I was in the fast lane on 79 South from Cranberry to Wexford. I had good music on the radio. I felt good.
My eyes were as big as saucers. I carefully navigated the other two rapid lanes of traffic and found a spot with enough room for my car to be off the road. (This was around 6:30pm.)
I called TGW, and he was going to head out to help me change the flat - frankly, I could have done it myself, but it was cold, snowing, and dark out, and I had basically a cliff to the right and heavy traffic to the right, and I was terrified.
I turned off the car to get in the back and check for the spare and jack so I could get started. I went to take my flashlight and gloves out of my road kit.
Then! I realized my awesome road kit not only had gloves, and an orange cone flashlight, but it had Fix a Flat! woo hoo! I told TGW "Hey, I can just use this, just gotta warm up the car to warm the can."
I turned the key to start up the car, and
*clickclickclick* *beeem beeeeem beeeeeeeeeeeeeee*
I called TGW back. No car juice. It wasn't like when my batteries have died before, but I figured, eff it, I'll call AAA. So I did. And then about 30 minutes later, I got a call from AAA saying "Your emergency service vehicle has been delayed 40 min-"
I hung up as my phone started beeping that it was dying, and rapidly texted John a few times.
Then my phone battery died.
Seriously? I only just recently bought a cell charger for my car because mine didn't come with one and I'm cheap. However, I had not yet put it in my car.
No phone. No car. No tire. No heat. This day went to crap fast.
So I sat. I keep blankets in my car for when I transport Hank, so I had those, and I had the gloves from the kit and my coat and a spare jacket. I put eeeeverything on. And sat.
At about 8:40, I finally got the courage to get out my handy orange cone flashlight and wave someone down - terrified it'd be a serial killer, or worse, that no one would stop and I'd be stuck there all night in the cold - and someone pulled over. A guy got out of the car, and he waved me over after asking a couple quick questions about the car and whether I had kids in the car or anything, then introduced me to his sister in the car. She let me use her cell phone and get the phone number off her AAA card, since I'd stupidly left mine in the car and was just too cold go to back to get it until necessary. I called TGW, AAA, and they said "Fifteen minutes".
Turns out, the guy was a cop from Alaska, and the three of us talked about Build-a-Bear and Pittsburgh's complete inability to deal with any variation upon "weather" - if what last night was could even be called that. He praised me on having a safety kit AND having a blanket in my car - something the tow guy ALSO mentioned when he arrived later.
The tow guy got there at about 9:10-9:15pm. Alaskan Cop & Sister made sure I would be okay and that TGW was on the way, shook my hand, and departed. Tow Guy (married 25 years to a red head, with a blonde kid who "has the devil in him", a traditionalist originally from Wyoming but lives in Philly, it was his third shift in two days) remarked upon my blanket-preparedness (he swears I'm the first person he'd ever towed who had one in their car), and tried to jumpstart my car. No luck. He seemed pretty irritated by the fact that his mini-generator wouldn't work, or else he could have helped me change the tire and sent me on my way - and I don't blame him - but he had me sit in the truck while he prepped the car to go. TGW showed up around the time we loaded up the car, and we then took the car to the car repair shop by home.
It was late when we got home, I'd say at least 10:30pm, and I was exhausted and cold and miserable. Turns out my battery was crapped out severely and shorted, plus the tire was blown (yay, road hazard insurance!). AAA is waiving the mileage on my gold membership tows for this because of the delay, and after the battery and tire replacement, replacing the unsafe tie bar and sway links that got damaged by the PA roads and probably the thunk my car made when the tire popped, and the inspection I told them to just do now instead of January, it'll be about $700.
Helluva night, I tell you. I was lucky in some ways to have had nice people to help me when I needed them, and I've made contingency plans for the future. I've also decided that I'll probably be selling my iPad and my car at the same time and using it to put a down-payment on a new car - but probably not until our escrow payment normalizes again (May timeframe).
It could have been worse, and I know that. Plenty of other people were in nasty wrecks last night, and I try to think of that when I get upset about how cold and alone I was sitting on the side of the road. I didn't get hurt, I just had to deal with some wasted time and cold weather. That's better than being hurt or killed because of flooding, frozen roads in a city that can't cope with a little snow and rain. But still, I have to say, I could do without December!