Car Craziness

Another in a series of corporate rants, particularly about my car. I arranged to swap cars with WineGuy yesterday so that I could take his car, a 1997 Volvo 850 sedan, in for service. I made the appointment a week earlier, so that the Volvo dealer could give me a loaner. Free, even though I didn’t buy the car from them. I dropped the kids at school, got the loaner, and went about my day. In the early afternoon, the service department called to say the estimated work was almost finished, but that the car needed an additional repair that would take another day. No problem; I trust the service advisor. I picked the boys up from school, drove the older two to Hebrew School, and brought Moose home to do his homework. Moose fiddled around, wasting time, while I checked Wizard’s homework assignments on the computer. I started cooking dinner to have it ready when WineGuy brought the kids home from Hebrew School.

At 5:53 p.m., the house phone rang. It was WineGuy calling from his cell phone. “I was 5 minutes from the synagogue, and a tire blew on the van.” I thought, WTF did you do to my car this time? I said, “Oh, no! Are you okay?” He was fine and was going to drive the car a mile to the synagogue, while I called AAA. I called AAA and am trying to give them details and directions, when WineGuy called again. “The car started wobbling badly, so I pulled into the driveway of Whiteacre [a snooty, gated, country club community]. I’ll walk up and get the boys from shul and bring them back here.” I thought some more, No shit the car started wobbling; you probably ruined the custom rim. I hastily replied, “OK, I’m on the phone with AAA. Let me give them the correct location.” AAA said a driver would be there in 45 minutes. That was at 5:58 p.m.

I took everything off the stove and flew out the door to meet WineGuy, Wizard, and Wild Thing, who were stranded at Whiteacre. Moose and I arrived at Whiteacre to find the three guys standing on the meticulously groomed grass. The van’s right rear tire blew out. I mean, KA-BLAM! Shredded and ruined, but the rim was fine. So, we all stood there next to our two cars halfway blocking Whiteacre’s exit, watching the hoards of rush-hour traffic speed up and down the major artery. The boys got antsy, so they ran around chasing each other. The sky turned deep blue and black as we all waited for AAA. It was clear I wasn’t going to get dinner, let alone make chorale rehearsal on time, so I called Birdie and told her I’d be late.

After 45 minutes, AAA still hadn’t shown up. I called their 800 number to check on the status of the service call. Local dispatch told me it would be another 10 minutes. Grrreat. Another 10 minutes in the pitch-black with wild children. When Wizard and WT had to go to the bathroom, they chose to “water” some hidden shrubs. Lovely . . . now we’ll never be able to show our faces at Whiteacre again. At 7:00 p.m., I left messages for Wizard’s and WT’s teachers to say the boys could not do their homework because the car trouble delayed dinner until their usual bedtime. At 7:05 p.m., AAA finally showed up to change the tire. The guy removed the spare from under the van and jacked up the car. He removed 4 of 5 lugnuts easily but broke the 5th one. Turns out all the lugnuts are worn. AAA guy changed the tire and inflated the spare a bit. I tipped him and sent WineGuy home with the boys. I went on to rehearsal. I got there 30 minutes late, sang for 20 minutes, and left.

Cut to today: WineGuy drove the loaner to work. I dropped the boys at school and stopped for a quick coffee with Calvin. As we were getting up to leave, my phone rings. It’s WT calling from school, “I don’t feel well. Can you come pick me up?” I fetched him at school, and we drove off to Tire Kingdom. TK was swamped but found a replacement tire for me, after about 45 minutes’ wait. They told me to come back tomorrow to replace the lugnuts. Then, WT and I drove down to WineGuy’s office to pick up the loaner. WG was incredulous to see WT. I said, “I’ll speak to you in your office.” I was steaming. WT and I got the loaner and drove all the way to the north side of town to return it. I picked up our Volvo, stopped at Sam’s Club to pick up yet another prescription for ongoing va-jay-jay woes — that’s another post, and finally brought WT home. He has just woken up from a 2-hour nap. Now, it’s time to get his brothers at school.

I sure wish we could afford to buy 2 new cars. Chrysler is crap.


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