Monday, February 17, 2014

Damage to my car that was towed in Provo

A few weekends ago I had planned a nice evening out with a friend. We planned on stopping by a location in Provo for dessert. It was about 8 pm on Saturday February 1st. University Avenue was noticeable crowded, and so we found a parking spot on a side street in front of a small office building, Pro Title and Escrow. We noticed a sign saying that the space was for clients only, but we verbally acknowledged that it this late hour on a Saturday, it was probably okay.

We were in the establishment for approximately an hour.

When we came back, my brand new 2014 Dodge Caravan was gone. We searched, and found a sign giving a number of a towing company. We called and they had our van.

The company tows cars in Provo under 3 names; KPE Towing, Express Towing, and Amber's Towing.

Now I'm not going to lie. The whole interaction with the people of the company was really awful. They were extremely rude to both me, the friend who had been with me, and the friend who came to save us. They refused to show us the contract that gave them the right to tow vehicles. Especially with a newly enacted ruling enacted by the Provo mayor to try and prevent this type of thing from happening. Ultimately, I paid the $200 and took my van.

But it wasn't about that interaction. This is about what we found out had happened unbeknownst to us. And we discovered it on the way home on snow covered streets. We started to slide. I had no control over the car. We quickly got off the freeway, and the danger seemed to be over. But as the weekend continued and into the next week, the problems with control of the care continued.

Now I want to point out I am a widow and mother of 4 children who are all still at home. The thought of what could have happened still terrifies me.

I tried to ignore the problems. I thought maybe I was just imagining things. The final straw however, was the evening of Tuesday February 4th. Driving home from where I work in Salt Lake, I had so little control over the car, I finally pulled of and called my brother to come get me. The next morning I took the van into the dealership where I had originally purchased it just a few months before.

This is what they found.

The rear axle was bent. It had thrown the car out of alignment and affected my ability to keep control of the vehicle. The van was unsafe to drive.

I suspected the damage had been done at some point while it had been in the possession of the towing company, most likely during the process of being towed. But I wanted to be sure. The tech stated that the only other way the damage could have been done was if I had been driving very fast...backwards. And hit something. An adjuster was called in from my insurance company (she is the one that took the pictures), and she stated that the damage was so localized, that had it been something I had done during driving, there would have been far more damage. Even more, because it was this kind of damage, it fell outside of my warranty.

I called the towing company and told them what had been revealed and asked if they would be willing to cover the costs to have it fixed. They refused, claiming that there was not way they could have done any damage because when they tow a car "they only touch the tires".

I want to get the word out. I was willing to be responsible for the mistake I made. I want them to be responsible for their carelessness. I am hoping a little pressure from the public will help make people aware of how these companies bully people, and refuse to take responsibility.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I will never forget how I felt as I considered the task before me. My husband was dead. I stared at them there… sleeping peacefully, obliviously, entangled in blankets and stuffed animals and one another on the floor in the living room… our three children. And I had to tell them.

I had to tell them that their father was never coming home again.

But for now, I let them sleep.

I went into my closet and grabbed one of his shirts, wrapping it in my hands, consuming myself with the smell of him. I started to cry, sinking to the floor as another wave of disbelief washed over me. I buried my head in my hands. The tears combined with prayers. Until both ceased to fall from my eyes and heart from sheer exhaustion. I fell asleep with his shirt next to my cheek. Awaiting the morning. Awaiting that first horrible task. Awaiting a lifetime of shattered plans. I was lost. I was confused. And I had no idea how I could live this new life that had been forced on me in a matter of moments.

The next morning, my mother sent each of the children in to me. Ashlyn was one. Conner was three. I tried to explain. And regardless of their comprehension, they instinctively felt my sorrow. And I cried as I held their tiny bodies and stroked their tiny cheeks. Grieving for them. Knowing they would always know they had a father, but would never remember him. Never know what it felt like to feel his kisses or see him smile at their accomplishments. It was an emptiness they would always carry.

But Maryn…Maryn was five. And she was daddy’s girl.
I pulled her into my lap, my arms around her as I looked into her face and said the words I had been dreading. The tears were there again. She saw them. And mine were soon joined by tiny tears of her own.

She leaned her head into my shoulder as she whispered, “Mommy?”

“Yes sweetheart.”

“I have a question. Will he still be my daddy in the resurrection?”

The spirit filled my soul. And I felt with an enormous amount of surety that the words I spoke next were absolutely true.

“Yes darling. He will.”

Her response was simple but profound.

“Then I will be okay.”

With those words, all of the confusion, the grief, the loss, the emptiness…was lightened. And it has become the basis of what I have learned over the last 8 years since that moment. It is, above all else…the one thing I KNOW.

I will be okay.

And I will be okay for the same reason that my 5 year old daughter knew with the purest faith of a child that she would be okay…our Father in Heaven, through the Savior will make up the difference when what we can do and what we know is simply not enough to compensate for what is.

In Corinthians, Paul talks about how he had prayed 3 times for the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh”. And continually he was told no. Finally, when he asked why, the Lord replied “My grace is sufficient for you”.

Essentially He was saying…

When you are not enough. I am enough. I will fill in the gap. As long as you love me, and you try as hard as you can (even if “as you can” is different from moment to moment), I promise you that through my atonement, through my love for you… I will fill in the gap. Together we are enough.

Whether it is His willing sacrifice and resurrection that enables our bodies and spirits to be reunited and for us to be with those we love most after we have parted in this life…or whether it’s giving me enough to get through the day. Together, we are enough. And I will be okay.

I’m not going to lie. These past 8 years have been hard. And there are nights when that feeling of being lost; the confusion, the grief, the emptiness and the tears find their way back into my heart and soul. Because it is overwhelming and I do not feel up to the task. I am tired. I want this to be over. But the answer is still no. Or at least “not yet”.

And I hate that. I wish the answer was yes.  I feel like I am never enough.  It’s like running a relay race. You’re supposed to share the laps, but I simply have no one else to pass the baton to. So I often feel like I’m not running well enough to finish the race, much less win it. I am not the mother I dreamed I would be. My situation demands that I have a job. And although I love my job, I am torn every moment I am not with my children. I worry that I have not given them enough of what they need most to become healthy, faithful, independent, contributing adults…time, support, love, attention, listening, interaction, teaching, discipline.

And maybe I haven’t given them all I intended to give them. But I can tell you… where I fall short …He has filled in the gaps. I know this. I have seen it in our lives, I have felt it in our home.

We will be okay. I will be okay. Together, we are enough.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Halloween and Birthdays

So let's be honest... October is mostly nothing. Except for Halloween.
So a few days before, Lisa had all of us up for dinner and pumpkin carving.
We had soup. It was lovely.
Well I thought so any way...

Lisa had purchased this cool tool that you put on the end of a drill, and it cleans out the inside of the pumpkins nice and tidy. Bryant was assigned to be the man in charge of that. But there were definitely pumpkin guts everywhere.

Sage and Maryn start carving after figuring out a design.

Kayque's first jack o'lantern!

Our finished pumpkins (in the light)

Our finished pumpkins (lights out!)

Bonus pic...Ashlyn standing on Uncle Steve's hands...

We had trunk or treat at our church. Here's the trunk...

And my cute neighbor Sarah and her kids.

At the end of the month, we took a cake over to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa's birthdays.

Silly boys :)

Dinosaur National Monument Adventure

So Saturday we got up bright and early and decided to take a little jaunt down the mountain to Dinosaur National Monument. Carl and Brenda have lived there for quite some time, and although they had been to the quarry, they'd never explored the whole park. So it was a new adiventure for everyone!

They have this really cool thing where each of the kids can get a with activities in it. They complete a certain number of activities that help them learn about the history encompassed in the park, and then they get a little badge that says "Junior Ranger". Paul helped Alyssa and she was finished first. The ranger was so funny. He had her raise her hand and promise to learn and to have fun in the park. Super cute.
Alyssa takes her oath
Paul help Alyssa pin on her badge.

 Next stop? The quarry!
Now this is kind of cool. They discovered these magnificent fossils in the early 1900's, and were able to extract 350 tons, still leaving some in the rock wall. They covered the wall in a building made of glass and steel to preserve the relics from the elements, and more recently added some interactive, state of the art exhibits to allow visitors to learn even more. 

There's an upper and lower viewing area (of the same wall). This is the lower part.
And the upper.
And there's a part of the wall where you can touch the bones. I have no idea what is with that face.
Next along the journey were a few stops to see petroglyphs and pictographs captured in the rock walls of the area. These date back thousands of years. It was fun to guess what the story they were trying to tell was. We also laughed wondering if it was just some caveman's kid writing on the walls because they were bored. How exactly do you clean up a carving? 

We stopped for a quick lunch along the Green River. Right here, where the water split right through the mountain. The kids all went down to the river... and Ashlyn came running back telling me they had found a "baby lobster". I assume that was a crawdad.

We actually found this last stop uber fascinating. 
It was the ranch of a woman, Josie Bassett Morris,  who decided she had had enough of modern society and moved out by herself into the middle of nowhere. She'd been married, a lot. Her kids were grown. She got a divorce, and moved to this land in the middle of nowhere.No electricity. Hand built cabin. And stayed there until she died.

I get that. It was very peaceful. Maybe not the whole no electricity thing. Or indoor plumbing. But otherwise...yeah.