February 20, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day to Us: My car broke down

Sometimes, I feel like we're in a replay of the awfulness of August. 

I tried to drive to work on Valentine's Day and the coolant exploded in my RAV4. I was only a couple of miles from home and I didn't know what had happened, only that lights were coming on all over the place, so I drove slowly home just because I didn't want to leave the car sit on the side of the road and then have to have Scott tow it this weekend. Plus, how would I get home? Nothing was smoking or burning so I kept going. My neighbor saw me as she was driving back from dropping her kid off at school and followed me home (so that should make my parents feel better). 

Scott was four hours away in Laramie. 

We are lucky that it never occurred to me how much this would cost to fix or who would fix it: Scott would fix it. It just takes time. Everything takes time.

Anyway, I had to call work to tell them I wouldn't be there right away (and I sent a few instructions to my teammate for the sub), and then I spent the next hour on the phone with Scott while he told me what to check and what to take pictures of...

He was able to diagnosis the problem over the phone and he always asks so many questions in these situations...I could hear him watching Youtube videos about RAV4s and coolant leaks in the background...and it's honestly like I witnessed a crime: What happened before that? When did you see the lights? Did the red light come on before or AFTER the orange ones? Was there smoke? How long were the lights on for? I literally have to remember every detail on command.

Using the code scanner to figure out if there's a deeper issue other than the coolant sprayed around under the hood. (Scott wanted pictures so I happen to have them...I wasn't consciously thinking of documenting this.)

And then, I had to figure out how to charge the battery on the Nissan truck that we haven't driven since fall. I followed a lot of instructions. The battery was not charging quickly enough for me to make it to work, even for a half day. I had to call again and ask for an afternoon sub...I texted some plans to my teammate. (Later, I was told the students told others that it was an "awful" Valentine's Day because I wasn't there, which pretty much thrills me...these kids like me and I was so used to being despised by all...kids, parents, etc... last year.)

Scott walked me through how to jump the truck. My car would start just fine, so I used it to charge the truck battery and then the truck worked. It was too late to make it to work at this point.  If you don't get there by 11:30, they charge you for a whole day of leave and I wasn't working for free.  But the truck had to run for awhile to keep charging and it was low on gas. So I drove to the gas station and then to Target (with smeared mascara and a blotchy face...God bless that cashier for not saying anything about that), then Panda Express, and this is how I ended up on the couch by 2pm, watching Bachelor Winter Games.


And honestly, this is why I'm not working next year. I know we made the decision to hold onto this place for a year while we were also going to "be" in Wyoming. I also figured that, since it was here and remodeled, I might as well work one more year. We'd be paying the mortgage anyway. PLUS, we didn't close on the Wyoming house until the end of September so we would've been virtually homeless had we tried to move in August when we were originally looking for a house.

Scott has spent a lot of our marriage away and I've had to take care of so much on my own. This idea that I'd be in Colorado during the weeks and he'd be four hours away (with traffic) and the problems it can cause seemed self-inflicted, however. But, if I didn't have a job that was so demanding, it legitimately wouldn't have been as big of a deal. I could've not been in panic mode over making sure the Nissan worked assoonaspossible because I could've stayed home for two days until he came back from Wyoming. It wouldn't be such a stressor to know I have a 40 minute, one way, commute and no vehicle.

I haven't even handed in my letter of resignation yet, and people are already asking when I'm going to go back to work. That's funny, right? They keep asking me what I'm "going to do next". Um, I'm going to be an army wife.  We'll move 2-3 times in the next 5 years. Being an army wife is a legitimate full-time job anyway with the constant inconveniences and necessities that must be taken care of...the mandatory fun events, the volu-told activities, the paperwork, the appointments, the moving, etc.
I've just made the CHOICE to work for the last EIGHT years because I enjoyed it. I don't have TIME to teach after this year.

Normally, I'm not one who believes I need to be overly feminist in my speech or writing because I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT and I don't need to announce it to the world because seriously icandowhateveriwant. But WHY do I have to have "something to do" next fall? I'll HAVE something to do (a baby plus two dogs) and if I want to stay home for a few years, I shouldn't have to act like that's a concession. I've done the teaching thing and now I'm getting to do what I actually want to do for awhile, instead.

I'll go back to education in some form at some point, but I don't even know what state we'll be in a year from now so I really want to encourage these question-askers to not try to make me explain myself. This is especially prevalent to the people who have never lived a military lifestyle and keep asking me what I'm going to do next. When you move somewhere new, you have no help with anything. You are on your own. People who've done the military thing never ask this question because they know what it's like.
Another HUUUUUUGE factor in me not attempting to work for a couple of years is that childcare is too expensive. Paying for that in Colorado Springs would be over 3/4 of my paycheck each month.

Anyway...I was forced to reflect on this:

It was my go-to during all deployments and it's still always in the back of my mind. It was one of the first thoughts I had last week when I realized my car would not be driveable, I was stuck at home, and Scott was four hours away.

Whether you are a Christian or not, it just makes sense. Of course, suffering produces perseverance. Of course, perseverance will help to shape our character. And, of course, having a well-shaped character will lead us to hope that things will get better.


In the end, Scott was able to fix my car in 20 minutes, on Friday night, at 10pm, in the dark. A pressurized tube had popped apart because the gasket had come loose.

Still, it made for an uncertain few days because something usually (always) goes wrong for us.

Here's hoping the rest of this week flies by. 


  1. I love that scripture.
    I am impressed you worked as long as you did being a military wife.
    I think its perfect timing for you to take that stressor out of your life & see where life LITERALLY takes you now :)
    PS - car issues are THE WORST! Right up there with dental issues. UGH

  2. I don't understand why people get all het up about the choices of others. That's what feminism is, right!? The ability to choose! And have the same choices as men would. Anyway, I think it's great you're able to switch to a new phase of life, and it all sounds very sensible to me. As I get older, more and more people I know are switching up the way they work - one friend is going part time (even with no kids or army responsibilities) just for her own health and wellbeing. I'm very happy for her. Too many folks getting burned out; for what?

  3. People always feel like they get to have an opinion on what others do. It's annoying as hell.

  4. What a mess! But yeah, I feel you on the change of scenery. I'll actually be dropping the stay at home thing in a couple years to go back to school full time. That's a huge change too!

  5. from a person who takes time off from work every 2 years - DO IT. there's nothing like being able to relax and enjoy life if your financial situation doesn't suffer so if you can handle it, DO IT. you won't regret it. IDGAF what people say to me when i'm off (most of them are haters and wish they could do the same lol) but i just give them a smug look and tell them Yep, I'm not working and LIVING LIFE.

  6. I never understood all of these invasive questions. Like, what is so wrong with you not going back to work?! I don't get that. Why is it so shocking or bad that you want to stay home and be a wife? I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I've had so much respect for you over the last few years for continuing to teach. I know that can not be an easy thing to do as an army wife and I've really loved that you've been able to keep up with it on top of life stuff. I'm glad you're taking time off... wether it be a year or two or 20, I'm excited for you all!
    Be bored, find stuff to occupy your time, new hobbies will come and go! Seriously, I'm super excited about this decision for you. I think it's time for a much deserved break.

  7. also, sorry about the car issues. THE WORST! So frustrating, expensive, and just honestly a total pain in the butt.


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