A Wild First Anniversary

As I typed that title, I realized that it could easily be misunderstood. If it helps, just insert the word “memorable”, “unexpected”, or “ridiculously crazy”. Because those words certainly apply. 

As mentioned in an earlier post, my man and I had made some pretty awesome plans to stay at a ski resort after I picked him up at the airport Sunday afternoon. Apparently those places have awesome deals in the summertime!

We were so happy to see each other at the baggage claim! But when we got in the car, we were less happy to see a new light flashing on our dashboard. Our transmission fluid was low. Uh oh. 


[Hubby, the take-action man] “Quick–look up an auto parts store. We need to take care of this pretty quickly.”
 [Me looking at my phone] “ok….here’s one that looks close.”

We arrived and were about to make a left turn into the parking lot when…the car refused to shift into drive. So close! Some kind guys helped push us the remaining few yards.

The next four hours were a hilarious comedy of errors:

  • I bought transmission fluid, but it was for a different type of car. 
  • We next bought the right fluid and lifted the hood, but there seemed to be a cap for every type of fluid EXCEPT transmission fluid. 
  • It turns out that our car doesn’t have access to the transmission from the hood area. Instead, you have to craw under the car, unscrew a bolt in the pan, and use a hand pump to get fluid in. 

Getting under our car. I felt like a grease monkey!

  • I crawled under, but the nuts we had were too small for the bolt. 
  • Got the right nut, but the ratchet was too short/I was too weak to turn it. 
  • Got a longer ratchet. 
  • Took off the bolt…and transmission fluid poured out! Oh noo! Lesson learned: the car needs to be running so that the fluid stays in the turbines. 
  • Hose was too large for the hole. 

Hand pump we tried to use
  • Smaller hose didn’t have a good seal (aka: big mess)
  • Broke the pump because the fluid was so thick.
  • Finally pumped about two quarts in. Yay!!!  
  • Let’s try driving! Umm…it will only go into reverse. 

After consideration, we decided against driving backwards three hours to our resort.

By that time, the sun was down, we were hungry, and we realized that there was little chance of a rental place being open.

We suddenly remembered a good friend who happens to live in Denver. Maybe…?  Yes!  She came to our rescue, let us stay at her house and use her bed, shower, and car! So much better than sleeping in our broken car in the Autozone parking lot. We felt so incredibly loved, and we had a wonderful visit!

The next day was our anniversary. We used her car, got a tow truck to a local repair shop that quoted us a reasonable price, and found a rental place.

Then, we picked her up from work and all three of us went to see The Avengers in 3D!  (totally recommend it. 🙂  )

Now, this is a crazy story, and it might seem like everything that could have gone wrong did. But as hubby and I reviewed the day on our way to the resort, we noticed how God had really protected, provided, and given us wisdom!

We could have broken down in the middle of nowhere. Instead, we broke down within yards of an autoparts store.
We could have had to push it ourselves, but those guys helped us.
The guys who worked at Autozone were so friendly and helpful. They even loaned us tools and helped us pump!
We were actually laughing and having fun the whole time we worked on the car. Not stressed!
Our friend, “Aladon”, rescued us and we had a great visit!
We had a free tow service.
We got a recommendation to a good repair shop that didn’t insist on selling us an expensive warranty.
Our emergency fund was enough to cover the repair!
And…(this is the icing on the cake!)…our resort let us move the reservation, allowing us to stay for two nights even though we had technically been no-shows the night our car broke down!
We had a great, relaxing time at the resort, and then some good friends came to get us and bring us back to Estes Park after we dropped off the rental. 


An anniversary celebration that has no glitches or snags and is full of chocolate, romance and flowers is really nice. Really really nice. 


But this first anniversary felt like a celebration of the real life we share with each other. We’re messy, things break and don’t go as planned. But God is good, and we have fun. 🙂

The sunset on our way to the resort.

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