I've had a few people ask where I've been - usually I manage to add a blog post or two even on vacation. But this time I took the week off! We just got back from a week of family reunions and it was wonderful. At least, it was wonderful once we got there. We got off to kind of a rough start...
I stayed up until 3 a.m. packing the night before we left. I wanted everything ready so that in the morning we could just grab the last couple of things (toothbrushes and such that we still needed to use that morning), put everything in the van and head out. I loaded the van while Aaron finished just a couple of things he needed to do for work before leaving. And then those few things took a LONG time. So several hours after I had hoped to leave, we finally got out the door.
Aaron had just realized that his driver's license was going to expire while we were gone, so we decided we had to make a quick - hopefully! - stop at the DMV on the way out of town. A co-worker of Aaron's had told him that the Golden DMV was always quick with no lines. Of course, when we got there, it was a 2 hour wait. They sent us to the Arapahoe County DMV, because they have an Express Driver's License location. Express. That sure implies quick, doesn't it? But it's not. It's very. Very. Very. SLOW.
The kids and I sat in the parking lot waiting for Aaron. Since it was an express location, we were hoping he could be in and out in maybe half an hour. After about 15 minutes, there was suddenly a huge hissing from underneath the van! Clouds of vapor billowing around us until we couldn't even see out the windows. And a sudden lack of cool air from the air conditioner. I turned off the car and we tried to wait it out with the windows down. But after about 20 minutes we couldn't take it anymore - it was 102 degrees outside and approaching that inside the car!
So I grabbed all the kids and we went inside to wait for Aaron. We checked in with him - still about 25 numbers to go ahead of him. Luckily, there was a waiting area in the hallway with some benches and a little room to wiggle around where we wouldn't have to confine the kids to the room where everyone was waiting in line. As we walked into the waiting area, an older man was sitting on a bench and says to me: "Jeez, how many kids do you need to bring with you to the DMV, for God's sake? What the **** is that about?"
Tired, frustrated, and really, really hot, I responded: "You know what? We tried to wait outside in the car, but the air conditioning just blew up. So to avoid heat stroke, we came in here. My kids aren't doing anything to bug you and until they do, leave us alone." He sputtered a little, but didn't say anything else to us while we were there. (And for the record, my kids probably did bug him by the time he left. I don't care.)
FINALLY, 20 minutes after the DMV actually closed, Aaron was done. Then we had to figure out what to do about the car. We found a garage where they were able to look at it and let us know that the AC compressor had gone out. The car was still perfectly drivable, as long as we didn't try to run the AC at all. So we decided to go have dinner and then head out on an overnight drive.
The drive itself was fine, just very hot. I think it was around midnight in the vicinity of Grand Junction that we couldn't take the heat anymore and started stripping down. Shirts came off all around the car. (Important bits were still covered, just a little less so. ;-) )
We stopped to sleep in a Wal-Mart parking lot for a couple of hours and made it Draper around 7 a.m. Whew! First leg of the trip was done!