Sunday, July 10, 2005

One Hell of a Weekend

On Saturday I got up and got ready to go see my son. I was all kinds of excited – it was going to be a beautiful day and I had great plans. I was thinking of taking him to a museum where there was a good dinosaur exhibit and some other kid’s stuff. Not that it really mattered what we did, he and I always have a good time.

My car has been making some funny noises lately. I’m sure you see where this is going. There’s been a loud whirring noise and sometimes I’ve heard a ringing noise. Sometimes I smelled burnt coolant. I was thinking that the water pump was going, but when I looked under the hood I found the radiator hose was not on all the way and it had been leaking coolant. I reseated it and bought a new one to put on, but hadn’t had enough time to do it, and it hadn’t been leaking since I pushed it back on anyway. I had some delusions of replacing the water pump myself until I actually looked into the engine compartment. I need to take a car repair course.

So, I’m driving, and I’ve got about thirty minutes left – it’s an hour and fifteen minute drive total. I suddenly hear the belt start squealing again. It’s never done that before at speed. It’s only done that when I start the car. The engine suddenly quits. I head for the breakdown lane and try to start the car. It starts and then quits when I let it idle. Then I see the smoke. I pop the hood (the car is off and the smoke has stopped) and see that the belt that runs the compressor for the AC is almost off and is the source of the smoke. Time to call for a tow truck.

The first shop I called told me there’d be at least a 3-hour wait, but the second place said they’d be right out. I got even luckier. They had a loaner, and it was free! The only thing was that the loaner was quite possibly the ugliest car in the New England Area. I look it over and decide that the lack of the seat belts in the backseat preclude me from putting my son’s car seat in, but I’m not going to complain. It’s a car.

Let me describe this car – I fully plan on posting a picture of it soon. It’s an old Chevy Celebrity. It’s got about 167,000 miles on it and the body is full of rust and has a couple of holes in it. The roof is one big patch of rust. The temperature and oil gauge have no needles. There’s a handwritten note next to the gas gauge that says it runs out of gas when the gas gauge shows ¼ tank. The key only opens the driver side door, and only if I wiggle it just right.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see my son on Saturday because of all of this. Because I was unable to drive on Thursday (the vertigo) I didn’t get to see him that day either. I was a little depressed on Saturday – not only did I miss my son but I didn’t know how much the car was going to cost me. I’ll find out tomorrow (Monday) when they take a look at it.

Today was a much better day, however. I picked him up at nine and since I couldn’t drive with him without the car seat, I put him in his stroller and we headed out. We walked to the park and were going to fly his kite but the STBX forgot to give us the cross-stick. We played at the playground, examined many bugs in detail and chased each other around. We discovered that his toy truck went down the slide quite fast. It was an unbelievably beautiful day and there was a heavy breeze which made it even better. He took a two hour nap lying down in his stroller while I sat with him at a picnic table. When he woke up he opened his eyes, looked around, and found me sitting here smiling at him. “Hi Daddy!”

On the way back the STBX called and told me she was going to be about a half hour late. I didn’t think that was a big deal, it just meant more time with him. When she got back (it was actually an hour late) she went up and started cooking him some macsheese (macaroni and cheese for those of you new here) while he and I played with his new ball. He’s learned to kick it so we were kicking it back and forth, with periodic time-outs when a good bug was spotted.

When his food was ready it was time to say goodbye. It was a great visit, so I was in a pretty good mood as I drove the monster loaner home. My neighbors looked closely as I drove by – the car is that noticeable. So today was a pretty good day – lots of fun with my son and no breakdowns on the side of the highway. Hope you all had just as good a day!