Another weekend. Another cheer competition. Another chance for me to totally screw things up! Hang on tight ‘cause this one’s a doozy!
Rock Star had a one day competition IN STATE, mind you, on Saturday. I got there fine. Didn’t even cuss and lose my mind when I tried to find parking. The parking garage I did end up using was one of the weirdest garages I had ever seen but I got over that hump with no cussing and kept my shit together.
After the competition Rock Star wanted to go to Texas Roadhouse. There was one in town so we headed in that direction. I told her to call to put us on the call ahead seating list. This was our conversation:
Rock Star: I don’t think I have service in the garage.
Me: Well, unlike your cousin who thought she had service even though she had no bars, you have bars; therefore, you have service.
Rock Star: Then why does it keep beeping at me?
Me: What do you mean?
She proceeds to call again and then lets me listen to the “beeping”.
Me: Rock Star, that’s a busy signal.
Rock Star: Oh. Well I didn’t know that. What do I do?
Me: They’re on the line with another person so you’re going to have to wait until they’re done with that person.
Rock Star stands there with the phone against her ear.
Me: You need to hang up and call them again! They’re not going to finish up with the call they’re on and magically answer your call.
Seriously! It’s 2018 and the telephone is a total mystery to teens today. Wow!
Next we had to find the car. I told you it was a really weird garage. Then we had to figure out how to exit the garage. Again, really weird garage.
I digress. We made the 15 minute trip over to the restaurant without getting through. It was a madhouse; we left. I had already told her that if there was a long wait we weren’t going to wait. The drive home was almost 2 hours; it was almost 6:00 and I didn’t want to wait an hour, spend an hour eating, and then drive two hours home. Especially seeing as how it had just started snowing. Hooray!
Apparently, from now on every cheer competition must include driving through a freaking blizzard.
I get on the freeway to head to the toll road. I will point out that this is not the way we came. The GPS had me take state highways but since we had traveled in another direction to get to the restaurant I guess they were now going to take me back by way of the toll road.
Rock Star is pouting because she really wanted Texas Roadhouse. I’m trying to Google other locations. Texas Roadhouse’s website is telling me Indiana is an invalid state, which seems to be a blatant lie to me seeing as how I know there are, at a minimum, two of them (one in my city and one in the city we’ve just left) in the state. I finally get it to pull up and there is one right off the toll road about 15 minutes from where we would normally be exiting to get home. Our Texas Roadhouse is on the opposite of town so this one will definitely be closer by almost an hour. Yes! I call ahead, put our name in (the wait at that point was 50-60 minutes and we were an hour away). I am a freaking hero!
It’s snowing really hard at this point. I have terrible night vision to begin with but add in snow coming straight at you and there were times I couldn’t see much in front of me. There were snow plows out and their blinking lights were also blinding me. Plus, they take up way too much space! They do not stay in their own lane.
I hit the toll booth and go through the EZ Pass lane only it won’t accept my tag. This is strange because…
- I have my account set to automatically reload whenever my funds get low (or so I thought). I had just changed it a few months ago.
- Since Rock Star told me my tag wasn’t accepted the other day when she went to cheer practice I went to the website before we left for the competition and sure enough, I had a negative balance. So… I put $35 in my account (or so I thought).
Long story short, it wouldn’t accept my tag so I had to grab a ticket. I couldn’t reach the ticket from my car (my brother says I have little dinosaur arms) so I had to unhook my seatbelt, open the car door, and push the button. It took forever for the ticket to come out and I was beginning to think there was something wrong and I was going to be stuck in the lane forever. My coat that I had taken off in the car while I was driving was stuffed behind me, pushing me forward in my seat while I tried to press the button to roll my window back up, fasten my seatbelt once again, and get on my way. This is a very important part of the story, btw. It goes to my state of mind.
About 10-15 minutes later I see a flashing sign saying, “Stop for toll ahead.” I’m thinking, “This is strange. I don’t usually need to stop to pay a toll on this road. I pay when I exit.”
I stop and pay. My tag is still not going through so I use the machine. Put my ticket in the wrong way. Have to try again. Have to swipe my card three times before it will take it. I’m getting pissed.
Then it happens. I see the sign saying, “Welcome to Ohio!” Oh. Fuck. No. I had gone the wrong damn way on the toll road. How I made that mistake when the signs are clearly labeled either Ohio or Chicago I do not know. Actually, yes I do. Seatbelt off, coat poking me in the back, can’t hit the right button to roll up the window with the blowing snow and freezing wind coming in, can’t get the ticket in, can’t pay, totally frustrated. Ohio just made sense at that point despite knowing the difference between east and west and knowing which direction I need to go.
This would have been merely a minor inconvenience if it hadn’t been for the blizzard I was driving in and the fact we were supposed to be at Texas Roadhouse in an hour and were now 30 minutes behind.
I’m white knuckling the steering wheel and tell Rock Star to call Texas Roadhouse and let them know to push us back. One obstacle down. I’m still hating the drive. My windshield wipers are smearing the snow flakes on my windshield; I can barely see. I’m doing about 60, which isn’t bad I suppose, even if the speed limit is 70. The roads are covered with snow. I’m coming up on a few snow plows. Again, they are taking up way too much space and blinding me with their flashing lights. I so badly want to call the mobster and have him calm me down but the signs keep telling me to “put the phone down. Arrive safely!” So I do. Only my phone slides off my leg and into my lap and I jump because I think it’s a snake.
Why a snake? I don’t know. It’s not like we were traveling with one and I thought it had gotten loose. I just always think it’s a snake. I about jumped out of my skin. Composed myself.
I kept counting down the miles until our exit. It seemed to take forever! I would have loved to have had a drink or two once I got to the restaurant but I was driving so I was going to have to settle for a diet Coke.
We finally made it. Rock Star put her foot up on my side of the booth. I thought it was a wild animal climbing up beside me. I was still on edge apparently.
Thankfully I settled down, had a nice meal, and once we headed on back to the house the snow had pretty much stopped. It was only about another 15-20 minutes home from there anyway. Tag still wouldn’t work as I got off the final time. And it took a while for the coins to drop in and for it to reflect in the machine. I followed my GPS and took the route it’s always trying to get me to take on my way back. That was a mistake. Snow covered back roads. Finally, we made it home safely.
That now concludes my story; however, for those of you wondering about my EZ pass problems I have answers.
Turns out nothing was like I thought. The auto replenishment was turned off somehow. The new credit card I had input a few months ago was not stored and had reset to my old bank card which I don’t even use anymore. The payment I had made that morning did not go through; I think I must not have clicked on the next button I was supposed to click. Everything is sorted out now thankfully.
Praise Jesus I only have two more of these competitions to endure. I am praying that I will make it to both of them no worse for wear, and can also successfully navigate my way back. I am also praying that I have no more blizzards to drive through. Good weather is always a plus when traveling. In the meantime, I will leave you with this: