Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lasagna and Running on Empty

Some fourth parts require a lot of effort. Not just planning or organizing, but true effort. I'm talking rent a car, drive five hours, work for four hours and then drive another two hours kind of effort.

Tonight's fourth part was simple on paper. I wanted to make a lasagna for my son and his roommate. Not one to freeze and ship from San Antonio to Lubbock. But make one in Lubbock in my son's apartment with ingredients purchased from the Wal Mart in town.

That took effort. And, man, was it worth it.

I've never been a road-trip kind of gal. I think growing up, we drove to Pennsylvania once or twice and would make road trips as far north as Dallas or Texarkana and south to the beach or Laredo. We didn't do the cross country trips. I can only imagine it had more to do with my sisters and I drawing lines between us in the back seat and being a bit much than it did my parents' desire to take us places.

Now, we fly places. We've driven to Memphis and all over the state of Texas, but never packed up the car and let's say, head to California. I have a sister and brother in law who've done that all over the U.S. to watch major league baseball games. They've driven from San Antonio to Toronto. Y'all, that's Canada.

I envy those road trippers imagining great stops at roadside attractions and Dairy Queens. Then, I think the reality is Whataburger scents for days and a lot of crankiness.

Recently, we've taken a few trips to Lubbock to register Chris and to move him into his apartment. That's a six-hour drive. It's easy because the roads are great and not much traffic. But it's looooong.

So, when Chris needed golf clubs and a co-worker willingly offered up a set from her husband, I said, 'let's throw them in a car and I'll drive them to him.'

Conveniently, I've been spending time in Midland for work and that's only a hop skip and a jump from Lubbock. Let's be clear, Midland is still a good distance from San Antonio. Like right under five hours of distance. But, no worries, I'll rent a car, schedule meetings to start at 1 p.m. and then after working, head up to the land of Red Raiders.

Car rental, check. Loading up the rental, no sweat. Leaving and getting on the road, problem free.

It was so breezy and easy and lemon squeezy. I listened and laughed to a favorite podcast along the way.

Then, I noticed . . . low fuel. 36 miles left. What? How? I thought this rental got great gas mileage. I never even thought about needing to stop and pump along the journey. Plus, the low fuel indicator didn't bother me. I was in oil country. Pumps everywhere. Trucks hauling big containers of fluid that contribute to the creation of gasoline.

No gas station anywhere. Aahh, but an intersection of two highways that was 35 miles away would provide that fuel and I'd be on my way. Yeah, no. Not in this neck of the woods.

I ran out of gas at the corner of 137 and 158. Translation 'middle of nowhere.'

When a truck driver pulled by me and he kindly rolled down his window asking me what's wrong, I said I needed gas and he said, 'well, all I've got is diesel.' Ugh.

Triple A to the rescue with the words from the dispatcher sounding something like 'it will be almost an hour before someone gets the gas to you.' Ugh, again.

There is work to be done and golf clubs to be delivered. This is not going according to plan.

I did not call my husband as he would have worried and lost his mind with me. (I'm good at getting really low on gas and maybe, even running out.)

I waited. Put on my makeup. Listened to the podcast.

Then came William Starnes. My angel. He was in flip flops and a road hard kind of shirt that had been hung out to dry. He was not with Triple A but had a container of gas in the back of his pick up that he willingly funneled into my tank . . . without a request or expectation of payment. He didn't even want to give me his full name or address.

I got the contact information out of him because, well, I need to properly thank him with a note and a gift card. I was raised right.

I cancelled the Triple A help and went on my way. Had my meetings -- where co-workers enjoyed the story -- and then gassed up to get on the road to Lubbock. Yes, I filled up the car (which was only 13 gallons -- that should be indication of the tank size and how it could not make the journey to Midland -- but how would I know that!?!).

And, at 6 p.m., my fourth part really began. It started with a hug and a smile from my son. We progressed to shop for groceries and then I even did laundry. Tonight, these were fourth part activities. Remember, a fourth part is the time I have for me to do what I want and what refuels me. Seeing that boy and walking the aisles of Wal Mart buoyed my spirits. I even bravely decided to tell G about the running out of gas moment (with Chris standing by me).

As Chris and his roommate watched a basketball game, I made lasagna and put fresh sheets on his bed. I even cleaned a bit.

Before I got back on the road to Midland because I've work tomorrow and a hotel bed calling my name, I got another hug. Another thank you. Another smile. Another re-fueling moment.

I didn't get to eat the lasagna but it wasn't for me. I wasn't running on empty anymore because seeing him filled me up.

Yeah, I stopped to get gas before leaving Lubbock, but I probably could have made it back to Midland on the fuel I got from being with him.

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