Eric left on a business trip again yesterday. I am prepared for a couple weeks of sleeping late, cooking little and...car repairs?
The plan was for the kids and I to attend a Christmas concert at our church this afternoon. Last year the kids sang in part of it but they did it because I forced them into it. They didn't want to be in choir again this year. The concert last year was spectacular and, while I very much wanted to see it this year, I also hoped that if the kids saw it and heard how great it sounded they would want to rejoin the choir. It was not to be.
We all got dressed in "fancy clothes" including Ethan in his suit. We got into the car and I was amazed because we were actually going to be early. However, as soon as I started driving down the road something didn't sound right. It didn't sound good, not good at all. Earlier in the week I had put air into a tire so I was pretty sure that sound must be the tire. I pulled off and looked and, sure enough, the tire was COMPLETELY flat. I wasn't far from home, but I also wasn't too far from a gas station with air so I decided to go for the air. I thought I could fill the tire with air and proceed to church, hopefully arriving on time. I got to the station, plugged in my 75 cents (which always burns me!) and started filling the tire. It was encouraging at first, the tire started to rise. However, this was not to be either. The air compressor was so loud that I couldn't be sure, but I think there was a hissing sound of air coming out of the tire as fast as I was putting it in. In any case, after trying for as long as my 75 cents would allow, I realized this tire was not going to be pumped up.
I tried calling a friend whose husband works with Eric but got no answer. I called a neighbor who THANKFULLY was home. The husband actually answered and said he would be there in 5 minutes. Yeah! He could put on the spare tire. Maybe we could get to the concert late! He arrived quickly and began searching for the jack. (I suppose we could have checked the Owner's Manual to see where the jack was. Problem is, we had taken it into the house a few weeks ago to look at something and never put it back into the car. Brilliant. It was par for the course today.) He searched everywhere; he took things apart. He could not find the jack. That's okay, I said. I'll just call a tow truck. He asked if I wanted him to take me home but I thought I should stay with the car. I did ask him if he would mind taking my kids home to his house and he was happy to do that. The concert was now out of the question.
Thankfully (again) I remembered seeing a new card from our insurance company recently which I thought MIGHT include towing service. I called them and, sure enough, we have towing coverage. Yeah! Actually, I said, maybe someone could just replace my tire and I could drive to the tire store myself. Sure, they could do that. They ordered the service for me. Within a couple of minutes I received an automated phone call saying the service would arrive within 40 minutes. I was still parked right in front of the air compressor and there had been at least 3 people using it since I had arrived, so I decided I should probably move my car out of their way. I started it up and drove it forward about 10 feet - just enough to allow everyone access to the pump. I turned the car off and sat there for about 10 minutes. I was getting a little cold so thought I would turn the car on again for the heat. I turned the key and all sorts of crazy things happened. Washer fluid sprayed onto my headlights, the radio turned on (I hadn't had it on before) and my clock flashed to 12:00. I also thought I saw smoke coming from under the hood. The one thing that did NOT happen is the car didn't turn on. I could not believe it. My husband has left town, I have a flat tire, and now something under my hood - - - exploded? I wasn't about to try the key again. I was afraid something would start on fire. I thought about it. Maybe a fire wouldn't be a bad idea. Maybe it would get me a new car! On the other hand, there was a fire station directly across the street from me, so chances were good they would put a fire out quickly enough to prevent a total loss. I would have a half burned car with a flat tire. Probably it would sit in a repair shop for weeks. Nope. I wasn't turning that key. I would just sit and wait.
As I waited I thought maybe it was just a dead battery. My car has over 80,000 miles and we've never replaced the battery, so there's a good chance it is just that.
Some minutes later my phone rang again. It was the man who was on his way to change my tire. He said he would be there in about 10 minutes. That's wonderful, I said, but something else is now wrong with my car, I told him. Any chance you could jump it? Yes, he could do that but I would have to call the insurance company again and have them schedule it. This is a very minor detail of the day, but I have to include it because it "fits". I called the insurance company. They were very nice. No problem, they added it to my order. I also called the tire place. I knew they would need to order a tire for me. (How did I know that? Well, because we had another tire replaced just 2 weeks ago! Note that! Two nails in two tires in two weeks!) As I talked with them about the tire, the battery, the ride home, etc., I was trying to take notes. Guess what? My pen ran out of ink! I mean, how ridiculous is that? No big deal really. But... My tire is flat, my battery is dead and my pen is out of ink. AAAAAH!
The very nice man from "Auto Rescue" arrived. He first jumped the car so I could have heat. Thank you! (Remember I was dressed "fancy" for the concert? I was wearing open toe shoes and my toes were cold!) He too searched all over for my jack. He had his own, really cool, pneumatic jack, but he said he had to have my jack extension. I knew not why. He took apart the car in the same place as the neighbor. No jack. He suggested I look in the manual. Um, sorry, I don't have the manual with me. I know it would make sense to have it in the car, but... Never mind. He found it! He needed the extension because he had to insert it through a small hole in the back of my car and loosen something to get the spare tire out from underneath the car. That operation in itself could be a whole other story. So could the shuttle ride home from the tire store. But I am shivering so think I will go take a hot bath. Maybe I'll write about the shuttle ride a different day.
One thing though. A new friend of mine, whose husband is also gone, was telling me earlier this week about how she was sick and her car was towed from in front of her house. (!!!) She had to pay a bunch of money to get it back. But, she said "I just praise the Lord". Despite being sick. Despite having her car wrongly towed. Despite anything, she praises the Lord. I thought of that while I was sitting in the car. I sang a couple of praise songs. It is kind of fun to write about all the craziness today, and I sort of have to write about it in a negative tone to make it funny, but I am taking my friends advice and praising the Lord. None of this stuff matters. I am going to learn to praise the Lord.