HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
June 18, 2007, Herald Journal

Breaking down in style


I’ve never had my car break down while enroute until last weekend. Any car trouble I’ve had since I was 16 has occurred in my driveway.

From flat tires to dead batteries, all instances have been mostly just annoyances and haven’t left me stranded somewhere.

I’ve always recognized this blessing and have been grateful for my luck.

Even though I was forced to pull over on the side of a major interstate last weekend, when I noticed my temperature gauge rising in a hurry, I was well under the wing of my guardian angel.

My husband and boys had stayed home that particular day that I headed up to visit my brother who lives two hours away.

Before heading back home, I stopped at a gas station, filled up with gas and got a French vanilla cappuccino along with a salted nut roll. As a side note, the two latter items go great together.

Only two miles from the gas station and my brother’s house, the engine temperature had gone to 260 and I knew I was a few miles from the nearest exit ramp.

I pulled over on the shoulder, shut the car off, and called my husband who told me to sit there for 15 minutes while the engine cooled.

I have to admit, I was a bit uncomfortable sitting there and each time a car flew by in this 70 mph zone my car would rock.

I started to get anxious, so much so that I couldn’t even enjoy my cappuccino!

After 15 minutes, I fired the car back up and headed for the nearest off ramp. The temperature had gone to 260 again just before the exit.

Once I was off the interstate and parked, I called my brother who was only five miles away and who is a diesel mechanic.

He told me he’d get his tools together and be right there. This is when I relaxed in style.

I had my still-hot cappuccino and my nut roll. I talked to my sister on my cell phone for a little bit and enjoyed the woodsy area I was in.

I thought to myself, how lucky I was to only be five miles down the road from my brother and able to get off the interstate.

So my brother rescued me. He looked at my engine and said there was no way he’d let me try to gimp my car home with a temporary fix.

Instead he gave me his Jeep to drive home, while he drove my car back to his house.

I had never driven a Jeep before. It was pretty fun after I got used to how loose the steering was and how bumpy it rode.

I cranked up the radio and took the back roads home instead of the interstate. The bumpy ride helped to keep my cappuccino stirred up – bonus!

Also, the bumpy ride reminded me of one of my favorite movies. OK, it’s embarrassing to admit, but Ace Ventura Pet Detective: When Nature Calls is one of my favorites.

The scene where Ace is driving that Jeep on a primitive road and he’s bouncing around like crazy while talking to the guy in the passenger seat always cracks me up because when the camera pans out to include the guy that’s riding with him, that guy isn’t bouncing around at all and he’s looking at Ace like he’s a moron.

Now I’ve said too much about what can actually entertain me.

Anyway, the next morning, my husband loaded the Jeep into a trailer, we returned it to my brother, and brought my car to the shop.

The breakdown was a little bump in the road of life, and once again I was blessed with good fortune. I am especially thankful that my boys weren’t with me – they would have been basket cases.


While I was making breakfast with no makeup on, my six-year-old said, “Mom, you look like the ice princess from that movie.”

I assumed this was bad, but I asked anyway, “Is that bad or good?”

“It’s weird!” he said.