July 1, Start the second half of 2012, with new problems

I figured that the second half of 2012, would be better than the first half. I guess I was wrong. Yesterday, I spent all day at Great Adventure in Jackson NJ in the 100 degree temps with thousands of my closest friends. I took my daughter and her friend and of course everywhere I go, there will be something that happens to make the trip unique.

I failed in my job as the designated bag carrier and the follower of the girls

  1. Lost my girls when they got stuck on huge line using the “Flash  Pass”. I waited and waited for over an hour for them to return from the ride and when the didn’t return, I went to the other rides I “thought” they might be going to. Needless to say this was a very bad decision.
  2. My daughter’s BFF, lost her phone on the Superman ride, because we didn’t want to repeat #1. We’ll see if the park finds the phone when they sweep the grass where the phone fell.

At least nothing we do is without some adventure, especially when we are at Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. These follies pale in comparison to my day today, the first day of the second half of 2012.. Read on  for my car follies of June 1!

The day started well with a few hours of tennis with my buddies, but the fun ended quickly with the car issues that I got involved with right after Tennis. So think, I’ve already been playing a few hours of tennis when everything below happens in real time.. So much fun, such little time, for Dad’s taxi of life.. Onward and forward.

Today, my older’s daughter’s car (Nissan Sentra) died on the NJ garden state parkway about 15 miles from her destination. Of course, I decided to go see what I could do.. Knowing full well that I have zero auto mechanic skills, I anticipated the worst and of course I got it.

When I got to mile marker 103 on her car was indeed stalled on the shoulder. I got in and of course, the car started. I knew then and there, this was way too easy, knowing my luck and how mechanical things when they are in my hands. My daughter took off in my car and I decided to drive her car home..

Of course within a few miles of me driving the car, the car died again and I was stranded on the side of the road with no place to go and my “check engine” light telling me the obvious. Normal people would have just waited for a parkway tow, but I wanted to press my luck, to see just how stupid I could be. Of course within a few minutes the car starts again and I take off headed towards home (Exit 114 – Middletown NJ) or as they refer to in the parkway towing lingo – mile marker 113.5 on the service road headed north bound.

After making it to mile marker 113.5 after an hour from mile marker 103.7, I was within eyesight of escape from the parkway.. I knew, my car wouldn’t make it to the exit, so I called parkway tow and AAA to tow my car from the side road after exiting my purgatory on the Garden State Parkway.

After an hour, Parkway tow shows up and this is where my luck goes from bad to worse. The tow truck driver pulls up ahead and he tells me, “he himself is out of gas and he can’t help me”. So now both of us are on the side of the road disabled.

Then I made a brilliant decision. I guess the heat finally got to me. I decided to cancel my tow and make a run for the exit (about 1/2 mile away) with my car which starts and can go a few  miles (if I’m lucky) at a time. Aren’t you waiting with bated breath  what happens next?

I think the Sun God was shining on me (literally) and I was make it through the one lane exit and make it to place where I could wait for the AAA tow.. When I got to my final resting spot, I felt like I had just won the battle of my car.. My wife and daughter came by with a half bottle of water so I could hydrate.. Yes a half bottle of water. Don’t ask.. I didn’t.

So the wonderful AAA driver comes and gives me the “free” tow to the service station with my disabled car..I anticipate that over the next few days, I’ll be spending quite a bit of money so my darling daughter can be mobile and be able to drive her friends all over NJ.

Here’s the lesson of the day that I learned..

  • Always have an emergency kit in every car. Jumper cables, flashlights and whatever else that you may need to self diagnose your car issues.
  • Don’t sit in your car when you are waiting for Parkway Tow on the NJ Garden state Parkway, Stand safely on the passenger side, so you enjoy the cars whizzing by you at high speeds.
  • The “Check Engine” light is there to tell you, you have a problem buddy, fix it..
  • If you have any older car, make sure you have AAA. the one time you need a tow, it will pay for itself.

By the time I got home, needless to say I was peeved. Yet I really didn’t know who I was peeved at. My daughter (for not knowing whether her check engine light was on before yesterd), My wife (for bringing me a half bottle of cold water, knowing how long I was out there in the heatwave),  or myself for letting all of the above get to me.

There is a silver lining.. I was home safely with the water that was not drinkable (oh, I didn’t tell you about the water main break in Monmouth county that continue to cause a water emergency in Monmouth County!).

I decided to make this day complete, the best thing I could do was take a nap and jump into my pool and be entertained by my other daughter, who just wanted to have some pool fun with her dad! Of course doing this wiped out all the events of the day that really made my day an experience to be shared on Dad’s Taxi!

Let’s see how much it costs to get my older daughter on the road, because as you know, she will never use the spare mini-van (which also has a check engine light on), That of course is not “cool dad”.











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