The guys get back with the rental cars. We pack just enough clothes to get us through the night. We leave everything else we own on the RV and travel to Phoenix. We get there at 6pm. The show starts at 8 pm. This was a crazy long day but a great time with our Phoenix fans. And, I got to meet Stacey, a faithful blog reader who showed up with a bag full of girl gifts... she is perhaps my soul mate!
Monday: Annie and I are with my parents in Albuquerque. The guys are supposed to leave Dallas at 9:00 a.m. on the RV. We rented the RV from an amazing couple who saw that we were in need of a vehicle for this tour and offered to let us rent theirs for a ridiculously low price.
The RV won't start. The guys don't leave Dallas until 6 p.m. The RV might not like us. They drive to the border of Texas and New Mexico.
Tuesday: The guys cross the border and the RV starts acting up. By late morning the RV has broken down again.
Tuesday afternoon: The RV is up and running, only a short circuit. They are in Albuquerque by late afternoon and we practice with our tour drummer, Richard. Tuesday night after dinner the RV won't start for the second time that day. We wiggle a wire around, and it starts.
Wednesday: We play the first show in Albuquerque!
Thursday: Leave for Phoenix. Somewhere in the straight desert the RV starts topping off at 40 mph and the whole interior reeks of diesel fuel. Annie is coughing. We are all feeling gross and fumy. Makes you a little nauseous after a while. We make it to Flagstaff. We need to get this thing checked out. A guy comes out to fix our RV. I call a local church and explain that because we are all Christians they are morally obligated to please come pick us up from this truck stop and give us a place in their church to crash for a few hours :). Not quick thinking... I saw my mom do this on youth trips when we were broken down with 300 students. I stole the idea. They promise to get us as soon as we need them.
Thursday afternoon: We head to Cracker Barrel for lunch. The RV man will fix it in their parking lot. Gotta love Cracker Barrel parking lots. We finish lunch. RV is fixed. We think. But as our driver Brandon begins his test drive the entire RV stops running on the side of the road. It is dead, dead. 1:oo p.m. We play in Phoenix at 8. This won't be fixed in time for the show, we need to rent cars and drive to Phoenix. The bus can meet us tomorrow. The random church, Christ's Church of Flagstaff, comes to pick up the boys and bring them to the airport.
Thank you Thank you Thank you Kathy and Christ's Church!
Me and Annie crash at Cracker Barrel. She is getting bugs and diseases from the floor... I am sure of it. We are on this floor for over an hour. She never cries once. She is a trooper.
Friday morning: The RV is still in Flagstaff. It will not be ready in time to pick us up in Phoenix and drive us to Las Vegas. So we keep the rental cars and start driving. We have a show at 8 pm and a five hour drive. The drive is beautiful. We take time to stop and let Annie stretch and see her first cactus. She loves it. We get to Las Vegas without any hiccups. A welcome relief after two entire days of exhausting break downs and car trips with a ten month old. Brandon calls to say that they have fixed the RV, he is headed to Vegas and we will have our stuff and our vehicle back in a few hours. Whew... the worst is behind us.
Never say that people. It's like a challenge for the negative forces of the world to come after you. Brandon calls...
"Ryan the RV is on fire. I've tried two fire extinguishers. I can't contain it. Oh *&$# (expletive) it's exploding. There are explosions. I have to go."
The initial picture. The final picture. I guess it takes the fire department a while when you are in the freaking desert.
Friday night: Ryan breaks the news as soon as he gets it at dinner. The RV is on fire. The details continue to pour in. This isn't a grease fire. Not a small fire. This is huge. A huge fire. We get the call that everything is destroyed.
Mind you, I packed the entire contents of our apartment (besides furniture and appliances) and moved into this RV. Every piece of clothes Annie owns. All her toys. Her DVDS. Enough diapers and formula for two months. Every piece of clothing Ryan and I owned. Our shoes. Undies. Toiletries. Most of the new make-up :(. All of the new clothes we just got for free from our photo shoot. Books. Bibles. Food. New appliances for the RV. Vacuum cleaner. Coffee pot. Humidifiers. Baby Monitors. And then everything in the trailer. Sound board. the 4,000 t-shirts we just ordered (basically the only way we make money on the road...) all of our merchandise, new hats, new bags, suitcases, guitars, amps... everything.
We have lost everything.
As it rushes through my head, I have what I think is as close to a clinical breakdown as I have ever had :) I am on my face crying in a dark nursery. I am going to go home now. really. Truly. Tonight will be my last show Lord. I will not live like this and put my daughter through this and my husband through this kind of living anymore. I cannot take another blow. Another rapid. I can't do this. I call my pastor. Jackie, tell me what to do. Please. I don't even know what to do anymore. I cannot stand up under the weight of this. She prays. She says get up and bring honor to God by fulfilling my obligation for tonight and then we will figure out our next step after that.
The unfolding of events over the next 24 hours is another blog or two in itself.
For now you should just know: I did not quit. And you can't quit either. You can make it. Whatever the blow is, you can make it. You are not alone. Voice your burdens, share your struggles and ask God's children, the Big C church as my friend Christy calls it, for prayer. For help. Allow them to walk with you. And know that someone has come for you. You are not by yourself.
I will thank a host of people who have stepped in to take care of us later this week. But for now, that is my little Annie Boo in an outfit that we were given by a mom who insisted we take her daughter's clothes. I woke up this morning and I was able to put an outfit on Annie. I was able to dress her. Watch her squeal and kick and laugh.
She was not in her bed in the RV where she played and slept and talked.
The bed that erupted into flames out of no where.
The bed that sits right on top of the engine where all the electrical wires that were shorting out resided.
She was not on that bed when the flames erupted of nowhere. She was not in that RV when the fire quickly spread. When the explosions pierced the quiet of the desert. When the sun set on a smouldering bus that held our livelihood.
She was not there.
I dressed her this morning. I fed her. I held her in my arms. And watched as she chased squirrels in the park this afternoon. I will tuck her in tonight.
My stuff is gone... but my baby is safe.
The miracle this week is that the RV practically forced us to get off of it before it caught fire.
I've never been more grateful for a miracle in my life.
If you want to help Ryan and I replace our things, please feel free to make an on-line donation to our personal Paypal account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to help the band replace gear you can make a donation at AddisonRoad.com.