I talked shit about Clarice in my last post and she gave me the big middle finger, deciding to start overheating right before it was time to leave town for the fair yesterday.
So, let’s backtrack a little so I can explain how I am solving this issue.
First, as I have said in previous posts, I did not have an actual license for a long time. I was actually 22 or 23 before I did, and after I moved to Toledo I spent a lot of time walking. That got old quick though. I banked in the neighborhood, there was a couple pharmacies nearby, a deli/vegetable market nearby, and I worked a 5 minute walk away from my home. But if I needed anything outside what I could get at those places, it proved to be difficult. Not to mention carting my child around. So with some help I passed a driving exam and got my license, and a shitty car that had suspension so bad that it looked like I had hydraulics. I had to put dry gas in it every time I put gas in it during the winter, a quart of transmission fluid in it every week, and for a while we used a portable heater that plugged into the cigarette lighter to keep warm. She could have been a nice car – a burgundy Park Avenue Ultra with heated leather seats and mirrors, a moon roof, and a self closing trunk. The trunk didn’t always close, and when it didn’t the next time I went out it would be closed. So I named her Christine, after the Stephen King novel. She was a beast, surviving jumping a ditch into a waist high snow bank when I hit black ice once, and despite her ailments, I put very little money into her in the year that I drove her. That all being said, I went such a long time before Christine without a car, and relying on others to get me where I needed to go, I have a little anxiety any time my car is broke down. And Clarice is broke down often.
I don’t name all of my vehicles after horror story characters, for the record. It does seem to be a pattern though.
So, less than two months ago, Clarice was laid up with the same ailment. I had a friend come and put a thermostat on her, and she’s been fantastic ever since.
More back story is needed before I get into yesterday’s events.
Matthew’s grandma was out of town, and she was actually working a booth at the fair that we planned to attend. The fun part about that is that she has worked that booth for years. I did not meet Matthew’s dad in my hometown. He was from here in Toledo, and we worked together in Adrian. My hometown is about 45 minutes from Adrian, in the opposite direction from Toledo. Of course I have attended that fair more years than not, and I am about 97% positive that all the incense I have bought from the fair in my life was bought from that booth, from Matt’s grandma. Small, small world.
Also more years than not, my car has broke down right before the fair. I have amazing luck with vehicles, let me tell you. So before she left I asked her to leave her car key. I had hoped I was just being paranoid, and didn’t voice my suspicion that Clarice was gonna pull some shit. I just asked her to leave her key in case I needed to move it for something from the garage.
I finished yesterday’s post, and loaded Chase into the vehicle and we went and ran errands. The bank, gas, and the car wash. I watched the temperature gauge because I had noticed the coolant leak, and I was a little nervous about what that could mean. She got a little warmer than normal, but the gauge did not read that it was getting even close the danger zone. I pulled into the driveway at home and steam was pouring out, however.
Insert string of profanity *here*.
We were supposed to leave for the fair on ten minutes.
Chase was in tears because he had been counting down the days to the fair. He even woke up that morning and greeted me with “happy fair day, Momma!” There is nothing more that I hate than my kids disapppointed. So I called my friend and then text him when he didn’t answer, telling him about the car, and called Matt’s grandma and told her the situation. She told me to take her Jeep, which isn’t my favorite thing to drive, but it was that or disappoint my kids.
So we loaded up into the Jeep, and began our journey.
It’s about an hour and 45 minutes to get to my brother’s. Chase fell asleep about half way through the trip, and Matt was quiet, headphones in. The Jeep is a nice vehicle, in good shape. However, you can feel every pebble you run over, and if you’ve ever had the joy of driving Michigan roads, you know how horrendous they can be. I did enjoy the drive however, most of the roads had been re-paved recently along my route. Currently The Pretty Reckless album Who you Selling For is on repeat, and it was a beautiful fall day, with leaves turning and sun shining and Goldenrod lining the country roads. I was mobile with good music and my children accompanying me for a fun filled day, despite the potential of problems on the horizon. I decided that the problems were nothing I could fix right this second and resolved myself to having a good day. For once this mentality worked for me. I’m a worrier, so usually I can’t just change my mindest like that.
My friend called about the car while we drove, and said he’d take a look at it. I told him if it was going to be expensive we could either hire a hit man to take Clarice out, or maybe drive her into a lake. Whichever was easier. I seriously don’t think I could handle my life without a sense of humor about the ups and downs I encounter. Two months or so ago, he replaced the thermostat on it as I said. It is doing the same thing as last time, so crossing my fingers that we got a faulty part and its easily fixed. Nothing with Clarice is easy though, so who knows.
We stopped at Aaron’s where I discovered that he has a problem with his toilet. Aaron does well on his own, but it’s things like this that he needs my guidance and assistance with. I told him to clean up the bathroom and told him I would be putting in a work order with management on Monday. Otherwise Aaron was doing well and excitedly told me about a grill he had gotten from a neighbor. He’s been there going on three years and finally he’s making friends in the neighborhood. It eases my mind a little knowing he’s not all alone, so to speak. There was an issue this week with him and a coworker, and the apartment manager caught wind of it and called me as well, even though Aaron came to me with it before I could find out through the grapevine. People look out for him for me, since I can’t be there 24/7. I don’t know what I would do without the support we have.
We made our way into town, and Matt’s grandma got us into the fair with no charge, however I was there ten minutes and had already spent $40. I got tickets for Chase to ride the rides, and got us lunch. Which just fyi, if you ever get a chance to have a pretzel wrapped brat for the love of all things holy spend the $7 and get it. Who ever invented that is my hero. Chase got a corn dog and Matt a baked potato and even though I spent more on these three items and two pops than what I would spend at a restaurant for a full meal, there is nothing like fair food.
Chase rode the rides, and Matt joined him for a couple. We walked around and enjoyed the sights and smells. It was positively gorgeous out with a high of 65°, and the sun was shining. Our first stop, as always, was “the strawberries”. If you’ve never encountered this ride, it spins around and there’s a wheel inside that you turn to make your individual car spin, as well. This is a favorite of my boys, and was mine as a kid, as well. It will be a sad day of the ride is ever retired.
They made me sand art and we visited some booths. Matt got a couple comic books and Chase an old wrestler guy that was way too expensive, but that was being sold to benefit an autistic boy. You know that I have a soft spot for things like that so between Chase’s big brown eyes and the woman’s story about the autistic boy I caved. Matt’s grandma also bought me a beautiful purse that I adore. Between the weather, and the new purse, and seeing my children enjoy the fair I grew up going to, I was in good spirits. As I was walking Chase to the fun house, him skipping and jumping along beside me, I heard “Hey! That’s Amber!” I turned and there stood two of my oldest friends, Jason and John, guys that I had been friends with since first grade. “Holy shit!” I exclaimed. Jason had been my best friend through grade school, and life had split us up in middle school and brought us back together in high school. “Hey fucker! How ya been?!” I said, hugging him. John had been around all through school, but we weren’t as close. We stood and talked for a bit, Jason telling me he’d seen Matt at the booth his grandma was running and commented on how big he had gotten. It hit me how weird it was, how we had been just a little older than Chase when we became friends. He had gotten into fights protecting my brother, I had knocked him down playing basketball and he had to get stitches. He sold my dad a car once upon a time and was always my pretend boyfriend in high school when I wanted someone to leave me alone. And now here we were, adults, talking about our own kids. We haven’t actually spoken in years, but it felt like it was just yesterday the last time we spoke. Some friendships are just timeless.
We did some more exploring, and Chase begged me for a donut. The place also sold cider from a local orchard, and I ordered two hot and one cold. I explained to Chase that this is the best cider he would ever taste, and he seemed to agree, drinking his cold one in two minutes flat and giving himself a belly ache. What’s a county fair without a belly ache?
We didn’t stay all day, since we had such a drive ahead of us. But it was long enough to suite all of our needs. Chase slept all the way home, but somehow had the energy to help me clean up the yard enough to mow when we got home. We found out where the rabbit that resides in our backyard is living, in the pumpkin patch that has overgrown the chicken wire fence that I put around the garden. It scared us, and we scared it. I made dinner and we went to bed early.
I woke up today to my car still broke down, and Matt with a fever, and it’s the first so I have to be at work. But yesterday’s memories still make me smile. Be grateful for what you have, and don’t let life get you down. Tomorrow is another day.