Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm Pretty Sure I Didn't Sign Up for This...

Today was the day I was supposed to do lunch with my mom, and I did, but at a steep price.

In addition to lunch, I had made plans to run some errands, which included dropping the spiral slice ham off at STBX's apartment, getting a power strip and extension cord for the kids' new electronic gaming hardware and a gift bag for the kids' gift to the STBX.

STBX asked me if I wanted to take the kids with me to see my mom. I thought it was a good idea, checked with my mom to see if she was OK with it, and then proceeded according to plan. This seemed like the Right Thing to Do at the time because it allowed me to have some time with the kids so that they could help decorate the gift bag to give it their personal touch and then fill the bag.

At the STBX's request, I took her minivan because she thinks my car is too clunky to haul the kids across town, and she does have a point because I do need to get some new tires.

We stopped by my mom's apartment, and then we followed her to a casual dining establishment not too far away. Service was slow, so we were there for about two hours even though we had been seated right away.

After lunch, I loaded up the kids in the van and tried starting the engine. No dice. Dashboard lights came on fine, but the fuel gauge did not budge when I turned the key. Moreover, the engine doesn't try to turn over. On the way up, I noticed that the gauge registered at half a tank, so unless the gauge was lying earlier, I still had plenty of fuel.

I call my mom and she comes back to help. Several years ago, she had worked the service desk for an auto dealership, so she knew about basic troubleshooting. She drew a blank.

I finally had to call STBX to come up with my car to pick us up. I contacted a nearby towing service to haul the van to a car repair shop not two blocks from the site. One of my mom's friends had been a customer of theirs for a long time and had good things to say about them.

STBX drove me home and dropped me off a little over an hour ago. She has my car now, and is eating dinner with her best friend's family. After that they will head over to the friend's church for a Christmas Eve service.

The working plan is for her to pick up the dog and me after they are done socializing, which should be around 10 pm. I'll be staying the night over at her apartment, sleeping on the floor, so I can be there when the kids wake up and open presents.

The repair shop is open on Friday, so with some luck maybe they can diagnose and fix it in time for STBX to have her van back by the weekend so that we can use it to travel down to The Small Town together for my family gathering on Saturday.

The self soothing skills are stretched a bit thin right now.
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