This has been the worst new adventure of my life so far. I honestly feel like I’ve made a terrible mistake and I haven’t even been here a week yet.
That’s not how I hoped this first entry from Florida would go. Honestly. I was hoping that things would have gone smoother than they have thus far but this transition has been awful. Our departure was delayed by two days and then the trip itself took three more on top of that. We probably should have listened to everyone and sold our one car in the first place, but I wanted the extra room to get things here. Let me explain all the crazy.
When we were getting ready to leave, we found out that the power steering pump in the Jeep had gone. And when it went, it decided to take the serpentine belt with it. I don’t really know much about cars but my boyfriend is a mechanic. Thankfully, he was there and able to diagnose everything right away but it took two days to collect all the parts and actually be able to fix things. Or, well, mostly fix things.
The Jeep was drivable for the most part, so long as we kept it under 65 MPH. Every time we hit that mark, it would start going into what he later diagnosed as a ‘death shake.’ I’m not sure if any of you have ever experienced that but it’s pretty terrifying to watch from another car. The tires started wobbling all over the place and it looked like the whole thing was about to go out of control. The BF is a pretty strong guy and he managed to man handle it to the side of the road each time with little effort.
At first, we assumed it was only doing this because it needed new tires on the front. They were pretty bald and we knew that they needed replaced before we left but didn’t really have the money to get new ones. Jeep tires aren’t cheap, y’know. Now we’re three states away from home and we don’t really have a choice but to replace them if we want to keep driving.
The BF’s parents were able to bail us out, thankfully. We got ahold of them and they were able to transfer some money from Walmart to Walmart for us, just enough to pay for the tires along with a little extra in case something else happened along the way. Which, we hoped, wouldn’t. Unfortunately that’s just not how this whole trip was going down.
We got back on the road and were doing good for maybe half an hour or so before the Jeep did another of those ‘death shakes.’ This time, however, there were some sparks going on underneath it and another car/driver was suddenly involved when all three vehicles pulled off the road (mine, the Jeep, and the new driver). Seems that something had flew up from under the Jeep and broken the other person’s front windshield. Just .. fantastic. This is all we need.
We just had new tires put on. Maybe one of the lugnuts was loose? Nope. They were all still there. The BF had been checking the muffler cause it came loose while we were driving, maybe one of those bolts came off? Nope. He crawled under the Jeep trying to figure out what it could have been but the only thing we could come up with was a rock. Are we really responsible for someone else’s car window when mother nature caused the damage? I don’t know but after everything we’d already been through to that point, the easiest thing to do was give the person whatever cash we had on us and make it go away.
$105. That’s how much cash we had on us. And we could really use it right now but I’ll get to that later. We gave her the cash. She still followed us to the next exit. Still called her insurance company despite the fact that there was no car on car damage and the insurance agent said that it wasn’t really an issue that they’d be able to do anything about. We exchanged information though and I told her to tell me how much the total was when she got it looked at. She texted me the morning after we got to Florida to tell me that it was $305. Am I seriously supposed to pay for this whole thing?! I had this happen to me once and I had to pay for the window myself cause nobody stopped to take ownership of the rock they threw through my window. But I’m supposed to?
Whatever. We ended up calling it a night at that point and finding a hotel room. Which I had to charge to my new credit card (something I didn’t want to get in the first place and am pretty glad that I did at this point). We still weren’t sure what was causing the Jeep to shake whenever we got it up to the highway’s speed limit and we knew that the rest of the way would be even faster (most of 95 below Virginia is 70 MPH). We were tired and exhausted. And probably would have killed each other had we tried to keep going at that point.
We had two roads to choose from. We could either turn around and try to make the drive back home on the highway, pile everything that would fit in my car in my car, and see if we could make it. Or we could drive the backroads to Florida and take our time. The decision depended on what the BF could figure out about the Jeep in the morning. Morning came, so did the snow. But thankfully, it was an easy fix once he’d taken a look at everything. The Jeep was completely out of transmission fluid. Absolutely. Bone. Dry.
So we refilled, checked out, and took to the backroads. We actually made pretty good time on the second day of our actual drive (three days after we were meant to leave). We got half way through South Carolina before we stopped again. We would have driven at least an hour or so more had a deer not run into the front of my car, bounced back, and hit the front of the Jeep. Because, really? That’s clearly how things were going at this point.
I’m one of those people who will stop on a dime so that I don’t hit a squirrel. After how the trip had gone up until that point, though, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop driving. I just didn’t care. I kept going until the BF started flashing his lights at me from behind and pulled off to the side of the road again. He was angry that I hadn’t stopped before because he thought that the deer only hit his car. Me?? I was asking him to tell me that whatever nailed the front of my car wasn’t a person. It could have been. That would have been our luck. It could have been a person that I just completely missed despite having my high beams on and keeping my eyes on the road. I didn’t see what it was. I just saw this blur fly past my passenger window after the thud on the front bumper.
I was in my first accident ever while driving the last time I was in Florida. My bumper still isn’t 100% because we hadn’t replaced it yet. We just replaced the crushed headlight before we left. And the tire still worries me because it had been slightly bent inward from the crash. That’s the exact spot the deer hit. The same spot the car hit the last time we were in Florida. And we were driving to Florida when this happened. Bad omen? Probably.
My car, however, the tiny little Hyundai which seems slightly indestructable at this point, had no damage. The Jeep .. a busted headlight. Or, well, a busted headlight casing? The bulb is still good but it has no cover. And the bumper got a bit of a crack, or a larger crack than it had before.
Last winter, while working at his previous job (he was basically a lumberjack, working at a tree company), the BF hit a patch of black ice while driving home. He got really lucky that night. The Jeep slid forward, bounced off an embankment going down the hill, and slammed backwards into a tree. It still has a busted taillight from the tree, a missing rear bumper, and a cracked front bumper. I’m surprised the damn thing is still mobile most days, but it is!
At this point, our second day of driving was done. We were fighting because everything was turning to shit. And we couldn’t get our phones to locate a hotel anywhere because .. data roaming! Thanks, Sprint. You suck!
We did finally manage to find a place. It cost almost twice what the place we stayed at the night before did. Which is crap as they are both ‘Choice hotels.’ The first night, we stayed at this really awesome Quality Inn in Virginia. The desk clerk was awesome and she gave us a AAA discount after hearing how our trip had been (we were only four hours from home and staying in a hotel, that’s pretty bad for being on the road almost 11 hours!). The second night, we stayed at a Comfort Inn and Suites. The desk clerk was NOT very nice and she didn’t even tell us all the details — wifi password, check-out time, and when breakfast is. When we asked her for the details? She gave us attitude. So not only were we overcharged for our room (which smelled like skunky pot, bee tee dubs), but the staff was terrible.
At least we managed a good night’s sleep and they had an awesome continental breakfast. We were going to need it as we were still 12 hours away from our final destination and I had no money left to spend on hotel rooms. Thankfully, aside from getting tired later in the drive and having a hard time finding somewhere to eat, this last leg of the trip was uneventful. We reached my Mom’s house at around 11:38. And we crashed.
The very next day, I had to get up early to run my Mom to a doctor’s appointment. There was no time to relax, no time to get settled in. Not that there was really anywhere to settle in to. We moved into a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house that had 2 1/2 bedrooms taken up by the other person living there. We came with two cars full of stuff and really didn’t have anywhere to put it. Which caused a lot of arguments the first few days (really, up until yesterday when we were able to actually unpack some things).
Actually, there’s been a lot of arguing since we got here. A lot of stupid, pointless arguing. It’s depressing.
And then we have the lovely money issue! I quit my job to move here. My job of 16 years. I was supposed to get my 3 weeks vacation pay after I left. Today was supposed to be the first of those three paychecks. Today, I woke up and checked my bank account to find that nothing was deposited. And I may not get it for another two weeks according to the HR people at my old job. Which is great because I still have bills to pay and no new job lined up. I still have to be able to buy food and gas for my car. And I need to start paying back all the people who have been helping us get to this point.
I really am hoping that things start to turn around at some point here. My BF has to fly back home on Sunday, straight into the remains of whatever snow storm Pennsylvania has going on right now. He’s got another court date, having got a continuance at the one he had the day before we were supposed to leave. We bought his plane ticket for the only flight out of the area before he has to be back. If it gets canceled, we might be screwed. He’d have a warrant out for his arrest again, basically for skipping bail. A bail my mother took a loan out to pay, a bail that the judge is basically holding hostage despite the fact that he showed up for the court date the bail was originally for.
This year isn’t really shaping up so well so far. I’d love to think that it can only go up from here but previous experience has me believing otherwise. Everything could turn to absolute shit in a matter of minutes. And probably will.
Not that staying in PA would have been any better. I hated my job. I hated the company I was working for and the lady who they’d put in charge of my store. I felt sad more often than not because I missed my family. But it feels weird to be around them again and Florida definitely doesn’t feel like home. Neither does this house.
I know I have to give it time. I know that I have to not let the trip getting here effect how I see the rest of this new part of life. Things have to get better. They have to. This move was a new beginning and all the crap that’s happening right now is just the after effects of the old part of my life just trying to cling on. Right? Right.
Someday, I’m gonna actually believe that optimistic bullshit. Maybe. Probably not.