My Epic Christmas/Valentine’s Fail… 2 Months In The Making

I don’t always share the minute details of my life here.

I’ve tended toward topics I’m genuinely interested in like grammar, editing, history, etc. (wow, am I a nerd or what?), with an occasional personal insight thrown in about my first experience ice skating or parenting a toddler. My topics are chosen carefully, cultivated thoughtfully.

After the crazy experience that was supposed to be a nice weekend away for my husband and me, I feel the need to share. While pondering what happened, I lingered on one word: implode.

That’s what my weekend did—it collapsed violently inward. Want to know what NOT to do for your next weekend away? Read on.

1. Eschew traditional Christmas gifts purchased in a store. You know, the ones that come with a built-in insurance policy (a.k.a. gift receipt)

2. Purchase instead non-refundable concert tickets to see one of your spouse’s favorite artists at a casino more than five hours away from your home.Ticket picture

Bright Spot: The concert is scheduled for Saturday night before Valentine’s Day, so you cover your bases for Christmas AND Valentine’s. #bonus

3. Casually mention minutes prior to departing for the weekend that your vehicle has had some issues heating up. Assert confidently that 10-minute trips around town must not be enough time to give your vehicle proper time to heat up.

4. Tell your husband that your feet are going numb when you’re about 20 minutes down the interstate, but adamantly refuse to turn around for fear you will be late to meet a former college roommate for lunch. Soldier on, covered in a musty old afghan you keep in your winter survival kit. Shiver. A lot.

5. Chug burning hot chocolate at an interstate truck stop in the vain hope it will quickly warm your frozen appendages as you cower near the shady showers. Watch your husband pour a jug of coolant into your vehicle in an attempt to jumpstart the heater. Scald your tongue. Start judging a universe where a thing called “coolant” is the solution to a malfunctioning heater.

6. Mistake a momentary heating as a permanent solution and continue on your trip, gleefully rejoicing that the detour only delayed you less than an hour.

7. Discover, only 30 minutes later (but now nearly two hours from home), that the heater is again not warming the air and realize your car problem is likely more serious than a $10 jug of Kool Aid-colored coolant can fix. Thirty seconds later, stare in horror as your vehicle’s warning system alerts you that the engine is overheating and you must immediately turn off unnecessary components (are there unnecessary components in a vehicle?!) as your system powers down.

8. Consult owner’s manual regarding engine overheating. Call insurance agent. Call tow truck. Call parents—who traveled three hours to spend the weekend enjoying quality time with their only grandson—to ask for a ride back home. Collapse in tears as guilt for ruining everyone’s afternoon overwhelms you.

9. Cram into tow truck 30 minutes later and watch as your vehicle is hoisted in the air like a gutted deer carcass. Ask to be left at what can only be the best place at which to be stranded on a Saturday afternoon the day before Valentine’s Day…Walmart.

Hmm…not how I imagined this morning starting. #lifehappenswhenyoumakeplans #stranded #thanksfortheridedad

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10. Enjoy a romantic lunch at a fast food restaurant where you and your spouse lament the terrible fortune of having reserved a hotel room and purchased concert tickets for a nice weekend away…neither of which you will be enjoying.

Bright Spot: Spot a celebrity doppelganger in the restaurant and commence Twitter conversation.

11. Kill time while waiting for your ride by enjoying a luxurious shopping trip…in Walmart…on a Saturday afternoon…during which you buy socks, eggs, and bread. #seriously #WeNeededTheWeekendAway

12. Drive two hours back home, imagining how you might still salvage the evening by enjoying dinner and a movie (because you have built-in babysitters still on the hook), only to have your spouse and father determine that the threat of impending snow means your broken-down vehicle needs to be retrieved soon. As in…that night.

13. One hour after returning home, defeated, bid adieu to your spouse, who is going to retrieve said vehicle.

Bright Spot: You don’t have to spend another four-plus hours in a vehicle because your spouse’s friend has agreed to help. #yay

To be fair, the weekend wasn’t a complete loss (the jury is still out on the vehicle). I ended up getting to spend more time with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law than I originally thought, although the gloom of a ruined weekend cast a shadowy pall over everything.

Sadly, I spent less time with my husband on Saturday because he was dealing with the car situation (save for the late-night rendezvous in the parking lot of our mechanic’s shop, which involved him, my father, and the friend pushing my car down a U-Haul trailer as I steered, convinced I would lose control and my vehicle would careen into oncoming traffic).

So what’s the moral of the story here?

Buy your Christmas presents at the mall next year. Gift receipts mean everyone ends up happy.

2 Responses

  1. Danielle's Husband

    Was “break down at the side of the road when it’s 0 degrees” on your Midwesterner’s Bucket List?

    On an unrelated note: Readers, we may have an SUV for sale. Runs great. Tows well, too.

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