I have spent the past two weeks tracking the Truckster as it traveled over the Atlantic. I researched and found a website that would give me the coordinates of the vessel as it traveled and I made a map for my own entertainment.
Leaving the east coast:It’s massive trek across the ocean: (Each of the dots in the middle were posted about 12 hours apart… Once the vessel got closer to land, it pinged more often.)Through the English Channel: (It pinged anytime I clicked on the refresh button… I may have been a little distracted from school work on this day.)
It arrived and I had it all planned out: I would meet the delivery guy at the Boblingen Custom’s office, deck it out in Christmas lights, wreath, and more, then we’d have the boys+Anna meet us on post at about the time Matt got off work. Depending on the day of the week that it would arrive, it would be sometime between 5-6ish. Just in time to go to dinner and then maybe take a short drive around town.
I prayed HARD for this truck to arrive before our trip to Edelweiss so we could have a comfortable drive down and it would be a FUN first destination. Memories made. Together and in comfort. It arrived two days prior to the trip, on a Wednesday. It worked out well because Matt and I had a speaking engagement that morning, so I was already planning on leaving the house… none of the kids thought that was strange.
We were 15 minutes early to the pick-up in spite of hitting a stau, and the pick up went flawlessly!
Love at first sight:
While handing in our paperwork to the customs agent Matt got a call that the event we were supposed to speak at had been cancelled, so that meant we were free to work on truck-stuff together.
I’ll spare you the boring details but I got the lights up, car seat installed, and then we made a Santa run to the PX. While there I bought the wreath for the front and streamers for the handles.
Our Silver Surfer was in the shop so we were borrowing a car from a friend. (Such an answer to prayer! We’ve never been totally car-less before!) We returned that car, picked up the Silver Surfer from the shop and within a few hours went from NO cars to TWO. Much easier.
Because it was Wednesday, Hayden had Chemistry class until noon and then work starting at 12:30. I had hoped to be able to show the kids the truck during that window but we just didn’t make it back to Kelley (where we live) in time. Funny story… I knew Hayden would be skating from chemistry to Subway about the time we were coming on post. Our kaserne is so small, and this truck is so big, I knew that if we were to pass him, there’s no way we’d go unnoticed. So, I kept my eyes open for him! Sure enough, as I turned right at the hotel, I saw him skating right toward me. We were still far enough apart and he was in his own world so I took a quick right and then left, and hid behind the gym. I was parked where I could see him pass the gym going toward Subway, and when the coast was clear, I continued on my path to the car wash. (I didn’t have to wash the car, but I did need to vacuum it out… while converting Anna’s carseat from rear- to forward-facing, all the crumbs went everywhere.)
Because I truly didn’t want to show the Truckster to part of the kids and leave Hayden out, we parked the truck at the car wash until the reveal. We rearranged all the stuff that needed to be moved from the Silver Surfer into the Truckster, I vacuumed, put the streamers on, and Matt installed the wreath.
Now, the hard part… keep it a secret until Hayden could get off work.
I managed to keep my mouth shut, Matt went to work, and then the hiccup…
I had forgotten that Hayden was closing, which meant he wasn’t going to get off work until sometime between 6:15-6:30. Matt and I decided to walk the kids down to Subway at dinnertime, telling them that I was too tired to cook and that we were going to meet Hayden as he got off work and walk over to get Hunt’s Brothers Pizza.
We got there a little before 6:00 (because Matt and I wanted Korean food from the Korean Food Truck) so we had a long wait. After a while Matt and I adjusted plans and took the younger four to the Shoppette. We ordered the pizza and tried to kill time. Eventually, I sent Matt and the kids back to Subway and, when the pizza was ready, I went to the car wash and picked up the truck. I parked it in the parking lot of Anna’s preschool, across from Subway and yet, out of their line of sight.
Parker was not feeling 100% as he was on the tail end of his stomach bug. By this point he was freezing and miserable. I went into the Subway and asked Hayden’s manager if we could borrow him for just a few minutes and told her why. Carson had totally picked up on the weirdness and he came in and asked, “Is the Truckster here?!?!” He had already told Bailey that we must have something to tell them because we were acting weird. He flew out of the building and spotted the Truckster across the street and took off running! Parker and Bailey following close behind. Hayden sauntered out still not sure what was going on. And when he saw it he ran, too. We only had about five minutes before he ran back in to finish work and so I didn’t get to take everyone on a ride together, but we did ride around post for a few minutes until he did, officially, get off work.
Because I’m paranoid someone will think we let Anna ride around this way, she was just sitting in there while we showed them the truck. She had her coat off and was buckled before we went anywhere.
Our first ride with all seven of us was actually a ride with eight of us! The first time we’ve ever been able to take our whole family PLUS a friend. When we picked Hayden up at work we took one of his co-workers along. She was kind enough to take a family picture for us!
I parallel parked the Truck in the spot above. Yep! I’ve got this.
I was super pleased with how excited everyone was. The teens called it “dope” and everyone was genuinely thrilled to have it here. I was excited for myself, as it really is the car I’ve been hoping to someday have, but I was more excited that my kids were happy about it. I got to enjoy their enjoyment of it.
Thursday we didn’t really do anything but let Parker continue to recover from his stomach bug, a little bit of school (least productive week Jackson Academy has ever had), and looked forward to our long-awaited trip to Edelweiss the next day.
Friday morning we did a bit of school, prepared for our trip, Matt packed and loaded the Truckster. (PLENTY OF ROOM for our luggage, our people, and the stroller!)
We got about three miles away when Parker needed to use the bathroom. Like, ASAP. The closest bathroom was back at the gate guard building of our neighborhood. While there, Parker made the call… we didn’t need to go to Edelweiss. It was a good call, as time would tell. Being sick away from home (and trapped in a car for several hours while wondering when the need for a bathroom would suddenly strike) is no fun.
We pulled back up to our house, unloaded our suitcases, put Matt’s and the teens’ suitcases in the Silver Surfer and sent them off to Bavaria, while Parker, Anna, and I stayed home to enjoy our Christmas tree, Christmas movies, and lots of snuggle time.
To say I was disappointed that we didn’t get to take the Truckster on this trip is an understatement and, while it’s been easy to be pleasant with the littles, I’ve been grumpy in my head and heart. With that aside, we are super excited that whenever we do get to travel together as a family, we have the space to stretch out and enjoy the time getting to the destination.
RESPONSES to the Family Truckser:
I expected to get some looks while driving this thing, especially in Germany, but I’ve already had two interactions that made me smile.
- When we were at our repair shop getting the Silver Surfer I waited in the Truckster for Matt to go in and do the paper work. A man came to my window and I thought he was going to tell me I couldn’t park where I was. (I was not legally parked.) I told him in my broken German that my husband was at the auto shop getting our car. He shook his head, knowing I hadn’t understood him. We then proceeded to have a choppy but lengthy conversation in German: he has six kids, five boys and then a girl, ranging from 10 to 2. He asked how many seats and was shocked when I told him 12. He only has a 9-seater, as German citizens are not allowed to drive 12-seaters without a special driver’s permit. He was in love with my truck. Told me he paid 69,000 EUROS for his Mercedes 9-seater… I felt bad for him! That’s a LOT of money! Anyway I opened the Truckster’s sliding door so he could look at the interior and I have a feeling he did some Googling when I drove off. That was one of the longest and most detailed conversations I’ve had in German and I was pretty pleased with myself. And I liked that my Truckster was getting a warm welcome.
- Friday, as we were driving through a little town nearby, we stopped to let a pedestrian cross at a crosswalk. She was an elderly lady and she saw the wreath, smiled, looked at me, and pointed at the nose of the truck, making a circle in the air. She liked my wreath.