"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rush and a Push

So we went out the other day to get the kids some stuff for soccer (they needed new shoes and stuff) and I got some beads and Michael's because I have some designs I wanted to play around with, and Charlie got some stuff to re-wire his necklace. Anyway, while we were out driving around I noticed that the gas hand on the Expedition was on empty. I told Charlie I was surprised he hadn’t gotten gas yet, because the last time I drove the car (down the mountain to take the kids to the lake like 2 days before) it was on empty then . . . and here we had been driving all around town too!! But he is pretty good at guessing when it needs gas (he knows how far below the E it can go, or so he thought). And it doesn’t phase me because growing up we ALWAYS waited till the gas hand was buried before getting gas.

For most of you who don’t know where we live. We live on top of a mountain, about 2500 ft. It is a neighborhood but most of the houses are at the bottom (there are only a handful at the top with us). We actually have an acre and ½ of FLAT land up there, because we are on the ridge and it is flat at the top. It takes us about 7 min to get to the bottom of the mountain and to the main road. There is a little gas station and store there, and then it is another like 8 miles to ‘town’ (walmart and the hospital etc.). So it takes us like 15 min to Walmart and about 25 min to everywhere else in town.

OK so we are now heading home. We are on the last stretch of road before we turn in to our neighborhood. It is all farmland and stuff for like 4 miles. So we are on the last mile or 2 and the car starts like surging and missing. I am sitting in the back (because Thrace was fussy) and I was like “ummm, Charlie, are you doing that?” and he said “no”. So I am thinking . . . great, our car is about to break down and we can’t all fit in any other car and in my mind I was going back and forth on how we were going to get the car to the mechanic because I can’t drive it with the kids because we have no way to get back because we can’t all fit in Charlies car and I was wondering which friend we could call to come help us take the car to get it fixed etc. (note the run on sentence because that is how it was playing in my mind, LOL). Then it hit me . . . ummm, duh, the gas is low. But we have NEVER run out of gas before!! So neither of us was sure if it was the gas or not, because it was doing this before (though I reminded Charlie that last time it was doing it was when the gas was low and we were like literally pulling into the gas station, LOL). I was mostly figuring that, you know, it is low so it is picking up some debris in the line or something which is causing it to miss or whatever. That is, until Charlie says “ummm, the car just cut out”!! Oh crap!

OK so we are coasting down the road. We are like ½ mile from the gas station but we can see it in the distance, and I am PRAYING it is just out of gas!! I am thinking . . . do we pull off now and walk to the gas station or do we risk cruising there and not making it off the road in time and blocking the whole road? There is a car behind us so Charlie puts on the hazards, but the stupid car never passed us. I tend to just kind of want to jump in and do something in these circumstances. So I am in the back and I figure . . . OK, Charlie can jump out and push and I can jump in the driver seat and steer, so I jump up between the seats (I am literally squatting on the console between the front seats) ready to jump in his seat . . . but he isn’t moving or anything and I realize that I just came up with this plan in my head and I never explained it to him, LOL!! So I thought “forget this, it would be easier for ME to jump out and push”.

Meanwhile the car is going slower and slower and slower but the gas station is right there! And that stupid car behind us is on our tail UGH. So I open my door in the back and tell Charlie that I will jump out and push, I mean we are really close to the gas station now. But then I look down at the road (and the car behind us) and I looked at my flip flops and the fact that I had a wrap tied around my body (a stretchy wrap because I was wearing Thrace in it and had just popped him out when we got in the car so it was still wrapped around me). I wasn’t too sure that jumping out of a moving car with flip flops on and all that extra fabric tied to me was a good idea. Not to mention the fact that since having kids, my balance hasn’t felt quite was it was like 10 yrs ago, LOL!! (those of you who have babies know what I am talking about!). I pretty much envisioned myself landing on the ground and immediately biting the dust!! So he is like “why aren’t you jumping out?” and I was like “you are going too fast” and he said “We are only doing 10 mph” but I assure him that when you are staring at moving pavement below you 10 mph looks very fast!!! So I wait a few more seconds for the car to slow down more (I think it was like 5mph at this point) and I jump out and start pushing (wondering what the people in the car on our butt are thinking, LOL). We are literally almost to the gas station, so I push the truck another 50 ft or so off of the road and into the parking lot and Charlie hits the breaks. We could not have timed it any better unless we had a few more seconds and could have coasted up to the pumps (I couldn’t push it anymore because it was a bit uphill and I mean . . . it is an Expedition . . . not a small vehicle and I am a wimp).

Charlie was like “OK now what do we do now” and I am thinking that we go inside, ask for a gas can, get a couple gallons of gas, put it in the car and try to crank it up. But before I could share my plan with him 2 guys come over and ask if we need a push (the gas station was not un-busy). I was like YES please!! They said that if the problem wasn’t that we were out of gas they had a rope in their car and could pull us to a parking spot or something. The pumps were only like another 100 ft from us. So I got in the drivers seat and Charlie went back with the 2 guys and they started pushing. Fortunately the car was lined up perfectly to be pushed right up to the pumps, which is good because I could hardly turn the wheel.

So they are pushing, s l o w l y, and I all of the sudden I see this swarm of guys running towards us at all sides. OK so it was only like 3-4 guys but it seemed like a scene from a movie and we were moving so slow it felt like slow motion. A guy comes running out of the store and over to help. Another gets out of a parked car to my right and runs over and an old man who was pumping gas on my left comes running over and they all join in the effort to push our big black truck up the incline to the gas pump, LOL!! I was laughing so hard I could hardly see!! OK so I was a little embarrassed too but it felt very good to have so many people wanting to help! And to think they couldn’t even see inside the car so they had no idea we had 5 kids (one being a baby) inside!!

So we get up to the pump, totally embarrassed, I tell them thank you as they all disperse and we start to put gas in the car. We are also laughing really hard, at, well, the whole situation!! I was hoping it would crank because that would save us tons of trouble, but a part of me was hoping it wouldn’t so we wouldn’t have been so stupid to run out of gas . . . for the first time ever!! We finish pumping, crank the car and it cranks right up, LOL!! OK so we are far from perfect at guessing when the car needed gas but at least we didn’t run out of gas on the side of the road with no gas station in sight . . . I mean some of these are country roads . . . how silly would we have felt then!!
On the drive up the mountain we were talking about it and how one acts when in a situation like that. I wanted to just “do” something and Charlie said that when the car cut off and we were just coasting down the road he had his foot pressed all the way down on the gas till the car came to a stop, LOL!! He knew in his logical mind that it wouldn’t help but he just couldn’t stop himself, LOL!! I guess that is instinct, I mean you want the car to move so you press down the gas . . . almost willing it to move LOL!!

When we got home I realized something . . . all these guys were at the back of our car, hands on the bumper, helping us out pushing the truck to the gas pumps, and what was staring them right in the face . . .

My lovely circumcision bumper sticker located just above the bumper in the middle of the car, LOL!! Of course it doesn't embarass me (or dh) but I sure hope none of them were embarassed by it, LOL!!

Of course had they looked up at the rest of the back of the car they would have seen this . . .

I hope all our Libertarian, Ron Paul, Palin stickers didn’t make them angry either (though seeing where we live, my guess would be that the larger number of them probably liked them. Yes, we are one of those crazy bumper sticker cars . . . though I only take credit for the Kozy and circ stickers, charlie added the other 3 :)

A few days later Charlie took the truck by himself to pick up a table, then the next day I took the kids to a friends house. I got in the car and where was the gas hand?? Sitting on empty (not above empty, but ON empty). Alas, looks like someone didn't learn his lesson? LOL!! Believe me, I made sure to stop and get gas at the bottom of the mountain. I do NOT need to run out of gas by myself with the car full of kids!!

When we pulled up to the pump Arah said “hey, this is where we ran out of gas and all those old people came to push the car” LOL!! OK so he sits on the left side and saw the old man running over so in his almost 5 yr old mind, we were being pushed by old people.

How cute is that!!


  1. Running out of gas out in the middle of nowhere...with children...is one of my nightmares.

    We live up on a mountain too, and it takes a while to get anywhere...and we don't have a gas station at the bottom.

    So, I try not to let the needle get any lower than 1/4...just to be safe.

    Glad you got a laugh and that there were people willing to help. It's been my experience since moving here that the people are wonderful and always willing to assist someone in need.

    from Indiana (then Maryland) and now Harpers Ferry WV

  2. FFR . . .tip from someone who's been there. When it starts sputtering, turn the steering back & forth. Any remaining gas in the tank will slosh around and (usually) sputter back up until you can make it to the station. I've done this more than once.

  3. HAHA Oh my sides hurt. That story is so funny Kelley, partly because I can relate growing up in the same family with you and knowing about waiting until the last minute to fill up. But partly because it's so funny the "stream of consciousness" way you told it. That part about not thinking 10 mph is fast until you're watching asphalt roll by and you're about to jump out at 10 mph....SO funny!

    My own personal regret...running out of gas on in morning rush hour traffic on I75 (8 lanes wide) heading into Atlanta, and I'm in the MIDDLE lane. Ugh. Cruised over to the side, barely, and literally an angel came out of nowhere in a truck w/a full gas can, put it in, and went on his way. That was a miracle!!!

  4. Thanks for a great story!! Made me smile for at least a few minutes today :)

  5. Hi Mary (wave)

    Kristi, I cannot imagine running out of gas there! That would be horrible! The only thing that would make that worse would be a car full of kids!

    Oh and for those reading these comments, note that the 2nd poster (Kayward) with the great info on how to keep the car running when you are out of gas . . . that's my dad!! LOL!
    I told y'all that growing up we always waited till the gas hand was buried before getting gas, LOL!!
    Thanks for the tip dad, I'll pass along that info to Charlie too.



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