This past Friday morning, Lisa and I went through our normal morning routine – part of which has to do with my groping around in the dark, trying not to fall down the three steps going from our bedroom to our kitchen – and putting together Lisa’s breakfast and lunch in complete silence. She is an amazing sleeper. Her ability to doze right through thunder, fireworks, and dynamite blasts is only surpassed by her ability to awaken at the slightest grunt when I ram my knee into the corner of a cabinet. She says I have selective hearing – I believe she has selective sleeping. I sneeze or fart and she is wide awake sitting straight up in the bed and asking what happened. The camper two doors down explodes and she goes into REM sleep. It was just another, average day in the life of the McFarland’s here in Cambridge, Ohio.
And then I went to start our truck. Things suddenly became very un-average. Our diesel truck sounded like it was trying to digest a crescent wrench and the clanging, clacking, and chinking sounds told me this was not good. One of the pitfalls of traveling is finding a good, trustworthy mechanic. Not easy. The last thing you want to tell a mechanic is that you are from out of town. Say those words and you can practically see visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads. But, I had no choice but to try and locate a diesel mechanic here in Cambridge. Guess what? There was not one. Apparently the only diesel mechanic in town left town for another town and I don’t know what town. So my next option was to locate a Ford dealer. Might as well stop by the bank on the way and see about that second mortgage.
I managed to get into a Ford dealership in Zanesville, Ohio and, believe it or not, had a very pleasant experience. They weren’t cheap but did repair our truck and got us on our way. There are good people on the earth.
Dealing with unexpected things like vehicle breakdowns have never been easy for me. I seem to easily slip into a false sense of security and fool myself thinking that unexpected expenses or unexpected illnesses or unexpected accidents or an unexpected crises of one sort or another will not only be unexpected – they will not happen at all. I tend to forget about rainy days when the sun is shining. I don’t want to live my life believing a disaster is lurking around every corner, but, perhaps, I should heed the advice of Don Henley from his song, “New York Minute”. “The wolf is always at your door.” I once told teachers in the middle school where I worked that we should hang a banner across the front door of the school that said, “Welcome to Our Middle School – A Difficult Place.” Middle school is just that – difficult. Middle school aged children are difficult because middle school age is difficult. There is no changing that. The best thing you can do is be aware of it and do your best to help everyone adjust to it. In the same way, I should probably hang a sign in my world view screen that reads – “Welcome to Steve McFarland’s World – It May Be Difficult”.
My mom always gave me good advice. When I would lament to her a problem in my life or share some struggle I was having – she would always say, “It will get better.” She was right. It always gets better. This has not been a good week for us – the winter here is dreary and cold and our truck repairs put a strain on our already strained budget. We miss our family, we miss our friends and the winter doldrums seem like they may drag on forever.
But the forecast for Saturday is sunshine and high forties. You see? My mom was right.
Love, Steve and Lisa