Okay, the gig is up. Am I paying for a wrong in a past life? Not that I believe in that stuff but really, how can you explain how our first full day at the Brimfield Antique Show went from total euphoria to a re-enactment of a scene from Thelma and Louise? We had hit the fields early, being the very first car to park in the lot of the field that we had chosen to peruse first. We had strapped on our back packs, checked our show map and confirmed in which direction we were heading.
The sun was high in the sky and as the temperatures soared we scored find after find. Some small and…
After four hours, we felt so good about our purchases that we even took some time to sit and nosh on Brimfield’s famous lobster rolls. How can life get any better than this?
We were thrilled to run into one of our favorite Face book friends, Carried Away Antiques as we happened upon their booth. We made quite a comical site as we rolled a fabulously large grain bin out of their booth and over two fields while we balanced an antique frame that was larger than Chris is, while stopping to fill the grain bin with a selection of glass buoys.
You know, when it really comes down to it, picking out the perfectly imperfect buoy to fill a bag of eight is hard work.
We had picked out goodies in four different fields, some quite large and heavy which could not be pushed over the river and through the woods. The solution was, to assemble your piles, pay for them and then hope like heck that they are still there when you maneuver your trailer as close to them as you possibly can without appearing in the local paper the next day for taking out a few of the shoppers.
We begrudgingly left our coveted parking spot to navigate through the various fields hoping that our mental notes of where we had left our piles were accurate. That was the biggest worry! Chris and I were incredibly proud of our accomplishment of finding everything that we had purchased and were delighting at the new found friends that we had made who so graciously helped us load the trailer. One thing about loading a trailer, that we have learned, is that you have to pack it like you are putting together a puzzle so as to to fit in as much as you can into the space. Space is a hot commodity, for God forbid you find that perfect piece and cannot fit it in to make the trip home!
Chris and I high fived each other as we pulled away from our last pick up at 2:15 pm. We were doing a little happy dance having found so many goodies with so much time still left in front of us. Most of the fields do not close until dusk so we had more than a few hours left. We had one snafu and that was that both of us had forgotten to bring a lock for the trailer doors in the back. The next batch of fields were too far away to see the trailer. Should we chance leaving a loaded trailer in a field and then leave it unlocked? We decide no, so we headed to the closest Walmart to pick up a lock. We were literally soaking wet from loading the trailer and thought that the ten minutes sitting in front of the blasting air conditioner might do us good so that we could hit the fields hard, once again, after we cooled off during our short drive.
That little happy dance that we were doing just a short time ago was abruptly interrupted by a mean Mr. Murphy as we smelled something burning and then noticed smoke coming out of what looked like the back of the trailer. I pulled over as quickly as I could, clicked on the hazards as
Chris popped out of the passenger side. I joined her and we both stood starring at the baked rubber on the back right tire of the trailer. Did we have a flat? No…it was still full. Hmm…why is the metal above the tire so hot? why is the tire so hot? why is the metal rim of the trailer resting on the top of the tire? We quickly ascertain that the metal cover above the tire is rubbing the tire, causing it to create friction, causing it to melt a line in the tire and to cause the smoke. I had noticed the 1-800 number on the U Haul paperwork as I was stuffing it in the console, for the number was quite large. I had vaguely read something about calling that number for road side assistance. As I try to get back in the car to retrieve that helpful info, I barely get in the car with my rear end attached as we were partially on the road and the car whizzing by did not give any courtesy to my backside as I climbed in. We both decide that the trailer is drive-able enough to put our hazards on and limp along at 20 mph the two miles to our hotel. Who knew how long it would be until someone got to us to check things out?
Let us just say that after the first tow truck comes, in an hours time, to have the driver declare that it is not a tire problem and he is a tire guy, he will have to call dispatch to get a mechanic out, we are a little frustrated. I am sorry but I was under the impression that a tire guy is a mechanic. Not true people.
This is the truck of a real mechanic who arrived another hour or so later to ascertain that our problem was a rotted bolt on the right rear axle which caused three axle springs to break causing the back end of the trailer to sag onto the tire. The U Haul is not drive-able.
“How do we get another one we ask?”
“We don’t,” the mechanic says. “I am going to temporarily fix the axle with a block of wood I can attach the bolt to and then you will drive to the closest U Haul dealer to get another one. ” Chris and I look at each other leerily and ask why they cannot bring us another one. For those of you who don’t know, Brimfield is the largest antique show in the eastern part of the country, stuck in the middle of a tiny town in Massachusetts. There were tons of crazies like us renting all the U Hauls in a 30 mile radius. We had to get the temporary fix to be able to drive thirty something miles to the the U Haul place that still had trailers available. We pulled out around 6:15 pm with our trusty mechanic behind us who had jury rigged the axle singing, On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again, almost four hours after the initial break down took place. Four hours in which we paced the parking lot, ran into the hotel at times (thank goodness we had made that decision to get to the hotel) to connect to wifi to use the facilities and to call U Haul. As we paced, the thought of driving thirty something miles away at a snails pace, unloading everything we had just loaded to load it yet again and then drive back the thirty something miles started to cause us to pace more. Did I mention that at least half of what we bought had iron on it somewhere causing the necessity of three of us to load many of the pieces into the trailer? The two of us and one very strong man.
Sensing my frustration at one time, with our dreams dashed of checking into the hotel at a decent hour with smiles imprinted smugly upon our faces from accomplishing so much in that one day, that heck we might even have time to watch a movie, Chris said to me, “I will continue to do fake, stupid, happy for a little longer and you run across the street and check out that antique store.” After keeping my calm for almost four hours I took her up on it and fake, stupid, happy became our mantra for the day. Thanks Chris!
Chris and I work really well together in all circumstances, we both try and remain calm at all times, we both do well with stress and we try to find the humor in whatever situation might come our way, which in my case, seems to be where the Murphy’s Law comes in. Was anybody else looking to unload their trailer that night because the first one they had had broke down???
No… Has anyone heard of a U Haul breaking down??? Maybe a flat tire…but the axle??? As we map quest the directions to the address the mechanic had given us an App came up entitled shut uppa your face.
Shut uppa your face…anyone ever heard of that one???
We both start laughing hysterically probably out of fatigue, the heat and the lack of any food since our lobster roll at 11 am.
We finally pull into our second U Haul dealer for the day after completing the drive uneventfully which seemed to have taken hours for the fear that the wood block would not hold up, to find several trailers in a row. Great we can have our pick! No one is around and the mechanic was told by U Haul that they close at 7 (it was 7:22) but it was no problem. They would leave us a trailer and we should just drop ours after transferring the packed goods. After searching for several minutes for any sign that paperwork had been left for us to take the trailer or any indication of which trailer we were to take, two men walk out of the U Haul facility. We approach them and the mechanic tells them the scenario and asks which trailer we are to take. They reply that we cannot take any trailer for they are closed and the computers are shut down.
This is where the Thelma and Louise part comes in and my temporary battle with insanity.
You want me to drive back thirty something miles on a broken axle and then drive back here thirty something miles tomorrow morning when you are open? when we were told by U Haul to come here and pick up a trailer…tonight?
“Sorry ma’m, we are closed, there is nothing we can do.”
“Your vehicle broke down on us and there is nothing you can do???”
It all went downhill from there. Not that it had not slipped in that direction hours ago but not to this extent. Again, I think it was the heat, my own stench at this point, the realization that I had a bad sun burn on my arms, the visions of a bottle of water or better yet a Margarita and some food, the thought of still having to load and reload the trailer and the shut uppa your face that made me break.
As the two insolent attendants left us hanging as they drove away, having repeated, “Sorry ma’m,” several more times the poor mechanic knew that he better do something quick before I turned my wrath on him. During our little “conversation”, he had called the owner of that particular U Haul store and got permission to take a U Haul. We were back in action and by 8:45 we had the load switched with the help of Kevin the mechanic, who had softened to our plight and finally made introductions as he warned us that we were in a bad area and should get this done quickly. I think he was rather puzzled at what we were going to do with all this “old stuff” but he was a work horse. If it weren’t for Kevin who had volunteered to help us load and unload vs. us waiting for U Haul to find someone to help us, which we were told could be a couple of hours, we would still be pacing…frantically. Maybe the two attendants would have been happy to help us?
Shut uppa your face
We make a quick stop at the Home Depot to pick up our lock on the way back to the hotel parking lot because wouldn’t it be soooo funny if we walked out the next am to remember that we had not locked the back of the trailer and everything was gone???
Drama has a way of following me around at times and really, it is not of my own making.
The positive of this whole experience?
I found this really funny little saying that I love!
Chris and I finally got to enjoy some pasta and that Margarita at 9:50 pm as we raced into the restaurant that we could walk to from the hotel before they stopped serving at 10.
We learned how to do fake, stupid, happy… really well.
We learned about a new App that we had never heard of before.
I also learned that sanity can be reinstated after suffering from a bout of insanity…
and we will be back at Brimfield tomorrow am bright and early…well maybe not as bright nor early as the first am only sixteen hours ago, but we will be there never the less!