We live in Coos Bay, Oregon…or rather, we did last week. Now we live in my grandmother’s basement in some unknown, minuscule town in northern Utah. Out of choice? Planned? Even expected? Nope, not really. Because that wouldn’t be realistic.
I’ll make the boring part short: Husband had a crappy paid wielding job that gave him a little perdium to go out to Colorado to work on a mill for two months. Since I kinda like him, me and kid were going with him to live in a little three person trailer so we could be with our Daddy and Hubby as he earned 13/hr.
That’s true love, right there.
Our 2005 Honda Civic, the only car we’ve ever gotten into debt for at a dealership because we were sick and tired of cars breaking on us and leaving us thousands of dollars in the hole, decided to blow a head gasket three hours out. And for you Honda lovers, it only had 170k miles on it and was catered to like the money hogging baby it was–oil changes on the dot, all worn parts replaced the moment they squeaked, etc. But, since we still had our tiny 1989 Chevy S10 that had cost us a whopping $750, not to mention the husband still had 13/hr to make, we hooked up the Honda to the back of that, frankly, butt-ugly mini-truck and hauled booty until we got somewhere in Idaho, where the truck’s transmission started coughing and slipping in protest.
Granted, having to haul a liar of a Honda Civic on top of its own ugliness was a lot to ask of a car older than both I and my husband, so we pulled over, called for help from his mom five hours away, and got situated for a night of sleep in the empty space of backwoods Idaho, where the bushy, man-tall trees are few and far in-between and among rolling hills of brown, sunbleached grass.
I showed another mind-numbing feat of true love when I didn’t mention Slenderman, Wendigos, or Skinwalkers to my husband, who had already curled up on the ground with a cotton Indian blanket and his million year old shotgun (when you’re poor, everything you own is millions of years old). It’s true love because I was very sorely tempted. My husband has an overactive imagination for someone who is 6 feet tall, broad, sturdy, bearded, and 200 pounds–and I dearly needed the laugh after the day we had. Did I mention we had to do it all with no A/C? But I’m really nice. So I curled up in the back of the truck on top of our totes of crap with my own Indian cotton blanket and only took a moment to appreciate the plain of stars above us. The glow of the last city we had passed still bled into the navy and drowned out that famous Milky Way, because owners of a Chevy S10 that ugly can’t have nice things.
Before I could get to sleep, I had to mentally talk down my mommy nerves which had been frayed to pieces from taking my kid through all this, nevermind the fact that he had handled the heat far better than I did (stupid body). The three year old was fast asleep on a body pillow in the front seat of the traitorous Honda, clean, fed, and not going to be kidnapped by Slenderman as his daddy was lying feet away on the ground with that dinosaur gun (Slendy’s got nothing on me, so shut up). Hubby even had a camp pad between himself and the rocks, so everything was okay. The highway we had pulled off of was one of those seldom traveled, but oddly still well cared for back roads, so all was still and quiet. Even the breeze ran soft and warm.
It had been so long since I’d smelled high desert air. I’d never slept so nakedly under the stars, not a tent in sight. After three years on the coast at sea-level, I had expected every breath I took to turn to dust, but instead it came clear, warm, and easy, like a medicine that shouldn’t taste so good. I knew I should have been feeling stressed, or in the very least having to deal with my stupid anxiety disorder flying up the wall, but the peace was almost overwhelming. What was there to fear? The sky was clean, my beloved boys had drifted to sleep, and I knew these sunburned hills.
I had never tried to sleep beneath the sky because I had a history of having a hard time falling asleep without feeling so exposed, but the next thing I knew I was waking up to a monster of a truck with matching trailer ready to haul both our sickly cars to safety. Somehow my baby and I got carted to the back, where we fell asleep once more until someone waved Mickey D’s sandwiches in our faces, and then when the monster truck ran out of gas.
Somehow, despite being in the worse situation we had been in yet, everything sort of fell into place. Where in Oregon we would have had to deal with everything on our own, here, in these sunny, rocky lands, family flocked to our side. We managed to get down to my grandmother, who has extra guest rooms, and our sickly truck got some patches to make it down here. The useless Honda was left in Idaho with the Hubby’s parents to do with as they see fit. Within a day or two of being at my grandmothers, husband found another job in that spit of a town that paid 16/hr instead of 13/hr and required no traveling whatsoever. My loneliness, which had built up in the boonies of Oregon, vanished as I found I had access to all of my family I hadn’t seen in over a year. My sister had her baby within days of my arrival, a grandfather offered us an old Jeep, we have neverending access to Netflix, where before we had little to no access to internet at all, and we now have the opportunity to rent our own place in the future instead of having to eek by on a family member’s property.
So, yeah, it sucks butt that our Honda Civic, the car that’s supposed to live forever, farted out. It sucks that my grandma called our trooper ugly truck a money pit. And it sucks that we still have crap we need to pay for being alive while we were driving.
But somehow, life looks better. Our future actually has hope above the poverty line now and I don’t have to go for weeks without seeing anyone outside my husband and fellow church members on Sunday. I even can consider getting a part time job now since I have so much family about to help watch my baby.
So, I guess, in a weird convoluted way, it’s a good thing when God sucker punches your Honda.