Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Maybe someday I’ll look back and laugh. Or at least chuckle.

I have an idea for a future way that government officials can get captured terrorists to talk:  feed them truck stop BBQ, make them drink a 42 oz. Diet Coke, then park them on a backwoods interstate highway with a bored preschooler that “needs to go poopie” for four hours.  They’ll talk.

But since this is the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ll begin with what I am thankful for. 

  1. Nobody was hurt.  When our tire blew out, Todd handled the car beautifully and got us to the side of the road safely.
  2. There are good Samaritans in the world.  Several people stopped and offered to help.
  3. One of our cell phones was fully charged.
  4. We had a full tank of gas and could keep the car running to stay warm.  (And keep the DVD player going for Grace.)
  5. Our insurance company, GEICO, is great.
  6. Despite the “no bathroom” issue, Grace was good and looked upon this whole circumstance as one big adventure.  High maintenance, but sweet.

I began yesterday morning by getting the car serviced in preparation for our trip.  Everything looked fine and the car technician, who knows our car pretty well from periodic oil changes, expressed again his amazement at how well our 14-year-old, 225,000 mile van has held up over the years.  Pride goeth before the fall, folks.

Around Longview, we started feeling a slight rumble when we hit higher speeds.  We pulled over (to a truck stop BBQ joint) and inspected the car.  Things looked fine, so we thought maybe it was the bumpy road and our imagination.  After our meal, we got back on the road.  The noise got worse and the car got shakier as we drove through Shreveport.  Right after we got on I-49, there was a tremendous noise that was obviously a blowout.  Todd carefully maneuvered the car to the side.  (Thanks, hon!)

Upon inspection, the tire was completely shattered.  Beyond repair.  We dug out the spare tire and car jack from the trunk and Todd went to work.  I went back in the car and dealt with the endless exclamations of how Grace needed to go poopie. 

It took Todd well over an hour to change the tire due to a terrible jack and a spare tire that hadn’t seen the light of day since 1996, which ended up being completely flat and undriveable.  Also, the mud flap was hanging by thread and part of the back section of our car was coming off.

It was about this time that I was really regretting my decision to never be a Girl Scout.  Do they teach you how to go to the bathroom in the woods?

Todd got on the phone and called our insurance company.  Since we were in the middle of nowhere, they had a hard time finding a tow company that would be willing to come get us.  They would call us back.

And now we wait.  Todd met several good folks who stopped and asked to help.  Unless they had a Port-A-Potty hidden in their trunk, there wasn’t much they could do.

After a while, a friendly state trooper stopped and offered assistance.  He suggested some good tow companies, but we were still waiting to hear from GEICO.  They called back while we were talking and said they had found someone in Bossier City who would be there in an hour. 

Since it was a slow night, the trooper kept us company.  He and Todd talked shop while I changed the movie in the DVD player and started our M&M extravaganza to try and keep Grace’s mind off the lack of facilities.

After waiting forever, we got a call from an over-friendly GEICO agent that the tow truck broke down.  That’s right, folks.  We were back to square one.  Enter more M&M’s and another new DVD movie.  And contemplations of how to teach a 4-yr-old girl to squat in the woods when you don’t even know how to do it.

After a while, GEICO called back to say a tow truck had been located in Mansfield, LA, and would be there within another hour.  While sitting in the car, the following conversation took place:

Grace:  “Mommy, I want to tell you a secret.”

Me:  “What is it?”

Grace:  (leaning into my ear) “Did you know we are stuck in the grass?”

Me:  (chuckling) “Yes, we’re stuck in the grass because the tire broke.”

Grace:  (glancing sideways at Todd and pointing) “Yeah, it’s because Daddy wasn’t driving straight.”

After Todd and I erupted in laughter, we explained that we weren’t stuck because of daddy’s driving skills, but because of the tire.  But in her mind, the car broke because daddy started swerving wildly (when the tire blew).  I love kids’ perceptions of things.

Eventually the tow truck guy, Nash, arrived on the scene and was greeted by much overjoyed whooping and hollering (on Grace’s part).  I attribute her reaction to a sugar rush caused by approximately 637 M&M’s.

I got Grace situated in the back seat of the tow truck while Todd and Nash loaded up the van.  We soon got on the road.  Nash was very hospitable and offered us a wide assortment of Honey Buns and Little Debbie snacks, which we declined due to the aforementioned sugar rush.  We drove 40 miles to Natchitoches, listening to Nash describe his restored 1969 Chevelle like a proud new parent.  Todd pretended to be interested while I pretended to be asleep.

We arrived at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites with visions of a toilet in our future.  Todd quickly unloaded all our stuff from the van while I got us checked in.  Grace and I headed to the room while Todd went with Nash to drop off the van at the repair place.  My sweet parents arranged for a friend to come pick up Todd from the hotel this morning and transport him to the repair shop when it opened. 

The girl at the front desk laughed when Todd inquired about shuttle service or a cab.  I guess she felt sorry for us because she upgraded us to a suite, complete with a mirrored bed with a broken vibrating feature.  I can only assume it was the honeymoon suite. 

Todd left early this morning to deal with the van, and Grace and I are getting ready to explore our food options at the hotel’s continental breakfast.  Lord willing, we’ll be on the road again soon.  Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


Anonymous said...

since it's not me in the situation (and because you gave such a humorous account of the situation), i'm laughing so hard!

hope the rest of your holiday is uneventful, and that you're back on the road in no time!

Mrs. Sprinkles said...

My favorite part was "Todd pretended to be interested and I pretended to be asleep"!

I'm SO sorry--it sounds like you are handling it much better than I would.

Anonymous said...

Okay.....we forgot to mention that the tow truck driver Nash within the first five minutes introduced me to his "Maggie," a 69' Chevelle in mint condition. He proceded to talk about this car for at least 30 minutes before he ever mentioned his 2 daugters and son. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention his three wives. Fun times. I am thankful the Lord protected us during this time.

Michele said...

What a great post.
Oh my goodness, I'm glad no one was hurt.
But, seriously... thanks for the mid-afternoon chuckle!

"daddy wasn't driving straight"... too cute!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Hope you have a wonderful rest of the day ;)

cal+claire said...

Love y'all! I'm already chuckling so I hope you will be soon! Hug everyone for me.