The gremlins have struck again! Sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning, some nasty car monsters climbed inside our van's engine and messed it up. We tried to start the van to go to school Friday morning and couldn't get it going. Imagine our sinking hearts! So we trooped back into the house. My first call was to a friend to come pick up the girls for school (tardy, of course, but that couldn't be helped). Upon receiving the go-ahead from my husband via telephone (he's gone hunting), I then called the Chrysler dealership to schedule an appointment for our sick van and USAA to arrange for towing. As of late Friday afternoon, the mechanic had still not pinpointed the problem. However, early this morning (Saturday), the dealership called to say they are pretty confident the problem is in the circuit board, and they can fix this problem---to the tune of almost $900! This is the price after they applied a 10% discount! Ouch with a capital O!!! I called Chad and left a message, stating the diagnosis, naming the price, and asking for his permission to have them begin work. There is no way I was going to take responsibility for spending that much money! When he returned my call, he suggested I call our local repair shop and check to see if the price quoted is fair; he wanted me to also ask if they could do the work cheaper. Upon calling, I was told that yes, any time part of the computer has to be repaired or replaced, it gets expensive; plus, the dealership has to do the work because they have to program the replaced part before the van will accept it and work. I feel like I did as a kid playing Monopoly when I landed on a space I could not afford. (There is a reason I quit playing Monopoly!) At least the van will be fixed. The mechanic is very confident that he has diagnosed the problem correctly. Yes, the door switch was faulty and needed to be replaced, but hopefully replacing the circuit board will fix the rest of the problem for good. As my husband said, "Fixing this van is cheaper than buying a new one."
A big thank you to all of you who have read about our car troubles and have been praying for us. It touches my heart every time I read someone's comment on the blog or have someone tell me they have been following our story. God bless each of you in a special way for caring so much for others.
Dale had a good day yesterday. We tried some math problems (the three times table) and he focused fairly well, although it was obvious toward the end that he was throwing out some answers in the hopes they were correct and he could be done! We also played Junior Monopoly---much less stressful than the big one---and he beat me. I always run out of money. Sounds like real life, huh? Dale's attention span during the game was the best I've seen it since the accident; he stood up a couple of times but continued to take his turns on cue. He had a much easier time releasing the dice when rolling, and, when he had to pay out for something, he counted out his own payment---no cues from me! Praise the Lord! What nice improvements to see just since last week. It's good to see definite signs of his brain working in normal, regular patterns. We also went for a long walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed being out in God's big world.
Please believe me when I say that I'm not badgering him or God to be normal or act normal again. I hesitate to even use the word "normal" for fear someone will think I'm not satisfied or happy with my son as he is. I do believe God will allow his brain to continue to heal so that at some point Dale will resume "normal" activities, but I am fully trusting our all-knowing Father to know when that thime should be. I have to daily remind myself not to get frustrated with Dale because of his lack of ability or desire or know-how. He is struggling with the same frustrations and needs me to steady him as he regains these functions. Dale still has a long way to go developmentally; please continue to pray for him.
Last night, we got to do something that we all enjoy. We played hide-and-seek in the dark. The kids and I only get to do this when Dad's gone overnight because he usually goes to bed early and we can't make alot of noise and wake him up. And you know we make alot of noise finding people in the dark! This is the first time we've played this game since Dale's accident, and I wasn't quite sure how things would go. I was concerned that Dale would not like the house being totally dark or hearing the girls' screams upon being found. I also wasn't sure he could be still for that long without making a sound. He said he wanted to hide with me (good idea), so we turned off all the lights and began having fun. Dale and I hid in the bathroom downstairs (upstairs is off-limits) and waited to be found. Amazingly, the seeker walked right past us and found other people first. Next, it was Emily's turn (our youngest). She had us all in fits of laughter before she finished counting---because she never finished counting! Dale and I hid in the bathroom again, figuring she would not expect us to hide in the same place twice. Emily stood by our lamp table and began. "One, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen......." She stopped for a moment, then said, "What comes after fourteen?" None of us were willing to answer for fear of giving away our hiding place! Muffled laughter sounded from all over. Finally, from across the room came a voice, "Fifteen!" Emily resumed counting, "Fifteen.......what's next?" Snorted laughs all around. In frustration, Emily said, "Is it twenty yet?" Now, smothered explosions of giggles were heard throughout the downstairs. An older sister took pity on her and just said, "YES!" Happily, Emily finished, "Twenty!" and began searching. Thankfully she walked away from Dale and I because we were almost unable to contain our laughter. She wandered into the dining room, calling out for anyone there. Of course, no one answered and, being dark, she could not see anyone. She started to get upset and said, "I can't find anyone." No sooner had the words left her mouth than Ashley jumped out from under the table and said, "Boo!" Emily screamed, which caused the rest of us to explode in giggles again. We were still laughing by the time she found all of us. Turning on the light and seeing that genuine smile on Dale's face was great. These memories are indeed precious to me and to the children. I'm sure that when the kids are grown and married with children of their own, they'll come home for the holidays and ask to play hide-and-seek in the dark again, just to recapture the joy of these moments---and to hear each other scream when found!
Psalm 66:16 - 20 "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul. I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me."