Saturday, November 28, 2009

An enjoyable vacation with a twist

The Thansgiving holiday was a little different for the Beck family this year. We actually drove up to Jersey the Saturday before Thanksgiving. My cousin, George, and his lovely bride, Kiki, got married on the 22nd. This was a family event that I wouldn't have missed for anything in the world! Since, the kids only had two days of school that week and they would have missed school on Monday traveling home anyway, we decided to give them both days off and stay in Jersey until Wednesday. Chris still had to drive back on Monday, but the kids and I could have extra time with family in Jersey and still have our traditional Thankgiving dinner in Virginia.

The wedding was beautiful, our stay was fun, but the drive home was where things got interesting. Everyone was out of sorts and crabby, which made packing up take longer than expected. Then, when we were finally ready to leave (1.5 hours behind schedule) the car wouldn't start. Apparently, I had a weak battery and leaving the doors open while packing was too much for it. "Well," I thought, "unless the starter was bad, it was no big deal. That's what jumper cables are for." Sure enough, we got the car started in no time and we were on our way. I had a full tank of gas, so there was no worry about having to turn off the engine before we were safely back home. As you'll see, a weak battery turned out to be the least of my worries. Maybe it was an omen?

Having left later than planned we hit some traffic here and there. Mercifully, it wasn't too bad and we made pretty good time. After driving some 200 miles, with around 20 more to go, something completely unexpected happened. The transmission in my car failed. It failed BIG. You would have though I put the car reverse doing 65 mph the way the gears dropped. It felt like we hit a railroad tie in the road, but as the car quickly decelerated, it was obvious that something was terribly wrong with it. I immediately pulled over to the shoulder and cut the engine. Chris had called me just before it happened, so he had gotten a play by play account of my mishap. I told him I was going to investigate further and call him back.

Hoping that the gears had just gotten stuck temporarily, I turned the car back on, put it in drive and gingerly gave it some gas. Nothing. More gas. Nothing. Floored it. It didn't move so much as an inch. I tried reverse with the same result. Figuring that my Chrysler 24-hour roadside assistance was useless we decided to call Mom & Dad's AAA service. Thank goodness we were close enough to home that Chris could come get the kids out of the car before we loaded the car up on the flatbed tow truck. The tow truck driver marveled at how the front wheels refused to turn as the car was dragged up onto the bed of the truck. He agreed that the transmission was the most likely culprit. This was NOT good news.

So, Chris took the kids home in his car and Mom and I rode home in the tow truck. With all our stuff still packed in the car, the only place it made sense to tow it was back to our house. The wheels still wouldn't turn, so the driver had to, quite literally, shake the car off the bed of the truck. It was almost comical. Yesterday, we had it towed to Aamco. There it sits, waiting diagnosis on Monday. Depending on the cost, it may be worth fixing, if only to make a few bucks on a trade. After that little ordeal, I'm not so sure I'll want to keep it.

Despite our little adventure coming home, Thanksgiving was wonderful. Every year I find more and more things to be thankful for. This year, I'm especially thankful for the health and safety of my family. After all, there are far worse things than a broken down car.

Stay tuned... the fate of my car is still to be decided!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

Okay, okay, it's a little silly to wish myself a happy birthday but I did it anyway. So there!My family and I actually celebrated my birthday on Saturday because it's too hard to relax or go out to eat on a weekday. So, I got to ignore my chores and be treated like a princess for the whole day. They took me out to dinner and Chris got me some cool Juventus fangirl stuff, like this awesome flag.

I love my family and I couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday than to spend it with them. Thanks for another special year!

Friday, November 13, 2009

This looks promising

For the 10th anniversary of Blogger/Blogspot a free version of the BlogPress iPhone app has been released. Maybe I'll be able to post from my iPhone properly again!