Monday, December 12, 2011

Seth's Stranded in Indy Misadventure!

Over the weekend I got miserably stuck in what is fast becoming in my book the black hole of Indiana: Indianapolis. I think the easiest way to relay the story is in timeline fashion. Over the weekend I encountered many people who helped me out a lot. I'd like to know, after reading the timeline, who do you think deserves to be crowned MVP (most valuable person (although some are not people)) of the misadventure and why? Candidates for MVP will appear in bold! I'm even thinking of doing something nice for the person with the most MVP votes.


3pm Depart from Columbus in trusty (ha!) Volvo. The trip goes fast because I'm rocking Common Man and the Torg sports talk radio podcast on my ipod.

6pm Arrive in downtown Indy at the statehouse for the ceremony. Chat it up with some high school buds Nick S and Andy W.

6:30 Other high school buds Tommy W, Brian H, and Mike P arrive with significant others. Tommy W is bummed to miss SantaCon in NYC (where he's from). Ceremony begins. First wedding with Jewish elements I've ever been to. Chuppah represents the home of the married couple. The groom, my buddy Jordan S stomps on a glass to make it official. Awesome!

7:15 Ceremony is over. It has been decided that I will drive high school buds' significant others to the reception since I am the only one with a car and they are in dresses.

7:20 Trusty (ha!) Volvo won't start. The lights inside and out will go on but it won't even start to turn over at all. I apologize to high school buds' significant others and look under the hood (as if I knew what any of that stuff was) and check some other things. I can't figure anything out. Bad battery is suspected.

7:25 High school buds and significant others call a cab and leave for reception. Nick S leaves to get his rental car to try to jump my car. I call Julie R aka my main squeeze (and only squeeze) and we talk it over. She calls her dad Bryan S who is our go-to car guy.

7:45 Nick S returns and we try to jump the trusty (ha!) Volvo many many times. No luck.

7:55 Talk with father-in-law Bryan S directly. He suspects battery too.

8:05 I go back inside statehouse to see if I can leave my car in their lot overnight. Statehouse security guard is nice but no help. I return to the car.

8:15 Nick S is on the phone calling his roadside assistance people. However, we discover I can leave my car on the street for free since tomorrow is Sunday. We decide to do that until we figure out where there is a shop that is open on Sundays.

8:35 We arrive at the reception. There are a bunch of Santas at the bar. I guess Tommy W hasn't missed SantaCon after all. We really haven't missed much except waiting in the buffet line. I eat dinner and talk with the happy bride and groom, Jordan S and Sonya S. Dinner is yummy.

9:20 I call Julie R and talk strategy. I can hear my 2.5 week old son, Ezra R in the background. Julie R is making calls to friends we have in the area and trying to get car shop recommendations. As we talk, my phone battery goes from two bars to one bar. My very old cell phone has a battery that runs out super quick, especially during calls. We decide I should not use my phone to make calls anymore. When we figure my car out I will want to have a cell phone for my drive home in case something happens to my car again. I give Julie Andy W's phone number.

9:30 I get back to the reception just in time to see Jordan S and Sonya S lifted into the air sitting on chairs while the rest of the people dance around. Love it! Dancing ensues.

10:30 Julie R calls me on Andy W's phone. All this time she has been furiously searching for some troubleshooting tips that will get my car started. She has found some tricks I can try. Dilemma! I don't want to leave the wedding but I do want to leave Indy tonight! I didn't bring a real change of clothes, just something comfortable for the drive home and I don't have any toothpaste or other toiletries. I decide to go try to get my car to work so I can go home tonight.

10:35 Andy W gives me the extra keycard to his hotel room at La Quinta Inn in case I can't start my car and I want to rest instead of coming back to the reception. I leave the reception and start walking. It's cold and I am wearing dress pants, a t-shirt, nice dress shirt, sweater, tie, and dress shoes. I didn't bring a coat with me because I didn't plan on being here long.

11:00 I arrive at the trusty (ha!) Volvo and try the tricks Julie R found but have no luck. I decide that by the time I get back to the reception it may be about over so I decide to walk to the hotel instead. I grab a hoody and sweatpants I had brought for the ride home and put them on over my dress clothes. Problem: I have no idea where La Quinta Inn is.

11:10 I decide to go to a different hotel and ask them about La Quinta Inn. I go to the Hyatt where the Hyatt desk guy graciously gives me directions and a map to La Quinta Inn. I'm off! It's cold.

11:45 I arrive at La Quinta Inn. It's nice to be inside and warm. I call Julie R and discuss plans for the morning. She has continued her furious serach all while juggling a fussy baby and trying to maintain sanity. There are a few other things she has found that I can try to get my car to work. We decide I will try again in the morning. I hear Ezra R in the background. I miss my family! I watch highlights of my Indiana Hoosiers beating Kentucky on a buzzer beater. Awesome!

12:00 Brush my teeth by putting a dab of Andy W's toothpaste in my mouth. Go to sleep.


8:00 Wake up. Decide not to take a shower (after all, I'm going home today!). Bad decision. I put on all my clothes (dress clothes under sweatpants and hoodie again to stay warm), get another dab of toothpaste and head downstairs. I enjoy a fluffy waffle and apple juice compliments of La Quinta Inn. Knowing it is super cold out I decide to make myself a cup of coffee, even though I hate the taste of coffee. Having something warm in my hands sounds good. I found out I can tolerate a small styrofoam cup of coffee with two creams and six sugars. I leave the Inn and head for the car.

8:40 I arrive at the trusty (ha!) Volvo and try the new tricks. No luck. Now what? I head back to the Hyatt.

8:50 Stacie at the Hyatt is very helpful. She lets me call Julie R on the hotel phone. We decide to have the car towed to a shop in Carmel (northside suburb) that has an open Firestone auto shop. Ezra R is not happy about daddy being gone. I miss my family. I call the tow guy and he tells me it will be awhile.

9:00 I decide to wait inside the Hyatt since it would be a while until the tow company came. Watch more highlights of my Hoosiers!

10:15 Tow guy comes. He's really nice. I ride with him in the cab of the tow truck. We avoid awkward silence by speaking the universal language of sports. We decide that both the Colts and the Browns are bad.

11:00 Arrive at auto shop. Shop Lady is very nice and wants to help. They put a new battery in the trusty (ha!) Volvo and it still doesn't start. It's not the battery. They try a few other things but don't know what's wrong. Something or someone they need to discover the problem won't be there until Tuesday. Bummed that we have to tow the car again the the Shop Lady decides not to charge me for anything but the tow. Thanks Shop Lady! We need to find another shop that can at least look at it tomorrow (Monday). I decide to walk to the public library a mile and a half away and use the interwebs to get a plan in action for the evening.

12:20 Leave the autoshop. It's cold. My dress shoes are a very bad choice to be walking around in but they are all I have. Think about stopping for lunch but the library is only open 1-5 and I want to make sure I give myself time to make plans so I skip it.

12:55 Arrive at Carmel Public Library. It's not open yet so I sit and wait in the lobby. I realize I am getting very smelly from all this walking around and I have bedhead. I should have showered.

1pm Library opens. I ask for a bag at the front desk and they give me a plastic Kroger grocery bag. I take off sweats in the bathroom and put them and all my other stuff it the bag. I still smell really bad, but now at least I look dressy. However, the bedhead and grocery bag full of clothes pretty much pinpoint me as a hobo. I look like a well-dressed hobo and I feel like one too.

1:15 I google chat it up with Julie R. There are two shops that will be open tomorrow that can hopefully fix our car. We decide that Julie R will call them in the morning and figure out which one to use (obviously neither of them are open on Sunday). I spend my time making Facebook pleas and getting in contact with friends in the area. Sarah P lives in the city and can help. Don't worry, she only has a final tomorrow for law school that is worth 100% of her grade for the class. NBD. Sarah P very kindly offers me a couch to sleep on in her downtown apartment. I accept and we make plans for her to pick me up at a Wendy's at 5:15. Julie R disovers a shuttle that will take me from downtown back to Carmel tomorrow morning. Nice. She also finds a few more tricks for me to try on the trusty (ha!) Volvo.

3:30 I leave the library and head back to the shop. It's cold outside. My feet hurt. The inventor of dress shoes is a stupid face.

4:15 Arrive at the shop. The tricks don't work.

4:25 Go to Verizon store across the street thinking maybe they can charge my phone! Verizon Guy is totally helpful. Unfortunately my phone is so old that they don't have a charger for it. I ask if I can get a new phone knowing I am due for an upgrade but I need an admin password because it's a work phone. I'm pretty sure I have it written down at the office but I'm not at the office, I'm in stupid black hole Indianapolis. I use Verizon Guy's personal phone to call Cheryl H from work to see if she knows the password. She doesn't. She calls Lisa Z from work to see if she knows the password. She doesn't. The Verizon Guy tells me he feels defeated. I laugh and tell him, "Welcome to my world."

4:55 I go across the street to Kroger and get some toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, bodywash, and deoderant. I need to call Sarah P because there is no way I'm making it to Wendy's by 5:15. I open up my cell phone and as I start to text her my battery indicator goes from one bar to zero bars and starts blinking which means I have maybe one minute of call time before it dies. I close the phone and ask the Kroger Lady if they have a pay phone and they laugh me out of there.

5:00 I cross the street and head to Walgreens to look for a payphone. On the way I brush my teeth with no water. I don't want to spit it on the ground because I already feel like a hobo so I swallow it. Yum. Lunch!

5:05 Walgreens does not have a payphone and they won't let me make a long distance call to Sarah P (Even though Sarah P lives in Indy her cell phone is from Uzbekistan). I decide to suck it up and try using my phone. If this doesn't work I have will have to find someone who will let me use their phone to call her. I talk to Sarah long enough to give her directions.

5:15 Sarah P arrives at Walgreens in her lovely green Prius! After having felt pretty lost and hopeless for 20 hours I feel found once again. Yay! My cell phone battery officially dies.

5:30 I call Julie R from Sarah P's phone and give her the update. Ezra R misses daddy. I miss my family! I get Ryan C's phone number because he is at the church (my work) and may have access to my Verizon account password. I give him directions to find the password in my files and tell him to call me back.

5:45 We stop at target to get me a change of clothes. I decide two zip-up hoodies in my life is not enough and buy a third, along with a t-shirt, socks and unmentionables (sorry, this isn't one of those racy blogs in which I just write about how I bought a pair of boxers. Gross.). While I'm shopping Ryan C calls me on Sarah P's phone and gives me the password. Hopefully I can get a new phone tomorrow (all the Verizon stores close at 5 on Sunday).

6:00 We get some Panera to go and return to Sarah P 's apartment and eat while watching West Wing. Love it. I take a long-overdue shower. I call Julie R on Sarah P 's phone and give her an update. I help Sarah P study for her Civil Procedures final. She knows everything. We have a long discussion about Freakonomics. Sarah P goes to bed and I watch the end of the Cowboys/Giants game. The Cowboys sure know how to blow it.

12:15am Go to sleep


6:15 am Wake up. Sarah P drops me off at the pickup place for the shuttle back to Carmel.

6:40 am Shuttle arrives. Christmas music is playing and I am one of two passengers. I sing along to the music and have hope that I will return home today.

7:50 Arrive at the Carmel Meijer. Buy a raspbery-filled donut for breakfast. Yum. Try to call Julie on the pay phone at Meijer but can't remember her number correctly. I do manage to call the same wrong number twice though. Whoops!

8:15 Leave for Firestone. It's far. Sarcastic yay for dress shoes!

9:00 Arrive at Firestone. Remember Julie R's number and call her on Firestone's phone. She has decided we will take our car to Integrity Auto, just down the street. I call the tow place and they tell me it could be a few hours.

9:30 I walk over to the Verizon store. Verizon guy is still there. I give him the code and it works! I have a new phone! I call Julie R and tell her the good news. Things are looking up!

10:00 I walk to Kroger and get a newspaper so I can do the crossword while I wait for the tow truck.

10:15 Return to Firestone and wait.

10:45 Tow truck drives me and the trusty (ha) Volvo to Integrity Auto.

11:15 Integrity Auto gets working on the car. I go back to the library and use the interwebs while I wait.

2pm I'm getting a little antsy about the car. If they can't fix it today, I will need to call home and get someone to come pick me up and take me back to Columbus. I have a final of my own on Wednesday and need to get back and study for it. I walk back to Integrity Auto. They explain that they will have a diagnosis soon.

2:30 Integrity Auto tells me it's the ignition switch and no one in the area has the part. They cant' fix it until tomorrow. Ugh! However, they did mention that they were able to get the car running by getting power to the ignition another way. Yay! I ask if they can get the car running again and just let me drive it to Columbus. They agree but firmly remind me several times if I turn the car off for any reason I will have no way of getting it back on. I feel bad not giving them the business of fixing the car because they have been so great but I need to get home!

3:00 I'm in my trusty (ha!) Volvo and it's running! I'm driving home! I have just barely enough gas to get me to Columbus!

3:10 I turn on the radio and it wants me to insert a code. WHAT!? I start pressing buttons and entering in random numbers but I don't know of any code. What is going on? Three hours with no radio could be very boring!

3:15 I call Integrity Auto and they tell me that when the battery is disconnected and reconnected, the stereo makes you insert a code to use it for security purposes. It should be written down somewhere in my car manual.

3:20 I find the code in my car manual! Unfortunately, when I turn my stereo on again it won't let me enter the code anymore!

3:25 I find a customer service number in the car manual, call the number, and ask about the problem. They tell me that once you enter an incorrect code three times, the stereo shuts off. I ask if there is a way to reset it and enter the code again. The lady tells me no problem! All I have to do is turn the car off! Wah-wah-wah-waahhhhhhh.

3:30 I call Julie R and get the phone numbers of some out-of-town buds so I can have fun chatting it up with them on my drive home. I call Curt F and tell him all about my misadventure. As I am telling him the story I remember I have only eaten a donut all day and am getting really hungry. One part of my brain is telling me that I need to get home and shouldn't risk wasting gas on a trip to a fast food place. The other part of my brain is drooling and seriously considering the crusty old french fry on the passenger side floor.

3:35 I pass a sign for a White Castle and the decision is made. White Castle is double-risky because not only am I pulling over to waste gas, but it travels so quickly through the human body that I may have to get to a restroom. But it sounds soooooo good!

3:45 I'm on the road again, eating White Castle and feeling overcome with joy that I am going to get home very soon, see my family, and that I am eating delicious sliders. Instant diarrhea never tasted so good. Yum!

6pm I arrive in beautiful Columbus Ohio. I park at the auto shop that will park my car and Julie R pulls in with Ezra R to pick me up. Misadventure over!

So, who wins the MVP?