Houston, we have a problem

Never has there been a more overused cliche, but oh, how this one applied.
We snuck off to Houston last week ... one of the perks of homeschooling. We can pick up and go with Dad pretty easily (with books it tow, of course).

So much for easy.

The headline version:
our vehicle broke down in Dallas traffic
a transmission we just had repaired blew (mercifully under warranty)
it's still there
the meter is ticking on our expensive rental vehicle

I could go on, but why? It's not even necessary to mention the speeding ticket I got in Houston traffic. Shouldn't there be grace for out of town drivers who are novice to big city traffic? And why am I cursed with a lead foot? My son now says that I'm "built for speed." Unfortunately, it's not the first time they've been along when Mom's been pulled over. Or our family budget has suffered for my indiscretions. Shame.

Another damper to our trip was Stan's Meniere's kicked up, and he spent a good part of the time spinning (dizzy). We're both really dejected over this because he had one really great week with no symptoms. I think the stress of the breakdown (and living with wife and kids in a hotel for four days?) could have attributed. And eating too much sodium.

Our big trip highlight was slipping down to Galveston so the kids could see the gulf coast for the first time. BUT 1) It was Mardi Gras weekend and hotel prices were inflated; 2) it was freezing cold. Still they chased gulls and dipped their toes in the water. And highlight for the boys, we found the big army surplus store in Galveston. They ended up with WWII Austrian gas masks (no doubt from the resistance), and Lydia got a hand-knitted "dress" that was really used as long johns.

We did have a blast. Despite my lead foot, I managed to navigate Houston traffic to find the zoo, children's museum, the aquarium and Holocaust museum. And we braved it, and tried out the mass trans system - the kids and I - with the commuters. Adventurous. Giles was an excellent navigator with the map, directions ... and the occasional, "Mom, do you know where you're going?" Yes, I would tell him. I know almost exactly where we're going.

So we came back home to our new furnace that was installed while we were gone, after spending the previous week with no heat on the bottom floor. Only to find our water heater leaking!

Satan's attacks. He'll not beat us though.

Lest we try to feel sorry for ourselves, we keep chanting Phil 4:6 together, and remembering three situations we saw during the trip that let's us know it could always be worse way worse.

Our limping minivan made it to the parking lot of a liquor/convenience store in an industrial part of Dallas that obviously was a hub for the homeless. In our hour waiting there for tow/rental, I counted at least six or seven men digging through the trash looking for cans. A few minutes later we gave a handful of cash to our tow guy (another long story). It was ALL of our cash on hand, however, we could get more. We didn't need cans.

On the Houston monorail (riding for fun), we rode with a nice man who was headed to work. Actually he was napping until we got on the train. He takes two buses and the entire monorail system to work each evening for a job that I don't gather pays a lot. Three hour commute from south to north. (Not to mention those who live in the suburbs and do an intense and long commute downtown every day)

In Galveston on a beach, a lady in her "home" (rattletrap truck) that was parked over by the mesquite shrubs, asked if we'd give them a jump. That's an interesting scenario. But we did it. The woman had a black eye and no teeth. The man, obviously drunk, frail and limping (Stan said he had a broken hip) and Stan worked for a long time to get their truck started - using their worn out cables. I don't know where they were going to drive it - it would take some time to pack up all of the fishing poles and other gear (junk ... treasures?) piled around. Maybe they needed some heat in the cab (bedroom). Wish we could have helped more, but where to start. Plus, I was afraid.

So I'm praying for them. And praying our theme scripture, "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Ask God for what you need, and thank him for all he has done!"

picture of white tiger at the Aquarium (tiger at aquarium?). Kinda reflected our mood. Ha. Ha. More pix later.
Time to finish getting ready for Grant's FIFTH birthday party later today!


  1. Wow... what a trip! A true adventure for the whole family and then some! I am sure the kids have this trip blazed into thier memories. It's great! I don't think anything else could have happened to you all to make it any better!

    Love your stories! Your family is just too cute... so positive and fun....makes me excited for my future!!