Our Agenda for the day:
- Take Erin to get a required immunization for school.
- Go to Justice and the American Girl store.
- Enjoy the rest of the day with nothing pressing to do.
Our actual day:
Todd woke me up about 8:30 this morning with “I need you to come get me at lunch at take me to the Dr.” (We only have one car). We’ve both had this throat/ear thing that has been on again off again for several weeks. This week is Todd’s week to be miserable with the little bugger. I reminded him that my battery light came on my car yesterday. He said he would check it tonight when he got home.
Before I even got out of bed I called my sweet friend in New Jersey who we are going to go visit this weekend (because Todd finally has a Monday off work so we have a semblance of a life for a few days). At some point in my conversation with Micah, Erin came in because she had burned her finger on the toaster. I told her to put mustard on it (google it), but she turned up her nose at that and chose a more conventional solution. Then I called my parents because I could, and today is Mom and Dad’s 48th anniversary so it seemed like the right thing to do.
I had lovely chats with both until about 10:30 or so.
Then I got out of bed.
I checked email and Facebook and hit the shower about 11ish so I could go get Todd. Language school is in Falls Church, about 10-15 minutes from our house depending on traffic. We pulled into the circle to pick him up at 12:05 on the nose. We sat for about 10 minutes before I decided to roll down the windows and cut the engine. Around 12:30, Todd came out and we headed to Chick-Fil-A for lunch! Yay Chick-Fil-A! We Love YOU! It had been about 6 months since Todd had eaten a Chick-Fil-A Spicy Sandwich. He was happy.
On the way out of the parking lot, I rolled up the windows on the car. That’s kind of funny to write, because back in the day we actually ROLLED UP the window. Now, I pull up a little button and the window raises almost miraculously…and quickly. Very quickly. Then Clair says, “Mom, tell Erin to roll up her window all the way”. I can fix that problem. Bada bing bada boom! Window is up! I hear a weird sound. Erin is screaming. ERIN is SCREAMING! Apparently her finger was in said window when I fixed the problem. Say it with me, “Slacker Mom!” Decision time. Chick-Fil-A or straight to the clinic? Todd checks the finger. It is in tact. Erin is still crying. Hard. She wants to go to Chick-Fil-A. She cried all the way to Chick-Fil-A. Her finger was numb, but it hurt. It felt like needles pricking it. The window scraped off her nail polish. The horrors.
My little crew made it to Chick-Fil-A and ate a delicious chicken lunch complete with waffle fries. Yum. It’s 1:05.
We zipped back across town toward our apartment, except not quite there, because I know a great Urgent Care Clinic that is new and easy to get into. We don’t have a regular doctor yet because you can’t get into a doctor as a new patient less than 6 weeks out. And who has time to find a doctor if you’re not sick? I digress. On the way there, I remembered that I forgot Erin’s shot records. Oops. Happily, the visit to the clinic went well. Todd got drugs, Erin got the shot despite my lapse of memory, AND we got Todd back to school JUST in time! Yay us! I dropped Todd off with a tiny little kiss (because he is sick) and promised to run (drive actually) down the road to pick up his antibiotic.
#1 on the agenda complete.
Less than 60 seconds after I kissed my hubby goodbye, every single warning light in my car flashed on. Battery, brake, ABS, Maintenance Required, and something else I had only seen once before when Todd left the gas cap off all the way from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs. I called the hubs. I knew he wasn’t in class yet because I had JUST left him! I told him what had happened and that I was going straight to the Toyota Dealership in Alexandria. I miraculously KNEW where the dealership was and knew how to get there from Falls Church without help from Siri. Woo hoo! I had a proud moment. Todd said it sounded like my alternator was going out and I had about 4 miles to drive if that before the car completely died. No problem. It’s not far.
I hung up with Todd and called the dealership to let them know I was on my way. The Service Dept agreed that it sounded like the alternator and assured me he could get it in pretty quickly. They would shuttle me and the girlies home. I was only about 5 or 6 miles from the dealership. (More than 4, but I was hoping Todd was wrong. He is by far one of the smartest people I know). I started to call Todd back when it happened. MY PHONE DIED!!!!!!!! Yes. My phone died. Not my car. My phone. Died. No problem. 2 more miles. The car made a weird sound; kind of a clunk under my feet. It was sluggish but it kept going. Red light. My power brakes weren’t working. I pushed the brake hard. Car stopped. No problem. The light turned green and we cruised (ish) through the intersection. Then the warning lights started flashing….off. “Dear Jesus, please let us get there safely”, was my prayer. Lights off. I managed to pull the car off the road and over to the curb where no one else was parked! God is good. Engine off.
My car was dead. My phone was dead. There was a lot of traffic. No worries though. We had just passed a little shopping area about ½ mile back. The girls and I got out of the car and started the walk back to the shopping area. I was hoping there would be a cell phone store, or something of the sort, where I might be able to charge my phone. There was none. But there was a little fro yo place called “Sweet Frog”. The FROG in Sweet Frog is an acronym for “Fully Rely On God”. They have great fro yo.
We walked in the store where there was a very sweet young lady working. I told her my sad story and asked if she might possibly have a charger for an iPhone sitting around. She and my daughter and my daughter’s friend are the only 3 youngish girls in America without an iPhone. My girls started filling their little fro yo tubs with yummy goodness. The Sweet Frog barista(?) (What do you call a fro you employee?) graciously offered me the store phone which I used to call my insurance company. This is a good place for me to sing the praises of that $2/month (or whatever ridiculously cheap fee it is) Roadside Assistance coverage I have. My conversation went something like this:
USAA Gal, “Are you somewhere safe?”
Gal, “Where are?”
“Sweet Frog. But that is not where my car is.”
“Oh. Where is your car?”
“Glebe and Mount Vernon”
“Are you at the Sweet Frog at blah blah blah Glebe?”
“Yes.” I guess that’s where I am, but I honestly don’t know, I’m just assuming she’s looking at a map and finding the Sweet Frog closest to my car.
“On Glebe, which direction is your car headed?”
“I’m embarrassed to say but I really don’t know. I’m headed FROM Falls Church TO Alexandria.” I don’t know what direction I’m headed because I don’t live in Colorado any more and there are NO MOUNTAINS here!!!!!!
“Ok. Will you be at your vehicle when the tow truck arrives?”
“I can be if the driver will call me when he gets close.” My cell phone is dead. I give the gal my cell phone number anyway. “Ok. He’ll be there in about 30 minutes? Great. What time is it now?” Because my phone is dead, I don’t know what time it is! “2:45? OK. Thank you very much. Buh-Bye.”
I thank the sweet iPhoneless young lady. She told me that the guys at Dominoes across the parking lot can charge my phone for me. Are you kidding me???? You found someone to charge my phone????? I knew I loved this place!!!!!!!
My always ready for an adventure little darlings and I marched ourselves across the parking lot to the Dominoes. The 3 gentlemen there happily charged my phone for me long enough for me to get the call that the tow truck was on it’s way. And long enough for me to get a text from Todd asking if we made it to the dealership. I texted Todd back that we were safe, car was going to be towed, phone was dying and I would call him later. He texted back immediately. “I’m in class. Do you need to talk?” (So sweet. He’s a little worried.) I text back. “No. Will call you later.”
The girls and I walked back to the car and waited in the car with doors locked and windows up, because there were some shady looking characters at the bus stops near by and I happened to be carrying a LOT of cash. It got hot in there so we were super happy when we saw the tow truck drive up.
The driver got out of the truck and was saying something to me as he walked towards me. I was looking at him and listening, but was distracted because it looked like his truck was rolling backwards. I wasn’t sure because traffic was moving past and I thought maybe it was just my eyes. I watched a little closer. Nope. It was rolling backwards. “You’re rolling, I say while raising my arm and pointing towards his truck.” At which point he ran towards his truck and jumped in (thankfully not getting hit by the traffic passing by.) At this point, the homeless man begging in the median pointed at me and yelled, “Good job young lady!” I kid you not. I cannot even make this stuff up.
Once the driver returned to me he said, “Which one of you is riding with me? I can only take one in my truck.” Most definitely me, sir. My 14 and 11 year old daughters will just walk!!!!!! Are you kidding me???? He told me that it is really his dispatcher’s fault because she doesn’t ask enough questions. He has told her to ask more questions blah blah blah blah and blah. He told me that he needed to roll my car back a bit so he can get the truck in front of it. OK. He got in the car but could not put in neutral. You know why? Because it was DEAD. DEAD. He suggested I should not have put on the emergency blinkers because it drained the battery. Thank you for that sir. That is very helpful.
He went back to his truck (which was quite capable of rolling backwards) and drove off. He left. Buh –bye. Gone. I don’t know where he went. He was gone for several minutes before he came back. All the while, cars were driving by honking at the empty, jankedly parked car without emergency blinkers turned on, and 3 damsels in distress standing by. And they call this “The South”.
When the driver got back he explained to me that he had to have the Police come and block the intersection so that he could get in front of the car to tow it. Then he mumbled something about Police not doing their jobs and something else I didn’t quite catch. Thankfully, my Knight in a Shiny White Toyota came to my rescue and whisked the girls and I off to the dealership! The tow truck dude was left to wait for the Police and get my car to the dealership. I found out later that for his services he would bill USAA something like $375! I bet they don’t pay that.
Kudos to the people at the Toyota Dealership in Alexandria. They were really nice. I need a new alternator and battery. Woo hoo! And with my purchase of said parts, I received a rental Camry for free! That was Erin’s favorite part of the day. She loves cars. Maybe she’ll be a car saleswoman, she says. She would do well. The dealership didn’t have the part, but they have 11 at the warehouse in Baltimore, which is close to where I live now. That’s weird. So my car should be ready by tomorrow evening.
We still needed to get Todd’s prescription…back in Falls Church. It was rush hour. I opted to head home in my new zippy little silver Camry. It was an uneventful trip. We arrived home where Todd was crashed on the couch semi-conscious apologizing for not being more help today. I’m a lucky girl. At 5:30 I headed back out the door to get his prescription.
Shortly after getting Todd’s meds to him, I ran next door to visit with my neighbor who had texted me during this whole fiasco because her sweet 4 year old daughter wanted to come over and play for about 10 minutes. That would have been fun. While sharing my day with them, Clair ran over to their place to tell me that Erin had fallen off of the bed and landed on her tail bone! She heard something crack. She was crying. Todd was off of his death bed tending to her. It’s 8pm This cannot be real right? I mean seriously. I’m being punked.
I am happy to report that Erin survived her fall. I don’t think she’s broken. I hope not. But her little accident did seem like a fitting end to our day. As my neighbor’s daughter said after hearing about our day, “”I think she must have found a NO leaf clover!”
When I walked in the door after our adventure Todd laughingly asked, “Do you feel like a Diplomat yet?”
Ask me tomorrow, Honey. Not today.
1. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4