By some miracle of God – or despite him – we made it home to Kentucky. He either intervened on our behalf with some devilish ghouls who did everything within their power to prevent our trip or we overcame every obstacle that he sent our way and now we are doomed for some additional wrath. We shall soon see. Never did I imagine that my stolen purse would cause so much trouble.
So, our trouble began Monday afternoon as Ann and I packed the truck in the pouring damn rain. I see here in Kentucky that y’all may have forgotten what that is like so I’ll explain: if we had had some soap and a wash cloth, we could have just showered there in the parking lot. Ann wore a bath towel over her head in a feeble attempt to stay somewhat dry. I knew it was hopeless so I just tried to be calm and not be too upset that the boxes were getting soaked and they would inevitably be mushy piles of paper at the end of our long trip. Even though we had a tarp and did our best to keep everything under the tarp at all times, we ARE a couple of girls and had to try a few different methods of tarp placement and tarp securing until we were comfortable that everything would remain intact during our trip. Or, mostly anyway.
Leaving home this stressed should have been our first indication that we should have just waited until a better time. But not to be outwitted by water, we carried on. I had been so busy during the work day that I didn’t get a chance to pick up Drew’s antibiotics for the infection in his leg and even after making special arrangements to have it delivered to a location on our way out of town for pick-up, we still failed to retrieve it as that location closed.
We made it just past Orlando when we were ready to stop for the night. So, we pulled off at the first exit with lodging and there was a hotel on the left. However, they wouldn’t accept my Drew Walking Tall debit card (the card to the account with the generous donations to fund our travel) because I didn’t have an ID due to my purse being stolen. With my driver’s license in it. They wouldn’t even take cash without an ID. So, Ann offered to pay for the room with her credit card and get reimbursed later. BUT they wouldn’t take her card because the names on the ID and card didn’t exactly match. I stormed out rolling my eyes. But there was a hotel right across the street.
The paper on the door said to call a number if the office was empty and the desk clerk accepted my cash and let us have a room. The hotel, by outward appearances, definitely was not on my recommend list. The lot and building appeared to not be maintained. But, I tried to reserve judgement. This was the Palace Hotel after all. The room itself was in even more dire shape. The ceiling was water stained and layers of paint were cracking off, the towels in the bathroom sink were dingy and worn, and the general atmosphere was just “ewww!” But, it was after midnight and my denial was still trying to strong-arm my need for security. We cautiously laid down in the sheets which I still pray were sticky from humidity and did my best to drift off. Not long after, we heard knocking on our ceiling or wall, male voices right outside of our window and every noise or bump made just jump. As the minutes wore on, we were more and more nervous. Drew was initially worried about the room and the noises, but he quickly dozed off. Either my hard-headedness or my denial was still playing the lead in this little scenario because it was only with Ann’s insistence that we leave. But, there was the little problem of getting to our truck now that we determined this place was unsafe. So, who do you call when you feel like your life is in danger? Yes, folks, we called 911 so nice burly cops could come escort two small town girls and an angry boy to their truck. We didn’t even get our money back or nothing. We high-tailed it out of there. Come to find out, we were in the hood of Crenshaw, Florida!
So, with no directions to an acceptable hotel, we paid another toll to get onto the Florida turnpike and found a much more comfortable and acceptable 15 miles down the road. I was not pleased as I glared at the clock displaying 2:00 am.
Due to our late night, we were in no hurry to wake up or leave. We took our time, but left the hotel about 9:30 or 10 or so. With gas and food to collect before our long road trip, we pulled into the closest gas station and I reach into my trusty cubbyhole where I keep my debit card and the cubbyhole is unexpectedly empty. I search my seat and nearby boxes and cup holders returning no card. To make a long story short, I search and search and search and a panic attack and a call to the bank to cancel the card, I had somehow managed to lose my only remaining source of payment (well, I had a checkbook buried in a box somewhere in the back of the truck.) Pouring rain, murderous hotel, lost debit card…I was instantly convinced we weren’t meant to make it to Kentucky and through tears and a burning desire to hit something with a metal bat, I demanded that I just return to West Palm Beach and screw the trip home. I was done. $#%^ it was my thought. We weren’t even close to being out of the state of Florida and this was becoming a less funny and more annoying version of The Hangover. Coincidentally, earlier in the day Drew had recalled a ride in an elevator in the Children’s Hospital in West Palm Beach painted with a carousel and said out loud, “It’s like a circus!” Yes, Drew, our life is exactly like that.
Well, we made it home. About 18 hours on the road, 3 hotels and 2 hotel stays, we pulled into Union County about 1:00 Wednesday afternoon. And, in no time, my house was full. Glad to be home and more glad for Ann who held me together as I fell apart! Drew was so excited as well. When we got home, it was, “Look! My old house!” and “Look! Our grill!” and “Look! Our mailbox!” and he admired all of the old stuff that he had forgotten about. And, I drove to Henderson to see a friend and Drew said quite stern, “I don’t want to leave Kentucky. You are going too far!”
But my troubles continue. First, I have no internet at my house until Monday thanks to an unnamed internet provider who shall remain nameless because I don’t want to be one of those people fired from my job for stuff I said online. Back in April, I called to suspend my service since I wouldn’t be using it in Kentucky therefore didn’t want to pay for it with intentions of recommencing service when we returned. Turns out they don’t suspend service, only deactivate it. This, of course, means that I have to pay an additional activation fee. But, really, I understand. I understand that companies have to do whatever they can to make money and if they can’t make their money through their monthly services, they’ll make up for it other ways. But, a $50 activation fee wasn’t enough for them, oh no. Not when you are a greedy company too large for your own good. Now, the proper step for highway robbery is to now discontinue providing your previous DSL service and require an upgrade to internet service through fiber optic wires for an additional $100 for the equipment – if you install it yourself. It’ll be ANOTHER $100 if a technician comes to do it. And, to really just seal your dissatisfaction the salt in the wound is I can’t get internet in my house until Monday if I self-install. This company should consider themselves lucky that I just don’t have the time, patience or energy to fight it. But, I suppose that is what companies like these exploit. Sigh.
And, while I consider myself somewhat technically savvy and resourceful enough to resolve my own problems, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get my DirectTV box to work. It has power and I’ve plugged cables up to every port in every possible combination (well, obviously every one but one), but I can’t get to my channels. But, I guess it doesn’t matter since DirectTV has dropped a lot of channels. I might be dropping as a customer. But, luckily we have a lot of Disney and Dreamworks DVDs to bide our time until we get our TV channels working.
All of this inconvenience and frustration seems to have added to my recent bout of back pain. In the last couple of weeks, my back has been very stiff and painful and today started shooting pain down through my hips. I’m thinking my back pain is due to the effort it takes to lift Drew in and out of the wagon, wheelchair and the truck and to bed, and to here and to there. Lifting Drew requires strength and I’m not sure there is an ergonomic way of lifting him to avoid injury. So, a chiropractor might be in my near future or I may require my own fixator to realign my spine!
And my god, people!! It’s hotter than two rats wrestlin’ in a wool sock up here!! Someone, please send me back to Florida where it’s less likely to singe my hair! Sheesh!
So, we’ll be home until September and we’ll return for additional surgery on his other leg. His right leg will be casted for two weeks and he’ll have his new fixator on his left leg so that will be a pretty awkward time for Drew. But, I’m not counting the days!