Recipe for a Roadtrip to Boston with The Things to do Christmas with the Family:
We pack up everything we own. My heart breaks into 8 million pieces as I check on the cat's food and water and realize that we have no cat, nor a food or water bowl because it's all gone and she's buried in the backyard.
I experience a minor medical calamity that I don't have time for, and very nearly miss the darned ferry.
Drag kids, 482 bags, a cooler and a carseat (booster seat) onto the ferry boat. It's cold.
I try not to think about cat being cold.
I gag, remembering again.
Think of big steaming mug of coffee with Sambuca instead.
Realize Sambuca was name of last cat.
Choke, and trip over rolling suitcase whose wheels have gone awry. Realize It's been dragging for some time as evidenced by the drag marks in the sand on the road. Realize also that everybody in the ferry terminal is watching. Wave to the windows at the ferry terminal. No less than four people wave back. Glad to provide comic relief.
Head into ferry office to buy tickets. Visit with the Crazy Girls who run the show.
Head over to the van, which I haven't laid eyes on since October-something. It's plowed in.
Decide to wait until next ferry is loaded, as a huge dump truck is in front of my van, and it looks like I'm going to need a ferocious running start to slam my way out of that snowbank.
Visit with Crazy Girls for almost an hour, until ferry boat leaves.
Borrow shovel to break up ice covering snowbank. Ice will rip off the oil pan under your car.
Ask me how I know this.
Ice breaks up easily as it's turned rather warm and sunny (for winter in Maine). Load kids into car. Search for carseat. Find carseat in ferry office, where nobody claims to have put it, 15 minutes later.
Strap in carseat. Check seatbelts on both Things, neither of whom can be trusted to buckle correctly.
Insert key into ignition....and we're off....
Get out of car to ask for a jump. Crazy Girls are in hysterics. One of them pulls up to my car.
Search entire car four times (just in case I missed them the first three) for the impossible-to-miss bright yellow jumper cables my Dad bought me when I was 20 that I've carried in my car for 23 years and never, ever used.
Look through entire car (which also doubles as a dumpster in a McDonald's judging by the wrappers in back there) once again, wondering how I could be missing them.
Realize, finally, that they are not there.
Thank Crazy Girl for trying to help, and call AAA.
AAA spends no less than 20 minutes trying to find the Bass Harbor Ferry Terminal. AAA girl is super-nice, and laughs as she insists it doesn't exist.
Yet I'm sitting in it, I tell her.
Maybe it's a different town, she says.
Yeah. Try Bangor. That's close.
Finally, she finds it. In Tremont. Tremont is even smaller than Bass Harbor.
AAA girl will send somebody out to me in about an hour. Awesome, thanks!
Are we somewhere safe? Will we be okay to stay near the car?
I don't want to tell her I've slept in my car in this parking lot before (before kids), so I laugh and say We Couldn't Be Any Safer.
Call the Big Guy. (Really I was calling to ask about the battery...how old is it, did he think it needed to be replaced, etc?)
He assumes I'm calling to find out about The Mysteriously Missing Jumper Cables.
The ones hanging on the wall of his shop. The ones he used to jump the battery on the lawnmower and never put back in the van.
He speaks his mind. Loudly. Make a mental mote to retaliate at the next meal I cook for him.
Never bite the hand that feeds you.
Wish I hadn't told the kids not to bring their homework. They could have had it all done by now.
See a truck slow down, scanning the parking lot. Jump out to flag down the AAA guy.
Scare the pants off some guy just out for a ride in a pickup. He speeds off.
See another tuck slowing down. Cautiously approach vehicle. See the driver eye me warily before speeding away while simultaneously locking his doors.
Start jonesing for a coffee, BAD.
Perk up- see a tow truck. This has got to be them!
It is! The truck stops at my car, and a kid just a year or two older than my six year old son gets out.
But look at that- he knows what he's doing. In 30 seconds, he's got the car started, and gives me instructions that go something like, 'Don't shut the car off for about an hour to charge the battery...yadda, yadda, yadda'.
He eyes that snowbank. I'm probably going to have to pull you outta there, he says.
No way, dude. Just get out of the way. This ain't my first rodeo.
While he's jockeying into position to pull me out, I shoot out of that snowbank like the Discovery Space Shuttle.
And the oil pan stays intact.
I love to impress the young'uns. (He was awesome, and AAA rocks!)
Finally get on the road, suffering painful caffeine withdrawals. The Things are moaning and clutching their stomachs, on the verge of death from starvation. That's what they're saying, over and over.
Realize that the painful caffeine withdrawals are really the start to a nice-sized migraine.
Pull over on side of road to search all 482 bags for Wonder Drug called Excedrine Migraine. Find it in the last bag.
Say small prayer of thanks to the person responsible for these little beauties, ignoring the blasphemy, knowing it will bite me later. Such is life.
Make it to Ellsworth. Feed the Things more McDonald's crap to stop the whining from the backseat. Fight nausea from food smell, thanks to migraine.
Drive right into the automotive department at SuperWallyWorld and park in front of their garage door to test my battery. What better place?
Lo and behold...it works. Off we go.
Make it to the highway. Me, and 482 million other people. Why am I not the only one on the road?
Realize, grudgingly, that I will not be able to set the cruise and nurse my pounding head all the way to Boston.
Realize that I will have to battle crazy drivers for the next four hours.
Realize that my arms are frickin' killin' me!
More medical calamity? No, it's the steering wheel. The wind is forcing me to fight to keep the van on the road.
Realize that there is, in fact, no wind. (I am very tuned in to the wind. I live on an island. I just got off a boat. I hate boats. There is no wind.)
Realize that the migraine and the staccato beat of pain in my head have masked a flat tire.
See an exit- Newport. (Yup. I drove all the way to Newport on a flat tire.)
Know that there is a big truck stop in Newport. Know I can get tire help there.
It's the wrong exit.
Look in vain for gas station. There should have been a big truck stop, two gas stations, a McDonald's, and most importantly, A Dunkin Donuts!
(That blasphemy will get you every time.)
See a large parking lot, with big trucks. Pull in to inspect tire.
Realize it's a DOT garage.
Begin to cry. Hard.
Nice man comes out of garage, begins to wring hands. Sees meltdown in progress, sees kids in back, sees flat tire.
Fixes tire. Bless his little heart.
Feel infinitely better! Faith in mankind restored to its usual low level!
Marvel at how much easier it is to steer on four tires!
Drive to Boston without further incident.
Even teach The Things how to spell Massachusetts.
Nowhere to go from here but up.