For the past week I have been trying to find a way to express myself on what happened. After much thought I have decided that I will count my blessings.
- It was a horrifying day on a global level- the earthquake in Japan. My heart aches for the good people of Japan. I am grateful that I can do SOMETHING to help. Please donate to the Canadian Red Cross.
- Waking to news of a- literally- world shaking event is awful enough but waking with the knowledge that the earthquake caused a tsunami travelling at 500 mph towards the Hawaiian islands. I counted 5 HUGE blessing as that was number of family members to NOT be swept away or trapped in a tsunami. They had lots of warning and were safe enough on the 12th floor.
- The road conditions were quite bad in and around the Virden area- highways were closed all over the place. I was scheduled to be in Waskada (1h 15 minutes from Virden) for the morning to finish interviewing for an inspectors. I was thankful that we successfully rearranged for the interviews to be done in Virden since 4 out of the 5 people involved for the day were all in Virden. And that the one fellow who did travel arrived safely.
- I was thankful that the highways eventually did open and the kids, the cats and I were able to leave Virden. Scott had bought tickets for the Boys (Finn, Scott and Dave) to go to the Monster Truck show at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for Saturday, March 12th. Finn had really been looking forward to the show. We got out of town. (This was definitely a mixed blessing as I would have saved us a LOT of trouble had we just stayed home.)
- I am thankful that we made it all the way to Austin before we encountered REALLY bad whiteout weather conditions. Did I mention that the weather was really, really bad?
- I was grateful that our cat Howard stopped doing his Al Pacino in Attica impression in his car carrier. He eventually calmed down. Obviously this was the kitten's first long car ride. FYI: hysterical cats are NOT fun travelling companions especially in already tense driving situations.
- I was thankful for the DVD player in the van and the various ipods and DSi games that kept the kids occupied and quite oblivious to the raging weather outside. Every once in a while G would ask "Momma, can YOU see anything?" and I would mumble something about having better visibility from the front. I was lying.
- I was thankful that we got to Portage la Prairie safely. Yes, I drove a solid 50 km almost completely blind and on terrible roads but we got there.
- I am grateful that I had my cell phone fully charged and with me but it didn't work. I was extra grateful to have found a pay phone in Portage. My cell reception was sketchy and I was getting blocks of increasingly panicked texts from Scott asking if we were okay. I was not able to send anything while driving and once we got to Portage all cell lines were blocked. So it was good to reassure him that we were okay.
- I am grateful for my children's positive attitude and sense of adventure. When we were unable to find an available hotel room and I told them that we may be sleeping in our van they thought that was okay. Even when we were in the Walmart parking lot and in middle of a raging blizzard. After the 4th visit to an unavailable hotel Finn's wise words were "Well, there goes Plan D. What's Plan E Momma?" "Um, Gimme a minute, Baby" was my answer.
- I was thankful that I came up with a Plan E... I decided to call the only people I even vaguely knew in Portage and ask, beg if necessary, if we could please bunk with them for the night. They were home. They graciously said yes. (Thankyou!thankyou!thankyou!) I can not adequately express how I felt when we got safely to their house and I could actually put away the thought of the all of us in the van for the night.
- Again to the positive attitude of the kids in thinking that this was the "funnest sleepover ever". Whereas I wanted a drink.
- I was extra grateful to the neighbours of our hosts for having had a plunger to help deal with the plugged and copiously flushed toilet as a direct result of my children. (OMG! can this trip get any better?!) I was, again, extra grateful that no lasting damage was done to their newly renovated bathroom and now slightly flooded basement. (How do you casually ask someone you barely know if you can buy them a plunger and a bottle of Lysol?) Another blessing was that this happened in the morning of the next day. If it had happened the night before I might have just cracked.
- The weather cleared and the highways reopened after a lovely breakfast with our new friends. We packed quickly and bolted to Winnipeg before the kids could break their new lamps or something.
- Finn arrived on time, with 20 minutes to spare, for his Monster Truck show. Scott met us downtown.
- After 45 minutes at the Monster Truck show Finn had decided that he'd had enough and that it was time to go home. I am grateful that Scott was patient enough to explain to Finn that I had expended a lot of effort to get him there for the show and that they will be staying for the whole show. Scott bought a $25 t-shirt and an $8 snack and they were solid for the next 1h 15 minutes.
- The girls and I went shopping for the afternoon with Norma and Tammy. It was grand and the girls had a ball.
- Scott and the kids made it home again on sunday in a very quiet and very uneventful ride home while I stayed in Winnipeg for work. In a typical Manitoba storm we got two days of bad weather and it went right back to being lovely the next day.
So many blessings were counted. I do feel that we were quite lucky in the whole ordeal. I am NOT eager to do it again.
Another blessing ot be counted- on an unrelated note- I got my renewed passport in the mail this week. I can go on vacation with my family next week. Yahoo! Count me in for a pina colada by the pool. Maybe two!