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Running Around: As birthdays go, this one really takes the cake

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Some birthdays are better than others.

After celebrating my husband's birthday at a local restaurant, we were looking forward to having a nice, relaxing evening at home and eating some birthday cake.

But we had no idea what that night and the next few days had in store for us as we walked to our car and found it wouldn't start.

When a representative from the auto club came to jump the car, it still wouldn't start. He said it probably was the fuel pump, and we would be waiting for at least two hours for a tow truck to come. Apparently, it was a busy night. Although we lived less than 10 miles away, he said he couldn't give us a ride home because he had other calls to make. He left us stranded.

Because both sides of our family live about an hour away, we didn't want them to have to drive so far. So, after debating for awhile and calling others who couldn't come or who we couldn't reach, we decided to take a hike.

We walked for an hour and a half, which translates to about six miles, part of the time barely off the busy highway as cars buzzed by. I was so glad I had decided to wear my tennis shoes that night instead of my uncomfortable flats.

I did, however, have my huge, heavy purse with me, which my husband ended up slinging over this shoulder most of the way home.

I told him that in days to come, we would look back on this and say, “Remember when…” and laugh. He was not amused.

We got home about 9 p.m. We had gone to dinner about 4:30. Still, we were determined to salvage part of the night, and we still ate the birthday cake, which made us feel a little better.

The next day was Sunday, and none of the local auto repair shops were able to get the part needed that day.

So, my husband had to take a precious day off from work the next day, called the auto club again and had the car towed to a garage. The repair bill was much more than we expected and took a major chunk from our savings.

Despite the huge bill, when he went to pick up the car, it still would not start. The garage was ready to close, and the mechanics who worked on the car had gone home.

The only worker still there was able to get the car started, but on the way home, it broke down again, started once more, then broke down a few miles later. A tow was called again, the car finally was dropped off again at the same garage, and then I picked up my husband and took him home.

That night, we didn't have dinner until about 8:30. But afterward, we had the rest of the birthday cake.

The next day, my husband had some terse words with the garage owner, told him to fix the car right this time, and I drove him to work.

Apparently, the mechanics had installed a defective part the first time. This time, the car started, but two days later, the check-engine light came on, which has not yet been diagnosed.

I just hope another tow will not be necessary because we are out of birthday cake.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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