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Thursday, June 12, 2008

I can push a minivan


Yes, you read that right. I can push a minivan, but not just any minivan. I can push my minivan with five people in it. If you stopped by a few days ago you saw a Quick Update that told you how busy I'd been and that my fibro was acting up some and that may have been due to me having to push the van.

This is what happened (I'll try to make it short):

Even though gas prices are rising, the amount of money that comes into this house hasn't risen at all so I am often -- very often -- riding around on empty. (Yes, that's what E means. Tee-hee.)

I had been on E for about two days and knew I needed to get gas, but I also knew that I didn't have one red cent to work with. All change had been counted and used for something else and I was waiting on some money.

(BTW: This is the first time I've ever ran out of gas! Ever!)

I went to pick up the teenager and her best friend from their job, and my teenager was driving. We were going up a small hill when the van slowed down quite a bit. I looked at the speedometer and the teenager said, "I didn't do that."

"Is it still slowing down?"

"Yup."

Crap, I thought, we're running out of gas. I told her to move into the right lane and put on her hazards. As it continued to slow I told her to move onto the shoulder then we realized that the van was still moving. I said, "Get back over we gotta make it to the gas station."

The station was only about five minutes up the road on the left. We get to the intersection, the light is green and she gets in the turning lane. The light turns red. We stop and the van sputters.

"Okay," I say, "put it in neutral and as soon as the light turns green take your foot off the break."

I was gonna have her girlfriend get out and help, but before I could think it through the light turned green. I put my back against the van and pushed with my legs. Lucky for me, years ago my best friend -- who happens to be a man -- told me that it's easiest to move stuff with my legs because that's where most people are the strongest.

I get the van rolling good and the light turns red.

Crap!

Okay, I walk up to the window and tell her to do the same thing when it turns again. There's a man in a SUV behind me but he's just watching. Then he sticks his head out of the window and says, "Do you need some help?"

I wanted to say, what the freak do you think? But, instead, I said sweetly, "Yes."

He kind of pulls over, gets out and asks, "Do you have a gas can?"

BIG SIGH. Again I want to say, what the freak do you think? If I had a gas can I would simply walk across the street and get gas. Not look like an idiot in white capris and flip flops pushing a freaking minivan.

But, instead, I say (again sweetly!), "No."

The light turns. We start to push and I realize the teenager is having a hard time turning the wheel (Of course, I think, no power steering). I run up to the window and help her turn and I push at the same time. Halfway to the gas station the guy lets go and goes back to his SUV.

I realize this after it starts to get harder to push. So, I push harder and we're going quite fast. As she's about to turn right into the gas station an IDIOT driver zooms past on the right. Luckily she saw him coming.

As she's turning into the gas station I realize I'm not gonna be able to keep up because there's a small hill. I'm running next to her and giving her instructions.

Well, she picks up quite a bit of speed and was (she tells me later) battling with the instructions from earlier not to hit the brake. I am so out of breath and I'm trying to yell TURN... BRAKE... TURN! BRAKE! TURN! BRAKE!

Later I find out that her friend in the back seat was yelling: BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE NOW. BRAKE NOW.

What neither of us knew was she was trying to hit the brakes and she was turning as hard as she could. Thank God she slammed the brakes hard at the last minute because she almost kissed the gas pump.

Whew!

So (this is getting long, isn't it?), a guy who worked there saw us coming and came over to help get the van pushed in enough to pump gas. Reverse push, forward push. Finally.

My lungs were burning and I thought my head would explode.

And that, my friends, is what happened. Well, give or take a couple of fine details.

Lucky for me (again!) that the teenager had some money in her account to buy gas. (Also quite lucky is the fact that I have a level-headed kid who normally doesn't panic and follows instructions very well.) Now me feeling like a loser is a whole 'nother story.
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