Yesterday started out really calm. No rushing to catch the ferry, no sailing waits, not much traffic. We were all in really good spirits and ready to tackle the stores and hoards of Christmas shoppers.
The shopping itself went particularly well. I am notorious for being the girl that nothing fits. Usually everywhere we go the small sizes are gone, and I am left frustrated and annoyed. People always say that one should be thankful for being a small size, but when the stores only carry 2 size smalls in everything, it's damn annoying. In the first store the clerk acted as if we were ruining her day just by being there and snottily informed us that "All I have is a XL and XXL." before she stalked away to look pretty and bored in a corner. The next store was much better, with another clerk that not only helped me find a jacket I loved, but scored herself a nicer commision by talking us into the more expensive jacket. It really was a win-win thing anyway because the one she suggested is waterproof, which is what I wanted. This thing has fuzzy fur lining, and the people at Columbia just know that I like having a lipstick pocket (because I'm constantly losing mine), a cell phone pocket, and even an Ipod pocket.
Handy Dad found a new DVD player since our cheap one that is a few years old completely died a few weeks ago. He claims that this is his Christmas gift because, well, "I don't need anything," he says. See? Told you.
We had lunch at Tim Hortons before going to Canadian Tire, which was a complete and total ZOO. However, not being in any great rush was a real plus, not to mention the guy demonstrating these things giving me a nice hot cup of coffee to sip as we wandered the store. In the crowd surrounding him, someone suggested that he be giving samples of wine to the customers, who obviously were in the frenzied shopping mode. I wandered through the store listening to the Christmas music, sipping hot coffee and hummming to myself. This is what I like about shopping early. No pressure, really. We have tons of time to find everything.
"Look honey, I found another gift." Hubs is pointing at some tool thing. "I need that, it's a good deal. " So we get the $40 specialized wrench thing, pay, and off we go. Next stop is Walmart, because we do plan on picking up some stuff for Jake and haven't done that yet. We get in the car, and are chatting about the next few stops when Handy Dad puts the car in reverse and tries to back up. Nothing happens. The car is running, the emergency brake is off, but the car isn't moving. Reverse gear is GONE. Almost like gremlins got into the car, removed reverse, and took off with it.
Handy Dad stays in the car and steers while I get out and begin pushing the car out of the stall. Yes, ME. I plan on entering the World's Strongest Woman competition soon. People were walking by us, staring with curiosity, and Handy Dad and I both begin to giggle. Reverse was always sticky in this car, so losing it actually isn't much of a surprise. It hasn't changed our plans really, we'll just have to watch how we park.
That is, until he started driving. We made it out of the parking lot and were in the middle of traffic on a nice busy road when Hubs realized that not only had he lost reverse, but 2nd and 4th as well. We were essentially driving with only 1st, 3rd, and 5th gears. Being the mechanical guy that he is, he knew right away what was wrong-some cable thing had probably snapped. It was something he can fix, but first we have to solve the immediate problem....how to get home.
We ended up ditching the rest of the shopping and deciding that we can order much of the stuff we need to get online or find around town, and began our interesting trek home on a freeway with only three gears.
"This. isn't. easy!" Handy was panting as he would frantically fish around for the gears while we were driving in stop and go traffic for a good half an hour. The car lurched and bucked while Jake and I cringed in the seats, too nervous to say anything lest we distract him. "The gears are getting harder and harder to find." We looked like a group of teenagers just learning how to drive a stick shift. Let me say one thing, I would never have driven in the car had the driver been anyone but my husband. He's raced cars, he fixes them, he knows what he's doing. I trust him completely. It just was, well, a little nerve wracking.
Jake clutched a few stuffed animals in the back seat and looked like he was ready to cry. The anxiety over the situation was overwhelming him, so I chatted with him a little to keep him calm. I had thought that he was more upset about ditching the shopping, because the last couple of stops were more to buy things for him, and give him the opportunity to shop for me and Dad. I was wrong-he was more worried that the car would die completely and we would be stranded in the middle of the city. A tow truck really isn't in the whole Christmas budget thing, you know.
Finally, after a comical ride down the freeway to the ferry, and a boat ride, we were on the road home. We thought we were pretty much home free, until the gears that were working were giving Handy Dad trouble.
"I can't get it out of fifth!" He began banging on the stick shift, wrenching the stick to get it out of fifth gear. We were approaching our little town with street lights and traffic, and there was no way we'd make it through in fifth gear. Just when I thought that the car would stall, it popped out of fifth and he shoved it into third. As the tires pulled into our driveway, we all heaved a collective sigh of relief. Home. Safe.
Hubs reached in the back and pulled out the wrench that we had bought him only hours before and began to open the package.
"What are you doing? That's one of your Christmas gifts!"
"Oh well. It's the exact tool I'm going to need to fix the car." After some banging around in the garage, he came back in the house and set up the new DVD player.
"But that's a Christmas gift!"
"Right, and we'll just open it now so we can enjoy it for the holidays," he smiled and after that scary drive I didn't have the heart to protest. Not just that, but I also sort of spotted him checking out digital cameras when he thought I wasn't looking. Just like him to say "nothing for me" and yet want to buy me something.
So now after all that, we still have nothing to put under the tree for him. Jake and I have a plan to steal the DVD player box and put other stuff in it, wrap it and put it under the tree. It's early, we have lots of time.
He's just not getting off that easy this year.