This is the part where it gets really hard for me, and I'll tell you why. I have this problem, wait...disease, that makes me really good at sharing joy but very terrible at sharing sorrow. Even when you think I'm telling you something bad, it's really only so that you can feel good, or laugh, or I can end it with a punchline, and then you feel good, or laugh. But when it comes down to the real stuff, the other side of the happy-happy-joy-joy, well, that's when things get sticky. 'Cause it's hard for me to imagine a frown on your face or worry in your heart because of what I just said. What I'm trying to say is this: I hate bein' a downer. But in order for you to really appreciate this miraculous (and by "miraculous" I mean MIRACULOUS!!!!!!) journey, I'm gonna have to go there, so brace yourself.
Imagine driving for 5 days, 36 hours on the road, with 4 kids, two of whom are still in diapers, and two of whom are choking back tears at every turn, everyone looking forward to what they pray will be the most amazing, fun, adventurous summer of their lives and then, when you put the car in park, being punched in the gut. Really hard. By Mike Tyson. Yeah, that's how it felt when we got here, only it was worse. Like if Mike Tyson punched you in the gut when you had food poisoning while making you listen to someone rub two huge pieces of styrofoam together.
It was the middle of July when we crossed into Michigan, not too hot, but very humid (something we were sorely unaccustomed to coming from the inland region of southern California). All of us were coated in that long-road-trip grease and had that I've-eaten-too-much-trail-mix-and-Doritos feeling in our stomachs. And at least three of us had to pee. Reasonable people would have gone straight to the hotel (which we had booked for ONE night) , but reasonable people would not have bought a house off the internet in a place they'd never been, so let's not make any assumptions, shall we? No, we went straight to our house. The one we'd never seen. That was a "fixer".
And someone had broken in and stolen all the wiring and the plumbing and the guts of the air conditioner to sell for scrap, so we had no electricity and no water and it was hot. You know how they say difficult things bring you closer to God? That's the day I got God's cell phone number.
And I cried.