The Special Van

Honestly, this post is a long-time coming.  And I’m not sure my storying telling will do it justice- but this is a moment in the Bowman family story that I don’t want to forget… it’s all about the special van…

Back in January, Chad sold his truck- which was quite a feat considering it was a huge diesel and the economy stunk and gas prices soared.  So we thanked Jesus and move right along, before anyone could change their minds.  But this left Chad without a truck- and honestly, we didn’t have our money saved up for another and we were only paying cash- no loans- no matter what! So enter Chad’s friend (also named Chad) whose Dad had a work van that Chad could by for $500…. Chad saw it and decided this was the way to go for a short time and brought that puppy on home…. to our driveway…. what looked like a child molester van, with rust on the bumper and dents all over it.  There wasn’t a key to the doors, so he couldn’t lock it from the outside BUT you could get locked on the inside. It was straight scary.

Now my husband is a manly man- he can rough it if necessary– he went down to New Orleans to clean up after hurricane Katrina and lived in his truck and showered in an out-house like building.  He can wear the same 2 outfits for a week if necessary and can find a way to fix things, at least for the time being, even without the proper tools.  He’ll climb on roofs, clean up bugs, wipe off spider webs, and even clean major poop explosions with no problems or complaints. But he can also be high maintenance- for instance, his food can’t be too cool and his coffee has to be steaming.  He stomps around like a small child if the house is too hot when he’s trying to fall asleep and if you try to have a conversation that he’s not ready to have, well, he might as well just lay in the floor and throw a temper tantrum, because that is better than what will actually happen. And his pillow is a big deal- we’ve cycled through several in our marriage that just were unacceptable until I finally took him to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick his own– the perfect pillow was $100… and we bought two of them.  But if he’s in the driver’s seat when I need to make a Starbucks drive thru run, there will certainly be a comment about the price that makes me and the Starbucks employee turn as red as tomatoes.

As if that’s not enough- the man is so sensitive and will do ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING for me and our boys.  A sweet moment will always bring a tear to his eyes and anytime he has to apologize, it’s SO sincere that it leaves everyone involved with a tear or two. He tries hard to meet my needs and speak my language- he even left me a sweet card filled with a love note for each day that he was gone last week- now that’s a fun thing to wake up to- and words are so not his thing.  He’s quite possibly the hardest worker you’ll ever meet as well.  I’m telling you, he’s the guy you want supporting your family. (He’s taken, so you can’t have that,sorry.) Needless to say, Chad is in NO WAY a cookie cutter man- he’s well rounded with a new adventure around every corner– but there is no amount of manly or hardworking or high maintenance or rough and tough or laid-backness that would make this van a pleasure… or even bearable for that matter!

The thing smelled and different compartments and do-dads were falling off  on the inside. There was only a driver seat and a passenger seat and it was a safety hazard for anyone involved. Part of the inside had even been on fire at some point. There was no heat, and Chad got stuck on a bridge in a ice storm and had to sit in the ice box until he could get off- he wore gloves and a knit hat just to drive it in the winter. Shortly after getting the van, the breaks went out completely WHILE Chad was driving, on the interstate, IN TRAFFIC in Atlanta. He found a guy to fix the breaks and a buddy to drive in front of him (in case he slammed into him!) to drop the van off.  That was fixed for a month or two before the power steering went out and the break fluid started leaking. His lats were actually sore from driving the thing and he developed new muscles trying to steer.  Seriously. One day, while I was worrying about his safety he explained that “well, the breaks work just as hard as you can push them- but if someone pulls out in front of me, I’m going to have to hit them.” And two different times, the horn started going off in the middle of the night– hoooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnkkkkkkk.  The first time, it took us a while to figure out what was happening and the second time it was just funny.  Both times it was around 3am in the POURING rain and thunder.  Chad would don a rain coat, go out to the special van, hit the steering wheel and it would stop.  Then he would come back inside, crawl in bed, and we were lay there chuckling and giggling for over an hour before we could settle down enough to fall back asleep.  I was pregnant and had crazy hormones and found this way more funny than Chad did…. maybe because I wasn’t the one in the rain, but still, I would laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe.

BUT Chad had a certain caliber of work truck that he wanted- it had to meet certain standards and he had to be able to pay cash for it- end of story. So he never complained about the van. He just drove it. It fell apart and cost him a lot of time and energy and he just drove it.

We finally reached our cash goal and we were about to go test some trucks the weekend that Jack decided to surprise us, so that got put on the back burner. (Or so we thought!) On Monday night after Jack was born, we all headed home and Chad headed back to work on Tuesday… in the special van. Then on Wednesday night, while I was home with our new baby, Max, and my mom, watching the American Idol finale, I got a call from Chad that he was on the side of the interstate and his van was dead. Like not another bit of life left in it and could I come pick him up.  I had to rush to him, in order to get back to feed the new baby that was eating every 2 hours.  Chad threw his tools in my car, and hoped in. (I must say, I’ve never picked up anyone on the side of a interstate with cars rushing by- that is nerve racking!)  He had to call a tow truck immediately and have it towed to our house because apparently it would be stolen off the side of the road to be sold for parts.  So with a new baby, and very little sleep, Chad had to wait up for the tow truck to deliver it to our house.  And of course, I was afraid that the thing would sit there forever because how were we going to move it?  It was dead!

Within 24 hours, Chad found someone that would come get it from our house and give Chad $400– the guy was either going to salvage it or it’s parts, and the scrap metal. BUT I didn’t care, this was the best news I could think of- someone was going to come get it and make it disappear forever and was going to PAY us– hahahahaaaaaa– sucker!!!

So on the Friday after Jack was born, as I fed my new baby, I starred out our window as one happy lady– watching as it pulled away:

GOOD RIDDANCE SPECIAL VAN!  THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES BUT MAY OUR PATHS NEVER CROSS AGAIN!

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3 Responses to The Special Van

  1. Emily says:

    ha ha ha what a great story!!! good rid-dins “special van”

  2. Valerie says:

    This post cracked me up Lauren. You had me laughing out loud about the the horn going off.

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