Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Give a Girl a Brake.

"I'm the biggest loser in the world!" I complained into my cell phone. I was parked in front of the middle school where I'd just dropped off my kids. Stuck. My van wouldn't budge. I watched glumly as other parents in big trucks, SUVs and even little zippy cars dropped their kids off and left again.
"You're not the biggest loser in the world," my neighbor consoled, "have you ever had to explain to the police(insert her embarrassing experience here)?"
"No, you're right, I've never done that. I just don't understand why my van is handling the snow so badly!"
We'd been on and off the phone since I'd begun my carpooling journey this morning. I could barely make it out of my shoveled driveway, and got stuck again on our street. The van was acting so funny, that I made a quick check to see if there were any alarm lights or on or anything. Nothing. It was a slippery ride to school, with many a spinning tire. But we made it. And there I stayed.

Before I even knew I was stuck, I called my trusty husband to tell him how terrible the van was driving on the ice.
"Just come straight here to the dealership. I'll have some snow tires put on." (The tires that I had on weren't snow tires, but they were still pretty new. They shouldn't have been a problem.) My hubby's work was only a couple of miles from where I was. I took a quick peek in the mirror. I still had curlers in. No makeup. I had visiting teaching appointments in 30 minutes.

"I can't! I have a day planned, I don't have time for this. I'll just go home, have someone else drive to our appointments, and think about it tomorrow."

I tried to pull out. And then I knew I was in trouble. None of my "getting out when you're stuck in the snow" tricks worked.(I'm actually an expert at driving in a ditch after I've slid into one. It was a useful tool in high school. There's never any snow here, so I haven't needed that maneuver in a while)

I swallowed my pride. I made some quick calls, pulled out my curlers, and submitted to my husband's superior reasoning.
"Babe, I'm actually stuck here. I can't move. It looks like I'll need some help after all."
He came. He sprinkled some ice melt around the tires. Then he took off the parking brake, and the van sprang to life and left its snowy grave.

The parking brake.

Was set.

I'd driven the entire way with the parking brake on.

"You're lucky there was snow, or your tires might have caught fire and burned up the van."


In my defense, it's MY van. I never set the parking break unless I'm somewhere on a hill, and then I remember to release it, because I'M the one that set it. HE had driven my van last, and set the parking break out of habit. The light for said brake is on a little console that's blocked from view by the steering wheel. I never think to look there.

"Are you mad? Are you mad at me because I set the parking break?" He asked with a smile in his voice.

I couldn't decide. He explained that he always sets the parking break when he drives the van in case some child climbs in, puts the car in neutral and squishes someone. (Which in our family is a distinct possibility) How can you be mad at someone for that?
At least from now until the end of time, I will remember to check the parking brake. And I'll have a good story to tell. That's something, right?


Michelle said...

Don't you hate it when a man can find such an easy solution to a problem? This summer I had to call a neighbor to help me pull-start my mower. I'm no wimp, I pull start it all the time, but the dumb thing wouldn't start. When he came over and started it on the first pull, I realized I'd been holding down the wrong lever the entire time. So humiliating!

Anonymous said...

One of those classic moments. It's like buying a new TV when yours wasn't working-because it wasn't plugged in. Or nearly calling the repairman to report large clunking noises in your dryer, fearing the motor had fallen apart-only to find a large rock from one your children is the culprit. Oh, wait-none of those are my stories-but classics just the same! LOL :) Glad it was such any easy solution and what a GREAT story! N

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Aahh the parking brake.

I can relate the experience, mine was even more embarassing in which it was the driving test for my WA license, I thought the car was just not working, should have seen the look on the instructor's face.

I remember of it only if I am the one engaging it, like when towing the boat out of the launching area, or when I park on a steep hill.


Sleepless In St. George said...

All my halloween pictures are on my cell phone because my camera wasn't working. Yes you got it, I forgot to turn the power on. At least you're problem wasn't your fault!

Kristin said...

I don't know if it's because I feel like this is something that I could/would or maybe already have done, but I never laugh so hard as when I read your blog, Earlgirl! Thanks for helping me to find humor in situations that could easily be very un-humorous.

Kristin said...

Oh, and where can I hear that friend's story with the police? That sounds like a great post! :)

Home of the Muddy Kids said...

My spouse and I have the exact same problem with our parking brake habits. Fortunately, we have on car (shocking) where the parking brake lever got completely ripped off (um, me), so it's not a problem in that vehicle anymore. Maybe that's your solution!

Jana said...

Oh honey - I read this yesterday and then thought of you all evening because of what happened to me. I'll probably blog about it later when I have a minute but let's just say that I needed a break but not a brake as I got more and more stuck in the middle of someone's front lawn. And I do mean middle.

Jodi said...

Husbands....can't live with them and can't live without them!