Is it really too much to ask that I have an uneventful trip to and from NY, with no border stories and no car issues? Apparently so.
I don’t even know where to start. I am sitting here at my laptop, wondering if my toes will ever turn pink again, and if feeling and warmth will be returned to them. I just gave into the biggest case of hysterics that I have had in a long time. You know, the chest heaving, huge sobs, tears and snot running down your face, can’t quite catch your breath hysterics. I guess it is just relief that I am home safe and sound, after over 6 hours of panicking on the road.
As you read the following, please bear in mind I know nothing about cars except how to drive them – something that I think is extremely wrong with drivers ed these days. If I knew more about the interior workings of an automobile I could possibly have saved myself a considerable amount of heartache. Possibly – but maybe not.
It’s been very cold here in our frozen corner of the world. Generally when I am driving long distance I take off my coat so that I don’t over heat in the car. So when I packed up this morning, I just put my coat in the passenger seat. I said goodbye to my KoD, tucked my heart into his pocket as I usually do, and drove off.
After a half hour I wondered why I wasn’t warm, but I wasn’t exactly freezing so I shrugged it off. I figured with the major cold spell it would take the car a while to warm up. I paid the toll at Albany (2 hours after I had left), and when rolling up my window wondered why the engine sounded different. Again, I ignored it – there were no warning lights in the car, everything was probably ok.
I stopped soon after to put on my coat and gloves as it was getting quite chilly in the car. Now, we had just fixed the heating core a couple of weeks back so I started to be concerned that there was yet another problem with it. Soon enough the noise in the engine started to bother me, but I wasn’t sure what to do. The man that lends me the car has towing on his policy, but the company has a stupid rule that they have to call his phone to verify it’s his service call. He wasn’t with me, so even if I needed help they wouldn’t have helped me. I had no clue where there was a service station / garage nearby, I had no bars on my cell phone as I was slap bang in the middle of the Adirondacks. I neglected to bring the GPS with me, so couldn’t have found one that way. So I figured I would drive on, see if I could make it to Plattsburgh at least, 90 minutes from Montreal, easier for someone to come down and help me out.
By the time I got to Plattsburgh, the engine was knocking pretty badly, I could barely feel my feet, my hands were going numb and I was scared out of my mind. Davening (praying) all the way, talking to God, making deals with Him. The needle for the engine was inching up to overheating. Once I got to Plattsburgh, I thought, “well, I made it this far, let me try to get to the border. Once I am in Quebec, Mr CarMan can get to me easier”. I called him once I had bars on my cell phone. He told me to pull in at any gas station, that I should have them fill the car up with anti freeze. Yeah. Did that. They told me that I would have to let the engine cool down at least 3 hours before they would open the antifreeze lid. They said it would explode steam on them. I didn’t have 3 hours to wait – kids waiting for me back in Montreal plus a tremendous need to feel my extremities. I asked the dude what would happen if I drove it for another hour – would it die on me? He reckoned that so long as the engine light didn’t come on, I was ok. If it came on I should park by side of road, turn off the car, and let the engine cool down.
I have never davened so hard in my life. I davened to get through the border ok, that the engine shouldn’t overheat, that my car didn’t end up in a ditch somewhere with me frozen to the steering wheel G-d forbid. I davened that I would see my kids again. I davened that the KoD shouldn’t worry too much, that he shouldn’t be distracted from his work (which is probably why I didn’t let him know what was going on till 5 hours into this drive. I should have, sometimes my independence gets in the way). I was worried they would prevent me from entering Canada with such a noisy car – I was cold and tired, I guess my brain was playing tricks on me.
At the border, I texted my Facebook account, to see if there was someone that could come and pick me up IF I managed to make it to my neighbour’s garage of choice. I was panicking that even IF I got there, how would I get home with my bags. Luckily my girlfriend GL, who will from now on be known as Empress CaresALot, immediately called me and told me not to worry, that she would come and get me wherever I needed a ride from. I knew that IF I got stuck at the border, she would shlepp down to get me from there. It is so awesome to know that one has friends that will come thru for you when you need it. I would do the same for them.
From the border, which I passed thru without incident, I was yelling at the car. I was watching that needle like a hawk. Every time it went higher I yelled, cursed, cajoled, beseeched it to go down. The tears were flowing, my toes were totally frozen, my hands tingling. I was so fed up.
It seemed to take forever to get to the mechanic. The car limped into the garage, coughing and spluttering. By this point I was fit to be tied. I stalked into the office, practically threw the keys at Claudio (poor soul) and told him I had just driven for 6 hours with no heat – didn’t he fix the damn thing the other week? I burst into tears. Men, especially those not related to you, do not know how to deal with tears. I calmed down sufficiently to apologize and to tell him the saga of the car. I called Mr CarMan, told him I dropped the car off at Claudio’s and was going home. He wanted to chit chat. I cut him off. I was not in the mood. At all.
Empress CaresALot came to pick me up soon after. Such a relief to be on my way home. She turned the heat up high so that I could start to thaw. Told me not to worry about picking up the princes – I was supposed to collect them on my way home. She took care of that. AND she ordered the boys pizza for supper. Her love is awesome. I feel so blessed to have such generous and caring friends. I just wish I didn’t have to lean on them so often.
This car is no longer highway worthy. It will probably be ok as a local runabout, which will still help me, but I will have to find another way to get down to NY every other weekend. Here’s a thought. Maybe they need to issue the darn visas already so we don’t have to worry about this anymore??!!!
I thank Hashem for bringing me home safely. I thank Hashem for keeping me calm on the road and for allowing my border crossing to be smooth. I am eternally grateful to Empress CaresALot for her kind compassion. My kids’ squishes totally made me feel better as did their cups of coffee and advil donations.
To my KoD – I thank you for being such an anchor to me. Your support means the world to me. I know how awful you felt and how helpless – and I know if I would have asked you would have driven up to rescue me in a heartbeat. The car feels my pain at being separated from you – and demonstrated it’s heartache in spades.
Prince Squiggy told me, “Ima, the fact is, the whole car thing, that’s in the past. You are home safe and sound and that’s what counts.” How true.