even amidst the complications.
We had a very full, busy and wonderful week with Chris’ mother. And the complications started as we took her back to the airport on Saturday.
As we were tooling down the highway towards the airport, I noticed something funky going on with the brakes. They were ‘squishy.’
I’ve lots of older vehicles…mostly older vehicles…and have experienced all manner of mechanical difficulties. But I’ve never had a problem with brakes before.
Ok, I thought, don’t panic. I did have brakes…they just didn’t feel right. And I didn’t want to alert my juvenile passengers to a problem, as they, especially Nic, would start freaking out and that would divert my attention even more.
But we were about to leave the highway, going into a heavily congested area, and I wasn’t sure that the brakes would work well-enough.
Ok, remember, what do you do if your brakes malfunction?
– put the vehicle in neutral….
– step on the emergency brake…
– throw it in ‘park’…
– head for a ditch/embankment, anything relatively soft…
– make sure everyone is belted-in securely…
As we neared our exit I asked Chris, quietly and in a not-alerting voice, if there were a gas station along our way. There, I assumed, we could stop and see if the brakes worked and ascertain the problem. But, no, there are no gas stations along our way…we were right at the airport.
So, we coast into the airport and I discover, to my great relief and thankfulness, that our brakes did indeed work, just not perfectly. And we could and did stop easily whenever we needed to. And we got grandma to the airport well in advance of her flight (and the requisite ‘security’ window.)
After we left the airport we drove into a more heavily-congested area in search of a gas station. We stopped at a store, got some brake fluid and Chris topped it off…it was indeed very low. This improved the brake function and feel, at least for a while.
But what to do next? We were in DC, pretty far from home at least mileage-wise.
We decided, since the brakes seemed to be working well-enough, to start the trek back home and stop along the way. Where we were did not have places with mechanics…only places to get gas.
So we drove to a place just north of where we used to live…and were able to get there almost entirely by highway travel…which helped immensely…and pulled in to a place that did service vehicles, even brakes.
I won’t give this company extra advertisment by posting their full name…because they do not deserve it…let’s just say their name starts with Pep and ends with Boys.
This was the most disorganized, horrible and apathetic place. They had absolutely no sense of customer service. They told Chris it would be a couple of hours before they could even look at the van. Ok, we understood that…they were busy and we just dropped in.
This shop was part of a pretty big complex, so we went for a walk, browsed in several stores and then wandered over to get a bite to eat. So by the time we came back by to check on the van, 3 hours had passed. 3! And they STILL hadn’t called our cell phone to tell us what the problem was.
So Chris went to the counter (and stood in line for another 30 minutes) to find out that they had looked at the van and just didn’t deem it important enough to call us with the information.
We needed a new brake line to the rear passenger brake. And, no, they couldn’t do it until Monday. It took another 15 minutes for me to get the service advisor to ascertain what was wrong with the brake line…was it broken, leaking, damaged? Since we didn’t have the option of walking around the shopping center for TWO DAYS I’d have to take the van somewhere else for repair…and it would be lovely to know what was wrong.
We were an hour’s drive from home, we had a leak in the brake line, they couldn’t fix it right then and, to be honest, didn’t give a damn that we were stranded if they couldn’t fix it. Oy.
So we considered the information and weighed our options and decided to drive, slowly and carefully, towards home. With great caution, we thought that the least we could do was get closer to home, should we need a tow. And the path was almost exclusively highway from where we were to where we needed to be.
I prayed all along the way that we would be safe. And we were.
All the attachlings fell asleep along the way, another blessing. And we made it ‘home’ without incident.
Once we got back to our area, we stopped at a teeny, tiny gas station. It’s the type that one rarely sees anymore. It still has a full-service pump!
As I rolled (very cautiously) into the station, a young man came out to meet us to see if he could be of assistance. Once he heard of our dilemma, he was very apologetic as he explained that the mechanics had already left for the day and they didn’t work on Sunday. Then, he tried to call one of them to come in on Sunday just to help us out. He couldn’t get the mechanic, whom he suspected was out fishing. But he tried, and he cared enough to try.
Next, he offered to check the brake fluid level and top it off for us.
Yeah, that’s the kind of place we live in now.
So at this moment Chris is driving (no doubt slowly and cautiously) back to that tiny station so that the mechanic can, hopefully, fix our brake line problem.
And I am deeply, deeply grateful.
I am grateful that we got grandma to the airport.
I am grateful that we got home without incident.
I am grateful for small courtesies.
I am grateful to put down roots in this lovely community.
I am grateful for our good health.
Speaking of health, whilst we meandered through the stores on Saturday, waiting on the van’s diagnosis, I started feeling really, really, really yucky. I just assumed that it was a function of the stress I was feeling. But by the time we got home, it was clear to me that I was feeling ‘flu-ish.’ Oh, great.
So Saturday night I slept fitfully all by myself in the big king-size bed. Chris gathered all the attachlings for a sleep in the tent in Nic’s room. This was a great blessing to me.
Sunday found me feeling a little better, but not well. So I mostly sat on the couch and knitted (more on that in a bit.)
It was nice to have a quiet, at-home day after all the activity of the previous week. No matter how welcome a guest is, it’s nice to move back into the rhythm of the 5 of us again.
Chris and Nic walked to the farm to get our milk and eggs. Nic came back with the exciting news that he had helped the farmer hook the milking machine to the cow’s teets.
Oh, there’s another thing for which I am grateful. Even if we don’t have reliable transportation, we will not starve…because we can walk to the farm and get milk, butter and eggs.
This morning, I feel better, but not back to normal health. So I will rest as much as I can…to respect that my body doesn’t have stamina yet.
And I will knit.
Oh, yeah, knitting. Chris and his mother went to a local arts festival on Friday. And when they came back, she gave me this:
Out of which came this:
Aren’t these lovely?!
The one colorway (on the right) is called Bracken…it’s primarily a forest-y green with flecks of brown and rust. The other one is called MSG and is brownish with flecks of white and soft rust. They do look lovely together.
Had I known that there would be fiber-wares at the festival, I might not have sent them off without me. 😉
These are from Glenfiddich Wool, btw. They are in Pennsylvania and all their wools come from their own sheep. They do the whole process from caring for the animals to selling the final yarn products.
And their prices are so reasonable. These hanks were only $8/each for apprx 210 yds.
As I sat trying not to give in to boredom yesterday, I took the MSG hank and started this:
I am in love with this yarn. After my recent attempt a lace weight knitting, this is a dream. I love a good worsted-weight yarn. 😀 It has such a nice feel and it fits my big hands better.
I think this is going to be a shawl. Though it might become a blanket.
Either way, it is a wonderful occupation for me whilst sitting on the couch, looking at the spectacular view, being grateful for all.
ps — Chris did get to the repair shop without incident…though going down the mountain from where we live may have given him more grey hairs. 😉