A few weeks ago I took Wanda and Magoo into the next town over to get some new tires put on the Swagger Wagon. The next town over is awesome. It has a Wal Mart and a movie theatre and a state prison. It has a cute downtown main street district, almost like our town, but with more snazzy jammie retailers, tattoo parlors, smoke shops and places that will pay you cash for gold.
We chose a mom and pop tire shop over the big retailers because we like to support local business and they were much cuter on the phone AND equipped to do both the tire install and the alignment in one visit. Their prices were almost competitive. And they said they could get it done in a little over 2 hours.
So we dropped off the car at 11am and they told me it might take a biiiit longer than they had originally thought. That’s cool, I thought. We’ll walk over the train tracks, along the busy highway, and past several strip malls to the movie theatre and catch a show.
Although the next town over has a dollar store, it does not have Uber. Weird, right?
The walk to the theatre was a little over a mile, my longest distance since the surgery. Woot. And we had a great lunch of nachos, popcorn, and slushies while we watched The Secret Life of Pets. Good. Not great. The kids loved it.
We stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things, walked past a couple of loudly screaming teens with expletives on their t-shirts, enjoyed the sun, and carried our groceries the mile back to the tire store, by way of a couple of very cool little vintage shops.
Altogether, kind of an awesome day, a bit weird, but awesome. However, it had been three hours and I had super ripe peaches at home waiting to be canned. It was time to get this show on the road.
But the car wasn’t done.
So we stalled at a used book store and bought a few things. They were serving Slytherin Iced Tea in honor of the new Harry Potter Play. Nice people. And when I said we were waiting for our tires to get done, the bookstore owner looked at me appraisingly and said, “The Big Chain Store or Mom and Pop.”
He approved of my choice.
But the tires still weren’t done.
So, to round out our Next Town Over-ish day, we stopped at 7-11 for boxed hot dogs and microwaved burritos. The hot dog box said, “100% Delicious” and Dan later asked Wanda if those words were true.
“Not really,” she said, “Maybe 99%?”
But the kids were 100% awesome. Because we spent the next couple of hours in the shop waiting room. It smelled like a mechanic shop and flies were buzzing everywhere. And the seats were old and dirty.
But Magoo could not get over how comfortable they were. And Wanda happily did magic tricks to herself with an old deck of cards while I read my book.
At one point the mechanic invited me back to show my why he was having trouble getting the alignment right and asking if he could put some after-market parts on the car to help it out a bit. He was kind. And he explained things well. And everyone in the shop treated us like we were family.
When it was time to go, about 6 hours after we’d originally dropped off the car, the elderly owner of the shop pulled my kids aside and lovingly told them how special they were.
“And do you know how you get special kids?” he asked.
They smiled sheepishly and shrugged.
“With very special parents.”
He gave me a warm smile and handed each of the kids an intricately detailed die cast car. They were thrilled. And they are special kids. It’s strange to say, but it was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. Just hangin’ out in a Podunk downtown, eating at the Sev with my peeps.
And the lateness of the hour saved me from having to can peaches in the heat of the day. It was not hot at midnight as I finished up the last batch.
As we left tire shop, my special son informed me that my special daughter had put stuffed her special trash into one of the towers of tires. So I got to stand on a chair and do a handstand inside the tires to fish it out.
A bit tiresome. But special, nonetheless.
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