Wednesday, February 18, 2009

...there's always something.

I woke up yesterday morning with one thought, and one thought alone : I wanted to go home. Usually this occurs every few days or so. Mostly I just call mum and chat for 3 hours, as it tends to save me a few hundred dollars in petrol. Some weeks, though, I can't shake it - it's like having to be close to the sea, it just kind of urges me on. So yesterday, I packed up the dogs and the cat - who just happens to love herself a road trip and a chance to play with Mum's kitten once we finally arrive - hopped in my car, and merrily sang to my Vanuatu Ipod playlist for the next hour or so. As I left home, the smoke from the fires was terrible and encasing the road for as far as I could see, and as I looked back at Cleo happily resting on the dogs in the back seat, I told myself I would get a cat carrier the second I arrived at my destination, in case I was ever in the horrible situation of having to evacuate. As I drove, I thought about what I would do if I had to leave - and couldn't think of any options, as she can escape cardboard boxes and the like. I gave up; hoping it will never come to that, and concentrated on the terrible traffic. After I'd finally cleared all the infuriating roadworks (don't these people know that road works signs should be taken as more of a guideline than actual an actual speed limit?) I was powering up the hill to the roundabout that signifies I'm nearly home - once I come over the crest, all I can see is cliffs dropping off to azure blue sea and the wind turbines that tell me I'm so close to home. It's one of my favorite views, and I could look at it all day - or so I thought. Just as I reached the top, my car lurched, lurched some more...and died. Right in front of an enormous water tanker doing 110km who clearly had no intention of stopping for my tiny buzz box rust heap. I managed to sort of veer it off the road up an embankment, cursing my previous mechanic who had 'fixed' this exact problem only a few months ago. I looked around at the dogs, and wondered what my next option was. I started thinking through what I was going to do, then thought better of it - come on! My car is a beast! It'll make it home, it's just a bit tired after struggling through the road works, I told myself instead. I sat for a moment, then tried the ignition...and bam! She came back to life! I eased out of my ditch, slowly, gently changing gears, and made it through the roundabout and up the next hill before lurch, lurch and death again. Again, in a completely inopportune place - no emergency lane, just a tiny gravel strip next to an embankment taller than me, to which I had to struggle out on as cattle trucks and the like came flying past, inches from my side mirror at 100km an hour on the highway. It was time for thinking of my next option, and as I picked up my beloved phone to threaten my mechanic with disembowelment call for help, I realized I had no network coverage.

The next five minutes were spent wondering if I really had to do what it was I did. I came back to the answer that yes, yes I did have to do exactly what it was I did. I was stuck in my car with two dogs and cat in 30c + heat, unable to open any windows in case the cat jumped out. Why was it I didn't have that damn cat carrier?! I needed to call someone, and I needed to get the kids out the car before they overheated dramatically. As I leaned behind me unclipping them out of their harnesses and into their leads, I still wasn't sure what I was going to do with Cleo. I looked around the car, hoping for inspiration, and none hit. My only available option was to put her in my handbag - which is fine when I take her to the vet and she's in a secure location, but not so great as this particular handbag doesn't zip up, and we'd be walking along a highway with trucks and the like zipping past only a metre or two away. I rummaged around, and found an 'enviromental bag' - those kind of hessian ones you get from supermarkets (or in this case, with my Steve Madden shoes). I carefully put her in the bag, and, as I called myself many names revolving around the fact I was a terrible mother, I tied her closed in the bag. I knew she was able to breathe as it was very loose fabric, and I knew it would make it dark for her, so she would be less scared, but I still felt awful. I put her in my handbag, along with my iPod and any other valuables, and set off my hot, dirty and slightly terrifying trek up the highway with my dogs on lead and my cat trying to escape my handbag. People driving past must have thought I was smuggling a child in it; the whole thing was quivering and shaking and emitting horrific squeals as I struggled up the blackberry encrusted dirt and gravel that consisted of a verge. I eventually made it to a bus shelter, where I gratefully tied the bemused dogs up, and reached in and grabbed Cleo, hoping she was still alive. She was, and I sat with her on my lap as I begged and prayed I would have phone reception - and luckily, I had enough to call my mother. She set off to rescue me immediately, and as I waited with the kids and cursing my bad luck, a bus full of old dears suddenly arrived and disembarked. All seemed fascinated with the fact I was sitting; bedraggled and sweaty, covered in flies and dirt with my two dogs - who were both straining at their leads to attack, kill and eat the bus driver - and a cat on my lap in the back of beyond. They were all lovely, and after the driver tried placating Sahara with cuddles and nearly losing an arm, Mum arrived about 40 minutes later to find me sitting amongst the lovely old ladies chatting about dog breeding and trying to stop Cleo having hysterics about the fly situation. Obviously, they clearly thought I was insane - who on earth sits on a hot Summer day in Nowheresville with a cat on their lap and two enormous, killer dogs waiting for their mother? - as I couldn't seem to make them understand my car didn't want to go any further.

After I spent the day at Mums, I had to call Chef to come and pick me up. I felt a bit weird, and just a little worried at Cam's reaction to calling my dear ex for help, but my options were limited due to the size of my fur-family and the fact Cam's lovely convertible has just the two seats. I couldn't quite imagine Phoenix sitting on my lap, drool flapping and fur flying in the wind, whilst Sahara barked at all the pretty cows in the distance and Cleo hiding under the brake pedals of said convertible. When Chef did arrive, there wasn't a lot he could do anyway. Eventually, at 9:30pm, I called out Roadside Assist - who quoted me up to $600 for the part alone - and I got the damn thing taken away even further into the middle of nowhere, with me having no plans on seeing the blasted vehicle again.

Cameron called this morning to say we would be leaving this afternoon to pick it up.
After all that waiting around, nearly getting squashed on the side of the road as I attempted repairing my fuses and wondering if the cat had eaten a wire to the car's computer - apparently one of the connections had come lose, and wouldn't, after all, be requiring major surgery.

Still, at least I gave the locals something to talk about. I really am living up to my Crazy Cat Lady name. All I need to do now is wear some furry slippers and go out in my rollers next time my car breaks down on the side of the road, and the image shall be complete.

..and even thought I am slightly pissed at being taken care of/having things sorted out for me I grudgingly have to say I am so effing thankful to Cam for doing so.
Ugh, that nearly killed me.


Sue said...

Ugh, you poor thing.
That label of crazy cat woman will be a hard one to break!
Glad that you are ok!

Melisa with one S said...

EEK! I can't even imagine. You're right, it IS always something!

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