Adventures In Dadding: Q’s First Automobile Breakdown And Other Happenings

We’re back for another exciting episode of “Adventures In Dadding,” only this time there will be real-life problems instead of stories about bowel movements.

Have you ever had a week where things started out pretty normal and then, while chasing a bird through the Appalachian Mountains you discovered a spaceship blaring a Casio keyboard version of Rage Against the Machine’s cover of “The Ghost of Tom Joad?”  Me neither, but I can imagine that would be less troublesome than this week.  I’ll fast-forward to the fun stuff.

7pm on a Saturday.  We were driving back from a fun visit to Q’s great grandparents and regular grandparents.  A day that started with breakfast, bird-watching through the window, pulling a baby-filled sled around a frozen lake, and stories of yesteryear, took a turn at about 8pm.  That was about the time the heat in the car stopped working.  While inconvenient when the temperature is 30 degrees, not the end of the world.  When you notice a cloud of smoke rushing toward the headlights in your rearview mirror and cars wildly changing lanes behind you to avoid billowing clouds of pollution that are coming from the back of your car, you’re getting a little closer to the world’s end.  When five seconds later the temperature gauge dings because you’re overheating, the battery light comes on, and the power steering goes out, you’re pretty much there.  Luckily, having previously gone through a scenario like this (see: Breakdown), I knew exactly what to do.  Grab a rock from the side of the road and pop the hood!  Keep driving and hope the ship rights itself!  Start singing Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory!”

Those would have been good choices if the family wasn’t with me.  Instead, I pulled over and called my dad.  I mean, it sounds lame, but he was only 30 minutes away…and he had a AAA card.   (He also had to borrow my grandparent’s car because the heat in his car is broken…like father like son, I guess.)

At this point, Q was wide awake and quite curious about a) why he was wide awake, b) why the car was getting colder, and c) why beams of light kept passing us at blazing speeds.  I, on the other hand, was worried that this wasn’t a crazy enough scenario for Q’s first car breakdown story.  I briefly thought about lighting something on fire…for warmth, of course…but decided that wasn’t necessary. His curiosity turned to elation when his regular grandma and regular grandpa showed up and he got to move to a car with heat.  I’m not sure whether it was the warm air filling his lungs or his power-nap fueled brain, but he started saying “Semi” and “Tow Truck” like nobody’s business.  After about 30 minutes of hearing my son yell “Semi” and “Tow Truck,” Shaggy’s Towing showed up.  (No, unfortunately the truck wasn’t painted like the Mystery Machine.)  But, there were still flashing lights and beeping noises happening literally right in front of Q’s face.  You would have thought he had just seen Elmo walk down the street.  Pure joy.


Thankfully, the guy who showed up was one of the nicest tow truck drivers I’ve ever met, and believe me, I have plenty of experience with tow truck drivers.  (He even got the joke my dad made about swinging by the bar…and, if you know my dad…well, sometimes his jokes don’t land with an unsuspecting audience.)  Once the car was on the flatbed, we were ready to hit the road again.  1oo mile tow later, the car was at our repair shop (I say “our” because they know us by name…which is both good and bad) and we were back in the comfort of our own home.

Speaking of this “home” I just brought up, “home” currently has a furnace that has the work ethic of a construction worker mixed with a bingo hall foreman.  It works when it wants to and has little-to-no enthusiasm about it.  Those are two traits that you definitely don’t want in one of your main household appliances.  To scare the furnace into working, I told K that, “We have a fireplace…we can keep one room warm until spring,” but when you factor in a kiddo, you have to do the responsible thing…treat the furnace like a computer and just keep turning it off and turning it back on so it works for 10 minutes at a time.

To top off the remainder of the week:

  1. The warranty for the car only covers repairs at a certified Jeep dealer, so we had to have the car towed from our repair shop to the place where we bought it.  (A fun morning-turned-afternoon that made me late for work.)
  2. It’s a “dude’s week,” as K bailed on us to go live the high life in Colorado (high because of the altitude…seriously, people) for a work thing.
  3. My phone stopped accessing wi-fi (making us go over our data limit for the month), then stopped charging (perfect for when you’re waiting from a call from the repair shop to come pick up your car).
  4. The high scores reset on one of my pinball machines.  (Ok, that’s not that bad, but I needed to vent.)
  5. One of my favorite bands, G.Love and Special Sauce, were playing in MPLS this week but Q said he couldn’t stay out past his bedtime. (Weak, Q.  Though I have seen them about 9 times, so I’ll let it slide.)
  6. We’re out of Lucky Charms…the cereal.
  7. It’s Wednesday.

Such is Life…the cereal.  Ok, now all I can think about is cereal.


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