As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Not driving now

We are without a vehicle for a few days, as of yesterday afternoon. Shortly after noon I (Teresa) was driving over the dam bridge leaving Zaporosia after a morning shopping trip with some of the students. One of the second hand store chains had almost everything marked down to 19 grivna (less than a dollar). Maria, group home mom Larissa, and three of the girls were on this shopping expedition, I was driving because Garry really didn't want to spend the morning shopping. We planned to drive into Dnepro together after I returned home around one o'clock.

Everything had gone pretty well up to this point, Maria and Larissa knew where there were three of the stores, the girls bought bags full at the first two stores, one was excited to find a new Canada t-shirt. At the third, largest store no one bought much, except me, because I couldn't resist picking up a few sweatshirts and things for the boys. One of the girls needed a phone charger (everyone has a cell phone) and they found it at nearby phone store we passed on the walk from where I found a parking spot on a side street past the second hand store. It was in a fairly busy spot on Lenina (the main street in the city) and fairly far across the city, too.

When we got back in the car we had 15 minutes until Larissa's dentist appointment at 12:30. I turned around and hoped we didn't hit too many red lights as it was almost to the other end of Lenina. Maria directed me to drive around a long block because the dentist office is on a one way street. We were going down the narrow side street with cars parked on both sides when I heard a stop! from the back seat. Were we at the dentist? No. One of the girls was ill.
They all got out of the backseat, we hunted for napkins, and Maria climbed out of the front seat. I handed out some sofliki (wet wipes) I'd saved from KFC. As they were grabbing an open bottle of water for her, I saw a car coming up behind us. They wouldn't be able to get by, since the street was a narrow, weave through the cars randomly parked on each side one with barely room for two, so I told Maria to tell everyone to get out of the half-in/out of the car positions they were in, so I could pull up and let the cars by. The girls were confused, but walked up the sidewalk thirty feet to my new pausing spot. It seemed like ten minutes passed as they rearranged themselves, and we were finally ready to leave. Larissa had walked to the dentist,  Maria moved to the back because I said Ira might feel better sitting in the front seat, a good Canadian cure for carsickness.

We headed back to Lenina, the light was green with a car half out onto the street for the right turn we needed to make. I waited, and then they waved us around as the light changed. Now we had to wait to pull around them as traffic flew past on Lenina. I was so disgusted that I used my inner Garry telling me to make a right on red (which is only legal if there is a green arrow sign or light in Ukraine, and I didn't see one.) One of the girls was supposed to work at one (the sick one now that I think of it) However, Maria told me that one of the girls at home was supposed to start for her, if we weren't back. I told her we shouldn't be too late.

Now to go back over the bridge over the dam on the Dniper River, drop Maria at her apartment and getback to the highway and the village. We passed the big Lenin statue, and talked about his new shirt (Zap keeps trying to make him look Ukrainian, instead of taking him down, he had a white and red Ukrainian shirt last fall, recently he was dressed in a yellow and blue one.)

We got on the the bridge and I wanted to move out of the bumpy slow lane, since we'd need to be in the left lane anyway right after the bridge to turn to go to Maria's part of the city. The car next to us was riding beside us and not gaining, so I accelerated to move ahead of it. We hit a bump as I zoomed in front of him. The car stalled, lights coming on the dashboard, so I turned back into the slow lane, thinking it would be a simple turn the key and go... no, it turned over, several times, but nothing doing. Maria phoned Maxim. It would be a while before he arrived from the village. He told her not to use the flashers.

It was nerve wracking sitting in traffic, I watched the side view mirrors and switched the hazard lights on if I saw anything in the right lane, because we were on one of the curves on the bridge, and I thought we could get rear-ended. Since the right lane is so bumpy, most of the traffic is in the left one, so it is the occasional large truck, slow car, speeding car trying to pass, or someone like me, who didn't merge at the right time, and was stuck in the right lane. Luckily, they all successfully got past us, although one or two had to wait a minute. It was worse when an autobus went past, as they have to stay right because the of the overhead powerlines they are attached to, so they would be really close to us and slow up traffic and cause a bit of a jam, which often sends the speeders into the right lane trying to whiz by that bus, with us in their path.

The bridge vibrates incredibly when big trucks are on it, and you really notice it sitting still on the bridge in your dead car. I was feeling a little car sick by the time Max arrived. Max had Larissa's husband with him, they parked behind us, flashers going, and tried the car (it didn't work) checked under the hood, phoned a friend (mechanic from the village) and eventually towed it (I let Sergey drive it) across the bridge, turned around, went back across the bridge, and then up Lenina, turned left at Mc Donalds and went to where the mechanic from the village works. We watched him work on it for a while (possible fuel filter problem) It was 30 C (90 F) and we were invited up to the air conditioned lounge. Fifteen minutes later, everyone else thought it was a good idea, (I had understand the gist of what Max had told Masha and was ready.) The girls  bought cappuccinos from a machine, I enjoyed several cups of cold water, bez platna  (free!) and sat with my ereader, cooling off.
Max's van 

Eventually, the decision was made that everyone would go home in Max's van, as they had been unable to  get it going. Poor Christina had to do the whole work shift for Ira. In fact it's still in the shop, maybe it will be ready Monday or Tuesday. They can start it now, but its not running right, according to Max.

I got home in time to make pizza, the cats are eating dog food as we are out until we get to Dnepro, They don't stock cat food in the village stores. Garry walked down there to get some pineapple and salami for the pizza.

So we are taking Max's van to church in Dnepro in the morning, he offered as Garry was trying to figure out how we are going to get there. To top it off, Garry is laughing as the students now think I broke the car because of my bad driving.

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