's department. Dan was supposed to be home Wednesday night, but he didn't answer the phone. I finally called a friend at 1:30 in the morning who drove over to confirm Dan wasn't home. I called the scout ranch; no answer. At 7:00 I called the sheriffs to see if perhaps he had been in an accident. They had no record of it, but the ranch is out in the middle of nowhere and if he had run off the road for whatever reason nobody would have seen him. I declined to file a report then, waiting to see if he or the ranch would call me. I cried a bit. At 8:00 am, I filed the report, then cried a lot. At 9:00 am the scout ranch finally called me to report that Dan had left the ranch that morning at 6:00 am. I sat down and cried a whole lot more, then got insanely angry. This was not the first time Dan had felt it unnecessary to let me know he wouldn't be home when he said, but this was the first time he had been approximately 12 hours late. When he got home and listened to my escalatingly panicked messages, he called me. I got out of the car so the boys wouldn't hear and I cried and bit his head off like I never have before in our lives. I have never felt that relieved and angry.

Later that day, I fell off of Nathan Wanlass's backyard steps in Salt Lake City and sprained my ankle in an insanely painful manner. We slept at Jenn Johnson's house that night and in the morning my ankle was huge and puffy and unable to support any weight, so Mom took me to an urgent care center to get it x-rayed. On the way, the car filled up with gasoline fumes. So after dropping me off, Mom went down the block to a Midas, where she dropped off the car and walked to McDonald's with the boys. My ankle was not broken, but I needed crutches, so Mom brought the boys back to the Urgent Care and left them with me and some sympathetic people in the waiting room (thank you Barbara from Canada, you saint of a woman) while she walked to Walgreens and bought crutches for me. The car needed a new fuel rail, so 2+ hours and $350 later we were back on the road. The front desk staff at Memorial Intermountain InstaCare were also saints, opening up the TV and letting the boys watch cartoons.

Exhausted, we made it to Pocatello and got a hotel room. Saturday morning, Mom woke up unable to lift her left arm without excruciating pain - she had somehow pinched a nerve in her sleep. Somehow, between her useless arm and my puffed up right foot we managed to drive to Missoula to pick up Dan at the airport. Oh, did I mention taht Paul and his cousin Noah fought like cats & dogs the whole way? We made Dan drive to the lake.

It doesn't end there. Mom & I went into town that night for groceries and supplies. As we were pulling into the WalMart parking lot (there isn't much open at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night in Polson), Mom got a call letting her know my nephew Sammy had gotten ahold of his brother's medication and was in the hospital. He was fine, but Mom just lost it and I admit I used some very vulgar language to exprress my frustration. In all the hubbub, with me having to fish out my crutches while Mom cried, I locked the keys in the car. So we had to wait over an hour for the AAA dude to get there and let us in. At least he got there before the rain started.

Remember all this the next time you get ready to go on a long road trip.

The happy ending is that all is well here. At one point we had 26 Kinnicks, 2 extended cousins, and 2 dogs all sleeping here. It was a little nuts. The dock was almost wiped out, so the younger menfolks rebuilt it and it looks AWESOME now. The boat shed collapsed (apparently it was a wild winter), but the boat is still useable so Paul & Noah have been able to go innertubing on the bay. Despite all that trouble to get here, we are already planning next year's trip.


stephaniestempinski said...

I am so sorry . . . but this is the way memories are made.

thefoxkids said...

OH what a story.. you'll joke about it someday (but it will take a while!) I have a VERY simular story with my hubby only add to the mix i was 6 months pregnant with our oldest son.. add a little hormone and the remote thought I was going to be a single mother to the mix and well the sheriff wasn't completely certain I wasn't an excapee from the loonie bin!!!

p.s we can laugh about it now (13 years later!)

glad things are looking up!

Lora and Carl said...

wow--what a read!

Julia Harps said...

wow. now that is a story topper. Next time someone starts in on their horrific road trip you can definatley top 'em!
hope your ankle heals quickly.
see you when you get back!

liannallama said...

ohmigoodness! what a crazy trip you have had. I'm glad everyone is ok and I hope the rest of your vacation is peaceful and nice!

Kimberly said...

It is so true that the big tragedies of one trip are the ones that you'll be sharing around the campfire and laughing about for years to come... that said- I hope that you can coast from here on out.

Anonymous said...

I have always imagined that the cabin in Montana would be a little more idyllic than the picture you paint.

I am so sorry you went through all that. damn.