Wow, what a week it has been! Last Monday morning, I had a doctor's appointment first thing, then left to go pick up my dogs and my brother-in-law. The dogs had been staying with my husband's mother and brother in Pennsylvania while we were at the beach the week before. Because they live about 3 and a half hours away, my mother-in-law was kind enough to offer to meet me at the approximate halfway point.
Unfortunately, about an hour and a half from my house, the transmission on my 2007 Toyota Corolla blew. I was left sitting on the side of Interstate 70 in a torrential downpour, 35 weeks pregnant, and in need of a bathroom. This is the second time in 2 months that this same car has left me on the side of the road. Both times were when I was on my way out of town. The first time, I was only about 45 minutes from home, which was bad enough. This time, I was fortunate enough to have my mother-in-law on her way to meet me.
One of the blessings of having a smartphone is that I was able to locate a towing service and mechanic right from my vehicle. It seemed to take forever for the truck to arrive. I wanted to run into the woods by the side of the road to use the bathroom, but I did not want to let my cell phone - my only means of communication - out of my sight. It was raining so hard that if I had left the car, I would have been soaked in less than a minute. And so I waited. When the truck finally arrived, the driver was very efficient and got the car hooked up quickly. (Part of this may have had to do with the fact that I told him I needed a bathroom desperately right before climbing into the cab of his truck to wait.)
My mother-in-law was able to take me the rest of the way home and ended up staying a few days, which was nice. We soon received the worst news you can ever receive from a mechanic: it's the transmission. Repairs are going to cost us about $3,000, and that does not even include what we are paying to rent a car.
When I went to pick up our car rental, they did not have our vehicle ready, so they offered me a minivan. I almost took it because I was heading up to Pennsylvania (again) the next day to serve as the matron of honor in my best friend's wedding, and I figured that I could use the extra space. However, I decided to decline since the dogs would inevitably be all over the van, and hence, so would their fur. I figured it would be easier to sweep fur out of a smaller vehicle, plus the gas mileage would be better in something smaller.
Every other time I have rented a vehicle, I have received a decent-sized compact like a Mercury Milan or even once a Nissan Maxima. The one time I needed just a little extra space, however, they gave me a VW Beetle. What a nightmare of a vehicle. I cannot imagine anyone ever test driving one of these things and then saying, "Yes, this seems like something I want to buy." It is ridiculously tiny, and there is very little trunk space, not to mention it just has all kinds of weird functions that do not seem to serve any real purpose. For example, the windows go up and down when you lock or unlock it. Just a crack, but still. Why, I ask you. Why?
Needless to say, when it came time to head to Pennsylvania, I was experiencing something I never dreamed I would experience: I was wishing I was driving a minivan instead. We were driving my husband's brother to Pennsylvania to attend the wedding, too, so I drove the Beetle with him in the front seat while the hubby piled into the back with Oliver and Stella. As usual, tiny Stella took up as much room as she possibly could by stretching across the seat, while Oliver tried to figure out how to stand so as not to step on anyone.
When we finally arrived in Pennsylvania and clambered out of our clown car, I had just enough time to run inside and say hello to my parents before I had to run and get ready for the rehearsal and dinner. After being on the run all day, I was somewhat dehydrated and feeling awful. I got a leg cramp in the middle of the rehearsal, which I was able to walk off, but which left me terrified of a repeat performance the next day.
By the end of the evening, I was having nearly constant Braxton Hicks contractions, a few of which were actually somewhat painful. There were even a few times when I thought I might be in labor, and the only thing that reassured me I was not was that the contractions lasted so long.
Fortunately, the following day, I did a much better job of staying hydrated, and I felt a lot better. Even so, it was a long (but fun!) day, and I was so grateful when I made it through my toast without my water breaking.
On Sunday morning, we went to visit my 95-year-old grandmother, who was recently admitted to the hospital with what was determined to be a case of pneumonia. She was in rather poor spirits when we arrived and feeling a bit out of things, but the longer we were there, the better she seemed. I hated to leave her, but we had to head back to Virginia.
On Tuesday, we got the call that our car was finally ready, so after my husband finished work, we jumped in the car and headed for Maryland. We picked up the car and paid the astronomical bill for repairs and headed on home.
I am so grateful to be back in Virginia with no other travel planned. I have some more cleaning to do to get the house in better shape for the guests who will come when the baby arrives, but now that we are home and have the car back, I feel like I am ready for this baby to come! I have another appointment tomorrow to see how big our not-so-little guy is (see Look out! We've got a big one coming!), and he will be officially full term on Friday. Come on, baby!