Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quarters in DC

I had been praying pretty diligently for the last couple of weeks for help with life in DC.  As exciting as it is to be in the Nation's capital for two months, the idea of being without a car and three kids was a little daunting to me, a very non walking everywhere, love my van and ability to drive anywhere I want suburbia girl.

So we left for our three month hiatus rotation adventure last Saturday around noon.  I packed for what felt like an eternity of all day Friday and of course, still forgot something and had to go back for it.  We made it through security with our three kids and lots of looks (yes, even in Utah, must have been off season for traveling with lots of kids, just a bunch of ski folk going home), and of course, had my favorite pretzel place, Auntie Anne's (only located in two places in SLC - the Traverse outlets and the SLC airport!).  This was the first time I noticed there was no kitchen attached to the little kiosk stand.  I asked the worker where the pretzels were made, she muttered something about off site, but her English was hard to understand so I just nodded and said ohhhh!
Five pieces of luggage, two carseats, a stroller, and a handful of other tiny bags (which I got yelled at by Andy since we failed to consolidate), a huge stroller bag (I decided to get this last minute cuz I didn't want our stroller to be man handled and destroyed on the trip like all our other strollers of the past, resale value would be better considering every single stroller I've sold has only had damage from travel) one short stop, and eight hours later, we landed in Washington Dulles airport.

Dagny fell asleep during the first leg of the trip, which was only an hour.  So the second leg of the trip, she was a wee bit of a moving nightmare.  She just wanted to climb onto the airplane trays, eat everything in sight, and was a bit cranky from not getting her full nap.  The boys were easy, the screens kept them busy pretty much the entire length of the plane trip, and then.... we lost battery power.  So for about an hour, they enjoyed the flight the old school way - Bubba was tired so he lay on me telling me softly that he was tired, could he go to sleep.  With us about to land, we didn't want him to so I played games with him, sang songs, did whatever I could to keep him awake a bit longer.   We even went through the pockets of my fleece jacket to grab my Fitbit to play with.  As I did so, I realized I was in the wrong pocket and instead found a quarter.  Now I'm not one to keep change in my pocket or my wallet, it normally goes straight into our coin collection at home, so I was quite amused that there was a quarter in my jacket.  At the time, I thought, oh a quarter.  Maybe that'll come in handy later (with the metro and stuff like that), so I made a mental note that I had a quarter in my pocket.  And then, just like that... we landed, and we were there!

We knew we'd have to pay $5 for a smart cart, but I had this inkling that I should go check if all the ones at the end were actually inserted.  I dismissed my cheap thought with a seriously, why you think that, it's just $5! and stopped scanning the outskirts for carts left behind.  As I paid for our $5 cart, a guy walked by with about a dozen carts to return.  As he began to push the carts in, Andy said he realized one hadn't been inserted correctly and he had to reinsert it before returning the ton of carts he had on hand.  DANG IT.  That is what I call not listening to the Spirit who is trying to help your cheapness.  OOPS.
To get to the car rental, we piled the carseats upside down on the boys who sat in the stroller, I wore Dagny, pulled a luggage while I pushed the stroller and Andy pushed the smart carte with a ton of stuff and dragged one luggage behind him as well.  

Andy felt like he needed to continually explain why we had so much luggage.  He told the shuttle driver we were going for three months a few times, I wasn't sure why but I guess he was quite mortified by our excess luggage.  I signed us up for Fast Break but there wasn't a line at the rental car anyway, so we got our car pretty quickly.  The kids were beyond exhausted at this point and anxious to get into their carseats and sleep.  We quickly shuffled our luggage in with the same precision used to master Tetris in years of our youth, and we were giddy with anticipation to see our new home on Capitol Hill for the next two months, like teenage Mormon girls about to turn 16 and available to date.  We have never lived in a CITY like this, so this would be the experience of a lifetime! 

We had a deep meaningful conversation about how we thought our parents used to navigate in foreign cities when we were growing up without GPS.  We laughed about how we brought our GPS with us on our honeymoon, how I always packed a GPS, something so coveted and fancy and ahead of the times when I used to travel out of state for work, and how fortunate we were to live in a technology advanced time such as now where our phones had google maps!  And then... of course... our google maps told us about toll roads.  What?!  Toll roads?!?!?!

As we came upon a toll, I was saw I did have some change in my wallet.  Whew!  Three quarters to be precise, but we needed more.  In that precise moment, I thought MY QUARTER FROM MY JACKET!!!! I screamed to Andy that I had a quarter in my jacket!  But since it was so hot wearing Dagny off of the plane, I had taken my jacket off, stuffed it into a tiny wearable backpack, and Andy had loaded it in back.  So I got out of the car, ran to the trunk, and tried to open it and find the backpack.  Only the trunk wouldn't open.  Andy kept yelling at me to push a button.  I pushed everything and anything that looked like a button near the rear of the car with no success.  What button?! I yelled at him.  He ran out of the car, keep in mind we were parked at a toll on the freeway, a bit scary, with our three kids sleeping in the car.  Before he could even look at the trunk, he said, "there's a quarter!" reached down to the floor and grabbed our fourth quarter.  

I got back into the car, my mouth agape from awe.  What the heck just happened? I asked Andy.  "Someone must have dropped a quarter," he said.  BUT WHO!?  Oh my goodness, I swear it just appeared out of nowhere.  I did NOT see a quarter on the floor as I was desperately trying to open the trunk with the floor in site.  And I'm pretty sure I looked down at some point.  Pretty sure.... almost positive!  "Umm.. did Heavenly Father just DROP a quarter out of the sky?" I asked Andy.  "No, someone just left it there before probably doing the same thing we were!" okay, but seriously... it came out of nowhere.  I swear I didn't see it.  I swear it just came out of nowhere.  

I'd like to believe this was a tiny miracle in a myriad of miracles that I have had the joy of experiencing.  I don't leave change lying around.  I found some in my pocket.  We had change in my wallet.  We didn't have enough.  We went to find the change in my pocket from before and found some on the floor while looking for it.  It's like HF is always constantly trying to help you out, push you in the right direction, give you little signs that he's there and aware of you.  But ultimately, it's our choices (and other people's choices) that dictate what happens and we can make the best of it, hope that HF has somehow pointed us to another direction, or complain and go insane about it.  I am still in awe, but I am moreover so aware that my prayers were heard and I am being watched over.  

And with that thought lingering in my head all Saturday night, I couldn't help but go to sleep with a smile on my face that our time in DC was going to be all right.  

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