My 7 year old had his first competitive swim meet today. He’s been a part of a competitive swim team since September. We try to take him to practice 2-3 times a week but sometimes our schedule doesn’t even allow that. We don’t belong to the GASPs (Group of Aggressive Swim Parents…that’s a post for another time) and so we’re very relaxed about his level of involvement. We informed his swim coach at the beginning of the season that he would never attend a meet or practice on Sundays or Wednesdays if it conflicted with his church related activities and she was totally cool with that. He missed last month’s meet because it conflicted with the annual Pinewood Derby competition hosted by our Royal Rangers outpost. That boy ate, slept and breathed the Pinewood Derby during the months leading up to it…there was no way he was going to miss it for a swim meet. Today’s meet was not in conflict with anything else so we put it on the calendar.
One of DH’s jobs is to make sure our Excursion (I know..not even remotely “green” but a necessary farm vehicle) is cleaned out of all the trash and junk he has collected in it since the last time I was in it (we have very diverse views about vehicle cleanliness…about our house cleanliness for that matter….it’s a Felix & Oscar thing for sure). Of course, he needed to be reminded of it this morning (it’s that ADHD thing again) which he promptly attended to knowing it would take him about a half hour to get the job done before it was time for us to leave at 10:15am. He carried back into the house an overloaded armful of shirts, pants, shorts, underwear, coats, socks (I don’t know…don’t ask me…) and to my surprise threw them all into the washer. Musta REALLY been a stinky pile for him to do that. I noticed that the remaining contents of the vehicle was now taking up most of the space in the empty bay of our garage (and will likely claim squatters rights over the next 7 years).
So we (me, DH & little guy) pile into the vehicle and head to my in-laws to pick them and the 7yr old up…a 15-minute ride. It’s 10:15am…right on schedule. Very nice, indeed!
THEN…DH casually announces he has to stop and fill up with diesel because “we’re low on fuel”. LOW ON FUEL. To me, this means we have 20-30 miles left before the fuel runs out. To DH, it means we’ll likely run out before we get to the fuel station. Now I begin to get anxious. First swim meet. Need to be there on time. Left on time but didn’t factor on “low on fuel”. Why didn’t you fill up when you were out last night??? Because he has ADHD, remember??? Oh, never mind…just breathe deeply.
This has happened to DH before, mind you. And not just once, either. As a business owner of a contruction company with a fleet of mostly diesel vehicles he is well aware of the ramifications of running out of fuel in a diesel vehicle. It’s a time consuming and costly mistake (requiring priming of the lines and all that mechanical hooey).
We stop at the closest fuel station nearest my in-laws and “AHHHH!!! They’ve closed down!!!”. Don’t panic. Go pick up the kid and grandfolks and stop at the station on the way to the highway. Continue to breathe deeply.
We pull into their driveway and DS1 hops in along with Grandpa. Grandma is driving her car behind us. Why? Because DH didn’t think we’d make it to the next fueling station 3 miles away, that’s why. AND…he demands credit for having the FORETHOUGHT to ask Grandma to follow us! I now check the “Miles To Empty” gauge and it reads zero. ZERO!!!! The last time we ran out of fuel it said we had 20 miles to go! Hyperventilating has set in just as I arrived at the place of muttering a dishonoring word to DH (Doh!). 😳
And now Grandma proceeds to PASS us. Hel-LO!!!!!!! You’re no help to us ahead of us if we run out of fuel behind you…especially since you don’t carry a cell phone! DH starts honking the horn and flailing his arms at Grandma to get her attention….and eventually gets her back behind us where she belongs. Lamaze techniques now in full swing.
By the grace of God (I’m sure it was because He knew after the week we’ve both had that our marriage would not have survived us running out of fuel on the way to our son’s first swim meet), we pulled into the station safely. Our tank holds 44 gallons (one smart alec gas attendant once asked me “Cash, credit or loan?”) and we didn’t have 15 minutes to fill it up so 5 minutes, $40 and 14 gallons later we’re back on the road. My breathing has normalized, we got to the meet on time and had one heck of an experience at that crazy meet (again…a post for another time along with the GASPs). Sorry, Honey, for dishonoring you today. Bad, bad wife. 😥
On the way from the station to the meet, however, I had 25 minutes to reflect about the situation. My first thoughts were how typical it was for DH to not prepare the night before, or even earlier in the morning…and how much stress it brings to us…er, me. He KNOWS this! I quickly shut this thought down because I am painfully aware that he is unlikely to change his way of doing things and, therefore, pointless to ruminate any further about it. Then my mind began to associate this experience to how I am guilty of exactly the same neglect…except not with regard to my fuel tank (which I NEVER keep at below 1/4 tank full thanks to the advice of a very good friend of mine who I’ll refer to as Dessert Central, or DC, for short) but instead with my own life. OUR lives. We BOTH have been running our lives these past few years…constantly running on empty. With business issues, farm issues, kid issues, financial issues, household issues, homeschooling issues, real estate issues, family issues, spiritual issues, physical issues…the seemingly never ending, ever-escalating, big pile of slop that is constantly dumped on us…sometimes solicited, sometimes not…sometimes deserved, sometimes not…individually as well as collectively. We simply do not think to refuel before our engine (translation: our life) siezes. Even after the time consuming and often costly measures to fuel back up…we somehow always continue to be running on empty.
Today, our Excursion was refueled before disaster struck but we, sadly, are beyond running on empty. We are simply out of fuel. Again. We’re sick, we’re tired, and the rest is just broken. Oh, I am fully aware this is just another series of setbacks from which we will be forced to refuel and recover. I just wish our lives had an easy-to-read instrument panel with a working fuel gauge on it. It would be so much easier to remember to check ourselves. My ADHD DH would never check it but that’s okay. I would. And I’d be sure to refuel when at 1/4 tank full. 🙂