Not my van, but one just like it

Not my van, but one just like it

I’m warning you now… this is long. This week has been quite an adventure. I used that title because my adventure this week totally reminds me of something off of Friends, or some other sitcom. Sigh…. where to start? Last month I sent in what would be the last car loan payment for my 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan. YEAH! While that is exciting, it did not excite me as much as it should because all I do is sit around and dream about getting a shiny new SUV one day soon. LOL! However, in reality I am very glad to no longer have a car note for a while. That will be nice.

On Saturday my fiance and I ran several errands, one of which was putting air in the tires on my van. He filled up the front 2 tires. The back did not appear to need it at the time. When I got home and checked the mail I opened up the envelope containing my car title. Wooo!! I did not drive anywhere on Sunday. On Monday afternoon it was my day to pick up my kids from school. As I was backing out of the garage (as I have done every day since I have lived in that house since 2006), I was too close to the garage door opening and I clipped the side of the garage with my driver’s side mirror. Doh!! The mirror now has a nice crack in it, and a little of the plastic cracked off the edge. It is nothing too terrible though. I can still see.

On Tuesday afternoon I once again picked the kids up from school. Driving all day had been difficult. All of the snow that we have been having this winter means that my van is FILTHY. I did not care. I knew that as soon as it gets washed it will immediately get dirty again. However, I was having a hard time seeing out of the windows because of white salt dust, etc. I’m sure many others can relate with the crazy weather much of the US has been getting. I decided that it would be good to wash some of the salt off the car, and it would be awesome to have clear windows. I also needed to fill up the gas tank. I headed to the GoLo not too far from home. I filled up and purchased a car wash. We entered the car wash, and I was feeling good about my decision. I thought that the way the soap looked on the window was cool so I posted this photo on Instagram:


As I pulled out of the carwash and headed towards home I heard a strange noise. I knew what it sounded like, but I hoped that I was wrong. I pulled off into the Speedway where I usually buy gas. Luckily they have a few parking spaces available. My fears were realized as I got out and looked at the car. I had a flat. A stinking, nasty, flat tire!!


I believe it was my first flat ever. Ughhh!!! I was SO tired after being at the Chicago Auto Show for most of the day. Ironic really. I had spent the past few days looking at shiny new cars and dreaming. Meanwhile my own car was plotting against me. Ugh. I made a call to roadside assistance. I expected a smooth call and process. I was on hold about 15 minutes before someone answered. Then I was told that they could not verify my eligibility and that I would have to pay and get reimbursed later by my insurance. I did not want to deal with that. I said that I would call my local office and see if they could straighten it out. Of course now since I held on so long it was about 5:12pm or so at the time. You guessed it… they had just closed. Sigh… I called roadside assistance back prepared to just pay. However, they connected me with the insurance’s 24 hour number. They were able to facilitate the process and give them the info that they needed to bill them directly. Whew. I expected to wait maybe an hour or so for someone to show up. Remember, I’m in the car with my 4 kids. Luckily they were occupied with gadgets and Despicable Me 2.

An hour later I was still waiting. At some point I received a call to verify the address. I thought this meant that they would soon be on the way. 30 minutes later I was still waiting. At some point I received an automated call asking how my service went. Now I felt like my favorite scene from the first Despicable Me…

I was ready to lose it at this point. I pushed the button for customer service and explained that I had not yet received service. She apologized for the automated message and checked on the status of the rep. She said that it may be another 30 minutes. I just really wanted to go home and the kids were getting antsy. Meanwhile the Speedway semi shows up to start loading up the station with gas. At first he was blocking us. I was sure that the rep would arrive and not see us. Luckily he was able to move up.

So…. I finally get a call (we had been waiting about 2.5 hours at this point) from the roadside assistance tech saying “I am here.” I’m like “where?” and I tell him where I am located. He says, “Ok. I am right behind you now.” I look back and I do not see what I expected. Instead of a well marked tow truck or pickup truck I see a hoopty with tape on the window! I’m thinking “WTF?!?!” Out hops the tech. He has on SAGGING PANTS!! And I notice a second person reclining in the passenger seat. I decide that I’ve been waiting long enough, I won’t be picky… as long as he can put on the spare and get us out of there, I’m good. And I tell myself “Well I guess it’s nice to have a friend ride around with you on these random late night calls… just in case.” So anyway, he gets to work, gets the spare, gets his tools out of the truck, and I give him the toolset that came with the van. After a bit I get a report that he cannot get the existing tire off because 2 of the lug nuts are too tight to be loosened by hand. I let out a loud expletive. In his defense, he was a very nice young man and he understood my frustration, but he just could not do it.

In a desperate plea (with myself), I decide #($*$ this, we are too close to home. I’m driving home on this flat! We were only 3.8 miles away which is less than 10 minutes. It was late enough that traffic was not heavy so I put on my hazards and slowly drove the short distance home going between 5-10 miles per hour the whole way. Yes, that took a while. By the time we got home the tire looked like someone had attacked it with a knife. LOL! It took some work to get into the garage because of snow and ice in the driveway, but we did it. While driving I was on the phone with my honey who was still at work. He decided that he would go home, pack a bag, stop at Autozone, get some tools, and head over to see if he could remove the tire (I guess he loves me). He tried and tried, but it was not to be. So he *sacrificed* leaving the kids and I his car which is more spacious for 4 kids while he took the other car, the Benz (which I affectionately named Halle) to work. (Eye roll… what a sacrifice. LOL).

I had 2 events to attend on Wednesday. I knew that I would have to handle this issue on Thursday. I made some calls first to the insurance office to tell them about my service (or lack there of). She apologized and recommended a different service that would come out to tow the car. She said that they had stopped using those other guys because of similar situations. She told me to scratch that number off on my card and that she would send out new cards with the new number. I set up the tow service to take my car to NTB for the next day to get a new tire. I called NTB to tell them what happened since they were the ones that installed the other tires just about one year ago. As my luck would have it my tires were discontinued. There was only one in the system and they would have to order it. It would be a week. I decided that I did not care about matching tires and told him to just pick something close. I did not want to wait a week!

The good news in all of this is that part went smoothly. With my luck I was afraid that my car would fall off the tow truck, or that I would get to NTB and get the news of needing 5 other new things to make the new tire fit! Luckily I got a nice credit for the existing tire, got them rotated, and got an oil change. So far things have been uneventful since then.

Although… that was only 2 things going wrong with the car, and these things usually happen in 3s, don’t they? Oh boy…