Thursday, April 5, 2012


I utterly despise April.   Seriously.  With a deep loathing.  And it's pretty apparent the feeling is mutual.  It's not a coincidence that T.S. Eliot called it the cruelest month. Throughout the years bad things have happened to me during these April days; nasty surprises, unexpected pain, true heartbreak.

Each year, as it approaches, I hope this will be the one time that April will let me slide, find some other mortal to haunt, torment, kick to the curb with an astonishing disregard.

But no.

So far, on just this 5th day of a detestable month, Ozzy scared the crap out of me during the night by getting terribly ill, then my trusty, always reliable Blazer broke down this morning, nearly stranding us in the middle of nowhere.  Both events turned out okay, though not before I was worried sick, in panic mode, and expecting the worst from this crap month.


Last night, all seemed well when the dogs and I went to bed.  I read for awhile, the dogs curled on either side of me, then lights out.  A few hours later, Ozzy woke me up whining to go out.  I staggered to the back door, let him out, waited and waited for him to come back in, then went out to search for him.  Finally found him crouching and shaking under the deck.  He couldn't/wouldn't come out, so in my pajamas, I crawl underneath--in the mud and darkness and creepiness--and haul him out.  Back indoors, lights on, dry him off, clean myself up and change, then I wrapped his pathetically shivering little body into a warm towel and back to bed we go.  To repeat this scenario every hour or so, all night long.

No sleep at all, I give up and drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to call the vet.  We pile in the car for an emergency appointment, arriving before 8:00am.  Tests, exam, poking and prodding.  And nothing.  Nada.  He's fine and healthy and the only thing anyone can determine is: it's just one of those things.  Like a bug, or a 12-hour dog flu, or something equally inexplicable.  Deep sigh of relief.  Since leaving the vets, he's been totally fine.  Good for him.  I'm exhausted and delirious and the day's just started.


As long as we're up and about so early, I decide it would be a good idea to drive out of town to the county park for a change of scenery, and to give the guys some new territory to sniff and pee all over.  We have a fine time, everyone's good--though I would have given just about anything for a coffee kiosk to suddenly appear along the river path.

Back in the car, I put it in reverse to back out of my parking space, and suddenly the car starts this weird juddering and shaking, like the emergency brake is on...which it isn't.  I stop, get out, check underneath the chassis--for what, who knows--see nothing, get in the car.  Back up again.  The car feels like I'm trying to drive while also stepping on the brakes.  A very weird and disturbing sensation.  Especially as I am several miles away from anywhere that can help me.  Eventually, I decide--until the car completely stops, or explodes, whichever come first--I have to keep driving to reach civilization.  Once I get going in a straight line, things are fine.  It's just when I turn the wheel that this bizarre juddering weirdness happens.

Manage to get on the road to the house, then struggle all the way up the mountain on the winding, narrow road, fighting the wheel and the weirdness with every curve.  As I turn into the driveway, which is sharp, the car becomes a Sherman tank and I have to put all my weight and strength into the wheel to avoid ramming the hedge. I limp up the drive, but can't make the turn into the garage and have to leave the car half in, half out.  WTFWTFWTFWTFWTF!!!!!

My mechanic, a really cool woman named Rebecca, is the first person I call.  She's not in today, but I get this very nice guy named David.  I explain the whole deal to him, but even he is stumped.  He wants me to have the car towed to the shop.  I say no, I'll try to drive it there since once I get off the frigging mountain, it's a straight shot down the main road.  He gives me his cell phone number and says he'll come get me if the car breaks down on the way.

As I'm driving, I'm imagining the worst--it's April after all--and have already decided it must be the transmission because I can feel weird stuff happening under my feet as I'm driving.  I live up a damned mountain, so I'll also need to rent a car.  Buggers.

I drive very slowly, carefully turning the Sherman tank onto the highway, then it's all good until my last turn into the shop.  Honestly, it's a good thing I have muscles.

David is waiting for me.  Unbelievably, he says he knows what's wrong.  I stare.  What changed since we hung up the phone, both of us clueless?  He smiles.  "Let me see something," he says.  I get out, he gets in, leans over a tiny bit, fiddles for a nanosecond, then says cheerfully, "There you go."

Out he comes, hands me the keys, and then laughs at the stupid look on my face.  "What in the world?" I stutter. 

 "Your 4-wheel drive was on," he says. 

 "What?"  More stupid from me.

"I did the same thing once while in the back country in Idaho.  It wasn't until we hung up the phone that I remembered how my Jeep handled when I forgot to take it off 4-wheel and we turned onto the highway.  You must have bumped the switch somehow when you were at the park."

"So," I say, amazed, "that's it?  It's fixed?"

"Yep."  Big smile.

"Oh my god!" I threw myself into his arms and gave him a very hard and most sincere hug. 

He hugged me back, laughed, then said shyly, "That's my first hug today."  I hugged him again, "There's another one for good measure," I said.

And sure enough.  I pulled out of the shop and my dearest, ever faithful Blazer turned on a dime and off we drove.  All in under five minutes.

Take that April...


  1. Caos in action. Something that would/should never happen in a million years, but look what happened. Glad it was a simple fix.

  2. Now that's what I call a potentially tragic story with a surprise happy ending! :D

  3. Robbie: The strange thing is, that switch (really, more a dial) is located in a place that pretty much guarantees it can't be bumped or accidentally turned to 4-wheel. So go figure, huh? Such a relief it was a simple fix...thanks to a clever mechanic.

    SE: A most glorious and happy ending all around, for Oz and the Blazer.