A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Mother’s Day

The last few days have been trying — even more so than the coronavirus shutdown brand of trying we’ve been living with for the past two months — and I am so far behind on posting to this blog.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. We’d planned to drive to Williamsburg to check on my mom. I am the only one of her daughters who lives close enough for a day trip, and we were all worried about her, though she keeps saying she’s fine. My mom is active and in good health and has no COVID-19 risk factors except for her age (81). But she lives alone and I wanted to make sure she didn’t need anything.

We planned on a masked, socially distanced visit, preferably most of it outside. The three of us planned to drive down Sunday and come back that night. We did not plan on the car breaking down halfway there, necessitating a call to AAA for a tow, a cab ride to a dealership, and several hours of being stranded in Fredericksburg, where the dealership service department is closed on Sundays. We could fill out a form and leave it with the key in a drop box to be looked at on Monday. But the service department handles loaner cars, and the service staff was not there. So we had no way of leaving the dealership to go on to my mother’s house in Williamsburg, or to go home.

We called my mother repeatedly, but she wasn’t answering. We tried to call my aunt and uncle, who live in Fredericksburg, but they weren’t picking it either. We tried to rent a car and discovered that every rental car agency in Fredericksburg is closed on Sundays. We called U-Haul, which was only a block or so away, and discovered that only two-seater vehicles were available there or at any U-Haul locations in town. There were three of us.

We started researching hotels in the area, figuring we could get a cab to one and just spend the night, hoping the car would be finished early on Monday. This would mean that Bob would miss work the next day. And, depending on what time our car was finished, Jon Morgan could miss his AP test for U.S. Government.

Finally, after hours of sitting outside the dealership trying to find a way out of there, we received a call from the sympathetic Toyota service manager, who said he would drive in from his house to give us a loaner car. So we did not have to spend the night.

He arrived and gave us the keys to a very nice red Camry, and we drove on to my mother’s house, where we had a nice visit — though it was nearly dark outside, so we were inside instead of outside. And we drove home late that night. Not the way I expected to spend Mothers Day.

Monday afternoon, Bob took off some time and the two of us headed back down to Fredericksbug to pick up our car, complete with its brand new water pump for the electric system. It cost more than $700, but you can hardly have anything done to a car for less than $500, so it could have been a lot worse.

I know this whole experience is a minor annoyance compared to what other people are experiencing. We were never in danger of spending the night in the parking lot of the Toyota dealership. The worst-case scenario was that we might have had to shell out for a hotel stay (though that’s a bit scary in the Time of Coronavirus). But I had high hopes for Mother’s Day, both for celebrating with my mom and for being pampered by my husband and son (admittedly, that might have been a delusional hope to begin with). And with most people’s base-level emotional state right now stuck somewhere between Stressed Out and Panic Attack, it doesn’t take a lot to feel overwhelmed.


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