Friday, April 09, 2010

Cake of Fail, or Pie of Win?

Tuesday afternoon, I'm driving Kelly home from school. We were late, as we'd been upgrading the gardens around Nate's class, so they'd look great for a special event for moms (must write about it), and my brain was already in 'what needs to get done before supper?' mode.

Suddenly a light caught my eye on the dashboard.

Actually, it was a bunch of lights. Sort of "The Christmas Tree" effect, if you will. Everything was lit up and flashing.

I pulled over, and immediately called my Honda Service Guy. He knows everything. He walked me through what was going on, and told me that it was probably OK to keep driving the car ("if it will still start, that is..." so reassuring!) and to bring it in ('or have it towed..." again, so reassuring) in the morning. It was probably just a sensor malfunction, and they'd get it all squared away.

Oh great.

So I limp the rest of the way home (all two blocks), thinking that the engine's gonna blow at any moment. Fortunately, it didn't.

Wednesday rolls around, and I zoom straight to Honda as soon as Muffins WIth Mom is over in Nate's class. Remember "Donuts with Dad"? Imagine a slightly healthier event, with the dads serving, and the kids showing their mothers around. It was cute. And fun. And a bit too long... but anyways...

Wednesdays are half-days, so I say "I'll wait for the van", and the service guy gets a little nervous. "Um, but this might be a long fix..." he begins. I offer to rent a car, and he says "Well, let's just see if we can find out what's going on first. It might be very quick after all..."

An hour later, he says "Well, we put your car back together. It looks like you've got a sensor malfunction in your Emissions Control System. To replace the sensor is going to take about three hours, so can you bring it back in tomorrow?"

Alas, Thursdays are nuts for me, so I arrange to come back in on Friday. Doug reassures me that a 'small amount' of driving shouldn't be a problem, so I cross my fingers that nothing explodes, and I vow to not drive any more than I absolutely have to over the next 24 hours.

Whoops.... Forgot that Thursday is the last day to pay property taxes (in person) without incurring a $600+ fine. FAIL!

Add that to the schedule. I call in a favor, and Toni takes her turn at driving to the county offices. (win!)

So, this morning. I am doing the headless chicken dance (I'm getting so good at it, it may almost be time for me to take my Vaudvillian act on the road!) getting the kids ready for school, and don't take time to have breakfast. FAIL!

Surely I can recover from that one, though. I drop the kids at school, and go straight to Honda. Doug says that it will take the better part of half a day, so their courtesy shuttle takes me back to Nate and Kelly's school. I'll just volunteer there for the 3 hours or so, and get picked up when the sensor has been replaced, and my van is ready again.

I'm hungry by the time I get to school. Hmmm, I think, I'll just go detour by the teacher's lounge on the way to the library, and get a snack. Parents are ALWAYS bringing in tasty snacks for the teachers to share.

Ack! The lounge is completely empty. Not even a stale piece of leftover Halloween candy to be found. Boo! FAIL!

Oh well. Suck it up, and get to work. So I get things organized in Nate's classroom, and then I tutor one of my students to get her ready for the weekly spelling test. Then I head to the library, and spend a couple of hours re-shelving returned books and straightening things up. At noon, there is a rehearsal in the library for one of the groups performing at the All-School variety show, so I make myself scarce. I am now getting rather hungry.

Ah, it's Hot Lunch time! Very often, kids are absent who have paid for a hot lunch, and there are extras. I will just snag one of those extra hot lunches.

Hmmm. There are NO extra lunches today. FAIL!

I'm beginning to detect a pattern here...

I look at my watch. I should have heard from Doug at Honda by now. I wonder if my van is ready.

I phone the dealership.

I get put on hold.

For ten minutes. FAIL


The receptionist is very apologetic when she comes back on the line thinking that I am a brand new caller, and is mortified to discover that I am the same person that she put on hold 10 minutes earlier. Oh well. I've been sitting in a sunbeam, so I'm not too miffed. I finally get through to the service department, and cheerily ask if the sensor is replaced and all is well.

"Oh... um... that..." says Doug. He, too, is very apologetic when he explains that, against all odds, this problem turns out to NOT be a faulty sensor, but a perfectly functioning sensor that has detected a major failing of the cam shaft.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my 3 year old van needs a new cam shaft. FAIL!

I swallow hard, and then try to make a joke, "So... I guess this means that the price is going to come in a little bit over the $140 estimate? Ha ha ha?"

He pauses, "oh yes, I'm sorry. But I think I will call Honda America, and see if they can help you out. This is a rather unusual failure, and even though you are no longer under warranty, maybe they can give you a price break."

"So, is my car ready, then?" I ask.

"No, it'll take another 3 hours to put it back together. Can you get back "

I look at my watch. It is now 1:15pm. I haven't eaten all day. I am starving. I can't wait that long. The nearest Starbucks is two miles away. I think about it. I look around. It is a nice sunny day. I could do the 4 mile loop. It's only uphill in one direction...

I pop into Nate's class, just to warn the teacher that I might be a bit late, as I'm walking to Starbucks to get some lunch.

Oh! She says, "You should borrow my car! Don't die of hunger on a forced march."

I offer to bring her a coffee in return, but she declines. "Just feed yourself." she says.

WOO HOO! My day was looking UP! The cake of fail was turning into a Pie of Win!

So with that, I drive off to Starbucks in the teacher's zippy little Jetta, my mouth watering in anticipation of a belated breakfast/lunch/afternoon snack.

And with that little serendipitous blessing, what POSSIBLY could be the icing on the cake of fail?


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