Oh no!! I left you hanging for WAAAAYYYY too long!!
Rudest. Person. Ever.
I hope you will forgive me and read the shocking conclusion to this dramatic saga.
We arrived back at the van and got the tire on just fine. By now, it's getting dark. We're all tired. We can't wait to just get home. Everyone piles into the van, Vanessa starts the car, and...
By the sound it was making, we could tell the battery was dead. But how?!
The culprit was this: a converter thingy that you plug into your cigarette lighter that has a normal outlet on it so you can charge stuff.
Stuff like Tom's camera battery that he wanted charged for the girls' softball game that we never saw.
That thingy had been sucking the battery dead all while we were helping a man who needed medical attention and then finding a new tire to get put on the rim and then driving back.
So, someone jumped out of the van and ran back to Louis' car before he drove off to see if he had jumper cables.
Yes, he did. But they were back at his house which was at least 15 minutes away. We said, no problem. We could wait. He wanted to come back with his "fast car" that only seated four so that he could make the trip back to the van faster.
So Jared, Vanessa, the girls, and I waited in the van with the hazards on for as long as they would flash, which, as it turned out, was longer than I thought.
After the hazards were about done, we decided it might be safer to chill on the other side of the guard rail. And we were in luck, because there was already a clearing in the tall, tall grass for us to stand in...
This is Vanessa and the girls' feet standing in the spot where Stephen fell. Man, I still wonder how he's doing.
Anyway, after about 45 minutes, Tom and Louis arrived with jumper cables and got everything hooked up. This, of course, is the best time for me to stay out of things and let people who know better do their thing. So I just talked to Vanessa and the girls.
Several minutes have gone by and Tom has tried to start the van a few times with no luck. The van got some power (overhead lights came on when they didn't before), but not enough to start it.
They tried hooking up the cables different ways, waiting, etc.
Nothing was working.
30 minutes has gone by and Jared and I suggest we call AAA since we have a membership. At least whoever comes will have an idea of what's wrong... maybe.
Now here's where I learned a valuable life lesson. If you travel out of the state of your AAA membership (ex. going from Indiana to Ohio), make sure you tell the dispatcher the state you are in FIRST.
You will save a lot of time.
Anywhom, after about 10 minutes, I get a hold of someone who will get a tow truck out to us in about 45 minutes.
So we waited some more. It's 11:00 at night by this point. Yeah. Time flies when your night is one disaster after another.
The poor girls hadn't even had dinner! I'm sure they were starving. They had a gallon-sized ziplock bag of popcorn their mom had given them, but one of the girls demolished it and the other didn't get any. So I'm sure this was just as fun for them as it was for us.
When the tow truck guy arrived, he got to work right away hooking up his heavy duty jumper cables to the van. He definitely knew what he was doing, but we still couldn't get the van to start! At this point everyone knew there was a bigger issue here. The only option was to tow the van somewhere, and then we would have to figure out what we were gonna do from there.
Lots of options were thrown out there. Like...
"We could rent a car." No car rental in this town would be open until morning.
"We could stay at Tom's sister and brother-in-law's house for the night." Jared, Vanessa, and Tom all had to be at work the next morning.
The last one was our temporary plan as Tom, Louis, and the girls piled into Louis's car, and Jared, myself, and Vanessa crammed in like sardines in the tow truck.
The van was towed to Gary's. By that time, Louis had switched back to his large vehicle that could seat all 7 of us. He dropped us off at Tom's sister and brother-in-law's house and we went inside to figure stuff out.
It's well past midnight now. Pushing 1:00 am. We are all so exhausted we can hardly speak. To me, the thought of having to stay the night and still have stuff to figure out when we woke up the next morning did not sound restful. All I wanted was to be drifting off to sleep in my own bed.
Brian was awake and helping us figure everything out. It was decided finally that we would take his daughter's car back that night, and Tom and Vanessa would have to return it in a day or two.
So, for the last time, we all piled into a vehicle. This one did not comfortably seat six people. Vanessa, the girls, and I were squished in the back seat. But it didn't matter. We all just slept most of the two-hour drive back.
It felt so nice to see our town again. And for us to drive our truck back to our apartment from Tom and Vanessa's. I felt like our crazy night was finally over. I slept like a rock.
And it turns out, yes, there was a bigger problem with Tom and Vanessa's van. It may be that the jumper cables had been hooked up incorrectly the first time. I don't know. They did get it fixed, though.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this tale. Every bit of it is true.