First, I'd like to express that the trip was awesome. All the way up until the end when it all went terribly bad.
We headed out of our room at 10:15 am on Tuesday morning after two and a half solid days at the beach. When I say we stayed at the beach the whole time, I want you to know that we stayed at the beach for the duration of daylight hours - and on into the night. We literally returned to the room to sleep or refill the cooler. My kids were exhausted, and so were the parents. I had been up half the night before we left with eyes that were oozing and gunking up. Apparently, I was finally falling prey to the viral cold thingy that has been driving everyone around me crazy for months. I thought I had had made it through without getting sick, but I was wrong.
We stopped in at a very interesting Waffle House for breakfast. Of course, all WF's are interesting, but I had never been to one like this - one waitress was singing various songs as they popped into her head, and there were some topics being discussed between staff and a regular at the bar that I would assume are normally discussed only in the dark. It was interesting. After our meal, we loaded back into the demo Scott has been driving for the past few weeks and started out for home. I think it was slightly after 11:00 am.
I don't know how many miles we had made it. I was having a really difficult time staying awake. But nothing wakes you up quite like the sound of a tire exploding... nothing. Scott pulled us over to the shoulder safely, and the kids were a buzz with fascination. Scott got out of the car to check it out and locate the spare. I assessed the area around me trying to find where my kids might be safest on this busy stretch of I-65 while he changed the tire. It wouldn't be an issue, though; there was no spare tire.
No spare tire. And there we sat - me and my kids and Scott - in the middle of nowhere on I-65. All we knew was that we were somewhere north of exit 69 but still south of Evergreen. We could see an exit just a mile ahead of us but couldn't make out the number or name on the sign. So what are you supposed to do at this point?
Me and Scott just kinda sat there and looked at each other like, "What the heck are we supposed to do?" I got on the phone with my dad hoping that he could somehow assist us. And he did just that, finding a couple of numbers of places that could give us a tow that seemed nearby.
The first call was a success - she would send someone out immediately and located a tire for us at the nearby Walmart in Brewton. But the tow would cost us $185. What do you do? You aren't exactly in a position to bargain at this point. This is where things get fun.
The tow truck arrives and immediately instructs Scott to pull it up to the back and he puts the hook on us and reels us in. I looked at Scott and asked, "Does he even realize that there are two kids in here???" At this point we are on the top of the bed of the truck, and both David and Madalyn are having the time of their little lives - I, on the other hand, felt like my Waffle House was about to some right back up in my lap. When Scott let him know that woman and children were on board, he had to let us back down so that we could get out and ride up front in the cab with him.
I would have rather ridden in the truck on the bed of the tow-truck, thank you.
On second thought, I think I would have rather set out walking and just let Scott pick me up when he was done.
I was positioned just beside the truck driver, who was indeed a very well-mannered and pleasant man, with Madalyn propped in my lap. Scott was to my right with David on his knee. This was indeed the most frightening experience of my life. I was glad at first that we were only a mile from the exit, but I had no idea that this jolly old soul would barrel down a two lane country road with two kids without any safety restraint at a lovely pace of 75 miles an hour. When I say the man was trucking it down the road, I mean he was kicking up dirt behind him. By jolly, he was making the most of his $185 tow charge - he was in a hurry.
At one point, I actually considered asking 'ole big boy if he'd mind slowing down. But I decided it might not be best to anger him.
The whole ride to the Brewton Wally World, his Burger King soda cup sitting in the cup holder at my left knee kept dripping on me. The heat from the engine (I guess) was pouring in at my feet. It smelled funny in there... not bad, just funny. And I just don't think I ever want to be in that position again. Ever.
Oh... and did I mention that I needed to pee?
I think the funniest part of all was the exit where it all happened. We had stopped there once earlier in the summer when Scott and I had our little get away together. Both of us had to go to the restroom really bad. When we came out of the little convenience store, we both looked at each other in horror - we felt like we had stepped off the edge of modern society. The door to the store actually had a sign on it that said, "Please pull up your pants before entering." It was the most interesting place we had ever been in our lives, and we both vowed to NEVER stop there again. And that's right where the tire blew. And that's right where the tow truck came from. And as we passed by the little gas station where we had stopped two months ago, we both just looked at each other and grinned.
Oh, the ironies of life.
But the story ends well. Walmart - after about a thirty minute search of inventory - did locate the tire the computer kept telling them they had in stock. And they got us set up and back on our way. Of course this was after a delightful mechanic gave us his opinions about several things - about how obviously Scott had ridden on that rim for a while and he must have been going too fast and that he had just paid $180 ticket from going too fast and it's just not worth it and something else about it just being one of those days. And I sat there, my mouth wide open, looking at this man in the Brewton Walmart, thinking, "Would someone just beam me out of here please?" And I couldn't resist saying aloud at his comment about it just being one of those days, "Well why don't you tell us something we don't already know?"
A little smart, I know. But the guy was a real jack-in-the-box. The fact that he thought we had actually traveled on the "blown out so bad there was nothing left of it" tire was just ridiculous. And then to have the nerve to roll his eyes and comment on the driving was uncalled for. He obviously understood the tone in my voice, because he actually asked me to repeat the comment. Of course, Crazy Mama obliged. And I said it even more clearly than I had said it the first time: "I SAID, TELL...ME...SOMETHING...I...DON'T...ALREADY...KNOW..." I think he got the whole tone - sarcasm and general aggravation - but he didn't quite understand that I was directing it at him. Whatever, dude. Why don't you get back to work, and we'll just be on our way.
I really hate it that the trip ended this way. It really was a delightful experience. And I'll post about all the good stuff tomorrow, with pictures to boot. I just had to get the trip home out of the way first. It's sure to be an experience I will never forget. Never.