Thursday, June 5, 2008

How long does it take to get home from the zoo??

Yes, this is a tricky only takes about an hour to get long do you suppose it took us to come home yesterday? SEVEN HOURS! Yes, I typed that correctly 7 hours. How does that happen? Leave it to me to create this kind of situation...ugh! I'll tell it from the beginning...

We had a marvelous time at the zoo! Lucy & Joey did such a good job getting ready to go & we made it over the Bay Bridge in time to avoid the lines & use that zippy carpool lane (a big woohoo in my book!). Everyone & everything got loaded up into our *very* nifty triple jogging stroller that so excellently holds everything I need to take with us (thank you to all the Coopers for that huge gift!!!!). We ignored all the gawkers all the way to the petting zoo & managed to pet and feed all the know they would starve without Lucy shoveling food into their mouths, right? Joey tried one of the hay pellets and decided that he'd finally found a food that he *didn't* like. Too bad my camera was put away at that moment! He stuck to feeding the goats after that attempt at sharing with them.

We visited nearly all the animals & had a lovely lunch with the black swans & the anteater in their semi-secluded's a great place for lunch since most people manage to miss the little path between the bushes that leads back to their pens. We even bumped into the Mohuns/Gleasons while we were visiting the giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and antelopes. Lucy & Joey had a good time looking & Henry seemed to be pretty happy through most of the zoo, too. Henry's pretty happy nearly all the time, so I was glad he was his normal sunny self.

As we loaded everyone and everything up in the parking lot, I never would have guessed the ordeal ahead of us on our anticipated drive home...I was ready to be home after the 20ish minutes it took to change two diapers in the truck, load all the gear, load the stroller, and then strap in three kids who didn't really want to be strapped in after a day of fun! Traffic wasn't too bad around 3:30 when we hit the road. We made it most of the way home...just onto highway 37 past Novato when I realized the temperature gauge was a little on the warm side...then closer to orange...and closer...we stopped before it hit orange. Nap time was over immediately for all the kids. Grrrr! Here I was on the side of the highway with three not-so-happy kids inside of a truck that had decided that it didn't want to go further without exploding...what to do?

I drove just a bit further to a little road so that I could get out of the truck without worrying quite so much about getting run over. Eventually after I'd had a slight personal breakdown (hey! everyone else was crying! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...), I decided I'd get out that lovely stroller & have to push the kids to the farm down the road to make a phone call to AAA. No! I don't live in the 21st century! There is no cell phone in my pocket...except for this moment, I can't say that I want one, either.

We got lucky & someone needed to use the road for a turn-around. They let me use their cell phone to call AAA. I was cut off but only after I'd given them my info. Of course, after sitting in the truck again for what felt like an eternity, I realized they weren't really sending any help...grrrrr! I had seen that I was close to a call box, so I loaded Henry into the sling & told Lucy several times to hang out with Joey & watch me from the window as I walked to the blue sign to make a phone call. As soon as we made it to the phone and started talking to a CHP guy on the other end, a CHP car pulled up next to us on the road. At last! Someone who could help!! This has to be the only time I've ever been happy to have a police car pulled up behind my vehicle! LOL!

He called AAA for me & got the tow truck out to get us moving again...bad news...we couldn't just put water in on the roadside, so we had to be towed to Novato to the garage. So I buckled everyone up again (they'd been bouncing around in the truck for all of this!) & the tow truck hauled us all to town. It was kind of fun to ride like that...the kids got a kick out it!

At the tow guy's shop, we put some water in & then hoofed it (Lucy walked, Joey was in the little stroller & Henry was in the sling) about five blocks to a pay phone that *worked* so that we could call Gene to let him know that we'd be on the road soon. He said he'd meet us in Novato so that he could follow us home & make sure we made it this time. WOOHOO!! We walked back to the truck & buckled up for yet another time. This time we only made it a few blocks before the truck went quickly and massively to the orange end of the temperature gauge...uh oh!

This is where we met a guardian angel named Kathy...she was walking her dog & could see that we were in need of some kind (all kinds, in fact!) of help. She let me use her cell phone to call the tow truck driver back to where we now were, and I called my mother-in-law because I didn't know who else to call to let know about what had happened & why we weren't going to be able to meet Gene (who was already on the road to our non-rendezvous point). She even went to Taco Bell trying to flag down Gene. She met us back at the tow shop afterward to report back that she couldn't catch Gene. Kathy then asked what else she could do for us...she was worried about dinner for the kids. It *was* almost 9pm at this point, and they'd been just polishing off the leftover snacks from the zoo...isn't it a good thing I'm an over-packer?! Kathy went to KFC & bought all of us something to eat. By the time she came back, Gene had called the tow guy & told him just to tow all of us in the truck back to Vallejo & park us at the house. We said goodbye to Kathy & buckled up (again...!). Our friendly tow truck driver hooked us up and away we went (again...!).

We popped the kids into their beds at about 10:30. I was in such a fog that I just kinda sat in a stupor until I went to bed...somehow I survived being trapped in a Suburban with three kids under the age of three for nearly seven hours...holy cow! Sadly, the Suburban didn't come out of the day even as well as I. Old Blue is going to the junk yard...blown head gaskets don't fix themselves & also cost more than the truck's worth, so we'll have to bid it a fond farewell. What lessons did I take from this experience?

  • Don't feel guilty for packing way too much food for a trip with the kids
  • Stay longer at the zoo...the trip home is a killer! LOL
  • Don't mess with stuff under the hood...the whole thing is MY FAULT! I messed around checking oil, water, etc. & the water cap didn't get on tightly enough...yeah, I think I won't worry about that crap anymore...I couldn't have done any worse even if I had run out of fluids...the end result is the same.


Cheryl said...

OMG!!!! No wonder I have seen you around lately!!! We've missed "big blue" in the parking lot! You are such a trooper! We're getting ready for JJ's Grad. hope to see you on Saturday! You deserve a break! My mom can't wait to meet my new Godson! Call if I need so send some one over to give you a ride! Love - Cheryl