So it turns out that I should not only be grateful that the kids were super good on the way home from our road trip, but more importantly that we survived the trip.
My car has been driving just a little bit funny for a week or so, and on Monday I noticed that the steering wheel was turned a good 45 degrees to the left in order for the car to drive straight forward.
Hmmm. Time for a front end alignment?
My sister watched the kids Tuesday afternoon so I could run over to Meineke for a quick alignment. I noticed on the way over that the car did a bit of a fishtail over a bump . . . figured I must really need that alignment!
Since the guy at Meineke is 1000% smarter about cars than I am, he thought the whole fishtailing thing sounded weird. He headed out for a quick test drive, and I settled down to get caught up on People magazine.
The car dude came back pretty quickly, and as soon as he pulled into the garage I started hearing exclamations . . .
"Dude! It's not an alignment, I don't know what's wrong, but it's not good!"
Up went the car on the lift.
"If I had known that was what was wrong, I would never have gotten into that car!" exclaimed the test drive guy.
"She's lucky that didn't snap altogether!"
"I can hear the check I'm going to be writing getting larger and larger with each exclamation point," I commented to the nice older couple in the waiting room with me.
Test drive guy waved me out to the garage, and I joined the small crowd gawking at the underside of my car.
"Right there, that crack."
Ok, yes, now I do see the giant crack running thru the giant pipe-like thing attached to my rear driver's side tire.
"You have a crack in your rear sub-frame. See how the tire is tipped in at the top and out at the bottom? It could have snapped completely at any time while you were driving your car. You are VERY lucky that didn't happen."
"So can you fix it?"
The dude that seemed to be in charge gave me an incredulous look, held back laughter (unlike the other two), and said a firm no.
"You are going to have to get the entire rear frame replaced. If it can be replaced. But the bolts are pretty much always rusted in place, and you'll have to find a body shop willing to attempt it."
Two and a half days later, our car is still sitting at Meineke. Because we can't drive it home, but haven't figured out if we are even going to get it fixed. Because the body shop guy still hasn't taken a look at it. And is it really worth fixing if the underside is a rusty mess and is going to have other problems crop up? I don't know. What I do know is that there are a lot of positives in the midst of all this . . .
1. The sub-frame DIDN'T snap completely, and the kids and I DIDN'T have a horrible accident in the middle-of-nowhere on the New York interstate at 75 (I mean 65) miles per hour.
2. Meineke is only a mile from our house, so I finished my errands on foot and walked home. And the glowering skies didn't open up and drench me on my unexpected walk. So that was nice.
3. We live right in town, and can walk to the library, post office, bank, and even Walmart if need be. So if we are without a second car for a bit, it's not the end of the world.
4. Friends have stepped right up to help. One friend with auto body skills said he could weld the car back together for us. Unfortunately, we have since discovered that there is nothing to weld because the whole thing is basically a big flaky mess of rust, but it was still a nice gesture. Other friends offered to loan us their Jeep until we figure out our plan of action. Super generous!
5. I had an appointment to get the car inspected on Friday . . . and plans to replace all the tires. (Probably when we took it in for inspection and wouldn't be able to sticker it with the current tires!) So at least we didn't just put a bunch of money into it right before this happened, as I had with my Corolla right before I totalled it.
6. I got to go on my road trip before my car quit on me!
Guess this serves as a good reminder to go get our wills notarized that we have had sitting in the "to do" pile for six months . . .
But seriously, so many things to be thankful for. Tonight I gave some extra kisses to those two little peanuts of ours, feeling very blessed and thankful that God kept them (and John and I!) safe, when we didn't even know we needed protection.