We got up at 6am to leave at 7am for our 3 hour trip to Ohio for a CCAI Midwest Reunion. Ashton was so excited to go. Of course we weren't out the door until about 7:15. And my husband HATES to be late. He's always rush, rush, rush. And so he was being a bit rushed with us and I started snapping back... wonderful way to start a road trip. But we got over it. Luckily it didn't diminish Ashton's excitement for the carnival day we were driving to.
After the 1st hour in the car, she told us she was done. The excitement was depleted. She hates to be confined and hates long drives. So after that I did my best to keep her spirits up.
Luckily it came back once we were there. There was a lot for her to see and do. More than 300 members of the CCAI family came across from 15 different states to join this first CCAI Midwest Reunion. There were games, a jumping castle, face painting, balloon animals, food, and more.
Of course play in the bounce house was top on her list.
We bumped into Joshua early on. He is the co-founder of CCAI. Mark was really excited to have met him. As for him, his phone call, was the turning point for us selecting CCAI.
There were lots of activities for the wee ones. There was fishing, a ball toss, and all sorts of fun games.
Ashton even got to shoot a water pistol and knock a golf ball over. She was so proud of herself.
We didn't get her face painted, but we did stand in line for a balloon animal. There were many to choose from and Ashton wanted Toothless the Dragon, but she didn't do dragons, so Ashton decided on a ladybug.
She gave her ladybug a kiss right before we sat to eat. We had cheeseburgers, chips, casserole, corn on the cob, baked beans, and popcorn. We met a couple of nice families while eating. One family was from Chicago, and they just got their daughter a few months ago. Another family was a blended family with China and Korea roots. They had 3 boys and were waiting to get matched to their next child.
It was then time for group shots.
Ashton really had fun. But there was more to be had.
We planned with a another family whose daughter went to the same SWI in Sanmenxia as our daughter to go to a splash park. Ms. A and Ashton are about 6 months a part in age. And we hoped they'd hit it off. The splash park was only a few minutes down the road. Ashton was excited to go. And rightfully, so.
But Ashton and their eldest daughter Ms. E, who is 9 years old, seemed to really click together. They played together rather than her and Ms. A who we got together for.
Ms. A didn't want to play in the water, so we got a few picks of them together by the rocks.
After the splash park, we went up the hitt were there were dancing rabbits. And as Ashton is year of the rabbit, I wanted to take a couple of pictures.
Ashton on a lucky rabbit's foot - literally. And though the 2 girls from Sanmenxia didn't bond as we hoped, I was able to talk them into walking hand in hand back to the car. They were so adorable together.
Well, as it was a 3 hour drive back and it was about 4 ish we decided we'd gas up and only do drive-thru for dinner in a hour or so and hopefully be back around 7:30 for the dogs to take them out. We felt bad that they would be holding it so long. We were barely on the road for a minute, when Ashton was super upset, she couldn't find her daisy. I tried to find it from the front seat sifting through what I could, and I couldn't find it. So we pulled over and looked for it properly. Her daisy is like her blanket. It's a pillowcase. She has several, but her travel one is a black Hello Kitty one. And we couldn't find it. We went through the back seat and under the chairs, and found it under her car seat. Crisis averted. Within a minute, with her daisy in her mouth, she fell asleep.
We head off on the highway home and at 4:30 we're pulling off on the shoulder. Dead in the water. After rescuing Ashton's daisy, we forgot to gas up. What's funny is earlier that morning we're arguing about being "late", but we find out were stopped, out of gas, miles from the nearest exit and we're laughing. Ashton was still asleep.
I called AAA immediately. After being on hold 10 minutes, I got someone. They asked where we were. I looked on my map on the phone and tried to tell them the nearest exit, which was ahead of us, who knew by how many miles. They said that it wasn't in their territory and would transfer me to another AAA number, oh yay! So then the phone rang to the next dispatch, and then the call dropped. I didn't know if it was my cell, if we were in a bad reception area, or if there were problems on their end. So I called back again. After another wait of 10 minutes someone answered. I told them not to transfer me as we weren't sure if the call would drop. So they asked all the same questions again and said they'd send someone out. They couldn't tell me how long it'd take. But about 5 minutes later I got a call saying they'd be there between 5-30 minutes.
So we noticed we were about half a mile from a bridge. Which had shade, and would help make us feel more comfortable. So my husband pushed the car while I had it in neutral and we slowly got it over to the shade. It was so much better out of the sun. Having the windows open we had a great breeze with the cars zooming by.
Then suddenly the car alarm went off. It was really odd. My husband was digging for the key out of his pocket and hit the unlock button or alarm button and it finally turned off. Ashton woke up. She was a bit confused what was going on but settled down quickly.
Being pushed under the bridge, we could see a mile marker ahead of us. I checked the map again and was able to find the state road bridge number above us.
We then got a call from our AAA rescuer. He said he was at the exit I mentioned but didn't see us. It was about 5pm. I told him, I never said we were on that exit, but that was the nearest exit, since that is what question was asked me. I told him the bridge and mile marker. Instead of saying, I'll come get you or on his way, he said, he'd call it in!
I called my mom to ask her to take out the dogs, that we'd be home really late. Mom was our lifesaver going to our house and taking care of our furbabies.
So now it was about 5:30pm and a cop stopped by. I told him that I called AAA. He gave us his number if we had trouble with AAA and advised I call them again. He also told us to turn off our emergency flashers to save on battery life. Which we did.
Ashton then said she had to go potty. Of course. So daddy took her behind the concrete barrier of the bridge and let her pee in the grass. Luckily we carry baby wipes still in the car, even though she's potty trained.
Once they were back in the car, my dream from earlier hit me. I had dreamed that we got in a car accident and both he and Ashton were in a coma. I didn't know if they'd make it and I was calling home trying to remain calm. I don't remember much else, but being were we were I said, "Uh, oh." just recalling the dream. He said what. I tried to pass it off, but he wanted to know and I told him. He joked saying if I wanted to trade seats. But remembering that dream was a little unsettling.
At 6pm, with no AAA call about rescue from the guy that said he called it in, I decided to try again. By this time Ashton was getting fussy and began to get upset, and it was hard to talk on the phone with her upset, but I hoped it raised our priority of the call.They asked for the number of the guy who called us. It seems the rescue call got lost after he called it in. They were looking for us in Indiana, not Ohio after his call! They said they made the correction and called it in. It took 30 minutes to get that all straighten out. They had called the original guy and were trying to get a hold of him to see if he was on his way, but in the mean time called someone who we weren't in his district and he was about 30 minutes away and was willing to come.
So it was 6:30 by then. We were hoping for AAA to come by 7pm and we agreed if no one came by 7:15pm that we'd call that cop again for help.
At 7:06pm AAA arrived. They guy was very sweet. He came with gas and filled up the car with about 5 gallons.
Then the original guy who got our call and "called it in" after he didn't find us at the exit came. He marched up angerly. He was ticked that someone else was taking "his call". The nice AA guy said we'd been waiting since 4:30 and he left his territory to take care of us. And that was the point of the other guy, saying it wasn't his territory. The nice guy had a short distance tow truck and asked the other guy to stick around just in case because he had a long distance tow truck flat bed. But the rude guy said, "You can take care of it" and turned on his heel and left.
But after that we tried starting the car, and it wouldn't turn over. All the warning lights in the car were on.
We opened the hood to check the engine. Everything looked fine. We told the AAA guy about the car alarm going off, so he tried using the key in the door to see if that reset anything. Nope. That didn't work.
Do then we though maybe the battery needed a jump. So he brought out the cables and tried to jump us. Still nothing!
That's when I began to get concerned. What if it wasn't just gas. Do we tow all the way back to Indiana and wait for the car dealership to open on Monday, or stay in Ohio so that we could take advantage of their car dealerships being open on a Sunday?
That's when I began to get concerned. I began cleaning up the car. I had to start doing something I could control.
Then my husband googled being out of gas and car not going turning over. He found out something say to unhook the battery completely, let it set a couple of minutes and rehook. We mentioned this plan to the AAA guy. He said we'd loose our radio stations, and phonebook, etc. I said that was perfectly fine.
So he went back to remove the battery. He cleaned the terminals. Because of the fumes from the terminals, he asked me to put a towel over Ashton's head. I grabbed our towel we used at the splash park and asked her if she wanted to pretend to be in a tent. She said yes. So we got under it together while she was coloring in her coloring book. The terminals went back on and they tried restarting the car again. And it fired right up!
I was so glad we weren't taken care of by the second fellow. He seemed like he would have just gased us up and then if that didn't fix it tell us we'd be towed. But this guy wasn't about to give up. I think we waited this long because God knew he wouldn't help us and this one would and rearranged things so we could be taken care of.
Ashton had to go potty once again. So I took her back this time to pee outside. Then we buckled up and the guy said he wanted to be sure we could take off. So we did and he followed us for about a mile then we headed off to the next exit to get gas.
It was just after 8pm by then. We were way off schedule, hungry, tired, but safe and headed home. Ashton begged for being good that when we got home to stay up and see "The Croods". We told her yes. She was ecstatic.
So it was a long day, but a good day. and Ashton got to stay up really late, to her delight. And it was the first night in several days that she slept through the night. So I thank God that through it we were blessed with the right AAA guy, the shade of the bridge, and Ashton being in a good mood and sleeping through the night, and for having a fun day. Even with the break down it was still worth it.