You Can’t Make This Stuff Up | Tips To Avoid This Summer
by: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
It is now officially summer vacation time. People are already on their way to summer fun. Before you get too far into your vacation journey, make sure you’re set.
Really, make sure!
You don’t want to get too excited and miss something.
I’m happy you asked.
When and I sit back and think of some of the traveling mishaps our family has endured, it sounds almost unbelievable. But seriously, no one can make this stuff up – except – a television producer.
Well, unless your family is auditioning for a reality show, take some lessons from our family this summer before you hit the road.
In 2013 my husband, Omar, received football tickets for his birthday to a game in Cincinnati, OH. Me and the little ones decided to tag along for a family getaway.
Our vehicle needed a little work done on it. We had driven our trusty minivan all over Southern California, to Memphis and back to California, and back to Memphis again when we moved here in 2012. We had absolute faith and trust in our sweet minivan, so no biggie.
We were in a rush to get to Cincinnati so we decided we’d make the six-hour drive and get our minivan checked before heading back home to Memphis.
We left for Cincinnati on a Friday and drove without incident. We arrived that evening. The football game was that Sunday, so we planned to enjoy the city all day Saturday.
We woke up excited! We had our Saturday plans mapped out. We decided to head downtown first to some children events. Two minutes on the interstate we heard a loud noise and our minivan shut off. Omar was able to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road. He tried to turn our minivan back on, and – no luck. We called roadside assistance.
We eventually decided it was best for me and the kids to walk back to the hotel and Omar would wait for roadside assistance. Omar walked us to a safe point, and me and my then 8, 7, and 4-year-old, walked down the side of the interstate back to our hotel.
The minivan was picked up and taken to a local repair shop. The diagnosis was – a new engine!
I’ll spare you the quoted price for it.
We had to rent a car to get back home and find a towing company to tow our minivan from Cincinnati, OH to Memphis, TN.
This incident was a total inconvenience in every sense, but we got through it.
(A picture of the kids while we waited outside our hotel for a shuttle to take us to the airport to rent a car.)
You’d think we learned our lesson…
Going Back to Cali
In 2014, Omar was “offered” a coaching position at a high-school back in California. He and a coach he had worked with while we were living in California was at a new high-school and reached out to Omar. Omar was excited about the offer. We prayed about it and thought we were making the right decision to go back.
Omar’s parents were still in California so our plan was to stay with them initially. So – Omar quit his job, we sold all of our furniture, packed up our minivan, and off we went! We drove four days to California. (It usually takes us three days to make this drive, but our youngest was only six-months old and could not handle the long drive so it turned into four LONG days in our minivan)
We made it and began to settle back into life in California. Omar began coaches training right away. While the head coach “offered” Omar a coaching position, we both failed to find out about the entire interview process and procedures. We eventually found out that the head coach did not have the final authority over who was hired. The school district had the final say.
Omar spent three-weeks going to training camps and meeting with the coaches at his “new” school. In the meantime, the school district finished up their interviews with all of the potential coaches. Omar learned four-weeks after we arrived in California, after he had spent three-weeks in camps, workshops and training, that he would NOT be offered a final spot on the coaching staff.
Our jaws dropped.
We couldn’t believe it! Omar had quit his job in Memphis. We sold all of our furniture. We had just moved our entire family across the country.
Well, back to Memphis! At first our plan was to just stay in California, but without the coaching job, California had become just too expensive for our family of six. Even though we knew everyone was going to laugh at us, and call us nomads (which they did) – we packed up and journeyed back to Memphis.
Now this story technically isn’t a vacation story, but it has become our family joke. Because we “moved” from Memphis to California and back within a six-week time-frame, it is now known as our six-week family vacation.
(I posted this compilation of pictures on my Facebook page, February 14, 2015. I said, “Goodbye Memphis. Thank-you for the memories, we will miss you”.)
But you would think we’d finally learn our lesson…
In October 2016, Omar was invited to Gainesville, Florida by his mentor to attend the Florida Gators and Vanderbilt football game.
(Okay, have you noticed how all of these stories have to do with Omar and football?)
Well, his mentor is a season ticket holder to the Florida Gators football team. He invited Omar the year prior to a game and Omar enjoyed it. His mentor is actually a family friend and this second time, he invited me and the kids to join Omar (not to the game) but to visit he and his sweet wife. The kids and I were happy to go.
We finished teaching our Thursday P.E. class with Gifted Athletes, and drove 10-hours to Gainesville, Florida.
It was a nice drive. We were all excited for the visit.
The Saturday football game arrived and a very important element was discovered. Neither Omar or his mentor, the season ticket holder, ever double-checked the schedule. Yes, the Florida Gators were playing Vanderbilt that Saturday, but they were playing at Vanderbilt!
For those of you who do not know, Vanderbilt University is in Nashville, TN, three-hours from Memphis, TN.
So yes, we drove 10-hours to Gainesville, Florida to watch the Florida Gators and Vanderbilt football game – on T.V.
“La Vida Loca” Ru’s, that’s what we call ourselves sometimes.
(Omar’s mentor recorded the game to watch Saturday evening, so we went to the beach that afternoon. If nothing else, it was our first time on an Atlantic Ocean beach.)
Despite these kooky stories, God is good! He is faithful and He takes care of us, even when we don’t always have it together.
Life is full of learning opportunities.
We hope you’ve learned some great lessons from our family before you head out on your summer vacation.
Double-check your car. Double-check your tickets. Double-check all details.
And finally; you must absolutely, and positively, double-check every situation when football is in the equation!
Otherwise, you’ll end up on a some blog one day as the punchline. (Smile)
Enjoy your summer.
-Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
Today is Memorial Day. Remember those who gave their lives for our country.
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