Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Over the river

I rarely like doing the same thing the same way, twice. Take crafts, for instance. The Good Doctor has often suggested that I mass produce crafts for sale. The problem is that after I make something once, I don’t feel like making it again. I quickly get tired of the same old recipes, preferring to try new ones even though the old ones “work.”

So, why should we take the same old trip back and forth to Ohio every Christmas, the same old way? It’s better to change things up a little bit. For example, one year we decided it would be nice to try the whole trip with an unconsolable baby. Mariana was happy to oblige. Another time we decided to throw in a little stomach flu. All of the children wanted a piece of that one.

This year we decided to try out a little car trouble. Exactly halfway home the battery light went on. On my vast mechanical experience, I quickly diagnosed our problem as an alternator which was not allowing our battery to recharge. Okay, it wasn’t me but our good friend, John, who was willing to diagnose that over the phone. Unfortunately, he was not able to fix the problem over the phone, or give the Good Doctor the directions to perform the auto surgery himself.

So, we tried the next best thing – Walmart. For just under $200, we became the proud owners of not one, but two batteries to get us home. Since the van started up right away in the Wal-mart parking lot, the thought of the hour was to proceed until we had no more battery. That turned out to be the wrong idea since it lasted just a few miles and we had to pull off into the nearest gas station.

It was then that the Good Doctor and the Twit turned into true heroes. Don’t’ worry, the Twit calls me Chief and we’re both okay with that. It’s a long story, and an inside joke and neither one of us feels put-down or bullied by the nickname. Think of them as terms of endearment, right up there with the Good Doctor’s nickname. Anyway, our two masculine heroes braved the elements to save the car and our trip home. Keep in mind that the Good Doctor had a flight to catch early the next morning so an overnight stay in some western PA hotel was out of the question.

Working with the wrong-sized wrench, but unable to return to Wal-mart since the battery was now completely dead, they persevered through storm, high winds, and drought, to put in one of the brand new batteries. In a moment of panic they did attempt to enlist help from the gas station attendant but aside from knowing the workings of the cash register, he was pretty clueless. To their credit, giving up was never an option.

With the mission accomplished, our heroes returned to the van with instructions for the masses: Wrap up. Keep positive. Don’t breathe. The last instruction being to keep the windshield from steaming up when we couldn’t operate the heat or defrost.

Now the adventure really began! This is why it’s good to change things up a bit. Our van ride quickly turned into a good old-fashioned trip in something like a one-horse open sleigh. Complete with crisp winter air, jack frost nipping at our noses, kept warm with furs, muffs, and a heated brick to warm our feet. Only without the furs, muffs, and heated brick to warm our feet. It was just like riding to Grandma’s with Laura Ingalls and her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.

We decided to do what Laura and Pa would have done – sing! Jingle Bells and Over the River and Through the Woods seemed appropriate. We sang ourselves warm. Until the windows steamed up. That put an end to that.

And then we went through the whole heroic battery changing thing again. This time our heroes seemed to know what they were doing and the deed was done much quicker, even with the necessary nature calls to a hidden area.

With all the excitement of this year’s ride, what will we do next year?

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