Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How's your fuel gauge??

Recently, I had the honor and privilege of singlehandedly rendering a show-stopping performance... er rather a car-stopping experience...

It was a Wednesday.
Which for me this school year should have been renamed to wild and wacky Wednesday.
Without putting you through the torture of a backstory... just know that when I wake up on Wednesday's, I take a deep breath and hope I can survive the day.  It is one big run around shuffling kids, trying to beat the clock marathon from beginning to end.

On this particular Wednesday, on leg one of the taxi drops, I noticed the fuel gauge getting a little low.
"It will last"  I told myself
"I don't have time to get gas today!"
"I'll just do this, then this, then this, and then I'll get gas on my way home"

Fast forward to one of the most crucial points in the day (picking up preschooler, trying to hit light speed to make it to older kids school to scoop them up, then traverse the city to get to gymnastics and cellos lessons in record time).
I had just picked up preschooler... I'm exiting freeway to get 2nd load of kids.

At the top of the hill... feel the stomach dropping chug chug luurrch, sputter, stop  of the car
It happened.
I ran out of gas.
Right on the off ramp.
In the middle of the left turn lane.
With traffic backing up behind me by the millisecond.

I flip on the hazards and weigh my options.
Digging a pit and sticking my head in was option #1.  No dirt in sight.
Option #2, hauling out the 3 kids (2 of which were sleeping, and the 3rd had just spiked a fever), leaving car, trying to get across crazy-exiting freeway traffic to nearby gas station to get gas.
Option #3, text hubby in all caps about hating the car (which has now left me stranded 4 times in 4 weeks.  And no, I didn't run out of gas for the others!).

After option #3, and starting Option #2, two angels disguised in a white minivan pulled up beside me and asked if I needed help.  To which I threw all sense of composure to the wind, let them in on my stupidity, and begged them to bring me a gas can (promising copious amounts of money upon their return!).

10 minutes (and a lot of car honks, and ever-growing line of traffic now piling up onto the freeway) later, man walks up to car with precious gas can filled with that precious liquid.

Cue heavenly angels... we now had gas in the car!!

Then cue scratching record player... battery now dead.  (who knew it took so much battery power to run hazard lights!)

Mortified, I profusely thank the man, try to pay him (he utterly refused... there still are genuinely gracious and helpful people in this world!!), and send him on his way, as I call the mechanic...

which was on my 'recent calls list'...
since they had just come out 4 days before to save me when I was stranded with a dead battery at soccer game...

the mechanic, sensing the desperation in my voice, immediately dispatched tow truck to the rescue.  
show up, try to charge battery, still nothing.
get car towed into garage (and one the way saying, hey, aren't you the lady with the possessed van from before??)  yep, that would be me.

Pull up to...
the gas pump. (I may as well have had a neon sign flashing above my head stating:  LADIES and GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF IDIOT EXPRESS: WHAT NOT TO DO!).

Finally filled car with gas (which would have pre-emped the entire above circus if I had only done that the night before!)
Jumped car again.  Performed voodoo magic (finding 'secret button' to push to disengage the crazy anti-theft system... which no longer worked... just got tripped at random intervals, rendering car completely useless).

Sweet sound of roaring (well, sputtering and gurgling) engine.

Sped off to finally recoup kids (who had now been waiting 40 minutes after school for me).  

Missed gymnastics
Missed cello
Missed sanity

All because I didn't 'have' time to re-fuel when the gauge was getting low.

As I fell into bed that night, thinking that I didn't 'have' time to read the scriptures yet that day, I recalled the activities (and relived the mortifying experience) of the day, and started to realize how closely my spiritual and emotional tank is so much like my gas tank in the car.

How many times do I speed around my life, feeling something get low inside of me.
But I push it aside, telling myself I'm too busy to fill up my inner self.
"I'll do this, and then this, and then this, and then I'll have time to fill up inside."

Until, suddenly, 
In the busiest and sometimes most crucial point in my mommy-ing life.
I chug chug luurrch, sputter, and finally come to a stop.
Rendering myself completely useless to everyone else outside of me.
Because I didn't have time to fill the person inside of me.

Lesson Learned.
But learned.

(... and incidentally, on this tuesday afternoon, I am happy to report that I am fresh from the gas station.  Fuel on full, car battery replaced, and ready to take on another wacky wednesday!!)

... How's your inner fuel gauge??


  1. Great analogy. I find myself on a roller coaster both in life and internally. Unfortunately, like most moms, I am frequently on empty!

  2. Jen, enjoyed your story. If it makes you feel any better, I ran out of gas a couple weeks ago under similar circumstances, although I guess I was a bit more lucky because I was in the parking lot for piano lessons, after dropping one kid off and was headed to dance for the second drop off. I ended up walking 3 kids in tow to the gas station only a block away, and they didn't have any gas tanks for sell?? So... two nice men took compassion on me and drove over to my van with their gas tank and filled me up enough so I could drive to the pump. We missed dance, but I felt like an idiot as well. well said with the spiritual analogy- I completely agree.

  3. Loved loved loved this. I really needed this today! Thank you.