Sunday, September 13, 2009

this is SO not even funny

Ryan left early Saturday and is out of town all week for a convention/conference thingie for work.
I took him to the airport myself, because one- I have a thing about taking him to the airport myself and saying goodbye (because heaven forbid, what if it's the last trip he takes... I want to be the one seeing him off and getting a kiss at the very last moment. Crazy, I know.) and two- I jokingly reminded him that the last few times he's left for any real length of time (as in longer than a weekend), one of our vehicles has ended up breaking down on me. Meaning, I need a back-up car at home rather than him parking one at the airport.


Mostly jokingly anyway.
I certainly didn't think it would be true. Again.

So I was left with two cars sitting in the garage this week for me to choose from.
Our 4Runner, "my" car, and the little Mazda3, "his" car.
Just so you know, neither is in tip-top shape right now; when we last had the tires on the Toyota rotated this summer they told us something (I have no idea what) was broken and leaking in the back wheel... like part of the strut or something? I really don't know. But whatever it was, it was no big deal, nothing that was imperative or would even be noticeable to us. Just to get it fixed someday. The last week or so though, we've noticed the car is a little stinky when we get to wherever we're going... smells like burning fluid or burning brakes or something. Ryan thinks it probably has to do with whatever needs repairing back there so we were planning on taking it in when he gets back.
The Mazda, not to be the forgotten child, has been acting up, popping out of third gear... sometimes quite violently (read: loudly). Quite annoying, but is otherwise okay. Just have to shift into third gingerly... or I've been skipping it altogether.
We have been pretty lucky with vehicles. Really never had any problems, ever, with any of them. Never any emergencies, never any big surprises.
Except, apparently, when my husband leaves town.

Not realizing this is now an established fact, I took the kids out to Columbia today to be with the Laughlins for Evan's dedication at church and to hang out for the day. I went ahead and took the Mazda, slightly concerned about the Toyota's case of the stink, but really I hardly gave that a thought; we just normally take the Mazda on these longer trips thinking of gas mileage.

Well, once we left town, the Mazda was acting up horribly today. Third gear?... it was having none of it. And maybe I was imagining it, but I felt like 4th was starting to slip too.
Okay, I think, so we just need to get home and lay low for the week. I don't really want to push my luck with it --especially with Ryan out of town! And it's not like I have anymore 100 mile roadtrips planned this week...

So we head home this evening and I get about 50 miles down the road - still 40 miles from home- and suddenly, driving 75 down the freeway, I hear a faint thumping/flapping/dragging sound. My stomach sank. I knew it was something under the car. And I knew I hadn't run over anything. It was something from my car.
Crap! What if this poor transmission, the one we've been ignoring it's pleas for help for the past few weeks, what if the transmission was actually falling out of the car?!!

I slowed and moved over, biding my time until the next exit, almost two miles ahead. I made it to the exit (all the while watching for other drivers trying to flag me down, envisioning my car catching on fire, flames shooting out from under the body) and pulled over to have a look. Turns out the bottom of piece of plastic under the engine decided to come halfway unbolted. All torn up from the road and missing a bolt or two, basically the whole passenger side of the undercarriage cover thingie (I know- probably totally the wrong words) was hanging down. It was still attached at the very front and driver side of the car.

Now first of all, I can barely see or reach under the car, given that it's a sport model, lowish to the ground. I can't get under the car, all I can do is reach. I realize I can't reattach the cover. Possibly if I had tools (big possibly), but I didn't. And I couldn't remove the whole thing... again with the tools. But here was this huge hard plastic piece hanging on the ground under my engine and I had stupidly pulled into a parking spot in this parking lot. Meaning even if it would hurt nothing to leave this piece dragging until I got home, I couldn't really reverse with this hard edge hanging down.

I called Ryan.
"The car broke."
"The car broke."
"You're kidding."
"The Car. Broke."
"You're joking"
"I am not joking. And I hope you know you're never leaving again."

I was pretty close to calling our emergency roadside number. In the end, since it seemed the actual engine was still intact, I managed to finagle it to where I kind of shoved the cover back up into the frame it came unbolted from. I sort of bent and pulled and turned it inside out to get it to stay.
And got back on the freeway.

I got about 25 miles and heard it fall down again. So we pulled over and stopped for dinner and I got under the car and shoved it back up again before we got back on the road.
And then we made it home.

And I am officially never driving again when Ryan's out of town.


Nicole said...

OMG OMG OMG HAHAHAHH! Sorry to laugh at you but I can NOT believe your luck. I can totally hear your conversation with Ryan in my head HAHAH! You had better just stay home when Ryan leaves town.

Kelli said...

i totally feel your pain right now! my jeep broke down today...while joe was stranded in little rock with the band van broken!!

hang in there...and ride your bike till ryan gets home :)

Heather S. said...

Oh no! I am so sorry! You totally could have called us - Kevin would have totally met you and helped!! Let me know if you need me to run your errands for you!!

Angie said...

Heather - We need to meet again and I can give your our number. We could have helped you yesterday and if you need anything this week while your husband is out of town email me. I hate when we have car trouble - so sorry this happened!

K.M.L said...

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry! hope the damage isn't too bad and you know you could have called us if needed and we would have come and got ya. Hope the week goes fast so Ryan gets home! See ya soon!

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