Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

The Mission:
With final exams ending Wednesday at 7:00 pm, bring two college freshmen and the entire contents of their dorm rooms home by 10:00 am Thursday when their dorms will be closing.

The Plan:
After work on Wednesday, drive about 45 minutes to the campus, bring one of said freshmen and his possessions home. On Thursday, take the bus to work and let that freshman drive back down and bring back the other freshman and all his possessions, returning in time to make a 2:00 pm summer job interview.

The Reality:
On Wednesday after work, drive down about 40 minutes and, once near the campus, stop at a red light. When the light has turned green, find that the car has suddenly turned off and refuses to turn back on. After waving annoyed drivers past me, some using less than all fingers, make panic phone call to the two freshmen and ask them to take the bus to where I was and help me push the car to a less controversial part of the street. Make panic phone call to AAA. Passing tow truck from AAA comes by as the freshmen arrive. Freshmen get on bus back to their dorms without having had to push car. Make panic phone call to wife to try to arrange for a van rental tomorrow so the two freshmen will not be living in a refrigerator box outside their locked dorm. Tow truck brings car to the garage where, before going off duty, the driver transfers the car to another tow truck for the drive back home. Wife calls to say Rental Place "E" (nice people located up the street from the mechanic; preferred) was closed for the night so made on-line reservation with Rental Place "U" (nasty people located farther away; not preferred). Tip first driver. Make panic phone call to supervisor to say I won't be at work on Thursday. Along with wounded car, arrive back home with neither the freshmen nor any of their possessions. Tip second driver and reimburse turnpike tolls. Go inside, eat Chinese take-out.

Awake on Thursday, can't get mechanic on phone. Make reservation with Place "E" for cargo van; cancel reservation with Place "U." Pay a $50 cancellation fee. Take chance and drive to mechanic without appointment; he says no openings till next week. I leave car anyway. Not sure whether I'm more afraid he'll call and say it's a $2000 repair, or that he'll call and say he found nothing wrong. Thinking too how nice it's been the last couple of years no longer having to make car payments, and hoping I won't have to start up paying them again. Walk up the street, pick up the cargo van, drive down to college, the entire drive a reminder of how different, and therefore more difficult, vans are to drive when you're used to a regular car. Arrive at freshman 1 dorm, having figured out along the way where the turn signals and windshield wipers are on the van. Load up and drive him to the train so he can get back home in time for his interview. Drive to freshman 2 dorm, passing the spot at which I broke down the day before, load the freshman and all his possessions into the van. Get call from mechanic; repair can be done today and will cost about $280. I approve the work, trying to sound like I really know what a drive shaft is and why a damaged position sensor will cause the car to stall out. Arrive home, bring freshmen and their possessions into the house, wondering how their things grew so much from what we'd brought down back in August. Drive van to shopping mall where freshman 1 has interview. Drive back to Rental Place and return van. Walk down street to mechanic and pick up repaired vehicle. Drive back to shopping mall to pick up freshman 1 who, it turned out, never got to be interviewed because the manager hadn't shown up.

Return home, resolve to do nothing constructive tonight.


Indigo said...

I would say tonights relaxation was earned in triplicate! (Hugs)Indigo

oldhousegal said...

Oh dear, this sounds like an awful experience! But , it seems that you navigated your way through it without a complete meltdown. Just goes to show that our sense of being in control of our lives is pure illusion.

Silverdoe said...

LOL...that sounds like a day out of my life!!

Angie said...

After all that you couldn't have got constructive action out of me even if you paid me!

love, Angie, xx

miss alaineus said...

this is the reason why it is so great to go dumpster diving out in ann arbor at the end of the school year-- people throw great freakin' stuff out that their parents wont drive back home again.

i hope the said freshmen appreciated all this effort.


Jacob said...

Oh, we did appreciate it! :)

Lori said...

I'm glad it didn't turn out to be a very expensive repair and that you got both kids home!