Posted by: chlost | January 26, 2012

Unicameral and Uberclose-r

This whole situation of not having a computer of my own is getting very old. However, we (read Husband) never jump into things too quickly. The concept of an impulse purchase is unknown in this household. Especially for something like a computer. This weekend, though I may just do it, as the saying goes. I am very tired of using another person’s computer. The settings are just not the way I would have them, and I feel as though I am intruding. I think of a computer as a private thing. Who knows what might be happening in that search bar?  I really don’t want to know!

In any event, I hope to be up and running with my own laptop very soon.

We just learned that our daughter and her s.o. will be moving from Oregon to Nebraska later this year. I am very happy about this. We will be just an eight-hour drive from them! Far enough that we can’t just pop in unannounced, but close enough that we may see them more than once or twice a year.

The ironic thing is that they are going to be living in Lincoln.

There is an infamous family story centered in Lincoln. One of those kind of stories that are told and retold.

When our oldest son decided to attend college, he chose a college in California. We had rarely taken a family vacation, so we decided to drive him to college, and use the trip as a family vacation. We scheduled about a week to drive from here to California in order to stop and see some sights along the way.

The car that we owned at that time was not up to a trip of over 3000 miles. In other words, it was a hunk of junk.

Somehow, we figured out a way to buy another car for the trip. We had always wanted a mini-van. We had rented a mini-van for one of our first real vacations, and it worked well for three kids. So, we decided that we would by a mini-van. This was a huge purchase. We had never bought anything like this.

We couldn’t afford a new vehicle. But we decided to buy a used mini-van from a local car dealer. Up until then, Husband had always bought used vehicles from private parties, using ads in the newspaper.

We packed everything into the shiny, clean mini-van. All of son’s belongings, all of the vacation things, three kids and two parents, and we headed off down the interstate.

You’ve probably figured it out-the thing broke down in Lincoln, Nebraska. Well, not IN Lincoln, exactly. We stopped at a rest area outside of Lincoln when Husband realized there was something wrong with the way the vehicle was running. He’s pretty mechanical. He checked out the engine, and knew it was not going to go any further.

Here’s the thing. This is pre cell phones. We had no credit cards. We were pretty much running by the seat of our pants, and had just enough cash/traveler’s checks to get us to California and  home with a few stops in between. We had no reserves. We had no credit.

So—we called a cab from the pay phone at the rest area. We called a tow truck. We called a car dealership.  I say we. It was me. I looked for a hotel listing in the phone book. I called a hotel. The cab took the kids and I and a few suitcases to the hotel. The tow truck took the dead vehicle and furious Husband to the car dealership.

Bottom line-The engine was toast. Literally. Something blew up and burned out the engine. We were within the dates of the short warranty time, but beyond the miles.

Our choices……sell the thing for scrap and start over, or order a new engine, have it delivered to the dealership, and they could install it.

We opted for the second choice. We had to call my in-laws for a credit card number in order to buy the engine. I called the dealership where we bought it and negotiated for them to pay a portion of the cost seeing as how recently it had been purchased.

But the new engine was in Minneapolis. It would take 3 days to get it and install it.

So, we spent three days in Lincoln, Nebraska. Without a vehicle.

We ate at a horrible Chinese restaurant that we walked to from the hotel.

We took a tour of the capitol. It was an interesting building.  We learned that Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature (well, my daughter actually knew that beforehand, but the rest of us didn’t).

We were able to use a car from the dealership and saw a little zoo. The kids and Husband had a great time at a go-kart track.

We all laugh about our unexpected three-day vacation in Lincoln, Nebraska.

And now daughter and s.o. will be living there for three years.

Who could have guessed that way back then?

Oh, and in case you are wondering, oldest son got to college just fine, he loved his time by the ocean, and that mini-van lasted for about ten more years. We finally donated it to a school that teaches at-risk kids how to fix cars, then donates the car to low-income families.

As Husband says, “It’s all good!”



  1. Ok I had to look up “unicameral legislature”. That was new to me.
    You really managed to make a fine batch of lemonade out of that experience.

  2. Sounds like you got your moneys worth in the end. What a trip.

  3. It’s all part of the adventure eh Chlostie? That’s cool that you will be so mcu closer to each other, as much as I am sure she will miss my great Homeland of Oregon. You really need to get your computer! I totally agree that using someone elses totally sucks. Just dive in and do it! DOOOO It! 🙂

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