The Hellhole

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It was very late Sunday evening when we finally got home from the misadventure I am about to recount, and late enough last night - plus yesterday I was still weary from worrying and fretting, which I overdo all the time even when all is well. So another lapse in blogging but this time, I have an excuse.

On the second Sunday in December, Alan's mom throws a Christmas party/family gathering for his dad's extended family - cousins, great-aunts, second cousins thrice removed, etc. So, two days ago we went to Augusta which means that two days ago we were coming back from Augusta and Alan was driving my car, therefore it follows as the day the night that the Helmobile is broken. The only times anything has ever gone wrong with my car, it's happened when Alan was driving it back from Augusta, though he drives it other places, much further without incident (most recent incident chronicled here).

After the perfectly lovely party, we were on our way back home (barely on the west side of Lake Oconee if you're local). Alan was doing probably 75 mph down I-20 when BLAM! the right front tyre blew. He held the car straight, kept us from hitting anyone and got over to the shoulder. I have Allstate's version of AAA so we called them for a tow; we didn't know what else made sense, since we were so far away from home (or anywhere), it was 8:15 on a Sunday night, it was dark, cold and raining. I have a spare but it's not a real spare tyre, it's one of those doughnut things and we were on an interstate 65 miles from our home. So we figured that a tow, while not ideal, was our best option.

Then two guys in a white Volvo stopped to help. After some discussion, they talked Alan into letting them change the tyre. We explained our reasoning, but the guys didn't want to leave us; they said we'd be stranded forever waiting on a tow truck (probably true) so they changed the tyre. Then they waited for us to pull off in front of them and followed us several miles, fifteen to twenty, maybe, down the interstate to make sure we were all right. Before departing, we asked them if we could do anything for them in repayment, if they needed anything, how we could return the favor - basically offering to pay them without actually asking if they wanted money - and the guy who took the lead in changing the tyre said, "Yes, you can. Whatever you'd have done for us, put it in the collection plate on Sunday. Pay it forward to someone who needs it and God bless you both." I agreed, though we don't actually go to church, so we'll be making a charitable donation or two or ten in honor of The Volvo Guys.

As soon as we set off, I started trying to call Mom, since she lives a good bit closer to where we were than we do (52 miles versus 65). Further, the dealership where I bought the car and usually take it for service is maybe three minutes from her house but twenty from ours. I figured that the best thing to do was stop at her house, see what her availability was, and hopefully she could switch cars with me. I could drive hers Monday so as not to miss work and if she had no other plans, she could drop mine at the dealership. The dealership is really close to my Aunt Betty's house so I thought maybe Aunt Betty could give her a lift and she wouldn't have to wait there. My plan was of course far more of a PITA for her but it seemed to me the least disruptive in terms of Alan or I missing work, other people shuttling us back and forth to the dealership, and more scary to me, driving way past the dealership on that doughnut only to have to head back the next day to practically where we were the previous evening.

The only problem with my cunning plan was that I couldn't reach Mom via home or mobile. We decided to stop at her house anyway, thinking she'd surely be home soon. Besides, I had to go to the bathroom and a soda or wine wouldn't have been amiss. The plan was to make a pit stop and when she got there, we could discuss things, decide if we could switch cars or at minimum leave mine there, drive hers home and return it the next day, even if I had to miss work to take mine for repair myself. Less miles on the doughnut = safer.

Once at Mom's, we had bathroom breaks, a Pelligrino for Alan and a glass of wine for me. Mom hadn't turned up and still wasn't answering her mobile so I kept calling. Meanwhile, I saw "Miriam 5PM" on her wall calendar. Cleverly, I scrolled through her Caller ID until I found Miriam and phoned there, but got Miriam's answering machine.

To add to the fun, AT&T mobility reception is not great at Mom's. You have to stand in a certain spot for a call to go through, though this spot migrates, so I kept calling her mobile but from her home phone. As it turned out, she, Miriam and Miriam's Squeeze were at some holiday performance so her mobile was off. When she eventually turned it back on, she totally freaked out because the first 5 or 6 calls in the 'missed calls' log were her own house. *cue spooky music* The calls are coming from inside the house!!!

We eventually got it sorted and things worked as I'd hoped. Mom didn't have major plans so we switched cars, I went in to work and she took mine for a new wheel - there was damage to the rim so it needed an entire new wheel, not just a tyre, which is what I expected but still, ouch on the repair bill right before Christmas. We took her out to dinner last night as a thank-you when switching cars back, and the Helmobile is terrorizing elderly drivers and pedestrians once more.

Marshall The Repair Guy said my tyres were in excellent condition and that Alan must have run over something. Alan said he didn't and I believe them both. It's the Alan-Augusta curse, is what it is. Therefore, we must either buy Alan a new car or I will be driving to and from Augusta from now on. I announced this to Alan, whereupon my plan was met with disapproval. My husband seems to feel, for whatever completely unfounded reason, that I drive too fast.

"I have only had ONE speeding ticket my entire life!" I protested, quite truthfully. "And that was way back in 1991!"

"Whatever," grumped Alan.

"ONE ticket! That's not bad! I think most people have more than that. Some of them lots more!"

"That's because MOST people simply exceed the speed limit - they don't cause error readings on the radar gun."

Now, this was in no way fair comment and totally unsubstantiate-able. They can prove nothing! But okay, whatever, he can keep driving my car back and forth to Augusta. Soon as I get my Porsche.


  • Bwahahaha, I had to add this comment from Alan as he walked through the den: "I do not WRECK your car. I expose flaws in the build quality."

    By Blogger Helly, at 9:11 PM  

  • I'm laughing so hard I can't stand it. I'm glad you and the Helmobile are OK. It's also nice to know there are still Good Samaritans out there.

    I know Alan's line about exposing flaws in the building quality will be helpful to me at some point. Of course, being the ethical academic that I am, I'll cite him when using the quote :-).

    By Blogger basil, at 5:17 PM  

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