My husband and I, we don’t get out much. Partly because my husband hates leaving the house, but mainly because our families live kind of far away and so aren’t available to babysit often. However, last night, thanks to a dear friend, we did get out. Not only that, but we had the most epic night of our lives. Not for the reasons you may think, mind you, but it was epic none the less.
For my birthday in May, a friend of mine made the kindest offer EVER. Since I had “jokingly” told her all I wanted for my birthday was sleep, she presented us with $200 worth of Visa gift cards and – as if that weren’t enough – said she would watch our kids ALL NIGHT LONG so we could go to a hotel and I could sleep. I was blown away by the offer, and almost scared to take her up on it, but after a few months of anticipation last night was THE NIGHT. Our first night away since our oldest was born almost 4 years ago. I had big plans. Fancy dinner. Romantic hotel. And (most importantly), a night of uninterrupted sleep and the best sleep in I have had in years.
Epic, right? Yeah, just wait.
We headed out the door just after 6pm, en route to the hotel so I could shower and change in sweet, sweet quiet before our 8pm dinner reservations. My husband was driving, and he immediately noticed the sound that I’d been hearing for a day or two that was coming from the back tire.
“You need to take this to Kal Tire or some place on Monday and get this looked at.”
“Yeah, I was thinking I’d do that.”
“You should. It sounds like something is loose.”
We left it at that.
I had forgotten to print off the hotel confirmation so didn’t have the address, but programmed the hotel name into our GPS. I was surprised by the directions, as I thought it was closer to our house, but trusted the technology because robots are never wrong.
I started to be a bit concerned as we drove into Burnaby, since I was pretty sure the hotel was called the COQUITLAM Executive Hotel, but since there is a section of area called Burquitlam which is kind of half Burnaby, half Coquitlam, it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility that we were still going to the right place.
As we kept driving farther and farther, my concern turned to certainty that something was wrong, but before I could do anything about it, we arrived at an Executive Hotel. Satisfied that the GPS had not lied to us, we entered the lobby. While we waited in line hubs passed me his phone so I could look up the confirmation for our reservation. I pulled it up and noted the hotel address was listed as being on North Road. Considering the hotel which we were standing in was on Lougheed Highway, I considered that to be a problem. I grabbed hubs and dragged him out of the lobby, whispering, “Let’s go, this is the wrong hotel.”
He just shook his head after he realized that I had simply selected a hotel from the GPS list, though I SWORE it had listed the exact hotel name. It was just after 7pm by this point, and with 8pm dinner reservations, I was starting to think I wouldn’t have time to shower, but at least I could get dressed and do my makeup.
At 7:23, we were, according to the GPS only 3.4 miles from our hotel, and that is precisely the point when the ‘epicness’ of this evening really began.
That sound from the tire that we were going to get checked out got louder, and then the van started shaking and it was evident something was very wrong. Hubs pulled over on the side of the highway – there wasn’t any kind of shoulder so we were still half in a lane – and we got out to inspect the damage.
We looked at the tire on the right hand side using a phone as a flashlight and it didn’t look too bad. Unfortunately, that was because it was the wheel on the left hand side that was causing the problem. And by ‘problem’ I mean the wheel was actually barely still attached to the vehicle. Our wheel was actually falling off.
“It’s missing all the lug nuts.” hubs announced after a quick inspection.
He removed two from each of the tires on the other side of the van, with the thought that he could use those to at least hold the loose wheel on enough to get to Canadian Tire which was not too far away.
Since that side of the van was in a lane of open traffic and it was dark, my super smart husband put some bags he grabbed from the trunk down behind the vehicle, so that people would have to change lanes and slow considerably before smashing into him as he put on the lug nuts. I stood there holding both both our phones with screens lit up, and attempted to direct traffic into the other lane.
A minute or two later, I heard a groan.
“Why are you groaning?”
“This is a lot worse than I thought.” he declared. “The bolts have been sheared off.”
“Oh shoot. Does that mean you have to put on the spare?”
“No. That means we call a tow truck because we can’t put on a spare without any bolts.”
Right. I would have clued in to that if he’d given me a minute.
I then had to look up towing companies in the Coquitlam area, and after 3 calls I finally got through to one who agreed to come out and help.
“Just so you know, the car doesn’t have a tire.”
“Oh, you mean you have a flat?”
“No. I mean we don’t have a tire.”
My husband and I then stood at the side of the highway taking bets on when the tow truck would show.
“We can still make it to the restaurant.” I stated optimistically. “We’ve got twenty minutes still and it’s not too far away.”
“There’s no way we’re making it to the restaurant.” replied my pessimistic spouse. He made his prediction: “I assure you, we will not be eating til 10pm tonight. We are about to wait an hour for a tow truck and then I bet he’s going to say he can’t tow it without a wheel.”
“No, no. I told them it had no wheel. They would have told me if they couldn’t tow us.”
“Just wait.” he replied.
He was wrong about the tow truck wait. (It only took 40 minutes)
He was right about their inability to tow us, though.
One look at the vehicle and the tow truck driver looked doubtful. He called his head office or somewhere but wasn’t speaking English so we couldn’t tell what he was saying. We could tell, however, that he was either making suggestions that were being shot down, or that his head office was making suggestions and he was disputing them.
As the phone call didn’t seem to be producing anything positive, my husband interrupted.
“Pick it up from the back.” he said. “I’ll stop traffic so you can turn around and get behind the van.”
The driver expressed doubtfulness that after picking us up he could then drive the wrong way down the highway til he had a chance to turn around.
“I’ll go to the next intersection and stop traffic for you. You can do this.” my hubs assured him.
My husband is my hero. The tow truck driver agreed to the plan.
My husband grabbed one of his orange cones and stood in the middle of the highway waving people around as the tow truck turned around and lined his back end up with our van’s rear bumper, with the tow truck facing oncoming traffic.
After we were all hooked up, and almost ready, hubs told me to call a taxi – he was going to pay the driver and then walk west down the highway to the next intersection and begin holding off traffic.
Ten minutes later I was still on hold and the tow truck driver was still not ready to haul us off. I hung up and tried a different taxi company. Someone finally picked up and asked for an address. I told him we were on Lougheed Hwy and Bell Rd. He needed an address, as they can’t take intersections as pickup locations, apparently. I explained the situation, and that all I could see was the sign for Bell Rd, and a lot of bushes, and then a high rise near Bell Rd. This gem of a call center employee started looking up addresses on Bell Rd til he found a high rise. He was about to give me the address when I realized Bell Rd was East of us and my husband was heading to whatever intersection was West of us. Without knowing how long it would take him to get there and back, I thanked the guy for being so kind and told him to forget the whole thing. He must’ve thought I was nuts.
I waited til the tow truck took off and then walked on the sidewalk down this very dark highway at 8:30pm on a Saturday night. I was, of course, wearing heels even though I had no makeup or nice clothes on. I hadn’t wanted to take two pairs of shoes, a choice which I now regret.
I see my husband several hundred meters ahead, waving plastic cones in front of him as he walks down the highway towards oncoming traffic with a tow truck behind him.
It was at this point that the absurdity of the situation hit me and I started laughing, out loud, as cars drove by me as I hobbled down the highway lugging my purse and a little bag of clothes. I mean, we NEVER go out. What are the chances?
There was a bit of construction ahead, and the sidewalk was closed. At exactly the point of the sidewalk closure, the road turned a corner, so not only would I have to walk ON the highway, which is pretty bad, but I would literally be heading around a blind corner into oncoming traffic. This didn’t seem wise, so I hesitated. I had seen my husband walk ON the road of course, but he had bright orange cones and guts. Luckily while I was deciding what to do I heard hubs yell, “Come through the fence!”
He had come back for me when he’d realized I may consider walking in the middle of a highway at night rather than contravene any laws by squeezing through a fence past a ‘Keep Out’ sign. I love that he knows me so well.
So now we have illegally broken into a construction site (but honestly, what else were we supposed to do?) and I tell him we have to try and call a taxi again. But the next intersection had no houses or buildings, so we knew even if we got through we wouldn’t have an address to give them. It was decided that we would just walk to the sky train station.
“Well this is fun.” I said to my husband as we waited to cross the road.
“This is why I don’t leave the house.” replied hubs, deadpan. “This always happens to me.”
“No it doesn’t. This has never happened to you. I’m pretty sure this has never happened to anyone.”
Illegal activity #2 of the evening came when we only had enough fare for 1 person ($2.75) to ride the train, and so we bought one card, scanned it, and both walked through the turn style at the same time. I have never felt so alive. My husband was concerned that the transit police would come after us, and whispered to me, “If anything happens, pretend you don’t know me.”
He confided later that after paying $120 for the tow truck, he didn’t feel like paying a fine that night and had planned to run if they came after him. I’m glad it didn’t come to that, because that’s all kinds of stupid, though in all fairness I’m not sure that transit police ever really run, I think they just sort of weakly yell, “Hey, come back!” and then stop to eat a doughnut.
I knew our hotel was near Lougheed Mall, and thankfully that was our next stop. We got off and walked a couple blocks in the direction we needed to go, and then like a sign from God we saw our hotel sign lit up in the distance. Like another sign from God, we also saw a White Spot.
“Let’s check into the hotel, you can shower, and I’ll get us food.” hubs suggested.
We managed to get to the hotel and check in, and went up to our room which was on the top floor. Unfortunately, it turned out our room keys weren’t activated so we couldn’t actually get in. Hubs went back downstairs and I just laid down in front of our door, because honestly.
Finally into the room, I hopped into the shower. At 9:50pm, hair blow-dried, I turned on the TV and waited. At exactly 10pm, just as he’d predicted hours earlier, my husband entered with the food.
I hate that he’s always right.
From that point on it was great. I mean, except for the alarm clock going off at 6am and waking me up. I gave it a severe beat down but in the process apparently set the alarm for 6:30am, because then it went off again. My husband had to drag me off it before I smashed it to bits, but once calmer, I managed to permanently turn it off.
I next opened my eyes at 11:26am. A sweet, sweet sleep in, and perfect timing as check out time was 12 noon. We packed up, and Brian headed outside while I checked out. I then asked the front desk clerk to call us a taxi.
“Isn’t there one outside?” he asked.
“Oh, yes, but there’s someone in it.” I replied.
He seemed doubtful, and I followed him outside. I was unsure why he was heading to a taxi that already had a person in it, but wondered if maybe he was just planning to ask the driver to call another.
We made it almost all the way to the taxi when I realized what was happening.
“Oh, um, never mind.” I stuttered. “The man in that taxi is my husband, so, um, I guess I’ll just take this one.”
He probably thought we had quite a night. I’d say he has no idea.
This post is linked up with a bunch of other great blogs here: