musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Friday, August 11, 2006

blame it on Stephanie Plum

"You need to be adaptable." So began my Thursday morning horoscope. Since J. and I were about to embark on our annual overnight Mom'n son adventure — pre-planned in precise detail — those words seemed full of ominous portent. Undaunted, I read on. "Things that are wrong in one moment can be perfectly right in another."

Oliver! ticket

Well. Alrighty then. And so, embark we did. A couple of unsuspecting travelers on our way to see the Stratford Festival Theatre's production of Oliver!

My first inkling that something might be amiss came when I noticed a highway sign promising coffee, gas, and lodging at the next exit. In Blenheim. Now, I may not always know exactly where I am on the map, but I do know when I've overshot my target highway exit by ... well ... a lot.



[Brief pause inserted to allow those who know me and my navigational "skills" some time to recover from fits of groaning, eye-rolling, and possible spraying of monitors with assorted beverages.]

Okay, I tell myself. You're not going to panic over a silly missed exit. Remember, "You need to be adaptable." No problem. I can adapt. Just turn around. Get off the highway and...


Unfortunately, there are NO EXITS between 268 Cambridge and 250 Blandford-Blenheim, just miles and miles of road. So my simple "just turn around" adds another fifty minutes or so to our travel time. Obviously concerned, J. is grumbling something about being hungry. I assure him that the turkey vultures we've spotted circling over the highway aren't following us, waiting to pick our starved-to-death bones as we lie at the side of the road. No. We've still got plenty of time to check in at our B&B, have a nice, semi-leisurely lunch, and get to the theatre before the curtain goes up.

"Things that are wrong in one moment..."

The Caboose B&B
Leaving the vultures far behind, we managed to find our B&B (a converted Canadian National Railway caboose) with nary another wrong turn.

We wasted a few minutes admiring the shiny red impressiveness of it, then jumped back into the car for the short run to Stratford.

As we neared the outskirts of town, J. peered over at the dashboard. "Uh-oh," he said, in his I-know-all-about-cars-and-this-is-bad-very-bad tone of voice.

It was one of those moments. Time slowed. Maybe if I didn't look it would just. go. away.

I glanced down. There, in pulsing Red Letters of Doom, was the dire proclamation: Coolant Low!


Mine isn't a 'just add water' kind of car. We were going to need A Professional.

Think fast. There's a service station up ahead. And just beyond that an A & W, which happens to be J.'s favourite fast food joint. This could work. We'll pick up a burger at the drive-through and then pull into a service bay. Not exactly the quintessential "fine dining before theatre" experience. But at this point, I'm all about adaptability. And J. just wants to eat. Now.

As we pass the service station, we notice all the bays are full and there are several cars already lined up.


Think fast again. If we wait until after theatre, all the service stations in town are likely to be closed. Maybe we could leave the car to be serviced later and take a taxi to the theatre...

Still pondering, I pulled into the A & W drive-through lane and there, looming behind the restaurant like a miracle, heaven-sent, was Midas.

"We'll have a look while you go for lunch," said Mr. Midas Angel-on-duty.

And they did. And we did. And when we went back, Mr. Angel wouldn't even let me pay for the coolant top-up. How nice was that?!

So, thanks, Midas, for the super service and for bringing the morning's prediction full-circle... "Things that are wrong in one moment can be perfectly right in another."

But wait, you say. Why blame it on Stephanie Plum?

Simple. We wouldn't have missed our exit if we hadn't been so utterly and completely immersed in the audio version of Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich. I think it's her best Plum book yet. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp, you'll miss your exit! How does Stephanie really feel about Joe? What do Grandma Mazur and Mick Jagger have in common? Who is the mysterious woman who's stalking Stephanie and gunning for Ranger?

Sorry, no more hints. You're going to have to read it for yourself. And the sooner, the better!

But not while trying to navigate.

Consider yourself warned.


At 2:57 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

You had me laughing all the way through this!!!

At 4:10 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Laughing is good! Glad you enjoyed it, Susan.


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