Monday, July 21, 2014

One Fine Day…..Not Even

Did you happen to see that 1996 movie with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer named 'One Fine Day?" Well, both Clooney and Pfeiffer are divorcees who end up missing their childs field trips and their kids have to accompany them all day. They agree to help the other with child care during meetings and work related stuff so neither of them lose their jobs. Their day ends up hilarious and making you want to sleep for a week. Great feel good, romantic comedy if you need a break from life and don't mind the roller coaster ride theirs goes on for two hours.

So today I had this movie on my mind as the unexpected hurled itself upon us. The Doc and I have been out of town….and just flew back to Florida from Texas last night. He had work in Houston at a conference, and I got to go along to dress up schmancy for some fun, meeting new people and hanging with old friends. We had a great time. After getting home late Sunday, The Doc again went out of town on Monday (today) for a couple of days. I was exhausted (in a good way) from the weekend and had a low key day planned including taking the girls to the dentist for their routine check-ups. No big deal.

During Nature Girl's check up it was discovered that her arch wire of her braces had come undone and had embedded itself in her gum. The gum had grown up around it and infection was setting in. Ew. Must leave dentist and get Nature Girl to orthodontist right away…….except that Mei Mei was already a half hour late for her team gymnastics practice. Quick thinking and maneuvering would get her there first….then circle back to the ortho for gum relief. Lots of driving. Lots of traffic.

I got on the interstate and was about halfway to our exit when disaster struck. There was bumper to bumper traffic and it was steady going about 65mph. I accelerated to go around another car only to realize my gas pedal didn't work. (I drive a Chevy Suburban that has never given us a lick of trouble….ever.) I thought the floor mat or something had gotten in the way, so I gave it a firm push and realized I had no power from the gas pedal….at all. There had been absolutely no warning. It simply stopped working. The car was beginning to slow down as I pressed the pedal harder. Being in the middle lane with vehicles passing me at 70-80+mph was getting scary. I tried to move to the right lane, and even though I had no gas power, I was able to move over by coasting into the right lane because there are still a few courteous awesome drivers out there.  By now I was going around 45mph and the car was slowing down with each passing second. Soon I would be at a dead stop in the middle of the interstate if I didn't do something. Then it got worse. All power across the board in my car shut off…..even the engine. The brakes sank into the floorboard when I pressed them and the steering wheel locked up. I tried not to panic but thought of the best possible way to get this thing off the road before someone hit me or I hit them. I likened it to an airplane cabin losing pressure mid-flight. It was surreal.

I had come to a stretch of interstate that was flat and straight for a while. I was able to slightly steer the car onto the shoulder but had no brakes to stop it AND the steering wheel would only maneuver ever so slightly. I also had to figure out how far off the shoulder to go because the ground beyond it was saturated with water yet I knew for the girls safety I had to be far enough off the highway that no cars would come too close and clip us while we waited for help. Should I run it aground in the mud……or just let it coast until it came to a stop….hopefully before the bridge ahead? All this happened in a matter of seconds yet it seemed like it was forever.

I let it coast….making decisions moment by moment. Half on the shoulder, half on grass, it eventually came to a complete stop and I was able to call for help. The girls did really well…..better than I thought actually and waited patiently as it took over 1.5 hours for the tow truck to get there. Daughter Julie came and picked up the girls (in whizzing rush hour traffic at 70+mph with Wubba in the car…..can you picture my chattering teeth????) while I continued to wait for Tow-Mater (which is another story of me having to call and yell at twit girl who was in Tennessee dispatching said tow truck whose headquarters was 2 miles away. Why did it take 1 1/2 hours then?? Oy vey with a cherry on top!!)  Son in law Jon drove straight from work to sit with me until Mater arrived…..which he FINALLY did. He was nice. He wasn't worried about whizzing cars. He had that sucker car on that truck in record time in the POURING RAIN no less. (Rain gives movies more drama….so of course we had lots of it complete with major lightning.)
Scary waiting for Tow Mater. Even scarier was how long we had to wait.

So, we follow tow truck to our family mechanic who by now just happened to be closed for the day. (Of course he was). I had called ahead and was given instructions on how and where to leave the keys in a drop box for the mechanic to pick up the next day. We now said good bye to tow truck man who only charged us $35 . That is not a typo. Thirty-five bucks which we did not owe because our insurance has a towing package that covered us. Best news all day. Bye Mater….you were awesome.
Mater loads Big A (we name our cars, ok?) Cue giant raindrops falling……now.

We went home where Julie had all 4 kiddos….who were hungry. We decided to all go eat (It's now well after dinner time) AND because the tux The Doc had rented for schmancy Texas dinner had to be returned by 8pm to the store across from our fav family restaurant. Tux was returned… was fed….Nature Girls orthodontic wire was still jabbed in her gum.

I was able to move her appointment to 9am the next morning…..but needed a car to get there. The Doc would be gone another day and Julie was getting tired of being our chauffeur. So….during dinner I called my mom who graciously said I could stop by and get her car. After dinner (which is getting really close to bedtime….remember we are dragging an almost 1 year old around with us too) , we loaded everyone up and took off to Mom Jo's house to pick up her car.

When we pulled up to her house on 2 beautiful lakefront, wooded acres she was sitting in a folded chair right outside her garage with the door up and lights on. "Awwwww! Look at that," Julie said. "She's waiting to welcome us."

I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that something wasn't right. MJ doesn't go sit outside like that. She just doesn't. Sure enough I was right. The minute we pulled up out came her story. Not really her fault….It just happened. She had locked herself out of her house……and her house key AND the car keys we needed were INSIDE her house.
Waiting in the dark outside. She was laughing….but thought I had a key. Low and behold…..I did not.

Now…..there are three keys to MJ's house that are readily available. Hers, mine and my brother's. Hers were locked inside her house. She thought I would have mine and normally I would EXCEPT mind were now in a drop off lock box at the Auto Repair Shop attached to MY car keys. Heh. The only thing to do was put everyone back in Julie's car and drive the whole tribe to my brother's house (who never answers his phone after dark and after a few tries…..actually answered. Go Bro.) We had now been at this for close to 5 hours.

With a little help from Lady Gaga, Pit bull and Katy Perry via Kidz Bop we kept everyone halfway sane (adults excluded) and retrieved KEYS THAT WORKED cause you know….as we left brother's house with some keys on a chain it was discussed that hopefully 'these' are the right ones. Let's just add another hour onto our already time-consuming hair raising wacko experience that is Monday.
Keys recovered… a car that actually works.

Mom Jo was returned home…..Julie returned to her home…..and this group now has a workable car to take us to the orthodontist at first light tomorrow to get this wire out of this kids' gum line.
She's toast……and wondering if they should've moved back here from Charlotte after all. Heh. It's ok. I fed her dinner.

We are GRATEFUL to God for keeping us safe and protecting us on that crazy wild roller coaster of a car ride. Still don't know what's wrong with the car. Praying it's not to costly…..but prayers of thanks are a whole lot louder. One Fine Day. Go watch it. After ortho tomorrow…..I may sleep for a week. Right now I just wants carbs. Lots and lots of carbs.

Oh and for the 'real life' experience…..I didn't edit the pics to correct lighting. If they are dark it means it was dark…..or raining….or both. Real life.


  1. Prayers! I wished my dad was there he could fix it! I've had the same thing happen to mine. Extremely scary moments with babies! Prayers for your sweet family and most of all for you.

  2. Ah One Fine Day. One of my favourites. George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s not deep, and it’s not meaningful, and from the moment it begins the ending is completely obvious but that is why it is the perfect rom-com.
    I’m glad you and your loved ones emerged unscathed from your own trying day!