Thursday, September 24, 2009

All the Things that Went Wrong - Part Five

Day Five - Saturday, August 29th

- Wake up at 10am thinking we probably won't leave until after lunch. Then questions start entering my head. What time does the dealership in Modesto close? How far is it even to Modesto from here? Can I get my oil changed at the dealership while we're there already? Where are we going to take Marie to get her checked out? Oh man! I better find out when the dealership closes!

- The internet tells me it's about 5 hours to Modesto. I call the dealership. They say my car is ready to go for the trip back to Canada. I ask when they close. "5pm," he says. Oh no! By this time it's about 10:30. No one else is awake. To be safe, we need to leave by 11 to make sure we get my car.

- I make the call to send Matt, Shane, and Amanda ahead of the rest of us to get my car. We have to do this because someone has to take Marie into a medical clinic. The three depart much the same way the Fellowship had to split and send Sam and Frodo on to Mordor. We all cry and hug (just kidding).

- Now we try to find a clinic that's open. It's Saturday. Nothing is open. Thankfully we finally find one place that is nearby even. I sent Lola on ahead with the Three so I'm left to find it with my map reading abilities. I take a couple wrong turns. We eventually make it there.

- While at the clinic, Marie says she needs to pee. I say to the receptionist, "Is there a toilet here we can use?" The girls are humiliated.

- Marie gets a shot in her bum. She has cellulitis and possibly even meningitis. As I'm paying the receptionist, Marie talks to her Mom on the phone. Mom starts freaking out because the insurance place is supposed to pay the clinic, not me. I tell her the clinic doesn't deal with insurance places. We have to send in the receipts. Mom doesn't believe me. I call insurance company. They say they'll call the clinic. I tell them they said I have to pay and we send the receipts to you. Insurance person agrees and says, "Okay, we'll send you the forms to mail in the receipts." Simple as that. I forget to ask if medication is covered. I call insurance place back. They confirm it is covered. Away we go to buy drugs.

- While waiting for prescription to be filled I go and get the oil changed. I meet up with them at Subway expecting them to have already gotten the drugs so we can go. After eating I discover they don't have them yet, so we have to go back to the store and pick them up.

- The Three arrive at the hotel in Redding at 9pm with my car. My vehicle still have 4 more tiring hours of driving to do. Thankfully my car is working again...or is it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All the Things that Went Wrong - Part Four

Day Four - Friday, August 28th

- Amanda doesn't fair well on some of the rides. She goes on Space Mountain. Now she's not feeling so good.

- While waiting to get into the Tiki Room some of the group decide to line up for pineapple smoothies. The doors open and we go inside while they are still in line. Then the doors close. They missed out on such a magnificent show!

- Marie's rash has gotten worse and there's a red swollen area on her ankle. She starts hobbling around.

- Eventually we make the call to once again go to the first aid place to get it checked out. Of all the people on our trip, Marie is the only one who isn't sure about her travel insurance. The nurse says she thinks it's cellulitis. Not good. She wants us to get it checked out right away.

- We try to call Marie's parents but the phone at the first aid place won't work properly. Finally we get them with my cellphone (not the cheapest solution). We wander around for a bit trying to decide what to do. We receive confirmation from Marie's parents they do have insurance. We decide to wait until the next day to go into a clinic. Marie rides around on Chelsea's lap the rest of the night. (So this doesn't sound that bad, but believe me it was super stressful trying to figure out what to do!)

- Realizing I haven't had any alone time this whole trip, and that it's probably going to be a gong show getting to Fantasmic again, I decide to take off on my own. Fantasmic is good, but there is no giant dragon!!! They were working on replacing the old dragon with a new one, but the new one wasn't working quite right. Plus the spot I had was standing room only and my legs were killing me.

- While I was gone, the group got split up between the two parks. Amanda wasn't feeling well so her and Matt went back to the car to rest. She had most of the tickets (because we would collect them to get FastPasses) so not everyone can get into Disneyland. Some of the youth rush to the tram to go to the parking lot to find them. However, they actually hadn't left for the parking lot yet. They just got separated in the crowds. Some of the youth go inside to get seats for Fantasmic, while the others wait for the other tickets to get in. As predicted by me, it is a giant gong show. Eventually I think the other youth did find the ones waiting for Fantasmic, but Matt and Amanda enjoyed the rest of their evening in the parking lot.

- I have a FastPass to go on Space Mountain one last time. While I'm waiting in the corridor, all of a sudden it becomes really quiet. Someone behind me says, "They better not have shut it down." Shortly after a voice comes over the speaker announcing the ride has been shut down for the rest of the night!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All the Things that Went Wrong - Part Three

Day Three - Thursday, August 27th

- We needed to go to the church we were staying at to get the keys. It took us a lot longer to get there than I had anticipated. Traffic was brutal through LA. Finally we made it to the I-5, but that too was backed up. We weren't too far from our exit, so I took an earlier one. Driving through La Habra took so long with all the lights.

- Anaheim experiences its hottest days of the year. Temperatures are around 38 degrees. I sweat profusely.

- Our day at Disneyland went incredibly well, until the evening when Chelsea trips on a curb and slams her knee into the pavement.

- After walking around for a bit I make the call to take Chelsea in to first aid because it's swelling up quite a bit and she is having trouble walking. The group says they'll find seats for Fantasmic while we hobble over to first aid.

- The first aid people want to clean Chelsea's knee, but they need parental consent. You see, Chelsea is the only one under 18. Of all the people on our trip, she is the only one who needs parental consent. Oh guess what? I left all the parental consent forms in the van. Thankfully she calls her mom and gets the permission she needs...for them to simply clean her knee!!!

- Now Chelsea is in a wheelchair the rest of the night. We zip over to Fantasmic to find the others. We're not sure if they have even saved us seats. As we get there I get a text from Shane saying they're waiting for us at first aid. Hey, thanks for letting us know you didn't get seats so we wouldn't have had to race over there through all the crowds and wheelchairing!

- So we missed Fantasmic, but we did get seats for the fireworks. April and Rebecca went to get ice cream. I knew they were cutting it close. The fireworks started and they were nowhere to be seen. After the fireworks they found us.

- Realizing we could use Chelsea in the wheelchair to get onto rides faster, we raced over to Thunder Mountain. You can only take 5 people with a wheelchair person onto the rides so some of us sat back and waited. They were almost on the roller coaster when it got shut down!

- We still had fast passes for Splash Mountain so we raced over there to get one last ride. Just as we get there we discovered it too has been shut down due to mechanical failures.

- By this time it's late and I'm tired so we decide to go back to the church.

- The church has no A/C and it is freaking hot. Oh, and the ceiling fans only work when the lights are on. Genius!

- Shane left to find some food for our breakfast. He doesn't come back for like an hour. The first place he went had nothing good and it took him awhile to find someplace else.

- Just as people are getting ready for bed I hear Marie say, "I've got a rash on my leg." To be continued...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

All the Things that Went Wrong - Part Two

Day Two - Wednesday, August 26

- Rather than pulling into McDonalds for breakfast, I pulled into the taco place right beside it. Everyone made fun of me.

- While leaving McDonalds this lady in another car was making funny gestures at me. I rolled down the window to her screaming, "You're going the wrong way! This is one way!!!" I didn't really care. The lane was big enough for 3 cars.

- At noon my vehicle arrived at some small little town on the I-5 for lunch. The other car was about 30 mins behind us. They texted to let me know the oil light had come on AND the engine light was now on as well.

- When they caught up to us we decided to use Chelsea's GPS to find a nearby Toyota dealership. The GPS's name was Lola. Lola told us we had to drive 30 mins back the way we came. After eating lunch that's exactly what we did.

- So we drove back to Manteca, California. As we approached the destination I noticed multiple car dealerships. We were on the right track...until we passed where Lola said to go and saw no Toyota places. So we drove around the block and looked again. Sure enough, Lola had led us astray. There was no Toyota place.

- The nearest Toyota dealership was in Modesto. 30 mins in another direction!

- When we brought the car in, the guys there seemed like idiots. They said it'd be a couple hours before they'd be able to look at it, so we went to Starbucks and waited.

- After 2 hours I got the good news. The VVTi Actuator gear was on its last legs and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately they didn't have that part, but they could get it in tomorrow. We needed to be at Disneyland tomorrow. So we left the car there, rented another one, and away we went. It was 5pm by the time we left. We were supposed to be in Malibu by 5:30!

- We were driving through Fresno when we decided to stop for supper. The other car chose when to get off and I remember thinking in my head, "I hope they choose an okay part of town." Fresno has got some rough areas. We pulled over into Burger King. It was sketcky. Matt even found a crack pipe in the bathroom.

- As we neared the Los Angeles area, Chelsea gave Lola the Houweling's address. Now, there are a lot of things that went wrong in this situation. I can't really explain all the things that were going through my mind, but I didn't trust Lola at this point. Not just because of the Manteca Toyota fiasco, but because I was under the impression the Houweling's address was too new for the GPS to recognize it. Anyways, Lola kept telling me to turn, but we were nowhere near the off-ramp Casey told me to take, so I ignored her.

- We were following the directions Casey gave me, but I made a critical error. On the google map highway 118 turns into 23. But I could see that the 118 continued, except on google maps it wasn't a major highway. After 118 we were to connect onto the 101. If we had continued on the 118 it did connect to the 101 but you would have to backtrack to get to the exit we needed. The 23 also connected with the 101. Okay, this is all really confusing to explain, but logically it made more sense looking at the map that I should follow the 23. I thought that Casey didn't realize the 118 turned into the 23. Alright! This is so complicated, but that actually wasn't the critical error. But these are my thoughts going through my sleep-depraved, stress-ridden, 11pm night driving brain.

- THE critical error happened as we went to connect with the 101. We were on the phone with the Houwelings just as we were coming up to it and I got confused. I could either go North to Ventura or South to Los Angeles. The confusing part was that on the map highway 101 goes East to West! I knew I needed to go West, but I didn't know if it was Northwest or Southwest. Uggh! So we asked for help over the phone and they said, "South to Los Angeles!" Now, that would have been the right direction if we had continued on the 118 and were now hitting the 101, but that is not where we were. The Houwelings did not realize we were on the 23. And so we went South, when we should have gone NORTH!!!

- As we began going South I knew we weren't going in the right direction according to the map, but I thought to myself, "The map must be incorrect because the address is too new." By the way, Lola was completely freaking out at us, because she actually knew the right way to go. The address wasn't too new, as I had been made to believe, and Lola even knew the fastest way to get there, which was to turn way earlier than Casey's directions had said.

- After driving for 20 mins I realized we were way off course and turned around. We made it to the Houwelings at about midnight. It was so ridiculous. If we had followed Lola's directions we would have gotten there at around 10:40. When we told Casey about Lola he said, "Oh yeah, you should have followed her. I've never actually driven here from that direction."

- Estimated time of arrival in Malibu: 5:30pm. Actual time of arrival: Midnight.

- Finally able to fall asleep at around 1am I heard a chime. Shane and I wake up, "Was that a clock or the doorbell?" Pretty odd for the doorbell to be ringing at 1am. Then comes a knock at our door. Shane gets up. There are two police at the door letting us know we've left the lights on on our van!