Things that make you go hmm…

Wednesday morning I needed to be in Groningen for a customer presentation. I had to be there by 9 which meant being on the road by 7. And of course, I woke up at 230 from a nightmare and couldn’t go back to sleep. I dreamed that men in black sort agents were stealing my mom from me. When 3 AM rolled around and I was still awake, I fired up the Nespresso maker and started working. Of course, by the time I got to Groningen, I was ready to fall back asleep.

Fast forward through a four hour presentation and I was back on the road. I stopped by Marum to have a talk with Mom and to deadhead the flowers. And I stopped for coffee and a piece of appeltaart before getting back on the road, knowing that sugar and caffeine would surely see me through. I started falling asleep behind the wheel. Not even the usual tricks of windows open, radio blasting and sitting in uncomfortable positions were helping. It was getting pretty bad. All of a sudden, I felt Astrid being pushed. I thought it was just the wind or a passing truck. Then the radio started going crazy and spinning through the stations without stopping. At this point, I am doing 100 km/h or about 65 so I am at pretty steady clip and still nodding off. Without any warning, the engine stops just as I reach the top of a bridge. Like no power to the car, no smoke, nothing. Well, as you can imagine I got such a surge of adrenaline that I woke right up and proceeded to coast as long as I could on the shoulder.

Once I stopped, I tried to start her up but nothing happened. I started dialing the mechanic and I was kicking myself for procrastinating having signed up with the ANWB (the Dutch AAA) and a bright yellow truck from the Rijkswaterstraat (Water Management Ministry) pulls up. Apparently he had seen things start to go awry on the bridge. We agreed that this was a weird circumstance and there isn’t much he can do to help me except tow me to the truck turnout a couple of kilometers away. Which he does. Now I am in the truck turnout where truckers sleep and motorists stop to eat picnic lunches and pee behind the trees. I called the ANWB and asked if I can become a member? She’s very helpful, signs me up and tells me there will be a truck to me within 60 minutes and they will decide from there. It won’t be a tow truck though, that only comes if the first truck says it is needed. I grind my teeth and say thanks. So, I have an hour. I am not going to hang out with the truckers so I get back in the car and go to sleep.

An hour later, the ANWB truck comes and he starts looking all around the engine. He gives me a jump start (not needed at this point) and says he will follow me all the way to Amsterdam. Okay, I think, maybe we can just go straight to the mechanic because I have a feeling this is a problem. Barely out of the turnout and Astrid stops again, same thing. This time, after much hammering under the hood, he says it is the dynamo (the alternator) and he can bypass it so I can get to the ANWB garage or I can go on to Amsterdam. My choice is the garage. I should mention that he is still helping me even after I hit him full in the face with my laptop bag and knocked his glasses off as I was trying to get it out of the passenger seat to make room for him. Not my smoothest moment. He hooks up a bypass thingie to the battery and hangs it inside the car and tells me to follow him.

We get to the garage finally – 30 tense minutes later and they go to work. Needless to say I am wide awake now. It is 6 at night and I am thinking I better find a train and the dogs won’t get their dinner on time, etc. Turns out it is not the dynamo but rather the negative cable that runs into it was broken off. So, they make and connect a new one. And it costs me nothing because I am now an ANWB member.

Two observations: I was super grateful for their service and told them so. If I think about it, I think Mom had something to do with the cable because I was really doing something dangerous and I just been talking to her at the churchyard. There’s plenty of things I don’t understand about the world but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Astrid’s short circuiting and power failure had a little help. It certainly got my attention and woke me right up.

It also could have just been sleep deprivation but if I think on Eliza’s Lion King theory about who the stars really are (people who have gone before us and who can still see us), then it fits. Regardless of Mom’s influence or not, I am so glad I did not have an accident and hurt someone.

Yesterday I got a notice in the mail that my street parking permit has finally been approved. Yahoo! It was a 16 month waiting list so this was very unexpected. Mostly, I will keep parking in the garage, especially now that Astrid is renovated. It is nice to know that I can park in my neighborhood without paying if I want to.

The Move Goddess and her best friend arrive Sunday morning. The guestroom is ready, the dogs have been reminded to behave and tomorrow I will go to the Noordermarkt to stock up on healthy good food.

Have to go feed the boys dinner. I swear they have watches hidden somewhere. How they know it is just before 6PM and their dinner time beats me.


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