Friday started with such potential - kids went off to school happily, I had pajama day by myself at home, got to catch up on all my tv shows, and then Hubby came home early. That, in itself, wasn't the end of my great Friday. Having my husband come home early gave me the opportunity to run to Walmart (my least favorite place on earth) to pick up a few items we needed for that night. Walmart is only about 20 minutes from our house. It took me 2 HOURS to buy only four items! I should have taken that as a sign that I should just stay home for the rest of the night. But no, couldn't stay home because Friday night was hubby's office Christmas party. We were told - "oh it's informal; bring the kids - it'll be fun". Luckily, I dressed the girls in their holiday best, dresses with new shiny black shoes (that was part of the needed items from Walmart), the boys had jeans and a nice "dress" shirt, and I allowed hubby to dress himself (jeans and a nice shirt). We left in plenty of time because ya never know how traffic will be, so this means we arrived early. We walked in and immediately noticed that everyone else was dressed far nicer than our definition of informal and casual. Since hubby is new to the company he hasn't made "friends" with anyone so there is no one to stand and chat with, we just bustle off to a back table (hey, I'm a mom of 4, you always pick the back table) and wait for dinner. AN HOUR AND A HALF LATER, we are FINALLY able to eat. Thank God I was smart and made the kids eat sandwiches before leaving the house but they (ok we) were miserable sitting and waiting and watching strange adults in nice dresses chat and laugh. And of course the food that was served was "catered" food which to a kid is like saying "here eat some dirt". The only thing they ate was bowl of croutons and some ranch sauce. We suffer through silly party games and got to escape after 3 hours. Wait, I forgot to mention the part where a member of the wait staff comes over, puts her arms around my shoulders, gives me an encouraging hug, looks at my kids and whispers to me "It'll be ok, I totally understand, I'm a bus driver and deal with this daily" - that alone gives you an idea of what kind of night it was. After we made our escape, we unanimously decide we need real food and a place to pee so we head to a local eatery. Well of course the dining room is closed but the drive thru is open so we get our food and then head across the parking lot to Starbucks. We park the car, leave it running with the kids in it (don't worry the 16 year old was with them), and dash into Starbucks for "relief." This is the point where I discover that sometime during the horrid Christmas party, "Aunt Flow" had come to visit. Of course I didn't have any protection in my pocket and I had left my purse in the car. This is the point where I think "Can tonight get any worse?"; just wait. I walk out the restroom to see my 10 year old son running towards me with a panicked look on his face "MOM! THE CAR'S ON FIRE!!!" O M G - I run out of the building towards my car which - wasn't on fire but was billowing clouds of steam from the hood and the smell of anti-freeze was flooding the parking lot. Let it be said that the normal clientele of Starbucks if absolutely no help in situations like this, because while the goobers were just standing there staring, I had to shove past them to make sure my babies were safely out the car. Fear not - the 16 year old had had the sense to turn the car off and get everyone out. Hubby, the ultimate handy man, sets to work rigging the broken radiator hose so that maybe we can get home. Well, we weren't so lucky. Just 6 miles down the road, only a half a mile from an exit, our car dies on the side of I-20. Now imagine, it's almost 11pm, the kids are all tired, as are hubby and I, we've no one who lives near us and no roadside assistance, plus it's cold and getting colder. I call my sister who lives on the other side of Atlanta and beg her to come save us, she agrees but we both know it's gonna be a while before she can get there. This is where I must thank the heavens that we live in a state that still allows toys in kid's meals because my children had something to occupy their time while we waited. Surprisingly, it only took 45 minutes for my sister to arrive and we all loaded up in her car. Now remember I have 4 kids, plus me and hubby, so six extra people are trying to squeeze into a car that seats five passengers. This is where I thank the heavens because my sister drives a car that comes from a time when cars were made like tanks and when "the more the merrier" was a way of life. I admit that not every adult had a seat belt but we all made it home in one piece. We walk in the house as the clock turned midnight. I convince my sister that she really doesn't want to drive all the way home that late at night, especially since she was leaving the middle of nowhere, a place where street lights and cell phone service don't exist (you're welcome mom).
And then the next morning happens. . .
7 am - Hubby and I borrow my sister's car to go save my car from the side of the road. We know there is something wrong with one of the radiator hoses so we stop at an auto parts store for some supplies. We were very happy to see that no one bothered the car during the night and it was right were we left it. This is when the fun begins. Hubby starts working on the car while I stand yelling at the idiot cars who won't move over a lane, but instead remain in the lane closest to us so I'm constantly expecting one of them to just cross over that white line and kill us. I watch folks talking on cell phones, some are reading the mail, some are even eating bananas while they drive - all of them too lazy to move over one lane. I wished death on quite a few people today. Hubby worked for what seemed like forever when he decided he needed a new clamp. So again we head to a parts store; the guys here knew what they were doing and told hubby that he didn't need a clamp but a whole new assembly, which would cost $199. Hubby declined and said just give me the clamps. Back to the car. Back to hubby working feverishly. Back to me yelling obscenities at passing motorist. After half an hour, hubby announces "Tis done!" but now the car needs to be jumped off cause the battery died over night. This leads to all kinds of trouble trying to get sister's car into position when the shoulder of the road drops off dangerously. Luckily we survived this bit of the adventure and we start heading home. We make it only about 2 miles down the road when hubby quickly gets on an exit ramp, where the car dies . . . again. This time we are right in the middle of a blind curve. Hubby (who very rarely loses his temper) comes over to sister's car looking very disgruntle and announces "Time to get the full assembly." BACK to the parts store for us where they tell us "Oh that's a dealers item, you'll need to go up the road for that." So we do and we happily find out that it's cheaper at the dealer than at the parts store, only $65. At this point, we start getting hungry and realize we have no idea what time it is, so I look at the receipt and it says it's 12:44pm. My sis wanted her car back by noon. CRAP! We race through the back roads of Newton county trying to get home as quickly as possible so my sister won't be too angry. I walk in the door apologizing for the delay only to find out it's really just 11am. Dealer's clock was WAY off. Dang it! Well we're home and now we have to use the motorcycle to go back and forth to the dead car. So we bundle up and take off - very slowly because our drive way is gravel and motorcycles and gravel don't mix well. When we do get to the paved road where hubby can start doing "real speed", it becomes painfully obvious to me that a woman on her period should not ride a motorcycle. IT HURTS YOU TWIT! So not only am I freezing but now I ache in unmentionable places. We finally make it back to the car with the new assembly which takes all of 10 minutes to install. I say "Hallelujah lets go home", but hubby has that look to him. Ya know, that look of a man who is listening to an engine and it's just not sounding right. I hear him mutter "I hope we didn't crack a head," which for those who don't know car language is like saying "I hope we didn't crack your head and now you're brain dead" - Cracked heads equal big money or a new car. So now the comatose car is left on the side of the road, again, while we find a tow company to who is able to pick it up and drive it to the middle of nowhere where hubby can start taking it apart. So again we get on the motorcycle and again I start to freeze and ache and again we head to the dealer to see how much a water pump costs (this is hubby's roadside diagnosis). Too dang much is the answer, so we head home to pick up the "in case car dies" credit card which is stored away from people who might want to use it for frivolous things like Christmas and groceries. After dropping me off at home, to wait for the tow truck, hubby races away to buy yet more parts for the car. On the way to the parts store, hubby's windshield on his motorcycle decides it too is done with it's job and just falls off in the middle of the street, like some errant toddler in Wal-mart who refuses to take another step. Hubby comes home, reattaches the windshield and again leaves for parts. Luckily, he arrived safely this time and the part store has these items much cheaper than the dealer. This tale of woe is not finished since the car is not finished, it is now sitting in the garage, with it's guts strewn across the floor.
This is the perfect example of just another day in my life this year.