Greta (my green New Beetle) was sick last night so Ryan replaced her battery and all was well. Today I set off to go see my brother and sister-in-law and niece since today is my brother's birthday and I'd offered them some free babysitting so they could go out alone. I got almost as far as Brenham before things started going bad. First, my iPod shuffle radio thingy went out and the radio went out as well. Very strange. Then the ABS light went on and 30 seconds later, the airbag light went on. Oh, crap. I tried to signal to change lanes and the car jerked. Double crap. I was in the right lane and wondering if I should pull over and where. Then the your parking brake is still on and you're driving you dumbass light and squealing started. At first it was intermittent, but then it wouldn't stop and the car started choking. Oh, crap. Pull over. At the side of the road, in the middle of the country.
I called Ryan and he started to tell me about something that was going on with him and then he stopped.
He said, "Are you there already?"
I said, "no."
He said, "Is everything okay?"
And I said, "No. So, what were you saying?"
Knowing how I get weird in a crisis, he asked me what was going on. He said he would check his VW forum, call the dealer and get on the road to come pick me up. He asked if I was anywhere near civilization and I said well, kind of. He suggested I find a business to hang out in while I waited for him since he was at least an hour's drive away.
Ahead there were some signs that I couldn't make out and some bright and shiny golf carts. I walked only a little way before some young woman stopped and asked if I was okay. I thanked her and said my husband was coming to pick me up and I was going to go to one of the businesses ahead. After she drove off, I thought that perhaps I should have asked her to give me a ride for the quarter mile. Ah well. My mama told me never to get in the car with strangers. Even nice and friendly young women.
I got to the golf carts and realized to my dismay that the business was a tiny trailer or shed, really. Oh crap. There was a nice house farther back but a big barking dog. I did see a large sign for a custom cabinets design center ahead. I was praying it was their sign and not a billboard for a business seventeen miles away. I saw a big, nice building set back from the road, but there was a sign out front saying,"Office space for lease." Crap. There was only one truck out front and there was a teenage boy cutting down some brush. He was very friendly and asked if he could help me and I asked if the business was open and he said yes. Whew. The only other option was a yard ornaments place across the higway and then grass and trees as far as the eye could see.
I walked down the drive and into the big building that looked like a big house. It was largely open and the one person in there was working with two people. They looked up when I walked in but kept on with what they were doing. I found a nice wooden bench in front of a display of cabinets and drawer pulls. Not a bad place to be forced to wait. A bit later, the salesperson came out and asked if I needed any help. I told her my car had broken down a bit down the road and asked if she minded if I sat there for a while until my husband came to pick me up. She was very sweet and left me alone with my novel. And I almost didn't bring it since I was planning to babysit and didn't think I'd have time. See? See! You need a novel at all times!
Anyway, I realized that I had very little cell phone signal. I tried to text Ryan to tell him that I was safe off the road and in a/c. In these parts, that's a serious consideration. I also texted and asked him to call Julie and tell her I wasn't coming because I suck! I also texted the website of the place (on their sign--I went outside briefly to see if I could get some more "bars"). I called and he said he was on the phone with the dealer and it looked like the alternator. DamnShitHellFuck!
He ended up texting saying that he was on his way. He ended up calling the business and the young woman very kindly let me use the phone and he said he was just leaving town and I asked him to pick up McDonald's for me since I was hungry. It took him a really long time to get there, but it always feels like a long time when you're waiting. I did enjoy eavesdropping on the conversation of the people ordering cabinets and the small-town gossip. I also realized that I was probably closer to town than I'd thought. I had a brief fear that I'd missed the turn-off to Austin, but I found the address for the place and it was Hwy 290 in Heampstead, which is before Brenham. I was thinking Ryan wouldn't be able to find me. Duh. As if, spring green Greta at the side of the road wouldn't tip him off.
He texted me, just found Greta. As I was texting him back to see if he wanted me to meet him, he pulled into the gravel driveway. I looked into the showroom and found a pad to write a short note to thank them for letting me stay there and being so kind. The saleswoman had gone into the back to vacuum, although she came out as Ryan walked in and we thanked her profusely. Just because I am a city girl doesn't mean I don't appreciate kind country folk.
We drove into Brenham and got us some Whataburger. YUM! We ate there and listened to some fabulous 50's music. We did see signs for the ice-cream festival tomorrow. For those of you who aren't local, Brenham is the home of Blue Bell Ice Cream, The Best Ice Cream in the Country. Okay, it's so rich it makes me sick, but I will admit that it's good. Having graduated from a school with an on-campus creamery/dairy store, I appreciate that kind of thing. We got back into the car and went back to Greta. Ryan changed her battery again and she started again without a problem. He had suggested that I could take his car, Klaus, and he would drive back to town alone and I said, thanks, but I'll follow you home.
The drive back to town went well. Long. Especially knowing that Ryan didn't have any electronics on at all. No radio and no a/c. Ugh. Then traffic got really heavy as we came into town. Rush hour on Friday. I was petrified that Greta would seize up again. We got home safely, though. Ryan ended up taking her to Auto Zone and they checked her alternator and pronounced it dead. Ryan also found someone in town who would sell him the right kind of rebuilt one. He's going to see if he can put it in tomorrow. And if that doesn't work, we can always ask my students in the auto tech program. I'm sure they have the tools and they'd be thrilled to help me out.
So, we're home and safe and it looks like the repair won't be ridiculously expensive. I have very cheap labor. Skilled, but very affordable. And cute. :)
I am very, very sad about not being able to babysit, both because I hate disappointing Tim & Julie and flaking out on them and also because I was looking forward to holding sweet baby Stella. I haven't seen her since she was just freshly born. Argh! Why do all the people I love have to live so far away?
If you need any custom cabinets, check out NuForms Design Center. They're really nice! :)