Home Sweet(?) Home

Filed under: — lana @ 6:24 pm

Well, we returned for re-integration on 20 July. Then we had a few days off. Then we came in for a day and stood around doing nothing. Then we had a few more days off. Then we came in all week to stand around doing nothing. Welcome back to the Army! It wasn’t awful, since we only stood around doing nothing until about noon every day, if not a bit earlier (shh! Don’t tell the Sergeant Major!), and occasionally were reminded that beating our husbands wasn’t the answer. I mentioned that it depends on the question, for which I received a nasty look from a superior or two…

Moving along, we got permission for leave, so I piled some clothes into the car and got out of dodge while the getting was good. Let the adventures begin.

Along the way north back to real civilzation (North Carolina just doesn’t count), we stopped at both King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens. In that order. Yes, Busch Gardens is distinctly further south than King’s Dominion. Yes, it was a Sunday in August and so there were more cars on the road than flies in the Afghan toilets (and that is saying quite a bit). But we perservered, and it wasn’t until about 1700 (5pm for you non-military types) that I headed north. Commence true adventures!

About two miles before the Delaware Bridge (Hi. I’m in DELAWARE) I see something gray and blowing across the road. Cars to the left of me. Cars to the right of me. I had no way out… Take one for the team! A nice clunking sound as it rolled into my car, and I continue… half a mile until my coolant light goes on and my car starts to heat. I slow. Must… make it… to… Jersey… can’t… stay… in… tiny… state… I putter over the bridge and into a gas station off the NJ Turnpike. The guys there puzzle over it. Turns out they were all station attendants on break, so they couldn’t help much. I call Saturn for a tow. Turns out the NJTP is a private road. No tow for you! Mwa ha ha… The irony is amazing that i struggled so hard to make it to a bigger state where it would be more convenient for the company who is not allowed to tow off one of the major thoroughfares. So I call another truck, which comes to fetch me a few hours later.

I am towed to a truck stop in the middle of the pines. For those of you unfamiliar with Jersey lore, in addition to suggesting you brush up on it, I will explain that the NJ Pine Barrens is a belt of stunted pine trees across southern Jersey. It is home of the Jersey Devil (not the hockey team, the folklore (or is it… cue creepy music) devil that was the thirteenth son and yadda yadda), as well as many south Jersey crazies. The tow driver was quite kind. He said, “I’m not gonna leave you on the side of the road out here… too many crazies out tonight. I’m gonna leave you at this here truck stop instead!”

So I call Saturn from the stop, and they say they are sending me a truck to get my car to a Saturn dealer. So I wait a few more hours. In that time, I meet two crazy ex-militaries, one of whom was special ops in Thailand in ‘Nam (man… my days in Da Nang… I can’t even talk about ‘em…), and now lives on an island in South Florida and drives a truck now and then for fun. Eventually the driver comes, helps me out, tows me, and drops me at a hotel at 0400L hours. I get a room and a wake up call for 0700L hours. Does the 66 dollar charge seem a little silly to anyone else?

Next morning I call the place where my car is. Turns out they don’t fix Saturns anymore. Nope. gonna have to get me another tow to a real Saturn dealer. Huh? Wha? I’m… so… confused… So once my head stops bleeding about the eyes and ears I call Saturn and they agree to tow it from the dealer to a real dealer. I feel like with all these dealers I’m home in North Jersey once again, but I digress…

So I get a cab over to dealer 1 to wait for the taxi. The cab driver, turns out, was a former elephant trainer for the circus. Some people have all the luck… I have… lawn mowing in the military. But anyway, I get to the place and sit and wait for four more hours before the tow shows up. An absurd amount of phone calls to Saturn later, I ride with the creepiest tow driver yet about half an hour to a place that can fix my car, which costs me about… oh, 800 bucks because my radiator and condenser were, oddly enough, dented and cracked. Funny… no idea how that happened… think that’s covered by warranty? No dice. But the guy was nice and knocked off a hundred for me…

And thus my leave started off wonderful. Chalk it up to life experience…

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