Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One thing after another. NYC is a no-go.

Tag on the side of BofA building near Newark Penn Station via Tom White's post on photography lot.

So, yesterday I was supposed to go into NYC with my supervisor and three of my co-workers to present a demo session of our in-school experiential programming to students at a middle school in uptown Manhattan.

We left Blairstown, New Jersey at about 8, plenty of time to make it to Burnet Street School in Newark by 10 AM. We roll up to Burnet at about 9:30, traffic was a breeze up 80 and Dinah, my supervisor, joins Christine and I after a couple minutes in the Astrovan (work vehicle). This is a burgundy Chevy Astro Van named Carmine. So who is Carmine? The Astrovan! Perfect!

Dinah lets C & I know that Andrea, one of our co's, started up from Camden to Newark and didn't feel well so she went back home, so Christine would be delivering the demo with Stephanie.

I'm driving since it's early and I'm a morning person, and Christine and Dinah are just shooting the breeze regarding a Monday training at the rock climbing wall with our community-based facilitators and some full-value contracts they were working on. I'm applying my makeup sitting in front of Burnet waiting for Stephanie to arrive.

At about 9:45 we get a phone call from Stephanie, who is stranded with a flat tire in Elizabeth, NJ, about 10 minutes away. We're running early, so we head off to meet Steph and see if we can't offer some assistance.

We get out of the Astrovan right next to Stephanie's Saab 90S and she doesn't have the jack for her car. Our Astrovan's jack is too big and won't even fit under the jack point.

I get on the horn with AAA, we're still running early so we could make it to the school in Manhattan by 12 noon.

While AAA is on it's way, the guy from across the street where there's an Airpark Valet Parking service (we're very close to NWK international airport) who drives up and he's got a jack and a pneumatic drill so he changes her spare tire like that!

Stephanie's daughter arrives and since the tire's changed she gets ready to go when...I turn the key in the ignition and Carmine does...nothing.

So, Stephanie's daughter pulls out the jumper cables and we get a little juice but no-go. By the time AAA gets there Stephanie has parked her car with fresh donut, brought our supplies into the Astrovan, her daughter's left after trying to jump the battery and we're all slack-jawed at my ineffective starting of the car. The guy from AAA hops out and is confused that there's no SAAB with a flat but an Astrovan in need of a jump, and he gets to work, trying to jump it a 2nd time.

Keep in mind this whole time my supervisor is just noshing on organic cheese puffs and saying "If we get going in the next 60 seconds...5 minutes...10 minutes, we can still make it!" and laughing and smiling (which definitley helped relieve the stress of the situation!)

Now, in the past two weeks I had a similar problem with the other Astrovan not starting after filling her up with gas, and I had to drip charge the battery of our Big White canoe-trailer-towing van after I left her lights on so I am not having the best of luck with the vehicles lately. I can only think that Dave is going to kill me.

He gets nothing, Carmine, she's dead as a doorknob. So, we put everything into Steph's car (which has a donut on it) and I call AAA for the second time (I only get 4 calls a year, thanks Dad!) about the AstroVan, which will need to be towed.

Clearly, we were not meant to go into NYC.

I stay with Carmine as we get towed to a service station. Dinah, Christine, and Stephanie follow in her Saab. In those three miles, the Saab starts smoking.

Stephanie pops the hood and her radiator hose is completely busted.

George at the service station takes in our fallen Carmine and lends Stephanie a roll of electrical tape so she can make it back from Elizabeth to Newark and then to Stephanie's house in Highland Park.

We go out for some amazing Spanish food outside the Ironbound, and Dinah drops us off at the Rockaway Mall where Afton comes and rescues us, taking us home. We arrive back in Blairstown, sans Carmine, at about 4:45, check in with our supervisor Heather, and peace out of the office, exhausted despite having done no actual work all day sans some driving.


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