We were originally going to go Friday-Sunday, but decided to leave on Thursday afternoon so we’d have a full day with Darla while her two adorable kiddos were in school.
Without traffic, it’s a 6 hour drive from New Jersey.
We took Rachel’s car, agreeing to split the driving time. Did I mention her car is new? And if there’s a pothole, I’ll hit it?
Somewhere between New York and Connecticut, we (and by we I mean me) hit 37 potholes. And I’m not talking little divots in the pavement.
On Rachel’s high-tech dashboard, we watched the air pressure in the driver’s side tire plummet.
By the time we reached Boxborough, Massachusetts, we had a flat. Rachel pulled over while I surreptitiously checked her fuel tank. Plenty to keep the car running and heated for at least an hour or two. Whew.
“I don’t know how to change a tire. Do you?” she asked with a laugh.
“I’m from New Jersey. I don’t even know how to pump my own gas,” I replied. “But I just renewed my AAA membership!”
In under 30 minutes, a tow truck arrived. The driver got the spare out of the trunk and started rooting around while Rachel and I bounced up and down trying to keep warm.
“I can’t find the key,” he announced.
It took us much longer than it should have to understand that tires have unique “keys” to unscrew the lug nuts so no one steals them. The spare in your car is supposed to come equipped with its matching key.
We tore apart the car, but alas, no key. Thanks, Toyota.
Eventually, he said our only option was to go to the nearby dealership and have them change the tire – when they opened. In the morning.
Oh, did I mention Rache had 20-inch fancy rims?
“I’m so sorry I broke your car!” I wailed for the first of many times.
After the tow truck driver unloaded the car at the dealership, he said he could drive us to the nearest hotel. Nevermind that we had two non-refundable rooms waiting for us a mere two hours away in Maine.
“Do you have anywhere for us to put our luggage?” we asked.
“Just your laps.”
Our essentials were scattered between six bags, not including my swinging 1970s, fully-loaded cooler, which took up half the back seat. I grabbed my laptop and two bottles of champagne. “Screw it,” I said to Rachel. “This is all I need.”
When we arrived at the hotel, Rachel explained our predicament to the front desk. The man at the counter replied deliberately, “You have a coupon, riiight?” He nodded slowly.
“Um…yeeees,” Rachel said, catching on.
When we saw the receipt: 50% off! What’s more, our room overlooked a funky indoor pool, white lights and palm trees (you go on with your bad self, Holiday Inn), so we opened the balcony sliders, and more importantly, the champagne, and toasted to the kindness of strangers.
Rachel called the dealership at 8am the next morning, and they finally got back to us with the verdict two hours later.
“It’s not just a flat. Your rim is damaged beyond repair.”
“Of course it is,” Rachel replied.
“And since you have 20-inch ones, we’d have to custom order a replacement. It wouldn’t be here until Monday.”
“So…my only options are to wait until Monday…or get 4 new 18-inch rims and tires?”
“Correct. And it’d probably cost the same either way.”
She covered the mouthpiece. “I knew. I knew when we got that car with those friggin’ rims…” She spoke into the receiver, “I guess I’ll have to get four new tires and rims, then. How long will that take? …Okay.”
“I’m so sorry!” I cried.
“Jules, it’s not your fault. I hit them, too,” Rachel reassured me, gracious as ever. (It was totally my fault.)
Turns out they had to order the ‘regular’ rims from a nearby dealer and couldn’t start work until 1pm.
They gave us a complimentary rental car, and we killed time at a local diner.
At 3pm, they gave us the good news: “Almost done.”
At 4pm: “We just realized we have to put all of the tire censors back on. It’s going to be another hour.”
5pm: “Okay, just finishing the paperwork.”
5:02pm: “Our computers just froze.”
5:30pm: “Let me give you the damaged tire and rim. Oh, wait, it’s filthy, we need a bag. Hang on.”
5:35pm: “We can’t find any more bags.”
5:45pm: Finally, FINALLY on our way. “Good thing we left Thursday night.”
7:00pm: Reach Maine.
7:30pm: Darla texted. “I can’t get out of my driveway. It’s a sheet of ice.”
That’s right. At last we were in Maine, 24 hours behind schedule, and NO DARLA.
But there was lobster. Lots and lots of lobster.
Saturday morning, another text from Darla: “I still can’t get out!!”
So Rachel and I shuffled around the icy streets of Freeport alone, waiting for the temperature to climb above freezing.
At one point, it was so slippery, a gift shop owner reached out a hand while holding the door, towing us inside. Later, when we peered longingly into Freeport Chowder House, the man inside waved us in.
“Are you open?” we asked.
“Not for two hours, but I never turn down customers,” he replied. “I don’t have the fryer going yet, but what do you want? Lobster roll?”
Rachel and I looked at each other. “YES.”
It was noon on Saturday before we saw Darla, but she was worth the wait.
Despite the many snafus, this li’l trip north had so many heart-warming moments, I wouldn’t trade it for anything would totally trade it for another 10am lobster roll.
P.S. – I even learned how to pump my own gas!
Since the word count on this post is already as atrocious as the potholes on Route 15,I hope you’ll head over to Rachel’s Table and She’s A Maineiac to read more about our adventures!
Have you ever had any vacations that didn’t go, ah, according to plan?
The three of us had been daydreaming about a Maine get-together for ages. One December morning, I blurted, “Why wait? I’m not working [since my “separation” with Big Pharma], and Darla doesn’t have to go back to [Medical Assistant] school until late January! When will that ever happen again?”
Maine? In January? You’re probably thinking.
Sure, they’re having the harshest winter Darla’s ever seen, but I think I’ll be spending less time outdoors and more time doing this:
Besides, while most people fantasize about palm trees and white sand, I lust after evergreens, crisp air, mountains, and of course, an ocean view at every turn. I’ve been in love with Maine since my first visit [to Freeport, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park] 16 years ago. It calls to me. It’s like my Paris.
I also realized I had a golden opportunity to woo several people at once with my homemade Tollhouse pie.
Because that’s how I roll.
I hope to return next week with some wacky and wonderful tales. In the meantime, stay warm – and don’t have too much fun without me!
Where’s your “Paris”? What part of the world calls to you?
I’m sorry. I don’t know where the “chocolate bacon” came from.
I think about Rachel all the time.
I thought of Rachel when I texted my hub, Peppermeister, about Monday night’s dinner:
I thought of Rachel when I made last night’s dinner, and Peppermeister left me a bowl of his mysterious homegrown peppers. Surely I couldn’t put any in the bacon turkey meatloaf without trying them first?
In all seriousness, Rachel is one of those undeniably special people who is not only talented, beautiful and clever, but always knows just what to say to let you know she’s there for you, and she gets it she’ll totally hook you up with the Amish bacon. I hope you’ll join me in wishing her a VERY happy birthday!
If you had to wear someone’s face on your chest, whose would it be (besides Rachel’s) and why? (Bet you didn’t think you’d be answering that question today.)
When I can’t come up with a damn thing to write about.
Time for a very short blogging hiatus. Now, now. Dry your wee little chipmunk tears. I’ll be back next week!
Psst: This Friday at the Go Jules Go compound, it’s Peppermeister (Hub #1) vs. Rachel’s Table. That’s right. Those two are finally going head to head in a Spicy Pepper-Off to see who can handle the hottest homegrowns! I’ll have plenty to report next week.
If you want a delicious sampling of what’s in store, check out Rache’s fantastic “Peppermeister Roulette” videos (video one and video two)!
It’s Rachel’s Table‘s fault, really. At least, she’s the one who pointed it out. I never liked her.
Let me back up.
Last Friday, my good bloggy bud, Rache, and I (and our indulgent husbands) met up in Lambertville, New Jersey, under the guise of supporting a favorite local brewery, River Horse.
We had a blast, the true implications of the night yet to dawn on me. Two days later, Rache broke the news. I reacted accordingly.
That’s right. Rache accused me of being a… a… hipster.
I needed time to process this, starting with the above image from Friday night. Sepia, Instagram-esque photo filter. Eep. Then the setting: A no fuss, no muss local brewery with exposed brick and tacky fluorescent lighting. Double eep. Lastly, there was how we ended the night – in an old school bar. Eeps to infinity. As Rache put it, we weren’t even trying to be ironic. Yet it was all so… so… authentically inauthentic. Winking.
This was a grave matter indeed; I had to do some research. While the rest of you grilled animal flesh and donned red, white and blue in celebration of Memorial Day, I looked up over a dozen definitions of hipster, and read several articles (including this gem from the New York Times, How I Became a Hipster).
If I knew exactly what I was up against, maybe I could stop this tempeh and hemp-powered train from heading straight to Brooklyn. Or worse, Portland.
I read the articles closely.
It was bad. I, along with my hipster brethren, abbreviated words like ridiculous and totally. We watched HBO’s Girls. We drank sazeracs. We obsessed over indie music, local food and sustainable energy.
So why was being a hipster rocking my mustachioed world? For starters, I like plenty of mainstream crap. Oh no. I just called it crap. Well, never mind, forget that one. Also? I’m well scrubbed, don’t look good in plaid, and wool makes me break out.
Perhaps most telling, I’ve never said, “I was into ____ before they got big.” (I’ve thought it, though. A lot. And maybe said it ironically, once or twice. …Shoot.)
There is one catch to my seemingly inevitable slide into skinny jeans, rooftop gardening and fixed-gear bicycle riding: I awkwardly, laboriously and spectacularly try and fail to be cool. There is no pretending otherwise. I want to be cool. I want everyone to like me (even hipsters). I do care, and I don’t hide it.
So for now you’ll find me rocking my facial hair the only way I know how. Smugly.Hilariously. Genuinely.
What does being a hipster mean to you? (For some wildly funny breakdowns on hipsterdom, check out this page on Cracked.com. Toldja I did my research.)
Oh, Chipmunks. I can’t stuff a cheek without bumping into another compliment / award / congratulatory butt slap these days. So it goes when you have brains, charm and a disarming perma-grin honed from years of smiling and nodding.
This week I received not only a rad ‘stache-themed award from the lovely xdanigirl of The Life and Times of a Mom, but also my very first…
Third Hub claims he’s wildly jealous of a video blog I made some time ago. I’ll take his word for it, though he couldn’t even find said video, because I know he’s heartbreakingly envious of my amazing memes everything I do.
Normally I try to revel in others’ successes, but let’s get real. There are some bloggers out there who make me want to hurl myself down a set of stairs. I’m talking about bloggers who, in the spirit of the Jafees, make me rip out my hair and scream, “DANGNABBIT I wish I’d thought of that first!”
So here, in random order, are my first Jafee Award winners! Please accept this nod as a token of my seething resentment.
(Note: Anyone can pass along Jafee awards; winners are under no obligation to do so.)
I’m not kidding when I tell you I’m shamefully jealz of Becca from 25tofly. She’s young(er), pretty(ier), funny(ier), has killer dance moves, a great following, and she can put together a video blog like nobody’s business. When I saw this, and this, I kind of wanted to cry. What’s more, Becca recently quit her day job in order to pursue making videos, so no, no, I’m not jealous at all.
Nina is not only a social media guru who penned Twitter advice that’s garnered oodles of attention, but she writes for a bunch of other websites, a top source of my blinding jealousy. In addition to being a truly talented writer and all-around nice person, Nina’s got 4 kids and a rockin’ bod (hate her). She also just kicked her public speaking fear in the ass [by reading a piece on stage], which is something I so wish I had the nerve do.
If you’re not jealous of Rian from Truth and Cake, it’s only because you don’t know her. Her second ever blog post was Freshly Pressed (i.e., featured on the home page of WordPress.com). She came out guns blazing, with exceptionally sincere, thoughtful and well-written posts. Rian has one of those voices all writers strive for – you want to hear what she has to say, and feel confident taking her advice. What really gets my jealousy meter fired up, though, is the fact that she married a South African with an undoubtedly awesome accent her drool-worthy graphic design / photography skills and overall style.
When my dear friend Rache decided to go on video with her first ‘Peppermeister Roulette,’ I thought, “Well. This is it. Husband #1 is divorcing me.” Rachel took home some of my husband, Peppermeister’s, spiciest peppers with the warning, “Don’t tell me what any of these are.” Fearlessly, she ate one after the other, determined to conquer his hottest homegrowns. Don’t think someone can look amazing and offer cooking tips with their nose running, eyes watering and ears ringing? Guess again. The only thing hotter than the peppers was Rache.
I seem to be forgetting someone… Hmm… Nope. Can’t think of it. Happy Thursday!
OKAY FINE. The man behind the Jafees-which-I-totally-don’t-wish-I’d-thought-of-first…
Just to be nice. I’m really only jealous of his intelligence, stand-up comedy, acting skills, stick figures, photo captions, and uncanny ability to get into the minds of animals and share their points of viewhow good he looks in jeans.
Bloggers: Feel free to pass along your own Jafee awards! Non-bloggers / All: Who drives you loco with jealousy (in and outside of the blogosphere)?
Once upon a time, I drove a sparkly VW convertible, Aquarius blue with a gray soft top and interior. By sheer nepotism luck, I’d scored a well-paying job in Big Pharma right after I graduated college, and in May 2005, I bought her.
Named for her annoying ‘alert’ sound, Nudge had a habit of wailing the instant you sat down without your seatbelt, left the door open, or felt too smug for your own good.
Now don’t misunderstand me: I hate to drive. No interest in cars. If I won the Mega Millions, the first thing I’d do is hire a chauffeur. But Nudge, well, she was special. A sign of independence, financial and otherwise.
Before Nudge, I had a series of hoop-dee cars. I never minded; I was grateful for my parents’ hand-me-downs, already used when they bought them, barely worth $1,000 combined by the time they were in my possession. I couldn’t stand the idea of high school kids getting brand new cars for their 16th birthdays. How would they ever learn the value of a dollar, or the thrill of gluing ‘NSync bobbleheads to the dash of their 1987 Chrysler Le Baron (“Toaster”) without consequence?
When Peppermeister (Current Husband) and I decided to buy a house in 2010, I sold Nudge and paid cash for a used 2006 Hyundai Sonata with a buttload of miles on it. Aside from being in my price range, it handled well, had great pick-up, 4 doors, and most importantly, unlike Nudge, excellent visibility. At 28 years old, it was my grown-up car.
Two weeks ago, I met up with a few lovely blogger friends for brunch: Rache from Rachel’s Table, Misty from Misty’s Laws, and Julie Maida from MaidaSomeArt. Julie had driven to Rache’s house in Delaware from Virginia, and Dash and I had come from New Jersey.
We traded war stories.
“So my heat knob’s not working now,” I began, as we I poured champagne and put Rache to work making delicious frittatas. “It used to work on the 1 and 4 levels, but now nothing. Which means I can’t use the defrost. Luckily, it was sleeting the whole drive here, so that was fun. I need warmer gloves,” I finished with the casual laugh of someone who knows all too well what it means to drive a car with the roof lining dangling on your head, loosely kept in place with multi-colored thumbtacks.
Julie replied, “Did you have a bottle of water, at least?”
I looked at her quizzically. She explained, “To thaw the ice. I took my husband’s car, and the windshield wiper fluid doesn’t work. And you know it was misting just enough where the wipers only smudge up the windshield. Luckily, I had a bottle of water in the car, so I tossed that on the windshield when I stopped to pay the tolls – which is also when I had to open the car door because the window won’t roll down.”
It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite hoop-dee stories. Peppermeister drove a real winner when we started dating in 2003: A 1987 Chevy Blazer. There was an issue with the lock, but he was able to open the doors with… a dime. A dime in the keyhole. A dime he kept hidden in the rust hole at the bottom of the driver’s side door.
Let me repeat that.
He opened his car using a dime that he stored in the rust hole of the car door.
What’s your favorite hoop-dee car story? I really can’t wait to hear.