I am right at 32 hours just off an exit in rural northern Iowa.
In a hotel, but not the awesome kind.
Technically, I could have left today, but I've become a diligent student of the MN road conditions website, and the state patrol and everyone important says we shouldn't travel if we don't have to.
And the only "have to" in my near future is to be at THE CROSSING'S GRAND OPENING tomorrow night!!!
So Aidan and I are hanging out watching Full House. Steve Urkel is guest starring.
I've worked on my book a bit today. About a week ago I told Eric I'd like to get away for a couple of days and stay at a (very nice) hotel and work on my book, undisturbed.
Instead I got a (not nice) hotel with my 11-year-old son watching SpongeBob. :) Oh, well.
How'd I get here? And why am I stuck?
I needed to attend a meeting downtown Des Moines at 9 am yesterday, so Aidan and I drove down Wednesday evening and spent the night with Eric's parents. We started to get on the highway at 11 am yesterday just as hail began. We did a u-turn and hid under a gas station overhang and then started again.
Rain turned to snow, and by the time we hit Mason City (3 hours later), I was getting a little nervous. When I started fishtailing right beside a snowplow, I decided to stop. Over tacos and cinnamon twists, Aidan and I decided to stop for the night.
Today was sunny; deceptively pleasant. But apparently I-35 was shut down in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. Last I checked, 35 southbound was still closed around Albert Lea. I'm going north, but, really, those two lanes are only a few yards apart.
So. When you're stuck, what do you do?
Look around, think about what you need, and what you can do, apparently.
1. I did something good for myself. Fortunately I had my gym clothes in my trunk, so I went down to the fitness room and ran my VERY FIRST 5K! 3.1 miles in 36 minutes. For me, that's awesome. And I'm pretty pround of myself.
2. I did something good for my family (sorta). I chopped the ice off my car, shoveled the drift behind it, and Aidan and I headed carefully to Dollar General, where we blew $100 on lamps (needed) and groceries (don't judge; I'm well aware there are no healthy foods available there.). I feel like I never have time to get groceries at home, so why not do it today while we're stuck?
When we returned and confirmed the road conditions, we decided to stay another night. So we caught the end of Ice Age (so apropo) and then walked downstairs to Bennigan's, where I let Aidan have cheesecake for supper. I figured, what the heck. It's not often we're stuck.
When you're stuck, sometimes, do you think stuff like this? "How did I get here? Whose fault is it? How could I have avoided this?" And if you're a Jesus-follower, you probably add things like, "What's God trying to teach me?" or "What's He up to in this situation?" or "How's He going to work this out for good?"
I've thought through this a bit. I don't even feel like my meeting in Des Moines was profitable. I would have been more helpful staying home and helping Eric host a group of pastors we had visiting on Thursday. So, to make myself feel better about being stuck, I keep trying to invent ways God might use this situation. I try to make myself feel better by saying how good it has been to rest before a huge weekend at church (plus we have houseguests coming). Maybe Aidan just needed time with mom. Maybe the other two kiddos needed time with Daddy. Maybe I made a connection in Des Moines that will prove beneficial in the future. Who knows? Only God.
I guess that the simple lesson here is that when we're stuck, the best thing to do is look around and see what you can do, and just trust that God's working on something behind the scenes. I may never know why this trip happened like it did, but God doesn't waste time or situations. So it's all good.
I'm just hoping the electricity doesn't go out in our hotel tonight. Last night, that just wasn't cool.