September 17th 2014 05:07 amFor those of you that want to know a little more about how my day turned horrible, here are the full details.
Let's start on Monday, September 15th (Skip the boring stuff):
I wake up from a long day on Sunday, and felt it was acceptable to sleep in on Monday, since I had nothing to do. On the previous day, Keat received payment (in cash) from our neighbor for dog sitting, and splits it with me, since I did half of the work as well.
Our friend Kat, had also paid me $22. I had forgotten why, but realized it was because I had purchased some domains for her, and she just paid me back.
I start to clean the house a bit, because it needed to be done.
12AM, Tuesday, September 16th
Keat and I sit down and start watching "Good Morning, Vietnam", which is a Robin Williams film (rated R, 1987). I had never heard of it, but Netflix suggested it, and it was actually pretty good. There is actually a scene in there where the Robin's character seems really down and depressed, and when he is greeted by his fellow soldiers, they all show their support for him, then have to drive away. Robin's expression said it all for his recognition in today's society (and, sadly, he will be missed).
Keat and I are still up, so we decide to start watching "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." All throughout the film, we were curious how Disney got the rights to some famous WB cartoon characters, the fact that Christoper Lloyd (Doc Brown from "Back to the Future") was a bad guy, and how they did all of the cartoon/real life interactions in 1988 - almost a decade before CG and at least a decade before Space Jam.
Keat hits the hay while I stay up and write. I didn't see a reason to go to bed for roughly 2 hours, since I had to leave to teach at AB Tech at 8:30 in the morning.
I stop my writing for the time being, getting roughly 2600 words written, and cresting 77,000 total words. The fact that I'm almost finished with Book 3 was exciting to me, and I hope to finish it by the end of the week. Regardless, I take a shower and get dressed to leave.
Leave for AB Tech
Walk in, talk to my Advisor, get the key to my room, unlock it, then start talking to her about some Spring courses that I may be teaching. After a few minutes, I head back to my room, only to find that it has been closed and locked. Apparently, one of the other instructors, talking to my Advisor's Boss (the official terms are a bit lost) thought the room was open and unused, so he locked up. After I told him the situation, he apologized and unlocked the door. I walk in and start setting up for my 10am class.
Class begins. I do the Riddle of the Day, take attendance, and show them the instructions for the lab of the day.
A lot of people are having questions about the lab (Installing Windows 8.1 on a Virtual Machine). I install Win 8.1 on the Instructor Machine, going through the same motions, and spend roughly 15 minutes trying to find a solution. I did find one, let everyone know, then informed my Course Advisor about the situation. Apparently, a key step was left out of the instructions, but it has been rectified.
I start to shut down the class, get asked a few computer questions by some students, and lock up.
I leave AB Tech campus to head back home and sleep.
(In case you didn't care about the above stuff, the real story begins here)
Location: I-40 West, just short of Exit 27 (the exit to Waynesville). I'm on the left lane. My car starts to slow down a bit. I step on the gas pedal to maintain speed, but notice that my RPM guage is only around 2-3, where usually it is around 5-6, so it did seem a little low. Coasting toward Exit 27, I notice that my "TRAC OFF" light comes on. The only other times that I've seen that is when I am on very loose gravel or ice.
Realizing that my car is starting to act funny, I start to steer right, but find out that my power steering has locked up. Not good. So I try to force it, but to no avail. Therefore, I do the only other thing I can think of: slightly turn left to get off the road. My car continues to slow down. The gas pedal is doing absolutely nothing. I crawl to a stop as far left as I can, but not completely off the road (see image below - the circle is roughly where I was stopped, and how much of my car was still "in the road"). As soon as I stop, all of my dash lights go off. In a slight panic mode, I cut the car off, wait a few seconds, then try to start it again. After a bit of revving, it starts, then immediately quits. I try it a few more times, but the same effect happens.
So, since I remembered that I had "Roadside Assistance" through my auto policy, and a GPS-enabled device that tracked my travels, I called State Farm. In a slight panic mode (again), I ask "Is this the line for offroad assistance?" (Keep in mind that I am sitting on the left side of I-40W with cars and trucks zooming past me at 75+mph, only mere inches from sideswiping or nicking me) The person understood what I was asking and said that my policy did cover this, but they needed to verify my name, address, and date of birth. I gave them that. Then, I was transferred to "Roadside America", which would be handling the scheduling and all of that.
After a few minutes of "Hold music", I was finally answered. The person on the other end was extremely calm (kudo points), but had absolutely no idea where I-40 was. They also spent roughly 10 minutes "trying to pinpoint my location" using my GPS device, which I have 2 in the car: the device from State Farm, and my phone. After "pinpointing" my location, they asked if I was "in the city of Haywood County". No, it's not a city. The closest "city" I would be near would be Canton or Clyde, depending on which direction you go. I keep saying "I'm on I-40 West, just short of Exit 27". They asked "what is the name of the exit?" I said "Exit 27, it leads to Highway 19/23", which the person didn't understand. So, after going on Hold (again) for about 5 minutes, still watching and fearing for the cars, the person told me that they "found a towing company. They are 6 miles away. Is that acceptable, or do you have a preferred towing location?" I respond, "Do I have a choice?" They respond back, "Okay, here's there number." Then, they told me "the towing company isn't a towing company. I have found another towing company that should tow you to another body shop. Here's there number." (Keep in mind that I do not have a pen and paper handy, because I'm scared for my life for all of the cars and trucks that are zooming past me - also, keep in mind that I AM NOT COMPLETELY OUT OF THE ROAD.) They then told me "The body shop isn't a body shop. Well, it's not a mechanic. Here's the number for a mechanic shop." (Still, freaking out every few minutes as more trucks and cars fly past me within inches of striking me - which some of them honk and flip me the bird.) Okay, I thought, maybe this chaos is almost over.
Suddenly, they said that in order to schedule the Tow Truck, I would have to pay $50, along with an $11 service charge. I respond (frantically), "Okay, just get it done." (Thinking I'm glad that I have cash right now, because my father always told me to "carry cash around, because tow truck drivers don't take checks or cards")
The person (Roadside America) asked, "Is it okay to proceed with the charges?"
RA: "Okay, we will need your credit card information."
Me: "Okay, you should already have that on file. Can't you just charge it?"
RA: "No sir, we do not have that on file. I will need your name, card number, and expiration date to proceed with the charges."
Me: *sigh* "Okay, my name is ____, card number is ___, and expiration date is ____."
RA: "Just to verify, your name is ___, card number is ___, and expiration date is ___. Is that correct?"
RA: "Okay, we will need the billing address to proceed with the charges."
Me: "Okay, okay! My billing address is _____, Waynesville, NC 28786."
RA: "Your billing address is _____, Waynesville, 28786?"
RA: "Okay, the charges have successfully gone through. I will need to put you on hold again to call the towing company to come pick you up."
Me: "Okay, okay, please hurry. I'm still on I-40 about to be sideswiped at any minute!"
RA: "Please hold."
RA: "Okay, sir, I have contacted the towing company, and the highway patrol to inform them of your situation. A police car should be there within 5 minutes to make sure you're not sideswiped, and the tow truck should be there within 45 minutes."
RA: "Thank you for calling Roadside America. I will call you back on your phone to verify the schedule." (Hangup)
At this time, it is roughly 1:25PM - it has taken me roughly 30 minutes to schedule the tow truck to come.
Shortly after, I see a tow truck going down I-40 East, and turn its lights on, which usually means that they found me and need to turn around. Unfortunatly, the closest exit is 31, which means they will need to travel roughly 3 miles down I-40E, then 3 miles up I-40W to get me. The tow truck pulls in front, sticking out into the highway more than me, and the guy tells me to stay in the car (the only possible way out was through my driver window, because the door couldn't open for me to get out, and getting out on the right side was suicide).
The tow truck towed me up, with the IMAP car showing up shortly after, making sure to keep the traffic away. The tow truck drove across the highway, to the right side, and the guy told me to get out, so I did. I filled out a bit of paperwork for him, then got in his truck, riding backward to Canton. We arrive at Singleton's automotive (which I had been meaning to try anyway) and thanked the tow driver profusely, since he risked his life to rescue me. He told me that "Next time you call roadside assistance, tell them that you're in the middle of the highway and some urgency is needed, because you're in a dangerous location!" I told him I did, and the person did not understand.
At 1:45PM, I sat in Singleton's awaiting for the result and final paperwork. I filled that out, asked if I owed anything right now, and they said No, so I called Keat to come pick me up.
Keat picks me up, I explain everything, and she stops by McD's because we are both hungry. After sitting in the drive-thru for about 10 seconds, the car in front of us honks their horn, meaning that they had been there for a while and not been helped. So we go across the street to Sonic's and pick up some popcorn chicken. We head home, I get undressed, then get a call from Singleton's saying that the problem is my Fuel Pump - apparently, it had lost pressure and needed replacement. Labor and parts would be an estimated $589.40 (or something like that). I sighed, thinking "There goes all of my money" and agreed to it. It was either "Pay $600 now and get my car fixed, so we can have 2 cars, or scrap that one and pay $5000+ for a new(er) car." I would rather keep my old car right now.
Afterwards, we both take a nap before Keat needs to head in to work at 6 (starting at 7:30).
Keat gets up from the bed, gets dressed, and leaves for work. I stay in bed until roughly 3AM when she calls saying that she is off. And that is where we are now.
I can't believe that it took that long and that much just to get a tow truck scheduled, and the fact that partner programs with State Farm don't have access to client files is ridiculous. They should have access to all client files and automatically charge them (upon permission) instead of having to relay all of that information, especially if one is sitting on the left side of the highway and may not exist within the next few minutes.
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