11.06.2008

The Week From ... Well, You Know.

Sometimes you have one of those weeks where absolutely everything you touch turns to mush.

Last Monday we got back from vacation after midnight, and the next morning after sitting 4 days in cold weather, my car was acting up. When I pulled out of the driveway, it wouldn't shift out of first on time. The RPMs kept revving higher and higher until finally CLUNK it shifted into second. I don't pretend to be an expert on cars, but one thing I do know: CLUNK is not a sound you want to hear coming from the front of your car. I stopped at a few red lights during my short commute that morning, and with traffic building behind me, my car would start off slowly. I'd curse a blue streak and then CLUNK, it finally shifted into second. Eventually, when the car warmed up and I had run out of colorful phrases to use, it shifted normally. But that took some time, of course. And when you've got 2 kids to drop off at daycare and a bus to catch, time is of the essence. Plus, there's the whole "Helen, those are Mommy words" vocabulary lesson I have to give.  I chalked some of the car's problem up to being cold and not used for 4 days, but I was still concerned. In November, the weather isn't going to get any warmer.

I mentioned it to Brian, who was having a really busy week after taking vacation. He promised to take a look at it soon. The car did pretty much the same thing every time I turned it on - reverting to normal after it warmed to temp. On Thursday's commute, the car's check engine light came on. So I knew things were going from bad to worse.

Friday Brian checked under the hood, and the transmission fluid was fine. The hoses were in good shape. He did some googling for transmission problems in Hondas, and with fear in his heart on Monday, he drove it to a mechanic who kept it overnight in order to test drive it cold. The next day he reported back that yes, there was internal damage, and yes, we needed to replace the transmission. He gave Brian a piece of paper that had an impossibly long string of numbers next to a dollar sign.

Brian met me for lunch with a copy of the estimate in hand. Aside from using insurance proceeds to fix damage from an accident, I've never spent that much to fix any car I've owned - EVER. We both sat at the table in stunned silence, trying to absorb the shock. Then Brian said, "I didn't tell the guy it was my birthday. Maybe he'd give me a discount." He looked at me, and he had tears standing in his eyes. That got me teary, and let's just say lunch wasn't any fun after that.

This week Brian borrowed his brother's car while mine is at the shop. His brother's car doesn't have a backseat, which I need for both car seats. So now I'm driving the kids around in his company car. Keep in mind I'm catching the bus to work. After dropping off the kids, I drive about a mile down the road and park my car at a local drug store with a bus stop right out front. Let's just say for the sake of the story that the drugstore is called Ballpeens.

Yesterday, Brian needed to use the company car instead of his brother's car, so at 7 AM he went to the drug store and left his brother's car there, taking his. Later that afternoon, he returned to the lot to give it back, so I could arrive on the bus and drive it to get the kids. Instead of finding his brother's car where he left it that morning, he finds that half of the parking lot roped off and resurfaced - AND ALL THE CARS ARE GONE.

Did anyone else hear that CLUNK?

Heading inside the store, he learned that Ballpeens has towed our car. No warning signs the day before or even that morning, but rather a construction crew that arrived at 10:30 a.m. and after checking with all customers in the store, they had it towed.

I have two questions.

A - What kind of construction crew starts work at TEN THIRTY?

B - You towed the car across town? Really? You couldn't just tow it TO THE OTHER HALF OF THE PARKING LOT?

Brian waited for me to arrive on the bus, and we picked up the kids and drove across town to pick up the car. What we expected to be a simple operation requiring money to exchange hands, turned out to require a phone call to his brother and faxed signed documents authorizing them to release the car to Brian. Oh, and money, too.

In the meantime, I'm sitting in the tow truck's parking lot with a hungry hungry hippo in the backseat and - thank god - a sleeping baby. Helen doesn't understand why Daddy is taking so long, and by the way, do I have any snacks? or anything to drink? How about now? No? Are you sure? Hey Mommy, when's Daddy coming back? Do you have anything to drink? Why is Daddy taking so long? Is he getting us any food?

And Brian has to head out for his company softball game, so he's got better things to do than wait on all the formalities, too. From picking up the kids to picking up the car, it took over an hour, and that close to dinnertime, it really really sucked. We parted ways in the parking lot. I decided on the way home to lose the grumpiness because there was really no way I could take this out on Helen, so after eating some leftover mac & cheese, we all curled up in our bed and watched Alice in Wonderland while I fed the baby.

Brian's team got drilled in the softball game, so instead of heading out to eat with co-workers after the game, he came straight home.

I called the drug store this morning, and they said they didn't tow it to the other side of the parking lot because that would have cost THEM money, not me. I'm like, hey, we would have paid it if you told me we had 2 options - pay you, or pay the tow truck driver across town with my car behind a locked gate and a hungry hungry hippo in the car an hour past her dinnertime. She said, hey, I didn't know that. And don't park there anymore.

Gah. Have a little heart, giant corporate drug store manager.  You have a huge lot that's never full, and a bus stop right there.  It's for customers, you say?  I buy a coke or something I need about twice a week from that store since I started parking there, but not anymore.  Now I've got a drug store chain to boycott, and a new parking lot to find.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Oh, what a miserable week!!! I will boycott Ballpeens for you too :-)