Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weekend From Hell

What a weekend we just had! One of those "Murphy's Law"- type weekends where just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

My family had a very busy weekend scheduled, with soccer tournaments and a trip to the SU game on the agenda. My wife and I split things up with me handling the more "local" activities and with her taking the girls to Saranac Lake and Lake Placid for the soccer tournaments.

Getting up to freezing rain on Saturday morning set the tone for what was to come. My son had indoor soccer at 7:30 am at the YMCA and after a slippery 40-minute drive I got him there only a couple of minutes late - Not bad, all things considered. Unfortunately, that would be about as good as things got for the weekend.

While I was dealing with my son's soccer, my wife and daughters (and a friend) headed out for Saranac Lake and a first game at 11:00 am. A 3-hour jaunt got them up there by 10:30 and in plenty of time for that first game. They shouldn't have really worried about getting up there on time, however, as it was a single-elimination tournament, and after getting beaten handily in that first game, they were done playing for the day. Well worth that drive through the freezing rain!

Back at home, my sons and I prepared for an early departure to the Syracuse game, given the weather conditions. Actually, the drive down could have been much worse (as we were to find out later), with crappy conditions only about as far as Sandy Creek, then changing over to only light rain. We still barely made it to the game on time, just getting into our seats at tipoff.

The game itself was the highlight of the weekend, with SU playing one of their best games of the season, against a top-twenty team in Marquette. The only downside was when the drunk guy behind us fell on top of me at halftime as he was heading to the aisle (probably to either buy more beer or take a leak). Luckily, he did not show back up for the second half. Regardless, a 15-point win left us flying high as we left the Carrier Dome back out into the rain. Optimistically, I thought we might have clear sailing all the way home. Boy, was I mistaken.

After stopping for a quick bite to eat at McDonald's in Central Square, we came out to a blizzard - Heavy snow and whipping winds. Great. After leading the pack up Route 81 for a while, I pulled off at Parish to clean off the windshield and to let somebody else lead the parade. After getting back out on the highway I found myself behind a Jeep with his four-ways blinking and I planted myself a little way behind him and followed him all the way to Watertown. In all, it took me almost 2 1/2 hours to get from Central Square back home. And that wouldn't be so bad if that was the end of it, but oh no, to put the icing on the cake we got stuck in the end of the driveway at 10:00 pm with about 1/4 of the car sticking out into the road.

We couldn't very well leave the car like that, so after putting my younger son to bed, my older son and I spent over an hour trying to dig out the car. We tried everything, but to no avail. It was completely hung up and was going to have to be pulled out. We finally gave up and went to bed, exhausted.

Sunday morning, things started out well. I got a hold of a friend who was not only able to pull the car out, but also plowed out the foot and a half of snow that had accumulated the previous 24 hours. Things were starting to look up. Then the power went out.

Not just a little power outage; a downed tree limb or something like that. Rather, a 9-hour outage, with smaller outages during the night. And all this with work and school the next day and with half of my family still up in the mountains working their way home.

Speaking of the ladies - They woke up Sunday morning to an inch of ice on the car and a 9:00 am game in Lake Placid. After getting some assistance from a helpful gentleman, they were able to get into the car and start the long process of de-icing. But wait a minute. Now the car won't start properly. At first, my wife only got that awful "click-clicking" sound you get when the battery has a low charge. Wonderful. After a couple of attempts, though, she got it started and they eventually made it to their game on time.

After a much more successful day of soccer (they made it to the semi-finals), the girls went to head back and it was "click-click" yet again. Once more, my wife got the car started and back home they headed. On the way home they decided to stop and eat in Tupper Lake and when they arrived there my wife called and told me about the problem starting the car, and another problem - Now the car seemed to be idling at very high revs. More great news! I told her to not shut off the car and to head directly back.

I had no problem telling when they got home (aside from the fact that because we had no electricity nothing electronic was running in the house and the entire town was dead quiet). High revs? Holy Crap - How about 2500 RPMs in Park! It normally idles at 700. It sounded like a frickin' jet engine running in the driveway. Everyone was safe, however, and none the worse for wear. A trip to LaFave Auto yesterday put everything right with the car and all is well in the world again.

Wait a sec.......I just looked at this weekend's schedule.