Well, It’s Alright…Now.

I’m just never supposed to leave the house. If you can recall our last family vacation, it didn’t go all that well… So you’d think I would be a little weary this time around. Nope. Naive as Bambi. Friday afternoon at 1:00 we loaded up my Range Rover with enough supplies to make an army comfortable and set out to visit my husband’s mom and step-father in Greenville, SC. Our son had been so excited to go all week because we kept telling him that Can-Can and Pooh had drawers and drawers of cars and trucks and a big pool in their back yard. He couldn’t stop talking about it.
So Friday afternoon our son was buckled in and the family dog was nervously awaiting the wind to blow through her hair. It is currently 96 degrees in the shade of our garage. G turns the key. Nothing happens. This is not necessarily new news. My car battery has been refusing to cooperate for months now. We decided we would jump it because, heaven forbid, we go through the trouble of unloading everything and reloading it into a functional car. Totally should have gone through that trouble…

We stopped to grab a bagel and sang along while the Traveling Wilburys told us it would Be Alright… (I tried not to focus on the fact that the title of the song is, “End of the Line”.) About 30 miles into the trip, with the A/C on full blast, we’re making good time on I-85 when my car starts smoking, the thermostat jumps into red and everything quickly starts smelling like burnt maple syrup. We pull over to the first gas station we see in Gastonia, look under the hood and shield our faces from the spewing volcano of what we can only guess was coolant. Awesome. We get back in the car and I enter ‘service station’ into the GPS and nothing comes up. I enter ‘burnt maple syrup car’, nothing. I enter ‘auto repair’ and get one hit. We find the place, park the car, frantically run in, only to be told that they have just one man working and couldn’t possibly help us. But the two-toothed, very kind, older gentleman was quite eager to tell us where to go. He said, ‘Horaces’ was the only place in town who could fix our problem. (The whole time I kept thinking he was saying, ‘horses’ and was hoping Gastonia had progressed more than that.) We thanked the man, I silently wished teeth upon him, and loaded everyone back into my dying-old-lady of a car. As we go to back out of the gravel parking ‘lot’, we suddenly realize we have been blocked in by a giant tow-truck. It is now 98 degrees and we are directly in the sun, there is no A/C, our son is strapped in his hot-box of a car seat and the family dog is now panting so heavily that the car is shaking.

♫’It’s Alright…Even When Push Comes To Shove…’♫

We wait 15 minutes before the tow truck decides to stop bullying us. We barely make it to Horaces/Not Horses in congested, bumper to bumper traffic only to find that it is closed and appears to have been that way for decades. (I suppose the two-toothed, very kind, older gentleman doesn’t get out much.) All we can do now is keep driving and hope for another service center, or at the very least a horse. At least when we’re moving, we get the luxury of 98 degree cross-breeze.

♫’It’s Alright…Riding Around in the Breeze…‘♫

Then, several, long minutes later, we see a small station down the hill that looks promising, or at the very least, open. We coasted the Rover right into their lot and found out they would be happy to take a look. They also said they could smell us coming down the hill. Apparently, according to Jeff, the owner, we were leaking battery acid, which had burned a hole right through the radiator hose. Awesome. (I feel at this point now in my story I should mention that this Range Rover is my father’s car. It was always his dream to own a Range Rover and he worked his hiney off to be able to get one. This was years ago and now I’m thankfully driving it.) So we thought it best to to call him and ask what he wanted to do . He said he wanted the dealership to take care of it and was having a tow truck come and pick it up. Jeff was not very pleased with this idea so he charged us a lot of money to sit there and gave us dirty looks while we waited.

♫’It’s Alright…Sometimes You Gotta Be Strong…Well It’s Alright…’♫

So, we waited. And waited and waited and waited. We’re all stale from multitudes of dried sweat and our luggage is melting in the now 100 degree sun. My son keeps asking where the pool is and where all the drawers and drawers of cars and trucks are…thank Goodness for ‘Popular Mechanics’. I almost think he’s convinced this is Pooh and Can-Can’s new home. I’m just trying to keep my son happy with one hand while I balance the family dog in my lap with the other hand. Then my son starts telling me he’s hungry (me too honey, that bagel is long gone…) and the dog is drooling all over my used-to-be-cute-outfit. I didn’t pack a lot because the drive was only supposed to be 1 1/2 hours but I did happen to bring some of my Cereal Bars and the last loaf of my White Chocolate Pound Cake that I made before our last family vacation. (Come to think of it, I can probably blame all this mess on the Pound Cake.)
We’re sitting in this service station in Gastonia for over three hours until my father, who was on his way home from a 2 week long vacation, comes to pick us up. He hadn’t even been home yet before he dropped off my mother and turned right back around to come to our rescue. He drives up, like our knight in Davidson basketball shirt, and shuttles us home where we transfer the stuff from his car into G’s car, which is what we should have done 5 hours ago. We backed out of our tow-truck-free driveway and headed out, yet again, to Greenville.

♫’Don’t Have To Be Ashamed of the Car I Drive…
I’m Just Glad To Be Here, Happy To Be Alive…’

At this point I really need a shower. Badly. The whole way there I keep thinking of ways to not be rude to my in-laws but also get some kind of refresher right off the bat. We made it there safely, son and dog slept the entire way, and nothing exciting happened. (We do, however, find out that as we were driving to Greenville for the final time, a tornado blew right through my parents yard and chased my father inside before it demolished several trees and took the power lines with it. Someone was surely out to get us Wades that day…) We finally pulled into Pooh and Can-Can’s driveway and unloaded our luggage for the third time that day. I hugged and kissed them, walked right through the house, stripped off all my clothes and jumped into their pool while my son happily played with drawers and drawers of cars and trucks.
‘It’s Alright…Everything’ll Work Out Fine…
*Abbey’s Emergency Chewy Cereal Bars

-In a large, microwave safe bowl, heat 4 TB of unsalted butter and 5 cups of mini marshmallows for 2-3 minutes or until fully melted. Stir halfway through cooking time. (*use a greased spatula for stirring to prevent sticking.)
-Add 2 cups of rolled oats, 3 cups of any cereal you’d like, and a handful of dried cranberries, dates or raisins. (I like to use any cereal that’s high in fiber and low in sugar.) Stir with greased spatula until everything is incorporated.
-Press this into a 13*9 inch, greased pan and allow to cool. Cut into bars or squares.

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  • Reply Anonymous July 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    As her Mother-in-law, I can swear that this is all the truth! We were never as happy to see a car in our driveway as on Friday Night! And we all played cars and trucks all weekend….Amen!

  • Reply Tinky July 13, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Oh, Abbey, what a saga! I hope you stayed in that pool for a very long time and let someone else make the (yummy-sounding) cereal bars. Bless your whole family on both sides……..

  • Reply Pam July 14, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Your writing is great! I really enjoyed reading this!

    What a trip! Nothing I can say could top this but I'm glad you arrived at Pooh's and Can-Can's safely! We're going to be grandparents for the first time in February and I can only imagine how glad they were to see you all. Love the names for the GP's!!!

    BTW, we almost retired to Greenville, SC. I love, love it there and it surely beats the long, cold winters here. But, the baby will be near here, so we absolutely have to stay here now!

    I'm looking forward to reading more of your great writing! You need to write a book if you haven't already!

  • Reply Everyday Champagne July 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks for all your kind words! Tinky-I wish I could have stayed in that pool all weekend long..it helped wash away the 'saga' 🙂
    And Pam-congrats on your new arrival! And yes, greenville is great-my in-laws love it!
    Thanks again for reading!

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