Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I bought mayonnaise and a crotch rocket, and survived a wreck

How do you like that juxtaposition? Believe it or not, each of the title items are significant. No, the wreck wasn't on my crotch rocket- read on, friend; all will become clear. I'll explain the mayonnaise now, stick around for the rest. I bought a jar of mayonnaise at the beginning of the summer and for the past few weeks it's been at the level of lowness where one makes a mental note to get more. I never did follow up on that mental note, though, because before I made my decision, I didn't know if I'd be staying around to consume the mayonnaise, which I would not need if I were returning to LETU. So I let my mayo get super low while I waited on the decision. If I wasn't staying, there's no sense in buying mayo I'm going to waste. I was nearly out by the time I made the decision, and yesterday I bought another jar of mayo. I wouldn't argue that it was significant, but it was something I noticed as a real change in my life which was dependent on the decision to stay or go. I bought a jar of mayo. I'm staying around to use it.

I'm using this.

I had a birthday last Sunday- thanks to everyone who sent me gifts! It was a great birthday. I decided to make it just a little bit greater on Monday, though, by buying myself a birthday motorcycle. I've been aching to own a motorcycle for about a year now and have gone through all the prerequisites- I took the safety course, got my license, got protective gear, etc. I've been prowling used-bike ads for a while now, but not very seriously. I wouldn't have bought a bike if I were returning to LETU, but now that I'm staying that option opened up. I saw an ad for a steal on a sportbike on the same day I was accompanying Tanner (fellow intern) up north to check out some trucks. We checked out the bike, too, and came home with this:

My sweet new ride.

It is a 1988 Suzuki Katana 600 / GSX600F. It, like any bike in my price range, has some issues to work out. Like most things I buy, it's now disassembled for work. I need to clean out the carbs, fix a starter issue, and put new tires on it- but otherwise it is ridable. I look forward to carving the canyons around here! I got an absolute steal at $500.

I'd like to make a quick note about my finances. As most of you know, I raise support to pay my way to be out here in Utah. Not every hour is spent doing direct ministry work, though, nor is every dollar- therefore I keep a to-the-cent record of all my ministry-related expenses. I judge this based on what I really need to be out here in the ministry, with the guidance of the senior leadership here. Expenses like food, gas, and rent I consider to be valid uses for God's money that others direct to me. Other things like discretionary purchases, expenses incurred during non-ministry related outings, motorcycles, and generally things not required for me to be here come out of my own pocket. Most of the ministry expenses come out of my own pocket, too- so you needn't worry about me buying motorcycles with other people's tithes. 

I count the motorcycle as another benefit of staying here in Utah as well. Because I'll be working while I'm here in Utah to save up to go back to school next year, I'm generating an income, which, over the course of a year, will be enough to rationalize justify the motorcycle. I look at motorcycle ownership as something I could either do now, or kick myself for having not done when I'm middle-aged.

Of course, everybody will want to know about the wreck. Well, it's not that long of a story, and not super dramatic, but here goes: After bible study last night (we're studying the Trinity), the college group went up the mountain to Skyline to watch the Perseid meteor shower. The shower was cool, but we didn't stay up there late enough to see the real cool part. Most of the group took off before midnight, but Zach, Kylee, and myself stuck around to watch longer. It was cold so we cozied up under a blanket to keep warm. When things got just too cold to justify the not-as-frequent-as-we-would-like shooting stars, we decided to pack it up and head home. We took off down the road in Kylee's 4WD blazer, with her at the wheel, Zach riding shotgun, and myself in the back. The road up the mountain isn't very treacherous, if some of you are imaging us rambling through the forest on a road that was last traveled by an expeditionary party in the 1920s riding horses. It is an improved gravel road, fairly wide- but very, very twisty.

The Blazer had slid a few times, but more in the category of weee-fun rather than ohhh-crap. I'm one who likes to rally-style drift around corners with the e-brake, but then again I'm a practiced driver. We were about halfway down the mountain when we started to slide again. I wasn't too worried, because sliding is fun- but then the slide didn't stop, and Kylee over-corrected and stomped on the brakes. We were now coming through a turn sideways and careening towards the edge of the road, and too fast. When the truck's driver-side wheels dipped down at the edge of the road, I knew we were going over. I started to pray and put my arms out to keep from bouncing around the cabin like a rag doll. To be honest I don't remember the actual roll all that well. I remember coming to a stop with the car on the driver's side and me probably sitting/crouched in a weird position.

"Are you alright? Is everyone alright? I asked.
A little bit of silence was eerie.
"I am alright. Are you okay? Is anyone hurt?"
"Yeah, I'm okay." answered the two up front (or some semblance thereof)

Zach and Kylee exited the car through the broken driver's side window, now facing up. I had a little of a harder time getting out because of the crunched-in nature of the roof and being in the backseat. I extricated myself as well, lifting myself out of the window and sit-sliding over what I realized was the broken windshield onto the ground. After reconfirming that Zach and Kylee were physically okay, I did a walk-around of the car and realized there was a fuel leak, and worse, right onto the catalytic converter (which gets really hot). I urged Zach and Kylee, who had settled down in the middle of the road and illuminated by the still-on headlights to move farther away and out of the road, which they both simultaneously realized was a bad place to be.

Once the scene of the accident was safe, I determined that we didn't need an ambulance and that rousing a tow truck in the middle of the night was probably an unnecessary measure. I called Shane to have him come up and check us out, plus give us a ride back to Ephraim. Kylee was in a bit of shock about the whole ordeal, and sadly barefoot on the rough ground as her flipflops hadn't stayed on her feet in the accident. She was mostly worried about her mother killing her, which I tried to reassure her was unlikely and pointed out that we were all alive and unhurt except for a few scratches, which was something to thanks God for. Consoling young women isn't exactly something I'm practiced up for so I just tried to be nice and gently remind her that God is always in control.

A family in a pickup came around the bend and stopped to see if we were alright, which Zach and I assured them that we were. After checking us out for a few minutes, they were satisfied that we were fine and had help on the way and left us. Shane arrived not long thereafter, which I realized might have been quicker if I had told him that we had lights on still and he didn't need to search for us in the shadows. The predictable Shane response, after satisfying himself that we were unharmed, was the perennial 'Dadgum!'. A little bit of the familiar to reassure us after an eventful evening.

We reapproached the car (which I was satisfied was not going to catch fire) to extricate Kylee's wallet and cell phone, which was accomplished with some difficulty due to the on-its-side nature of the car. We weren't sure if it was required to call 911 since we had the situation under control, but we erred on the side of caution and I called it in anyway. The dispatcher took a description of the accident and car, and seemed satisfied that we would call a wrecker in the morning to take care of the car and let me go. We rambled back down the mountain (cautiously) and got into bed late- my phone showed my first call to Shane was at 1:49AM.

It turned out that the Sheriff wasn't happy about the way the incident unfolded and I got to tell my account of the incident to a deputy the next day. Apparently the dispatcher should have sent responders out regardless of my statement that we were fine, and because there weren't any officials there that night, it is difficult for them to confirm what really happened, we could have been hurt and not realized it, etc- the presence of a beer can near the car (littered by a good old boy rambling up the mountain in his pickup, I'm sure) added an unneeded layer of confusion to the incident, which isn't entirely wrapped up yet to my knowledge.

I think it is miraculous that we all came out unscathed. I don't have a picture of the car handy but it's fairly well crunched up. (I may get a picture at some point). I know that we were praying as the car went over, and I know that there are definitely a lot worse ways that a rollover accident on the mountain could have ended up. I won't know in this life if God intervened supernaturally, but I do know that I was in a car that rolled once and a quarter over on a treacherous mountain road and came away with only a single piece of glass in my hair to show for it.

Things have otherwise been standard fare- working on cafe stuff. One thing we did this week was to take a day and re-do all the cafe landscape stuff. The cafe looks much, much better now with its freshly-stained decks and re-mulched and manicured flower beds:

Cafe looking good!

There's also the run-of-the-mill errands and moving furniture and all sorts of other stuff that gets taken care of every day. Lawns mowed, garage door openers getting fixed, motorcycle carbs waiting to be cleaned... any plenty to take care of. Whether it holds sobering adventure or opportunities to diligently serve through labor, I count myself blessed to experience every new day. 

Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again.
 Jesus Christ, Light of the World, burning bright within our hearts forever. 
Freedom means love without condition, without beginning or an end. 
Here's my heart, let it be forever Yours
 Only You can make every new day seem so new. 

Every New Day / On Distant Shores by Five Iron Frenzy


  1. Glad you got a bike and didn't die.

  2. I am with Titus on this one. Oh, and that you bought that jar of Mayo.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions