The past few days have included much travel and many adventures, all involving, well, cars. To begin the tale, I should remind the faithful reader that Ben has spent the last year driving Iris, the beloved Honda Insight which was on loan to us from our friend Melissa while she lived on a remote tropical island in Nicaragua to study monkeys in order to complete her anthropology dissertation. If that's too confusing for you, you may want to consult the post from last August entitled "Melissa, Iris, and Nicablogua." Otherwise, on with the story.
So Melissa and her husband Rob returned to the United States this weekend. They are re-settling in Champaign, Illinois, and bravely closed on a new house today after less than 48 hours back in this hemisphere. As a result, they also needed to get their car back. This meant that Ben and I needed to get a new car for him. Fortunately for us, my father was looking to sell one of his company cars (a white 2004 Malibu), so we were able to put in a bid on that.
Now, the difficulty comes when you consider that I needed to return Melissa's car to Champaign and then pick up the Malibu in Peoria. Champaign and Peoria are roughly 100 miles part, although thankfully all part of the Route 74 journey. This was further complicated by a timeline which necessitated that we do all of this at the beginning of this week. And when I say "we," I mean Bryn and I, since Ben will be spending this Thursday and Friday at GenCon and could not take any more time off to drive to Illinois for the Great Car Exchange.
Luckily, my mother was in Indianapolis this past weekend for a wedding. The plan was that we would meet up with her for lunch on Sunday, and then she would follow me to Champaign to drop off Melissa's car, and then Bryn and I would hitch a ride back to Peoria with her. Plans changed slightly when we learned that my brother would also be in town this weekend and would be able to join us for lunch. So he and my mother went to pick up sandwiches for all of us for lunch, and this is where all our carefully laid plans were destroyed.
While my mom and Brian were ordering take-out sandwiches at Penn Station, some evil thug in the parking lot smashed in the window of my mom's van with a sledgehammer, stole her suitcase, and made a run for it. My understandably hysterical mother and thankfully levelheaded brother then had to wait around for nearly two hours to fill out a police report before making their way to our house. Then Brian and Ben had to smash in the rest of the window to get the jagged glass out, use the ShopVac to clean up all the glass, and use Ben's amazing handyman skills to rig up a plastic tarp contraption (all classily held in place with duct tape) to cover the window for the journey to Peoria. When all was said and done, it was quite a few hours later than expected and we were all WAY more emotionally worn out than we had anticipated by the time we departed for Illinois.
We did eventually make it to Champaign, where we dropped of Iris with one of Melissa's friends, since Melissa and Rob were still currently somewhere en route from Nicaragua to Illinois. Bryn and I left the beloved hybrid and boarded up in my mom's now ghetto-style minivan. We drove onward to Bloomington-Normal, where we picked up my sister and went out for a delicious, albeit quite late, dinner at a Japanese steakhouse. Then, finally, onward to Peoria. Because we were running so much later than expected, I was worried about making it over to my dad's to pick up the car, so he helpfully moved it over to my mom's house so I could have it first thing in the morning. By the time we FINALLY got to Peoria, it was after 10:00 their time (11:00 our time), and Brynie was one tired little girl. Unfortunately, she was also a filthy little girl due to a rather major diaper blowout in the car, so it was another half an hour before I got her cleaned up and settled enough to go to bed.
On Monday morning, after what felt like a very short night of sleep, I loaded Bryn into the Malibu, which was the third car of this now-epic journey. We drove to my dad's office, where we had a very short visit and gained possession of the car's title, thus making it officially ours. Then onward to Indiana. This was a LOT of time to spend in the car in a 24-hour span, both for a not-quite-2-year-old and for a pregnant woman. We were quite excited to see our own house and celebrated by promptly falling into bed for late-afternoon naps.
In the end, Ben and I are now the proud owners of a Malibu, and he even made it to the BMV today to handle the title and get new license plates. We are hopeful that insurance will cover many of my mom's van repairs and the items which were stolen with her suitcase. It has been an eventful few days, and as there is no rest for the weary, we are about to embark on our next adventure: playing host to 7 gaming afficienados for the next 5 days so they can enjoy all the wonders of GenCon. If you are unfamiliar with this event, think "gamers' mecca." Ben is bouncing around the house in excitement and anticipation of the coming days, and I'm wondering if we have enough clean sheets. Details to follow...