March 2010 we took our first ever family vacation that did not involve going to stay with family. We had already paid for most of our trip in advance when Chris got his re-enlistment bonus so we had paid for our condo, the tickets to Disney World. We had it all planned out.
The plan was for Chris to fly up and visit his mom the week before we would leave for Florida. I purchased his tickets and he was supposed to fly home on Tuesday and we were going to leave on Thursday evening when Lizzie got out of school and go on our wonderful vacation. This was the plan, but life got in the way.
Tuesday morning Chris called me and told me he wasn't going to make his flight because Ted had passed away. So I took a deep breath, made the phone calls I had to make, broke the news to Sarah and waited until I was alone, then had my own mini-breakdown and kept trucking. In between Tuesday and Thursday I purchased not one, but two plane tickets to Florida - one for Chris to meet us Sunday evening in Orlando and the other ticket for his mom, Mary to join us.
Ted had been ill for quite some time and we hoped to help Mary have a small reprieve by bringing her with us - and it worked to an extent. So Thursday evening we drove to Oklahoma City and stopped for the evening. We visited with Meg and her family and Friday morning bright and early we left for Tennessee. Our goal was to stop in Nashville for the evening and it was a long day. But we had a nice hotel and it was right next to one of the malls so we were able to walk to the mall and stretch our legs and spend a quiet evening just hanging out and moving around.
Here is where I think we goofed.
In hindsight, we should have waited until the trip home to stop in Georgia so Chris was driving and with us. This is what I should have done, but Sarah really wanted to stop in Georgia, so like an idiot I agreed. I say I was an idiot for several reasons. First, I hate rush hour traffic - if you have ever driven through Atlanta, you know that it seems to be rush hour all of the time. So on Saturday around noon, I made my way through Atlanta and two hours later we were finally done and my knuckles were white from terror and gripping the wheel. Second, I was tired. I was tired of getting everything ready by myself, tired of being the only driver and after driving through Atlanta, I was extremely tired of trying to make my way to Florida with three children on my own. So on Sunday morning when we left a small town near Hinesville, GA I was as ready as the girls to get to Florida, our condo and just be out of the minivan.
This is where I made my biggest mistake - I let fatigue and annoyance get the better of me and I started speeding. So I got stopped. I was guilty and I willingly admit I should not have been driving so fast. This is not why the state of Georgia annoys me. . . I'm getting to it, honest. So I got my ticket, I took it like a trooper and I finished our trip. I picked up the necessary parties, we had all of the awesome necessary fun and Chris was the driver all the way home from Florida and I let him do this with great pleasure. After a year of him being deployed and with myself as the only driver in the house I was ready to let him have the wheel.
This is where it gets crazy. . . I got home from vacation and I took out the money to pay my ticket and I sent it out mid April - Priority Mail. So imagine my surprise when I got a notice saying I hadn't paid my ticket. I called it in and they finally claimed it arrived May 25th - 7 days after the ticket was due. Now someone explain to me how I can ship something priority mail in mid April and it didn't get there until May 25th? AND they had to sign for it? So then began the lovely joy of taking care of everything. It took over 1 year to clear up this mess and for them to fix the suspension that the state of Georgia had put on my license. A suspension they swore they had fixed, but not before I was stopped IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON!!!!!!!! Between talking to McClintoch Country AND the State of Kansas and it taking so long to get them to fix what they screwed up I never want to go visit the state of Georgia ever again.
Was Georgia beautiful? Yes, it was. Were the people nice? Yes they were, except for the crabby police man who stopped me and who had woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Of course, if you were one of the lowest paid police officers in the country (Georgia police are not paid enough for the garbage they put up with. It's sad but true.) you wouldn't have a sunny disposition either. And I loved the drive before dealing with Atlanta, it was after Atlanta I was less than thrilled. But worse was the tons of red tape and the run around I got when trying to fix this mess. Now I have a public defender in the state of Washington who will hopefully help this all go away once and for all. I have to go back to court in August, unless something is fixed soon. So while I love my friends who live in Georgia, I really truly don't want to visit it again anytime soon - at least not if I am the one who has to drive.
Have a good week.
Love in Christ,