This is me...
AFTER my night of Hell!
Okay, I need to share! I was in NIGHTMARE ALLEY last night and I still have not gotten over it! For those of you who didn't know...my hubby, Lurch, had unexpected heart bypass surgery three weeks ago. Needless to say, stress has been at an all time high. I had to be the woman of steel! Before the surgery, Lurch told me that he better not see any tears coming out of my eyes. He thinks I am the strongest woman he has ever known! If he only knew the truth!!! So I was Ms. Strong. I had the chipper attitude...humor was running rampant! My kids and friends all told me that I was handling things so well...they remarked that I am always so strong and composed. I played the role well! My chin (or chins as some smart asses might like to say) has been held high and stoic throughout the last three weeks!
Last night, I was scheduled to drive Lurch to a sleep study center where he would be undergoing an overnight test. I checked him into the clinic at 7:30 pm and had to decide whether to head an hour and a half back to my house or to spend the night at my son and daughter-in-law's house which is located about an hour and a half in the other direction! I was so tired as I had worked hard all day. I couldn't wait to go to sleep! I had just left the clinic when I was called back because Lurch did not have some paperwork with him. I drove back, filled out more paperwork and headed out again. By now, it was 8:30 and I was hoping to make it to my son's house without falling asleep. I was so tired!
I was driving down Interstate 45 which is a very busy freeway which runs through downtown Houston. I had the Sinatra station on my radio. It was a dark night but I was trying my best to relax and unwind from a very stressful day...when I had a friggin' blowout! I was driving in the inner left lane when this horrific BUMP BUMP BUMP happened, so it took me a few minutes to maneuver through traffic to pull off on the outer shoulder. HOWEVER...there was another slight problem...there was no shoulder...but there was the exit for Interstate 10! OMG!!! I am stuck in the outer lane where two Interstate Freeways connect! I am alone! I have never had a blowout! I have never changed a tire! I couldn't even get out of my car to check on the tire...because the traffic was so damn fast and furious...and I am partly in the outer lane...with no shoulder to pull off on...and with no access to a shoulder as far as the eye could see! Every car that passes by, swerves and almost hits me! All I can see are all these lights coming at me in my rear view mirror! I know that at any moment I am going to be the casualty of the local late night news reports!
I will admit it. I am spoiled. I am pampered when it comes to my husband taking care of me. Now, I know that some of you are going to freak out about this...but when I was divorced from my first marriage of 17 years, I had never put gas in a car. I never had to. You have to remember that "in the old days", we were used to full service gas stations where the attendant filled your tank, checked your oil and washed your windows! And, yes, self-service stations had been on the scene for quite a while, but my then-husband had a gasoline distributorship so I never had to put gas in my car! I remember the first time I had to buy gas, I had to go into a convenience store and ask how to get the gas from the pump into the car. Needless to say, the person just stared at me like I had escaped from a loony bin...and in fact, I had.
So, there I sat last night...in the dark...alone...not in a safe part of town...not knowing how to even think about changing a tire...with cars swerving around me! I was trying to keep my chin...okay, my chins...up and stoic! It took me a full five minutes to find the flashers on the car! Seriously! I adjusted the steering wheel, washed the windows, set the cruise and did all sorts of stuff before I found the flashers! I am spoiled! My hands were shaking so hard. I picked up my cell phone and called my son. No answer. I called his wife. No answer. I had already called Karen. No answer. I sent a text to my son. No answer. I sent a text to his wife. No answer. I called Lurch...who was in bed with no car and electrodes stuck all over his head. Lurch told me to "CALM DOWN and call 411 or 611 or something like that". I called 411...it was information...a recording, not a person. I called 611...it was information on billing. I called Lurch back....a little hysterical this time...horns honking at me in the background. Lurch told me to "CALM DOWN and find my AT&T card (WTF?) which has a free tow number on it." It is pitch black. I am being blinded by headlights. No one is answering my phone calls. I am suppose to read the small print on the back of an imaginary card which I DO NOT have in my purse!? Screw the stoic chins...I screamed! Lurch said, "CALM DOWN and find that AT&T card and everything will be okay." I screamed...and in a very calm, shrill, hysterical voice tried to explain that I was sitting in pitch black and I couldn't even see to find my glasses to read the imaginary AT&T card which was not in my purse...but I couldn't be sure because I couldn't even see the items in my purse! Lurch said, "CALM DOWN, MALISA (he added my name to make me feel like he knew who he was talking to) and find that card (what card?) and call that tow service (what tow service?) and everything will be fine, baby (note the term of endearment for extra points)." I hung up on him...and called 911.
So to make a long story short...wait, it's too late for that...30 minutes later, I see blue and red lights flashing in my rear view mirror. I must admit that this is the first time I have ever welcomed seeing red and blue lights flashing behind me! Deputy Bailey with the Harris County Sheriff's Office came to my rescue! He stayed with me...with lights flashing...to keep me safe from oncoming traffic as he contacted a free towing service with Harris County MAP (Motorist Assistance Program). Did you see the word FREE? Wow!
I wish I could tell you the name of the young man with the towing service who towed my car off the freeway and spent two hours changing the uncooperative tire! Two hours! And when he had changed the tire and suggested that I put air in the tire...and I looked at him with a blank look on my face and told him I didn't know how to put air in a tire...he didn't even laugh at me or roll his eyes...he just did it for me. He was totally respectful! Maybe he could see I was at the end of my rope...or maybe he was just a good Samaritin. Whatever. I truly appreciate his skills...and I appreciate how he stood by me when two cars screeched into the area beside us and got into a shouting match...we both thought guns were coming out! He stayed with me until I got safely back on the freeway at 11:30!
I did learn some valuable information if you have car trouble while in Houston. You can get roadside assistance by calling 211, 311 or CALL-MAP. It is free...and they are wonderful!
I got in bed after midnight and had to get up at 4:30 to get back to the clinic to pick up Lurch at 6:00 am! I brought that boy home where he belongs and I have not done one thing today...except say a few prayers of thanks and enjoy having Lurch home and much healthier!
This has been a very trying three weeks. Thank goodness you can't see my chins.