Monday, February 04, 2008

Comedy of Errors, Except Not Funny At All

On Thursday evening, I dropped Sergio off at school and then stopped at the store for some laundry detergent. When I got back in the car, it wouldn't start. And that was the beginning of one of the more frustrating four day weekends I have ever had. Four day weekend only because we couldn't get many places, like school or work, while the car was broken. I really want to tell you all about the terrible, awful, no good weekend, but just the idea of going back through the events is exhausting.
Thursday night was particularly bothersome. I was only a mile from home so I walked from the store, however it was spitting snow and raining steadily, and dark, and I was wearing a dress and rain boots. So that was cold. Then I had to think about Sergio, who got out of class at 10 pm and had no way home. I called my neighbor/classmate, whom I consider a pretty good friend, and asked him for a ride later that night to get Sergio from school. He said no. Because he would be asleep by then.
I don't think I have ever felt quite so far from home. Who does that?
When I told Sergio this news, he said he would just walk the three miles home, along a busy road in the dark. And did I mention he has been sick all week? Thankfully, Sergio then found a shuttle that got him pretty close to the house. But the weekend got no better.
We spent most of Friday going up and down the hill to the car stranded at the grocery store while talking to both of our fathers on the phone trying to determine what was wrong with the car.
I take it back. This was when I felt furthest from home. In direct contrast to my sleepy classmate who couldn't be bothered with a 10 minute drive, both of our fathers offered to fly all the way to Portland just to help us with our car. That's love people.
Anyway, we decided it was probably the fuel pump. So we called a mechanic who told us that fixing that problem would be $900, not including the tow or the diagnostic testing. Oh, and we won't be able to pick it up until monday.
Very nice.
I'll stop boring you with the details, but here are the highlights. We decided to buy a car; In Arkansas, because it is cheaper. So we bought tickets to fly out Saturday morning, but then got a full refund at 4 am because there was going to be snow on the drive home and a train hit a bus in downtown Portland. I promise that makes sense.
So then we decided to buy the same car here in Portland. We then spent six hours listening to a 20 year old salesman from Tulsa tell us how he can kick the top of a door frame, and how fast he can drive all his cars. So, a hell of sorts. In the end the deal was ridiculous and we took the train, and then the bus to the law school in order to catch the shuttle. But it doesn't run on weekends. So we ended up doing that three mile walk in the dark, snow, and rain along a busy street together. I was wearing black dress shoes with no socks. I think we were so punch drunk by that time that we were actually able to really enjoy the walk.
On Sunday Sergio biked to the nearest auto parts store and bought a fuel pump, a set of wrenches, and a book that told him how to fix the problem. We (meaning he) then spent the next two days rolling around on the cold wet ground while the car was hiked up on a log, him learning how to repair a fuel pump. There was a lot of cursing. A lot. I know because I sat near him handing him tools. Not terribly helpful really, but I felt I should be there. Solidarity. We missed all but the last quarter of the Super Bowl, but the part we saw was great.
And that brings us to today. After lots more cursing and learning, we finished. It was thrilling. Unfortunately, the battery was dead and we had no way of knowing if the car worked until two hours later when another neighbor/classmate (of Sergio's) came and gave us a jump.
I don't think I can describe the happiness we both felt. And the competence.
So the car runs, our gas gauge works for the first time since we bought the car, and our 4 wheel drive service light went off. On top of all that goodness, we suddenly have internet at the house again. Hallelujah!


Anonymous said...

That story made me want to jump for joy. I will forever be grateful that there is someone watching over the two of you.


Shelley said...

That sounds horrible!!! Especially with the weather you guys have had up there. I'm glad things are back to normal and hope you don't have any other issues for a looong time.

Miriam said...

Good post.