Monday, April 5, 2010
What Parents Do 37/365
What a day! Regular visitors here know that I on Long Island and that I have a daughter attending the University of Delaware. The distance between our home and the school is about 170 miles and roughly 3 hours drive under ideal conditions.
My daughter was home for a week during spring break, which concluded on Easter Sunday. We finished dinner and helped her get ready for the journey back to school. She left around 7:30pm. We heard from her around 9pm when she informed us about the horrible traffic she was stuck in traveling though NYC.
She called back shortly after 10pm from the NJ Turnpike (I-95) telling me that there was a problem with the brakes on her truck. I had her pull into the gas station and check the brake fluid level. It was low so she purchased a can to refill the reservoir. At this point I’m concerned because brakes are a sealed system and it should never be low on fluid. I have her test the brakes but they’re still not right.
She seeks assistance from the gas station attendants who confirm my suspicion that one of the break lines has ruptured. The gas stations along the NJ Turnpike do not perform any mechanical repairs. The service is limited to fixing flats and changing tires. The attendant offers to patch the brake line using duck tape! That’s right, duck tape. WAIT, STOP RIGHT THERE!! There’s several thousand pounds of pressure within the tubing and hoses that make up a cars brake system. Now the guy meant well and was trying to be helpful but there’s no way in hell I’m going to risk my daughters life on duck tapes ability to withstand the pressure of a hydraulic braking system.
I make it perfectly clear to her that she’s not to attempt to drive the truck anywhere. She assures me that she’ll park it and wait for me.
I leave my house around 10:20pm and get stuck in the same holiday traffic as my daughter. I finally arrive at the rest area shortly after midnight. We talk to the gas station attendants and make arrangements to have the vehicle towed off the turnpike. The tow truck arrives and departs around 1am and we head out for Delaware. My daughter still has an 8am class on Monday morning…
We arrive on campus around 3:00am and go directly to sleep in the sorority house. I wake to the alarm at 8am, shower and dress and call the repair show. They have the truck but it hasn’t been looked at yet. I head north for the 120 mile drive to Woodbridge NJ. Along the way I contact my 77-year-old dad, who lives in Jersey City. I convince him to play copilot and meet me at the repair shop.
We get my daughters truck back and begin the 120 mile trek back to UDel. It was fairly uneventful except for some traffic around the Philadelphia exits.
Back in Delaware we meet up with my daughter, give grandpa a quick tour of the campus then head out for dinner. We said our good bye’s and headed north. I drop my dad off at his car and struggle with the NYC traffic for the last leg of the journey home.
It was a 22 hour adventure that racked up 600 miles and cost about $400 bucks but I don’t have a single complaint and I’d do it all over again if need be.