I’m not much of a drinker, but after my day today, I’d like a stiff drink.
WineGuy and I decided to drive over to the east coast of Florida today to visit my mother. She had knee replacement surgery a month ago and was anxious for some company. We picked Mom up and headed over to our favorite deli for lunch. WineGuy was driving. As we approached a stoplight, WG stepped on the brake, and nothing happened. The brakes FAILED! WG quickly drove up on to the median, blowing the left front tire in the process. WG’s great defensive driving averted a 3-car crash. WG backed up and steered the car across the street into the shopping center where the deli was located. He and Mom took the boys into the restaurant for lunch while I called AAA to change the flat tire.
When AAA road service showed up, he asked how the tire blew. I told him the truth, and he flatly refused to put on the spare, saying there was no way of knowing whether my brakes were any good. He called the tow truck. I went back inside to swallow some lunch. Back outside a few minutes later, we were waiting for the tow truck. It was incredibly hot and humid, and my mother started bossing everyone around. This drove WG insane, and he yelled at me about her, about saying “the wrong thing” to AAA, and handling it “all wrong”. I let him vent and stuck by my guns. He finally relented and let me call a taxi to take Mom and the kids back to her house. The taxi was so late showing up — a fact upon which my mother harped incessantly — and preceded the tow truck by two minutes. Fortunately, we have AAA Plus, so 100 of the 165 miles towed were free. Fortunately, AAA miscalculated the towing distance and only charged us for 27 excess miles @ $5.00/mile. I had the cash in my wallet and paid the tow truck driver. He brought brought my Crapler minivan all the way back to our mechanic’s out-of-the-way shop.
In the meantime, WG and I needed to find a way back to The Zone. Notice that my mother did not offer to loan us her car — not that she’s driving much with a recuperating knee — but G-d forbid she should extend herself for anyone other than her fine self. After calling two car rental agencies, we found an Avis open nearby. The man reserved a car for us, and we went to pick it up. WG sat in the sedan reserved and barely fit in it. Avis then offered us a (wait for it) 2009 Crapler minivan for a few dollars more. Done deal. We took the van so we could be more comfortable on the way back. WG and I drove back up to my mom’s house and picked up the boys. Mom reported that the boys behaved well while we were gone. (I should hope so: I threatened them with cleaning toilets with toothbrushes if I got a bad report.) Mom nagged and noodged a bit more, so we hightailed it out of there. Of course, the boys turned into demon spawn the minute we got on Alligator Alley. They were horrible the whole way home. Thankfully, everyone’s mood improved a bit with dinner and some television.
As Click and Clack say, let’s discuss cars, car repair and the like. Those brakes that failed? They were brand- spanking new. The mechanic installed them four days ago. The tires on my car? Less than a year old and also rotated four days ago. I have some sort of problem with my airbag warning light, and the car is scheduled to go the automotive electrician in two days (because the mechanic doesn’t do that kind of work). Now, I have to show up at the mechanic’s shop tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. to open up my car and tangle with him on the brake issue.
But that’s not the end of car trouble; no, that’s not all. WG’s car was in the shop three weeks ago and two weeks ago. Three nights ago, WG left his driver door open all night and drained the battery. AAA came to the house that day to jump the car but said the alternator was bad. I drove three kids to two camps; then I drove to the Volvo dealer, who determined it was a dead battery and not a bad alternator. I sat at the Volvo dealer all morning, only to learn that battery was out of stock. However, this wonderful dealer gave me a loaner at the last minute so I could meet Sprite for lunch and collect three kids from two camps. I returned the loaner later that afternoon and picked up WG’s car. When I got home, I unbuckled the seatbelt extender instead of the seatbelt. I tried to buckle in the extender and felt the female end of the buckle disintegrate in my hands. GDMFSOB. Back to Volvo Monday morning.
Let’s take a look at Alto2’s Monday, driving without her seatlbelt:
7:45A Leave The Zone with three kids hopefully ready for two camps
8:00A Arrive at the mechanic to explain the problem without ripping him a new one
8:30A Feed boys a second breakfast b/c they’re always hungry
9:00A Drop Moose and Wild Thing at rock climbing camp all the way downtown
9:30A Drop Wizard at tennis camp at the YMCA in mid-town
10:15A Go halfway back downtown for a follow-up visit with the ENT
10:45A Finish at the ENT and dash all the way uptown and over the county line to the Volvo dealer, who may or may not be able to fix that buckle
1:00P Pick up two boys at rock climbing camp downtown
1:30P Meet WG to return the rental car (downtown) and take him back to his office (downtown)
2:00P Feed two boys a snack or kill an hour with them at the bookstore
3:00P Pick up one boy at the YMCA in mid-town
3:30P Go home and get organized for book club
6:15P Leave home to drive back downtown
6:45P Pick up WG after his workday and two meetings
7:15P WG drops me off at a local restaurant for my book club.
10:00P Belle brings me home (I hope)
Like I said, make mine a double.