Linking up with Grace for her Sunday Best….late Monday night and chalking it up to the time zone difference.
First and foremost, we got a new handicap van! It’s perfect! And now let me back up and retell the rest of my day because otherwise you won’t be able to fully appreciate the epic awesomeness of it all.
I got up and corralled four of the five youngsters out the door for the 8:30 a.m. Mass all by my lonesome after barely sleeping since Byron and Tony were on a camping trip. Maybe there was a bit of yelling and lead footing on my part, but we made it on time (thankfully Father started late.) But unfortunately, not soon enough to get one of the pews that can accommodate Fulton’s wheelchair so I entertained both boys in the cry room. Which means, Fulton kept begging for Teddy’s snacks and then yelling at Teddy to be quiet while Teddy kept talking and trying to mess with Fulton’s wheelchair control. And then we went up to communion and Teddy talked the whole way, “Who dat? Statues! Knights!”,etc. And as those next to me at the altar rail received Teddy loudly exclaimed, “NOM!” as the host was placed on their tongue.
I was looking forward to cutting out right after Mass so Tony and I could get moving on picking up the new van in Long Island. But as I backed out of the spot and turned the steering wheel, and loud crunch and a horrible clank stopped me cold. Everyone in the parking lot turned to stare. I got out and one of the wheels was at an odd angle and some blackened metal piece hung down.
All we had time to do was be thankful it didn’t happen while I was speeding home and rejoice in the fact that we already had a new van lined up. Tony got some deeper reflections from the experience that he shared with me but I just chalked it up to God’s sense of humor.
We left the van in the parking lot and long story short (or shorter) Tony made it up to Long Island not much later than we expected and got home last night with the van. There was much squealing and giddy celebration. The kids were pretty excited too.
When Tony and I first realized we’d need a new family vehicle, we both assumed a small bus was our only option. But after visiting a dealership we realized 1.) there was no way in hell we could ever afford a new handicap bus 2.) we could possibly fit both wheelchairs into a conversion van IF it had a special under-mount lift.
We were left with a very narrow range of options; a used handicap bus, which would be commercially outfitted (plastic seats, rubber floors, etc.), a used conversion van with under-mount lift (which are rare because they’re more expensive than a typical lift),or a used extended van with fold away seating and a lift (also typically commercial style with no comforts.)We also had limited financing options and a limited budget. We knew it could take more than a year to receive financial aid from the state so we’d have to be sure our monthly payment was something we could manage for that time.
I was very discouraged, but out of the blue I remembered a used handicap vehicle site and checked their selection. Low and behold, a 2006 conversion van with only 33,000 miles, an under-mount lift and tie downs for two wheelchairs was available only three hours from our house within our price range. It even has a fold down bench seat in the back, which I really wanted for changing/stretching Fulton on long trips, plus the highly coveted DVD, TV combo the kids can’t wait to break in. It’s been immaculately maintained and the owner wound up coming down in price for us. Plus, we’re helping another family with two handicap children.
Certainly, it’s not as large as a bus, and as the older three age, I know they won’t be stoked about taking long trips crammed across the back bench together with their feet bumping into the wheelchairs, but I have to admit, it’s nice to downsize from a 15 passenger. It’s something I never considered when we started our search.
Tonight, we took it out for an inaugural run with everyone to Friendly’s. The whole way Fulton kept asking, “Is this our van?” and then reminding us to sell the old van because we’re keeping this one forever.
And what about the old van that we assumed we’d wind up junking? It only needs a few hundred in repairs so we’re fixing it and hoping to make more on the resale to put towards the new van.
How’s that for Sunday’s best? I’m sure some people would chalk all this up to coincidence and luck but seriously, thank you everyone for your prayers because obviously, God came through big time on this one.