Tuesday, May 18, 2010

HELP! I'm Stranded With Three Kids And A Cake!

OK, so I mentioned in the last post that I had three surprises for the boys' birthdays.

One night, about a week before his birthday, Alec mentioned he wanted to go to the
PBL All Star dunking and three point competitions.

It was taking place the day of his birthday. One of his favourite players from the
Halifax Rainmen would be participating.

I agreed it would be a cool outing, but made no promises to get tickets.

The next morning, on the drive to work, I'm listening to Frankie and Ana on
The Morning Bounce, and got an idea.

I remembered hearing them give away tickets to the PBL event.

Damn! Was it morning or afternoon?

When was the last time I heard them give one away?

Could I win us a couple of tickets?

So, as soon as I got to the office, I fired off a quick email to Frankie, asking if they were still giving out tickets, explained it was Alec's b-day that day and I was hoping to win some for my own three point dude.

I didn't get quite the reply I expected.

Frankie didn't offer info on when the next drawing would be.

He flat out offered us four weekend passes to all the events!

HOLY CRAP! Alec was going to FREAK!

Which, my friends, brings us back to ...

Back to when we were sitting in the car, right after the boys finished putting on their new armbands, (Surprise #1) and I said ...

'Now, this next one, is for Alec, for his birthday, from Frankie Hollywood at
101.3 The Bounce.

But we'll ALL be going to it! He gave us four weekend passes!'

Two mouths dropped.

As far as they were concerned, it didn't matter WHAT it was.

It was four weekend passes, from their favourite station and Mom thought it was 'surprise worthy'.


Once again, eyes closed, hands out, big grins plastered on two expectant faces.

I dug the tickets out of my purse, put them in their hands and said, 'OK ... open'

Alec was the first to react.

'We're going? I didn't think you were going to get tickets! How did you get tickets?'

I gave him a smile and said, 'Thank Frankie Hollywood.'

Adam was still looking at his ticket.

Trying to figure out the acronym of the upcoming event that obviously had his brother so excited.

Finally, he simply looked at me and asked, 'where are we going?'

And before I could say anything, Alec replied ... 'THE PBL GAMES!'

YES! Yes we were. If my vehicle would get us there ...

Oh yes, there's a side story within this story, people!

Of COURSE there is!

I had been having vehicle problems.

By the time it was diagnosed, the 'small leak' turned into needing a new radiator.

While waiting for that part to come in, I still had to get back and forth to work. Run errands. Pick up birthday 'stuff'.

Get everyday shit done.

By the time Saturday rolled around, I had already broken down in the Wal-mart parking lot earlier in the week.


THAT was fun.

Can ya see me?

Hood up, jug of water in hand, pouring ... pouring ... pouring into the rad.


My mechanic had told me to 'keep putting the water to it and it should be fine until that new rad gets here.'

That was on a Monday.

Saturday was Alec's birthday.

He woke up to 'the usual'.

Something I started for Alec when he was little and have done for the boys ever since.

From the time they walk out their bedroom door ...

To the bathroom ...

... to where they find their presents.

That afternoon, Alec invited a friend over, who was going to spend the weekend and attend the games with us.

As usually happens if it's a 'sleepover weekend', I ordered a pizza from the local Pizza Hut, then set out to pick it up a few minutes later.

Got there. Got the pizza. Got back in the truck. Turned the key. Nothing.

Wouldn't start.


Just out of the blue, wouldn't start.

This wasn't good.

I knew I had put fluid in the rad just before I left the house. It shouldn't be overheated.

I gave it a few minutes.

Tried it again, sputtered some, then died.

Then, the strangest thing happened. A vehicle malfunction I hadn't yet experienced.

It started, reluctantly, but it started.

The NEW problem was, if I took my foot off the gas, it stalled.

Turned it off.

Tried it again. Same thing.

Would start, with loving encouragement, but the minute I took my foot off the gas ... Stall.

I looked at the clock. It was almost 4pm.

I had three boys waiting back at the house for the large Meat Lovers that was getting cold on my passenger seat, the game started at 5pm, it took half an hour to get to the venue and I was still in the Pizza Hut parking lot.

Wasn't. Going. Anywhere.

Great. Happy Birthday Alec!


I debated calling a cab, and having the CRV towed, or calling the ex, and having the CRV towed.

I called the ex. Explained the situation and that I was desperately in need of a ride home.

I'd figure out how we were going to get to the game, and how I'd get the truck home, later.

One crisis at a time, please!

He arrived, got in the truck, started it, took his foot off the gas and ... it kept running.

WHAT THE?!?!??!

Yup, all he did was sit in it and start it up and all of a sudden it was OK to hit the break, and gas, and break again, and NOT stall.

Alrighty then!

Off we headed for home. He followed me, just in case.

While the boys inhaled the pizza, the ex put more fluid in the rad, as well as topped up the oil.

And me?

I was muttering my new mantra ... 'just get us through the weekend, until the new part gets here! 'just get us through the weekend, until the new part gets here! 'just get us through the weekend, until the new part gets here!'

Finally, we piled back in the truck, said a quick prayer to the vehicle gods, and ...

Started no problem.

WooHoo! We were out of there!

Late, but out of there!

At last, we made it to the Legends game.

By the time we got there, we were almost half an hour late, but so was the start of the game. HA! YES!

Didn't miss anything!

They were non-ball players. But it was entertaining nonetheless.

Then, it was time for the events that Alec was REALLY interested in.

The three point and Slam Dunk challenges.

And that's where we saw some GOOD ball!

We also saw other strange spectators watching good ball.

And then we saw some very STRANGE ball! ;-)

By the time the evening was done, it was about four hours later.
Definitely a night of fun, and worth the stress to get there.
OK, so these fan waving things below.
People left them in the seats after the game. Apparently, I NEEDED to have 60 of these things brought home, for the boys to smack each other with.

When we got to the parkade, I looked at the CRV.

Was it going to start?

Were we going to be stranded, trying to figure out how to get home?

Was I going to have to hit it with one of those fan thingies?

I had nothing to worry about.

Started on the first try.

On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store, to pick up Alec birthday cake

It was 9:30pm.

We ran in, picked out a cake, ran out.

Everyone looking forward to the late night chocolate treat when we got home.

We WERE, that is, until the truck wouldn't start.


Not now!

Not here!

Not tonight!

But no matter how many 'no!'s' I threw at it, it wouldn't turn over.

At all.


By the time I had given it some additional time to cool off, and tried it again, and cool, and try, it was 10pm and the store was closed.

I finally had to give up.

I couldn't keep the boys there all night, hoping the stupid truck was going to start.

So what was I going to do?

Have you ever tried to think, with 'what are we going to do, Mom?', and 'are we going to walk home?' and 'are you going to call Dad?' and 'can we eat the cake?' ... all being thrown at you at the same time?

Yeah. Not exactly a thinking-friendly environment.

Then, Alec asked, 'Can we go run around the empty parking lot while you figure out what we're going to do?'

I looked around, saw that the place was entirely empty, knew it was something they were never allowed to do on a normal visit, needed the space to think, so said 'Sure, fill yer boots! But BE CAREFUL! and don't go far. Stay where I can still see you.'

So they did.

And I once again placed the SOS to the ex.

The ex who lives about 10 min away, and decided to answer my desperate plea of, 'HELP! I stranded with three kids and a cake!'

He got there about 15 min or so later.

We left the truck, took the cake and fan smackers, and headed for home, finally getting there close to 11pm.

So what do you do, when you finally get home after an evening of fun, followed by a bit of not so much fun?

You have cake!

Late night Birthday Cake :-)

At one point, while dishing out cake, I said to Alec 'I'm sorry we broke down on the way home from the game hun', and he looks at me and says "Mom, between Frankie giving us those tickets, and what happened tonight ... BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!!!'

PHEW! Surprise #3 ... SUCCESS!

The next morning, I made the phone calls.

First to my mechanic, letting him know what happened and where the truck was, and my dilemma of how I was going to get to that afternoon's game.

He told me if I could get the truck to his place, I could take his car for the day, and to work tomorrow, until we figured out what was going on with mine.

Good enough!

Next call was to the next door neighbour, and god love 'im, he drove me down there, waited while I refilled it with water, gave my engine a boost, and ... yeah ... it was running!

I set out immediately for my mechanic's house, my neighbour following me.

I pulled into his driveway, and without any fuss whatsoever, other than a small sigh, the engine died.

Not to start again.

Could have been worse. At ANY time, on the way to his driveway, it could have decided that was IT.

But it didn't.

So we did the car swap.

That afternoon, it was off to the All Star game.

Now THAT was some good basketball!

Half-time show consisted of tricks with a trampoline, basketball and 'high flyers' :-)

They were pretty cool!

And of course, the Weather Girls!

After the game we made our way down to the floor for pics and autographs.

Before we made it to the players, I noticed a few of the Weather Girls were posing for a pic with some guy.

The boys noticed it too, and started arguing between them over who was going to ask if they could get their pic taken with them.

Had I left it up to the three of them, the girls would have been long gone before we even took another step.

I stopped the debate with a, 'hang on ...', waited for the guy to finish, then walked over to the girls and asked, 'Hey! Would you mind taking another pic since you're all right here? :-D' and yes, I DID give them that big smile.

Which sort of gave me funny looks in return.

So I clarified it with a, 'not with ME,' as I turned around and pointed at the three boys standing mute ... smiling, but mute, behind me, 'with THEM!'

They said 'SURE!' and gave the boys one of the highlights of their weekend, I'd say. Right boys?

The Mascot, Thunder, stopped for a pic.

Then it was on to the Players!

They didn't get pics with all. By the time we made it through as many as we did, some were already gone.

But did manage to get one with Ross Demasi of the Vermont Frost Heaves.

Sorry, it has to be said ... he was a cutie!

And Michael Anderson, of the Maryland GreenHawks, totally rocked the boa, Baby!

As well as a few others, before catching up with Alec's favourite, Eric Crookshank of the Halifax Rainmen!

He had his pic taken with him at a game last year also lol.

Before we left, guess who Adam spotted in the crowd?

Someone who we needed to say a huge Thank You! to.

Frankie, Frankie Hollywood :-)

We all thanked him for the tickets and let him know the whole weekend was a great time, and an awesome birthday present.

He was nice enough to stop for a pic with the boys, too!

Thanks again Frankie, and 101.3 The Bounce!

The weekend was AWESOME!

OK, the whole breaking down multiple times thing wasn't great, but other than that ...

Later that night, once the boys were in bed, and the weekend was over, it was time to worry about my stupid inoperable vehicle.
Worry about how much the repairs were going to cost me.
And if it was going to be too much, should I even bother, or look for something else.
But what could I afford if I had to look for something else?
Oh ... right ... that would be a grand total of just about ... nothing.

And as I closed my eyes that night, I was STILL thinking of that stupid truck.
What was I going to do when I had to give my loaner car back, and I still didn't have anything to drive?
That question was answered a couple of days later, in a most unexpected way ...

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