Well, this afternoon was full of surprises to keep me humble! The day started off well--I ran out this morning and finished my Christmas shopping, as well as stopped by a local consignment shop and picked up some new pants for Anna and Grace. They are basically wearing the same size (except Grace is even skinnier), and I just don't have enough pants for the 2 of them! Not so any longer, though. I bought 6 pairs! After lunch, I started Elizabeth L's beef barley soup for us to eat tonight, as well as for me to bring to another family who had a new baby. I love bringing meals to new moms because I know what a blessing each and every meal brought to us has been! Then Caleb and I went out so he could finish his shopping.
As I was backing out of the driveway, I noticed something under the wiper of our big van, which is parked on the street in front of our house. I last drove it home from church yesterday, so I briefly puzzled about what it could be, but then didn't think anything more of it. When we got back, I discovered it was a "decal citation". Our county has these special decals that you put on each vehicle after you pay the county tax each year, and sure enough, ours expired in November. Also, the one on the Sienna was expired. Oops! I called Bob, who called the county treasurer's office, where he found out I could get the new stickers reissued at their office which closed at 5:00. Well, that became the new priority, so I finished rolling out biscuits to go along with the soup, but left them on the counter to cook after I got back. I was able to get the new stickers, and really, it was such a blessing to get this citation! It was just a warning one, so no fine, but I would never ever have thought to check the status of these stickers on my own . I had poked around in our "big basket of random paper things" on our counter, but I never could see an envelope from the county. The lady I talked to said these things had been mailed out in September. Ha--the chances of our finding a piece of mail from September are pretty much nil! Much bigger things than an envelope have been lost and never showed up again! She did say something weird--she sad we renewed our big van online, but the other 2 vans we walked in and did in person in the office in the county seat. Ummm . . . no. Bob wrote one check and mailed it in--he never even did it online for any of them, and he certainly didn't drive to a neighboring city to do it! So maybe things were just weird all around, and we really never did get these things? Odd.
Well, as I was driving home, I called Luke and told him to put the biscuits in the oven. They were ready when I walked in . . . and they looked really different. They rose oddly and were not at all what these biscuits, which I have made zillions of times before, should have looked like. Huh. So I decided to whip up another batch, and as I was making that up, it dawned on me what I had done--used baking soda instead of baking powder. REALLY?!? What in the world? I finished up this new batch of biscuits, rolling them out and cutting them, and popped them in the oven for 10 minutes. I was already over an hour later than when I had originally told Ashleigh I'd be there. After 7 minutes had passed, I happened to look over . . . and notice that the oven was not on. Yes, it had gotten turned off after the first batch, and I hadn't even thought about turning it on! So biscuits that are supposed to cook for 10 minutes at 450 really don't do so well for 10 minutes in a rapidly cooling oven. At this point, I decided today was clearly not a day for biscuits, so I took the soup and cookies, ran over to the grocery store, and brought them a loaf of Italian bread. Good grief! I'm losing my mind!
Another area I've been struggling with lately is keeping gas in the Sienna! I try to never let my gas gauge go under 1/4 tank because I have this strong irrational fear of running out of gas (which actually has never happened to me). A few weeks ago, I picked up Luke and our friend Helena from Civil Air Patrol. I knew I was running low, but my countdown odometer told me I had 17 miles left, so I knew that would be enough to get back and drop Helena off and then get gas. But it was closer than I thought, and as Luke and I were pulling in to the gas station nearest our house, the display read that we only had 1 mile left on the tank! Whew, we barely made it! I reached for my wallet in my purse . . . and realized that I didn't actually *have* my wallet. It was still in the diaper bag from our day at co-op. Well, that was a situation! Luke and I had to scramble around the van, trying to scrounge up money to pay for enough gas to get us home, and then out to a gas station again the next day. Bob was already fast asleep, since it was after 10:00. We finally rounded up $2.50 in quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, and I poured that out on the counter for the gas station attendant. It bought me 0.7 gallons, which was indeed enough to get home and to the gas station again! As soon as we got home, though, Luke ran inside and came back with our tub of spare change, so now we have $4.00 in quarters in the change compartment.
So fast forward to this past Friday. Nathan and I were at Sams, but I chose not to get gas because the lines were really long, and I knew we'd be out Saturday as well. We were indeed, but I never thought about gas again during the day. The one time I drove the van, I was thinking about Bob's wallet, which we couldn't find, so I didn't even glance down at the dashboard! (Luke found it IN THE DOOR OF THE VAN, which was a humongous relief to us all!). Bob and I then left to go to an Irish pub with 2 other couples, one from church. We had such a fun time, and I had the most delicious Irish Guinness beef stew while we listened to an Irish band play! Then we all drove to a different place and had cupcakes and coffee/hot chocolate (you can guess which one I picked, LOL). We had such a great time! We didn't even think about gas, until I happened to look over and notice that the gas light was on. And then we looked up and noticed that the "miles to empty" gauge said "2", which was a very bad number because we were in an area with pretty much only neighborhoods--no gas stations that I knew of. Again, it was after 10:00, so who would be able to come rescue us?! If only Nathan could drive! We watched the gauge tick down to zero, and we kept driving. Miraculously, we did make it to an intersection where there actually was a shopping center with a gas station. Praise the Lord!! I was so incredibly relieved! But seriously--twice in the past 3 weeks, my gas tank has been so low that I've been in danger of running out?! I'm 40 years old, and I can really only think of one other time that happened (driving our old Pathfinder back to CO from OH, across a bridge in St. Louis when Nathan was a baby . . .) I definitely think I'm losing it here!
Oh, I should close with one more funny story that I must be sure to document for posterity. Sunday morning, we were doing so well, and I was sure we were finally going to be on time. I knew Faith had both her church shoes on, so I was surprised when we were ready to leave, but she only had 1 shoe on. She gave a very garbled explanation . . . something about kicking a whistle. I saw a whistle on the floor over by our door out to the deck, so I started looking around over there, peering under the table and chairs, etc. No shoe, so I started looking more vigorously. I called in the other kids who were home (which did not include Luke, unfortunately, who had already left to go to an early service at a different church with Bob, since he had a basketball game). We all looked all over the kitchen. How could a shoe just disappear into thin air?! On the counters, on the microwave, in the box with backpacks, in the light fixture . . . at this point, Faith had mentioned something about standing by the island and kicking the shoe. We hunted and hunted until finally I gave up and started hunting for another pair of shoes. Amazingly I did find a pair that was just a little too big, so she wore those, but still . . . we would have been on time!!! After we got home, I was relaying the story to Luke, and at the same time I was preparing to put a jelly bean dispenser back up on top of the fridge where it usually goes, but for some reason it was sitting on the island. I looked up at the top of the fridge, and there was the shoe--right behind the gorilla glue bottle, the vitamin bottle, and the bottle of lotion. Of course! Even if I am losing my mind, I have definitely had help in doing so!