Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Heather just called me and informed me that our car has officially gone from bad to worse. She was able to drive the car out to school this morning (about a 40 minute drive) but it seems wise to stop driving it permanently now. She told me she would hate to be driving it if it catches on fire. I concurred with that delicate assessment.
So, Heather has arranged for someone from the kids' school to drive her to the neighboring town where Heather works. Hopefully, a teacher from the kids' school can give the kids a ride home this afternoon.
We knew the car was on its last legs but were hoping it would hold out for another two months at least until the kids finished school, but I guess the fulfillment of that wish was not in the cards for us.
I am amazed at how Heather is just taking this in stride. She was chuckling when she called me just now.
I must say: this morning I laughed a little bit myself. We had parked the car out on the street last night because yesterday morning when Heather started it up a cloud of smoke came out the exhaust pipe that was so huge it made me think, "So, this must have been the sight when the cloud covered Mount Sinai as God met with Moses." I felt a bit like Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments, hopelessly unhip. (Also: redneck, ghetto, hick, and, uh, dopey).
The car produced so much smoke yesterday that it set off the fire alarm in the garage. We all stood around like nerds at prom, not knowing what to do. If we smiled, it was out of discomfort. Finally, with the fire alarm still blaring, we decided that Heather would start the car once again to at least get the car out of the garage while I rushed over to the keyed entry pad to open the garage door so Heather could escape the crime scene as quickly as possible. The kids were instructed not to sit in the car at this point because we weren't sure what was going to happen. So, there I was: running in our garage with two kids right behind me, chasing our old jalopy that was belching pollution, so as to arrange for its quick escape from prison.
Thankfully, she made it out safely and the kids piled in the car. She made it out to school, then to work and back home at the end of the day but we still weren't sure how much longer we should use it.
Last night, we moved the car out of the garage again because we noted that the car only emitted a third of the smoke when it was started after only a few hours of rest (as opposed to 8 or 10 hours of rest). Thankfully, we found a place on the street to park it. So, this morning, I accompanied Heather and the kids down to the car to see what would happen. I had my doubts that the car would produce as much smoke as yesterday morning, but, lo and behold: it doth.
I looked at Heather to acknowledge that, ahem, she was right and I was wrong--the first time that has ever happened. Ahem.
She drove off down the street leaving a distillery in her wake, with the smoke monster from Lost chasing close behind her. Out of the cloud I could even hear the clicking mechanistic noises said monster makes. I had the dog with me and hoped she would suffocate. Alas, she didn't so we walked in the opposite direction. One long block later: I was still walking in the cloud of unknowing, the smell of a geriatric car fart still wafting past my cowering nostrils.
I prayed for Heather and the car and the kids many times this morning, asking God to spare the car just a few more weeks so as to make life not-so-difficult on us as a family. But I guess this is one prayer that God will not answer in the affirmative. Yes, even ministers can't always convince God to give them what they want.
But God can give them what they need: strength, hope and good humor. Last year at about this time I proposed a theory: hope is for idiots. We still have confirmation of that. Laugh with us.