Sure, I appear sweet and innocent. But there is something about me many people don’t know. I’m a bit of a disaster in several areas; Plants and all manners of greenery cringe in my presence. I literally cannot make a bowl of cereal without creating a mess. In conversation I speak my mind and what is politically correct doesn’t occur to me until much later, if at all. But the topic of today’s blog, I am an absolute horror when it comes to vehicles.
It started out innocently enough. I never was much of a parallel parker. I got through my driving exam and I think perhaps one downtown excursion (14 minutes of red-faced, one inch interval pulling forwards and backwards, honking all around, “Where’d you learn to drive, kid?!” stopping up traffic,) since.
Then began the flat tires in college. My poor father was blown away by the sheer volume of the occurrences.
“Again?!” he said after the fourth time in like two months.
He was convinced that someone was threatening me. But I figured that would come with a note, some dead roses, or at least a box of fish and a morose Sicilian in a rumpled suit telling me to mind my own business while organ music played in the background.
My husband, thankfully, is both a handy guy and has a sense of humor. And clearly, REALLY loves me.
“No deposit, no return!” My dad likes to remind him cheerfully from time to time.
Flash forward thirteen years to the latest string of auto-related catastrophies. A couple of weeks ago on a Friday. I was to bake a Wario (Yes, Wario) cake for a birthday party we were to attend in Lexington the next day plus 4 dozen cupcakes for a different event. My dishwasher was broken. Chaos level: standard to threatening skies. I had been to the pumpkin patch on a field trip with my two youngest, picked the others up from school, baked all of the cakes and cupcakes (the last dozen of which were still in tins cooling, none frosted yet,) threw my kids in the car with powdered sugar still on my hands/clothes/hair, screeched the car to a halt, ran back in the house to grab the present for the party my oldest was attending across town and noted the confectionary carnage strewn across the counter as I sprinted back to the car. We make the party only a few minutes late and I have the brilliant idea to pick up some pizzas through the Little Caesar’s drive thru so I can continue working on cupcakes/cake before having to pick up oldest in a few hours.
“Your car’s on fire,” a helpful, if frightened, stranger tells us when we reach the window.
“Jeez, there is stuff POURING out. I think it’s anti-freeze,” another pipes up.
Of course it is. I nod, accept my pizzas, and pull forward into a parking space, shutting off the car. My husband is doing door to door for his campaign until dark so I was lucky to contact him in short order.
The fact that my husband was unsurprised…did not surprise me. His sigh was akin to “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.” He got the car home, I finished the cake and cupcakes around midnight and texted the recipient, “Good news, cake is gorgeous, bad news, car exploded and we can’t bring it to you tomorrow.”
Thankfully, cake seems to promote world peace and the good man not only picked up the cake but brought me a jumbo-sized bottle of Dawn when my dish soap ran out to combat my broken dishwasher.
I asked my husband if he thought I was cursed. Before I finished “cursed” came his effusive “YES!”
Yeah, so okay he may have a point. At least he and our friend managed to fix the car the following day…
…or so we thought.
Flash forward to this past Saturday. Chaos level : Middlin’, staying on schedule would prevent Danger Will Robinson status. The associates and I made a coffee run, dropped off my oldest at her Girl Scout Troop Leader’s house, booked it across town for my youngest’s dance class, make a quick grocery run and went through the dress up center to put together costumes for a birthday party we had to be at shortly. (Because it is like 6 days before Halloween, who has their costumes yet, right?) Head to the party at the picnic grounds bordering the wildlife center for a birthday party followed by a Trick or Treat with the Animals event. Then the afternoon gets away from us and it’s time to fly across town to get my oldest from the Kohl’s parking lot.
Hereby we lay our scene.
I leave the car running with the AC cooling my hot, hurried kids who all need a water/bathroom break while I have a quick conversation with the Troop Leader parked right beside me. It is at the conclusion of the conversation when I climb back into my car and breathe in the funkier-than-narwhal-scented air that I realize there is a problem. I glance to see the steam rolling out of the hood of the car and think, “Oh no, not again.”
A nice young man with tattoos appears and asks if I am all right because there is liquid pouring out of the bottom of the car. He was so polite and got my vehicle in running order so I could get home and even apologized that my kids were in the hot car. I tried to give the guy some money or get his address as he used his own sweatshirt to screw off the refraction cap (or whatever the thing is called) that was smoking under the hood of the car. But he would take nothing and only tell me his name was Andrew.
I am so thankful there are such wonderful people out there to play guardian angels to whirlwinds like me. People like my dad who would still come out in the dead of night if I ever needed him, and my husband who may or may not actually think I’m cursed but who I have no doubt really really loves me, people like the man who, chuckling, brought me dish soap as he picked up his son’s birthday cake, people like miss Sarah who put aside her errands to run and get anti-freeze, and Andrew who gained nothing other than enthusiastic thanks and hopefully, someone, somewhere bakes the guy some fabulous cupcakes one day.