Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Gonna Be a Great Day!

Every morning as I drive Conor to school, I sing this silly song I made up called, "It's Gonna Be a Great Day!" This morning he said, "What if it's the worst day ever?" I told him that even on days when bad things happen, there are still good things that happen also. He wanted an example.

So I used last Thursday.

Last Thursday started out to be a really great day. There was no school, and my friend gave me three tickets she had purchased and couldn't use to Knott's Berry Farm. Aiden had invited two friends (who bought their own tickets), and the night before I had the feeling I should invite Adam to come with us too, if he could get a ticket. The park opens at 10am, and we got on the road at 8:15am, hoping to beat the crowds lining up to get in.

But within minutes of getting on the freeway, my van started making very loud clunking noises. Noises that scared me, and stressed me out. Thank goodness Adam was driving. (I was instantly grateful for the prompting to have Adam join us.) I am just so tired of car problems, and since I drive a 2000 van, I have had my fair share of them. They always come when I have no money too. I had just had the transmission fixed, gaskets replaced, tires rotated, and new spark plugs put in. I had noticed that the van seemed to chug a bit when idling or in reverse, but I hadn't had time to deal with that yet, and I was so hesitant to take it back to the mechanic who had done the other work, for some reason. But these noises were frightening, and having no idea of their origination, I suggested we get off the freeway. Adam heartily agreed.

"I know a guy," I said. Just a week before, the father of two of my piano students had told me in conversation about buying Lyndsay's car, that he is a mechanic. I took his card immediately. Someone I trust! As we pulled off the freeway, I called him, and he told us to carefully drive on in.

Of course, I was worried big-time. I had a car full of boys who were so looking forward to a day at the theme park, and three of them had paid for tickets. I had no idea what would be wrong with my van, how long it would take to fix, and how much it would cost. I was scrambling for a Plan B, just in case we received a worst case scenario.

I tried to play it cool, but inside I was falling apart. I clasped Adam's hand, so grateful that I was not alone to deal with this. He's great under pressure. Calm and steady.

The boys got drinks and sat outside in the shade, waiting. They were good sports.

Miracle #1 was that I had a new mechanic come into my life whom I trusted. Miracle #2 was that he was at work early that day and was close by and could take us right away. Miracle #3 was that he figured out right away what the problem was, and it was an easy fix.

Apparently, when the other mechanics had replaced the spark plugs, they had slit the wire fitting over it leaving a big gaping crack in the rubber. The electrical current was arcing out of that and causing the sputtering and the loud noises. He replaced the wire. And bless his heart, Adam paid for it for me. We were back on the road in a little over an hour. I was saying prayers of gratitude.

We made it to the park an hour after opening.

And another wonderful surprise: The parking lot was nearly empty!! There was no one there! Which meant that even though we'd missed an hour of ride time, it was made up ten-fold by the fact that there were no lines on anything!

Here are Aiden and his best friends Zach and Nick. He's known these guys since Kinder and 3rd grade. They go to the same magnet school that he does, and they play football with him too.

We let the big boys go their own way and hit all the roller coasters. Adam and I took Conor around. Conor wants to ride everything he can ride, and I pretty much want to ride nothing, so I was again grateful that Adam was there. Besides, he needed a fun day with Conor.

This ride (they have one at almost every theme park) is one of Conor's favorites. That's Conor and Adam up there at the end of the ship. They are the only ones on the ride. They rode it a total of 5 times. Scared me to death.

Then crazy Conor wanted to ride this spinning, swirling atrocity. Adam rode it with him, but didn't fare as well afterwards. That one's a doozy!

Conor was all about maximizing his experience.

We had a really good time. I did ride on a few rides. The Bigfoot Rapids was probably my favorite, even though I got soaked. We rode that one twice. Other rides I just had no interest in riding, and one thing I appreciated so much was that Adam never made me feel like a wimp (even though I know I am one.) If I wanted to ride he was cool. If I didn't, he was cool with that too. For the last ride of the day, 15 minutes before the park closed (which was 6pm), he and Conor asked if I'd please do the log flume ride with them. I really didn't want to, but they were so excited to do it all together that I decided to be brave.

We had such a great day together. The boys rode every ride at least twice, some of them up to nine times. (CRAZY!) By closing time, they'd had their fill. There were so few people in the park, it felt like we'd all gotten to know each other as we kept seeing each other throughout the day. I got to talking with one man who was there with his grandchildren, who was from St. George, but had grown up in Snowflake, Arizona! I asked him if he knew about the temple there, and shared my involvement in that with him. We talked a bit about the Church. He knew some. His mother was a Mormon, and one of his sons is a Mormon, who married in the temple. Such a small world.

Four tired, but happy boys! A great day made possible by a dear friend (thank you, Jenn!). And even though there was a possibility of things turning south with the van problems, in the end that just turned out to be another bunch of blessings.

"So, see, Conor? There were bad things that happened and good things. But how do you remember the day?"

"Good!" he shouted. It was definitely a good day. No, a great day.

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