It was a hell of a weekend. There’s simply no other way to put it. Let me set the scene for you and unfold this tragic tale of water, cars, and the loss of what little sanity I never had.
Location: Houston, TX
Time: 4:00 Friday, April 17
It was my last day of class. A happy thing to be sure. And now a friend was driving down so we could go stay at a fabulous hotel for our church’s women’s conference. I was playing music for the conference so we had to be there fairly early on Friday evening, before the Ladies Night activities began. There was a wee storm system moving through. (And by wee, I mean massive, it was taking out electricity and dumping rain at a rate of two inches an hour, while moving very slowly.) However, it was barely sprinkling at my place as we loaded my car to make the drive to the hotel.
Twenty minutes later it’s pouring, we are still on the road and it starts to hail. Now, I don’t know what you know about Houston, but let me tell you this: if it rains an inch, there’ll be a foot of water in the streets. I probably should have pulled off into a parking lot, but, I was trying to make sound check and was rapidly realizing that this rain had no intention of going away. There we are, at the intersection of Main St. and Elgin, gaping at the water in the street. Still, everyone is driving through it, so, it won’t be a problem, right? Wrong. A block later my car loses power and I’m suddenly dead in the road. I immeadiately put my hazard lights on and jump out to push my car in the driving rain. Does anyone jump out to help me? No, they prefer to sit in their cars and honk at the two young women now pushing a car in the torrential downpour. We barely get the car clear of the road in a Wells Fargo parking lot and then hop back in my car to weigh our options. Jenn gets her mom on the phone and has her start heading down to pick us up. I start trying to call my parents and the rest of my music team to let them know that I may not make sound-check. We decide we should push the car further into the lot, so back out into the rain we go. This time, a gentleman ran across the street and helped us get the car into the back corner of the lot. Wells Fargo assures me that they won’t tow. So, when Jenn’s mom arrives we transfer our stuff and dash to the hotel. My dad had told me to let the car sit over night and see if it would start in the morning.
Saturday morning, our first break in the conference was at ten. I hopped into a car with a dear lady from our church: Mrs. R. and we drove down to check on my car. I put the key in the ignition, turned it, and, click-click-click was all I got out of it. Back to the hotel we went, calling all of our Elder’s, Deacon’s, and Pastor’s while we were at it. My dad tried to head to Houston, only to find that the road leading to our house was underwater. Another dear lady, Mrs. B. helps me find someone with jumper cables, and back out we go to my car. At this point, I know I’m probably going to miss the next worship session of the conference, but, my car must be taken care of. Another friend, JL, calls and volunteers his services to help with my car. He came and spent an hour trying to jump it, pulling the fuses to see if I blew one, and finally, we decide, in the midst of another torrential downpour, that there is nothing we can do. I called a tow-truck through AT&T’s roadside service and was told the wait would be 45 minutes. An hour later, the service called back and told me the tow-truck had cancelled due to the weather and that they would arrange another truck. This one is going to be 90 minutes. So, back to the hotel I dash to get my suitcase so that I can just go home with my car. My parents have made it off of our property and were heading into town. While I’m at the hotel, I get a call, the tow-truck is at my car and if I’m not there in ten minutes – he’ll leave, this was only thirty minutes after I got the initial call. I dash down to find Mrs. R. and we hop in her car. She drove like a speed-angel (shouldn’t say demon, we were at a church retreat) and we got there before the tow-truck driver left. He took me to my apartment, where I met up with my parents. After a quick lunch (at 4:30) my dad started working on my car in the rain.
Around 6:30 he comes in and kindly informs me that I’ve gotten water in the engine. Hmm, well, that’s a problem. Luckily, my dad is very talented. And he gets the water out. Roughly a half-gallon actually. And the car is now running. My parent’s stayed the night. I moved my “leaving Houston” party to Sunday from Saturday thanks to the extreme flexibility and kindness of my dear friends. And I even got to take them to a baseball game (my parents that is) at Reckling Park. And, I now know that the air intake for my car is in the front, passenger-side wheel well. Not the best place in my opinion, but from now on, if there’s water in the road, I’m not going through it. No matter how many other low cars are making it through. It’s just better for my sanity that way. And that, is how my weekend tried to kill me.