Destroyed Car (D.C.) was parked on main road close to our house. Unfortunately, two of the tires went flat. This is a signal to the police department that the car was abandoned. They had it towed to a lot just south of the Pennsylvania border. No one told us this happened - two weeks ago. The reason we knew about the towing was I witnessed it on the way the get my youngest from school. After hours of calling around, we located the car.
We took the almost hour long drive to retrieve D.C. yesterday. After much negotiation, we were able to purchase back our car for a bargain $500! Hey, we owed $800 for our own car so it was a deal. Plus, we were informed, it was super lucky they hadn't sold our call for parts yet. A mere two hours of entertaining three children in a minivan later, we were well on our way home...or so we thought.
The first clue this would not be an ordinary ride back was the phone call: "I can't stop or slow down so try to keep up," says my husband, speeding out from the lot through a stop sign. Unfortunately, a mere ten minutes later, we did indeed need to slow down to exit onto the highway that would lead us back home.
Reflecting back on things, it was good to have the practice of turning a minivan around on a main road in order to jump start Destroyed Car. It would come in handy moments later again, when the stakes were much higher.
Once on the highway, we were cautious. We stayed in the right lane. We maintained a speed limit of 50mph to keep to spare tire functioning and the bumper from completely falling off D.C. So, to recap : Right lane. 50 mph. In a minivan. So, how, might you ask could things go awry? When a crazy person hits you in the identical way DC was hit! From behind, changing lanes into yours! Only now, we are on a highway with children in the car.
It was a really good thing I had not had anything to eat that day, or some soiling would have been guaranteed. Aaaaanywhoooo, we all pulled over. Business was attended to. We were ready to go. I offered to drive the originally hit car, not sure I could take another moment with the kids asking if we were going to miss the New Year's Eve party (we were hosting it). At this time, I found out I would have to continue suffering with them as Rob defied death in a car that spontaneously died and ALSO did not have functioning brakes.
This is where the previous experience came in handy. We turned the minivan around against 80 mph traffic, and jump started DC. Rob had to speed off, while I had to figure out how to turn the minivan back around so I was traveling with traffic. The interesting complication here was that we were on a narrow shoulder that had a ditch next to it. I was Crocadile Dundee, only with cars. We were all freaked out. I backed up as much as possible but if I went any further, we would just slide down in the ditch. "Oh my God! Oh my God!" was the chant from the back seat. Everyone had their eyes closed. I finally opened mine and made the executive decision to floor it in the next traffic gap. It worked.
We finally made it home, four hours after we had left. Oh yeah, did I mention it was Maddie's sixth birthday? And of course, we had to prepare for the New Year's Eve party we were hosting...So, I had a marguerita, a hot fudge sundae, and hoped that everyone would forgive me that it wasn't the best party they would ever attend.
This story has so many take away lessons and points to discuss : the creativity needed for parenting in a confined space for many hours (lollipops, lots of them), the dangers of cell phone use on the road (you might get bad news - be prepared with your reaction), the risk of hypoinflated car tires (just don't do it), the value of ice cream as a sedative (um - duh) - just to name a few. What I took out of this experience : we are starting 2014 with a ton of karma.