Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Mind Is Now Thumbing Through Its Rolodex, Enjoying All the Hose Jokes

So the kiddo and I are on our second round of colds and I've been feeling crummy. Having to sleep sitting up with a cough drop in your mouth will do that to you. We tried to make the best of it, hanging out on Sunday and playing Junior M*n*p*ly like a couple of real estate-grabbin' fools. The kiddo kept wanting to pay for things in odd combinations of bills so he could get change from the bank -- too funny. On Monday, I needed to pick up a prescription, so off we went to the cheapest pharmacy in town: W*l-M*rt. If you don't have any qualms about shopping there, and don't already know about the cheap prescriptions they offer, allow me to be the first to tell you: four-dollar prescriptions for a ton of common and generic medications. Not even my doctor knew about this. Shocking!!

Anyway, since we were feeling like utter crap on Monday, we got a late start and wound up driving to the pharmacy in the late afternoon/early evening. We grabbed my refill, along with a couple of other necessities like mac-n-cheese and conditioner, and headed out to the car.

Everything was fine until we got about two freeway exits along our six-mile drive and the temperature indicator lit up on the dashboard. I immediately pulled over and saw smoke/steam coming from under the hood. I'd just put water/coolant in the engine in the past week, so I knew we'd probably busted a hose. Great! Still, I wasn't sure if we should stay in the car or get away from it, so the kiddo and I climbed up the embankment a bit with our groceries and I started making phone calls and figuring out what to do. (I didn't want to crank up the heater and just drive the car because I wasn't within sight of an exit.)

The kiddo was, well, a little afraid. And lemme tell you, nothing helps me think more clearly than a hysterical seven-year-old sobbing and clutching at me and asking me, "ARE WE GOING TO DIE?? ARE WE GOING TO MAKE IT OUT OF HERE ALIVE?? PLEASE, PLEASE JUST TELL ME WE'RE GOING TO MAKE IT OUT OF HERE ALIVE!! I'M TRYING TO FIND MY BRAVERY BUT ARE WE GOING TO DIE?? BE HONEST!!"

Oh, and it was just starting to get a little bit dark.

A young couple pulled over and asked if they could help us, and although they seemed nice enough and it was still light enough out, I was a little uncomfortable talking with a stranger on the side of the freeway so I told the guy I'd called my husband and the police and they were on their way. (Later, after the kiddo calmed down, he indignantly demanded, "And by the way, who's your husband?!" Heh.) The couple left and I called my ex: no answer. I called my brother's girlfriend: no answer. Finally I got hold of the CHP (California Highway Patrol) and my dad, who graciously explained to my son that he was not going to die. Then I called my saintly next-door neighbor, the one with the limo business, the one who owns seven cars: jackpot!!

We talked to the nice CHP officers while my neighbor pulled up in one of his lovely town cars. I'm sure the CHP officers thought we were living a little large at that point. The officers gave my son a couple of junior officer stickers (they must carry a ton of them in their pockets, because we always get those from the firefighters and police officers at the mall) and he started to calm down. And that's when I started to cry. Holding it together is hard work sometimes. Later, the kiddo generously told his dad that Mommy was crying. Nice. (The next morning, he told me, "I knew it was serious because you said 'Shit!'" Ah, yes.)

So we got a ride home from our wonderful neighbor, who offered to loan us one of his cars if we needed it. We got my car towed to a shop within walking distance from my house. ("Well, our first day Buick-less!" my son declared after I signed the towing invoice.) The shop fixed the car (yep, it was a busted bypass hose and broken fitting, with the threaded part still in the engine block -- how special!) and we had our car back the next day.

And nobody died. ;^)

(But my neighbors will be getting their crowns and angel wings and a room with a view and a bigole ice cream sundae in heaven someday, as well as a restaurant gift certificate from me in the near future. Fer sure.)