Yesterday morning I had lots of things to accomplish, but everything I tried to do went horribly, horribly wrong. Here's a little timeline:
8:15 a.m. - I leave home and head to the post office to drop off 400-odd newsletters. It turns out the Bulk Mail office doesn't open until 9:00 a.m. Grrr. Luckily it stays open until 8:00 p.m., so at least I can deal with it in the evening.
8:25 a.m. - Since I can't do the newsletter mailing, I have time to drop off a pan of baked ziti to a friend who is recently home with a new baby. I head in that direction.
8:35 a.m. - I'm almost to my destination when the car completely stalls. The "Achtung" light goes on and I have all battery power, but it can't turn over. Luckily, I'm in the right-hand lane, so I put on my hazard lights and count on the fact that the car is bright yellow to save me from being hit by other drivers. Did I mention it's raining? I immediately call my husband, who is still asleep. After I repeat, "This is an emergency! Answer the phone!" about ten times into the answering machine, he manages to scramble to the phone. We briefly discuss what's going on and he gets off the line to call a tow truck and our mechanic.
8:45 a.m. - I call work to let them know that I'm stranded for an indefinite period of time. I don't have any meetings, so I figure nobody will really notice anyway, but they are very sympathetic.
9:00 a.m. - An Audi sedan stops and the driver asks me if I need help. The driver has kind of a good ol' boy vibe, which is a bit incongruous. I tell him, "Thanks, but I have a tow truck on the way." I appreciate the thought, though.
9:15 a.m. - Most drivers are doing a good job of noticing my flashers and stalled position 1/2 a block from the intersection. Others are frighteningly inattentive. About once every five or ten minutes, a car will race up on me at full speed and brake inches from my bumper, then sit there for a long pause before taking in my "disabled car" status. Many of these drivers are so close to me at this point that they must actually back up to get around me.
9:30 a.m. - I had meant to grab some breakfast after dropping off the ziti, so I'm getting extremely hungry. I call my husband to make sure he's on his way and, when I discover he has plans to stop by McDonald's, request the only McDonald's breakfast food I can stomach: a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. While I'm on the phone, another good Samaritan slows to ask if I need a ride or any help. It's a woman in a van. I thank her and tell her there's a tow truck on the way, even though I'm starting to have doubts about it myself.
9:45 a.m. - Traffic has actually picked up, which means more people bearing down on me while distracted by their cell phones, breakfasts or general mental fuzziness. One person has the gall to honk at me. By then my blood sugar is low enough that I don't care about anything except when my breakfast biscuit is going to arrive. I do start to wonder if my flashers are actually on. Surely people can't be paying that little attention to their driving? Oh, but they can.
9:48 a.m. - My husband shows up with my breakfast biscuit and - oh joy! - an apple pie. I snarf down all the food and we discuss the car's problem. He thinks it might be the starter and I agree because it's been taking a while to turn over lately. We both hope it isn't the timing belt because we know it's time to replace the belts on the car and, in fact, have an appointment with our mechanic on Thursday to do just that.
10:05 a.m. - Finally the tow truck arrives. The driver doesn't know where our mechanic's shop is, so my husband decides to ride with him and I decide to take the other vehicle and drop off the ziti. I drive the few remaining blocks to my friend's house. Nobody is there. Sigh.
10:20 a.m. - I return to the scene of the breakdown and the car is on the tow truck's flatbed. I head to the mechanic's shop so I can meet them when they arrive.
I'll drop the timeline, except to point out that I didn't make it into the office until about 11:30 a.m. Our mechanic's shop was jammed with cars when we arrived, so we didn't hear the verdict until about 2:30 p.m. I must have looked like a thundercloud while I was there, because the mechanic called my husband to tell him the news: it was the timing belt. Because of the way my car's engine is configured, that means that all sixteen valves are bent and the whole engine will need to be rebuilt. At great expense, of course.
The only bright spot is that the person who bought my previous car is picking it up today, so at least we'll have the money to pay for the repairs. I was feeling morose and broody all afternoon, but after I forced myself to do a mental "count your blessings" list, and then had a chance to visit my friends and hold their adorable new baby, I cheered up and put everything in its proper perspective. My life really is wonderful - sometimes I just get mired in the minor setbacks. Fresh start today, though!