Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Rental Car That Couldn't

Yes, MORE car drama.  Today was a lesson in Murphy's Law.  Just when I thought I had come to terms with yesterday's "almost rode off in someone else's car" fiasco, something even bigger and more dramatic happened.

Everything was fine this morning.  We got up and got ready and went off to church like any other day.  No problems with the car.

But suddenly after sitting and waiting to get out of the church parking lot for 10-15 minutes (it's a BIG church), the moment I accelerated to get out onto the main road...well, the car just putt-putt-putted.  It was fine at 10 mph but once I tried to accelerate it putted and putted in vain.  Now I am no car mechanic but I would guess that the automatic transmission failed.

This isn't the first problem I've had with this car.  Okay, well I wouldn't call it a *problem* per say but it was definitely a sign that someone wasn't maintaining the car very well.  There wasn't any windshield wiper fluid in the car.  Who knows if there was any oil in the car?  And certainly no surprise that the automatic transmission would go out...I mean, seriously, the expectations were getting pretty low here.

So what was I to do?  Luckily I was not alone on the side of the road with my 9-month-old son asleep in the backseat.  My youngest brother was there at least for moral support.  He's 14 but still...moral support.

Luckily I made the split-second decision NOT to get on the freeway and chance it to make it home.  But I also decided in that moment that instead of sitting on the side of the road that I would try to putt-putt my way down to the nearest gas station.  We get to the gas station and I tried to gather my thoughts and figure out what to do.

We were actually on our way to meet my family.  So I sit there trying to call my parents.  I call answer.  I call Mom again...still no answer (her phone was on silent after being in church).  So I call answer and phone is clearly off.  I call Mom answer.  Hmm...

This is definitely when I moved into *mom mode*.  The only way I can describe *mom mode* is that moment when you suddenly realize that with your infant son in the backseat and 14-year-old brother in the passenger seat beside you that freaking out is not an option.  So you have to breathe deep, collect your thoughts, and solve the problem before you.  Now YOU'RE the it's about time you act like one. 

It finally dawns on me that the people I should be calling were the rental car people.  So we get out the rental agreement and I call their 24-hour roadside assistance number.  And I have to say that it only took one hour from the first time I spoke to them for the tow truck with my new car to arrive.  So not bad considering I just had to sit for one hour at a gas station where there was no changing table in the ladies' room to change my son's diaper when he woke up from his nap in the backseat (another story...another time).

By this time we have finally gotten a hold of my parents, and they are on their way back to us.  Once they arrive, it's just a matter of switching the car seat over to their car and sending my son home with them while my dad and I waited for the new car.

All in all it was less painful than one would imagine.  I'm not sure if it was the going into *mom mode* or the "I've lived abroad in Egypt for the past 5+ years so this is NOTHING" that helped me not freak out...although having family right there to help was more likely the thing that made it easier.  I was never so glad that we were in KY as I was at that exact moment when the car just wouldn't go and I knew I could call someone to help.

Crazy thing is that they brought me the exact make and model car that died on me.  At first I was a bit relieved to see the exact same car, even down to the color.  Now sitting here I am not so sure that was such a good idea.  I feel like somehow the same thing could happen to the same car.

Just wait till tomorrow.  Maybe I'll have more car drama then.

Oh please no!

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