Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Time

Christmas is always a busy time of year for most people. This year I had all of my shopping done before December and all of my groceries and necessities taken care of before Christmas Eve. Or so I thought.

On Christmas Eve day Matt got called out to a site in Petoskey that had an alarm tripped. This happened at 2:00 PM and that's when I started to get uneasy. I figured I'd be going down to Morely to pick up Keith by myself but it was nice to know he'd only be an hour and a half away, not 3 + hours. After he left I started packing the Jeep. Let me state for the record, my Jeep has been the most reliable vehicle ever, it's never broken down or had a horrible mechanical malfunction. The worst thing I've dealt with were windshield wipers that only have one setting. Not that bad, really. However, all day I had a feeling that I needed to pack warm clothes for Avalyn and myself, just in case. I never have these thoughts! Not with my perfect purple Jeep. I listened anyway. I've learned, over the years, to trust my gut. It's usually right.

So, I packed Avalyn's snowsuit and my heavy winter coat along with some hand warmers and bottles of water. I left the house a little after 4:00 PM and noticed I had a half a tank of gas, maybe a little left. Enough to get to Morely and back anyway. On our way down I stopped in Big Rapids for gas, and every open gas station was packed. So I got back on the road and went the extra fourteen miles to Morely. As I was turning off the exit ramp to Morely, Matt called and let me know that Dominique called to let us know she was running late. I said okay, and told Matt I would just head into town to get gas there, instead of waiting at the car park and getting gas after the drop off.

The gas station was, thankfully, still open and I filled the tank. I was talking to Matt the entire time and complained about how much gas was. I had put in nineteen gallons, which was more than usual, so of course I paid a little more than normal. I twisted the cap back on and closed the door and when I took my receipt I heard (and felt) a thud. I could see Avalyn through the window and her eyes were wide. I wasn't the only one who heard/felt something. So, I looked around. There wasn't anyone else in the parking lot, so no one hit me. There were no rouge animals wandering about, no nothing ran into me. Then I looked down. The gas tank was on the concrete.

I could only stare. One of the two straps that hold the tank in place had snapped under the weight of nineteen gallons. So, I said to Matt, as I knelt on the ground, "So, um, we have a problem... the gas tank fell out of the Jeep."

There was silence followed by, "What..?"

"Yeah... um... I'm going to go inside and see if anyone knows what to do."

So, I unbuckled Avalyn and we went inside in search of someone. I told the three ladies behind the counter what happened and they all went to see what it looked like. I asked them if they knew what to do, they didn't, but they knew of someone they could call. So they called him while I waited. In the mean time, Matt called Domi and told her what had happened and she was more than willing to meet me at the gas station. After a few minutes a man showed up to look at the damage. He said that I would just need some ratchet straps to get the tank back up where it belonged. Before I had to go inside to buy some, Domi and Bill showed up. They said we could borrow their straps (one of the women who worked at the gas station originally said we could use hers, but Domi or Bill (I don't know who) suggested to use theirs since we could return them easier). So the guy got to work, and I put Avalyn's snowsuit on her. Domi, tried to take her, but Avalyn is experiencing stranger anxiety so I took her back. She's a little heater so being out in the cold doesn't bother her. She likes being part of things anyway. :)

After about fourty minutes the man had the tank back in place and secure. I don't carry cash, so I tried giving him one of my credit card (good anywhere) gift cards, but he wouldn't take it. :-\ I felt weird about not giving him anything but I guess the Christmas spirit was in the air! I thanked Domi and Bill and headed on my way. I drove slowly on my way home and called Matt to let him know we were okay. He had me call him every fifteen or so miles so he would know where I was. I also called my dad to let him know I wouldn't be going to Midland the next day. He made the suggestion for he and mom to pick us up and go. I was excited about that because I hadn't seen my grandparents since July.

We got home safely and we had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas. The next day we went to Autozone for parts. Thankfully it will only cost $60 to fix everything. The gas tank wasn't damaged but a fuel line was. Things could have been so much worse! I'm so thankful I packed warm clothes, and thankful we got gas before Domi and Bill dropped Keith off. This is why I like the Christmas season. Even though a lot of store patrons are jerks, there are still good people out there. Really good people!

Belated Merry Christmas Everyone!

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