Week #38: ‘La’ capitán

“I’m not afraid of storms for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott

Whenever someone compliments me to my mother, she always says the same thing. “She’s the captain of her own ship; she’ll sink or swim by the choices she makes.” While Mom thankfully didn’t stick to this axiom when I was actually learning to swim, she spent a lot of my growing up years empowering me to be a person who could take responsibility for herself. Mom was always a mighty example of strength, as she raised my brother & I on her own, & instilled in me the feeling that as long as I could learn, I could do anything.

This week’s AN52 thing is a bit of a double whammy which wouldn’t have had two parts without my mom’s influence. The first part of it was getting a flat tire. I’ve been pretty blessed to have been driving for almost a decade & the worst automotive issue I’ve had was a hose popping off (& since it was pretty obvious where it detached from, I just put it back on). But this Tuesday, I was going down the highway when a car ahead of me pull over quickly. A little while later, a sound like trains on a railroad track filtered through the windows. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I didn’t feel any pull in the steering. Since I’d never had a flat before, I wasn’t quite sure, but the smell of burnt rubber was the clincher.

After pulling into a small parking lot, I got out the jack, wrench, & spare that my brother had so wonderfully made sure I had (what a guy :)). He’d given me a quick run down & with the auto care section from high school Driver’s Ed, I felt pretty comfortable with the process. With a bit of trial & error & a phone call to my brother, I still wasn’t having any luck getting the lug nuts off. It was tempting to give in & ask some of my guy friends for help. & my inner damsel in distress was extra distressed that no chivalrous sir stopped to help. I kept hoping for another way out, but my brain also kept asking, What if I were totally alone with no one to help me? What if I were my only hope?

I’m proud to say that with a little re-maneuvering & some bruised palms, I did it. I changed a tire all by myself—AN52 thing #2. I put the spare on, drove off & am currently in the process of getting replacement tire(s), which is not great fun, but it is part of being an adult. Getting a flat was a serendipitous reminder that even though things get hairy, I can handle it. I can play the damsel, but I can fight some dragons as well. I can captain the ship, but I can fix the flats too 🙂

Weeks #36 & #37: Family time & road signs

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” — Henry Boye

In Roald Dahl’s The BFG, the giant informs the girl that she’s not eight-years-old, but is younger because the time she’s spent asleep doesn’t count. I don’t agree, life is lived just as much sleeping as it is awake. But I’m probably biased. I love sleep; it’s one of life’s beautiful things. Not only are there awesome dreams to enjoy, but it’s just delicious. These past two weeks, I have slept in a special place & not slept in a new place.

You might have noticed that I missed posting last week, but I’m totally fine with that because I still did my new thing & I wanted to focus on spending the time with the people I was visiting. During week #36, I flew up to Wisconsin to visit my brother & his girlfriend. I had never gone to visit my brother without one of my parents either sending me or receiving me. My brother & I spent the majority of our childhood separated, so it was a strangely adult experience to visit him. The years apart really came to the front because our last substantial time together was when we were both rather immature & still going through that sibling rivalry phase. But my brother has changed & I have changed. He’s still funny, charming, & brilliant, but he’s not pushing me out of trees anymore. His girlfriend & the extra years of wisdom brought out a really sweet side of him that was wonderful to encounter. I felt a bit like I was getting a brother back & becoming a sister. It’ll take time & effort to get to know each other again, but I can’t thank God enough for how He’s worked this out to bring us back together.

Week #37’s thing is directly tied to that because part of the reason that I went to see my brother is that he’s a mechanical genius. I had been looking to get a new vehicle because the full-size Ford van that I drove since high school used gas like boy bands use styling gel. He had an older car for sale that got great gas mileage & since he offered me the sister discount, I found my car. It’s the first car that I’d ever really bought (this trumps buying the van for a dollar from my mom) & the first manual transmission I’d ever owned. Add to the top of that the 9-hour solo road trip (first ever such road trip) back down from Wisconsin with three pages of hand drawn maps my brother drew for me & I’d say these two weeks were a rousing AN52 success. I only killed the car once on the whole trip & felt like a mini speed demon since it didn’t take five minutes to go from zero to 60. It was a pretty awesome solo roadtrip ever because I encountered no cops, wanted no naps, filled up twice for about half the price of an old fill up & rocked out to music & podcasts the whole way.

After all that hard work, I’m going to go reward myself with some most excellent sleep 🙂

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