I will most certainly try to put a positive spin on my Saturday, despite feeling like I want to leave Vancouver as soon as possible and move somewhere with less traffic and shorter distance from one side of the city to the other. I remember a talk I have on my EFY 2003 CD where a missionary had written to his mission president regarding a terrible day he had had, where it was raining and he was soaked by a giant wall of water from a passing truck (from the same puddle!) not only once but twice - once before lunch and once after - and he began his letter with "Greetings from the upper crest of the celestial kingdom!" and went on to tell his president about his day as if it were the best day of his life. Sadly, my day wasn't as humorous as his could be when seen in the right light, it was just lame. I'm going for Worst Blog Post of the Year here.
Yesterday, there was a youth activity in the ward that I've been looking forward to, and I've known that I would need to be one of the drivers for the young women for some time now - I was prepared to drive for it. I left my house around 12:50pm, walked the few blocks to the car (we are unable to park our car close to our apartment since we were never able to get a parking permit, which was ultimately the fault of our insurance broker in Alberta and due to the fact that ICBC required a whole bunch of information and forms before they would give us permission to keep Alberta insurance on the car and obtain a parking permit for Vancouver, etc. This is another blog in itself. I digress).
Trevor was unable to come to the event with me, which was disappointing, but he needed the extra time for studying. I was also quite sick the entire morning, and vomited once, but I was able to pull it together fine to get going for the activity.
I had printed off directions from Google maps for the drive, since I am totally unfamiliar with the east side of Vancouver and get lost ALL the time trying to drive the young women, who all live far on the east side. This was fine until I arrived, after only one literal dead end and fighting a small section of construction, at the address for the first girl, to discover that the ward definitely had what appeared to be a wrong address for them. Fortunately, I had been to her home before and knew it was wrong, so called her and was only a few blocks away... I knew it was along Rupert somewhere, but couldn't remember the cross street. This wasted time and almost entirely scratched my google directions. After a few more wrong turns, we were circling the block which we knew was achingly close to where the second girl lived, but we could not find her building. We called her, and she came out to the street corner where we were. Off to the Pacific Coliseum. On the way there, we drove a considerable distance out of our way and had to backtrack - the girls don't know the way either. At least I'm not the only one.
We rejoiced at seeing the Coliseum - hooray! And while we were supposed to meet everyone there at 2pm, at this point it was almost 2:30, it could have been worse! I speak too soon. After waiting in the line to enter the parking lot to be told that it was cash only (when do I ever have cash!), we drove around the residential area across the street, unable to find parking where a permit wasn't required. Good thing the parking attendant had told us where the nearest bank machine was! I drove to the gas station, and attempted to take out money with my Visa - no luck. The ATM had a little MasterCard sticker - but I did not have my Mastercard with me, or my debit card! Doesn't everywhere take Visa - isn't that why it's "all you need"??? What about "Life Takes Visa" - in this case, it didn't - it didn't take it at all! The bank machine told me "Invalid Card"! I even called my bank and asked them where the nearest branch was, and found out, but I did not want to wander up and down East Hastings to find Kamloops and discover that the bank was closed, or add even more driving time to my day. I felt terrible that the girls were missing the event, so I parked on a residential street to take them in. There was no longer anyone waiting outside, since it was 2:45, but I called Amber and she came out with the tickets in her important "I Work Here" vest. The girls got in their seats, and Marika was able to give me $10 - yay for cash. Then I walked back to the car, drove around to the back of the PNE, and got a parking space that was about 10 minutes walk away, so no problem. I was very frustrated at this point as I had been driving in Vancouver for two hours before even getting in my seat.
In spite of a great trip to the event, I enjoyed it a lot and wish Trevor had been able to come. We left when it was over at 6pm and walked the 10 minutes to the car, didn't have to wait to get out of the parking lot, and headed to drive the first girl home (we had a third to take home). She lives fairly close (which in Vancouver space is alllll relative...), but the traffic was absolutely horrendous. It took at least half an hour to get her home and then head south for the other two. I opted to take Victoria south (because it sounded familiar?) and it was a solid parking lot. Now, I will also mention that Trevor and I have known that the fan in the car has been no good for around a year, so the car gets overheated when idling as there is no air circulation, and the heat in the car has to be turned on when in a traffic jam. The car started to make a strange whine noise, an octave lower than the high pitched timing belt whine (it has a timing chain, so it wasn't that noise...) - oops, the car is overheating and smoking from the engine. Great. And the traffic shows no signs of ceasing. Turned on the heat and made it off Victoria. After that, it was fairly clear traffic and I was able to get the second girl home around 7pm, and then, after overshooting the street and driving way out of my way again, get the second girl home around 7:30pm. This was when the car absolutely reached its wits end. The thermostat quit, so the coolant was no longer being circulated and the air coming out of the vents was no longer hot but cold.
I made it to Kingsway, then stopped at Safeway, which I had wanted to do anyway - got my chocolate fix, and discovered the only automotive item that was missing from their shelves and out of stock was antifreeze - not that I could add any more right now anyway, so at least I got some chocolate and mandarin oranges to eat in the car.
Then I went a few blocks at a time until Broadway, where Trevor met me and we drove home. The thermostat now was reading the maximum temperature the needle could point to, but we knew that was it was lying. The car was still smoking when we got it home, but not as much as before. Something rubber was definitely burning while on Victoria, if not the entire time... =(
Adding to the frustration was the cell phone battery dying, dying, dying, then dead, and the fact that our home phone is totally unreliable and does not always ring when someone calls - as if it takes naps. If we were paying for it, we would have cancelled it long ago, but it is a free VOip phone.
So I spent more than three and a half hours driving for this activity yesterday, leaving my house before 1pm and arriving home at 8:30pm. I had not yet eaten dinner and I was STARVING. UGGGGGGGGHH. Vancouver is absolutely horrible to drive in. Taking the bus, no big deal. The ward should call women into Young Women's who have minivans, and only women who have minivans, or at least a couple, since we are driving the young women around all the time, and not everyone in the presidency now has a car.
Also, there are certain things that, when they go wrong, they compound the issue for me and I feel especially frustrated and upset - two of the biggest are when something is wrong with my car, or my teeth - I have a terrible time concentrating on anything else when those are wrong.
So otherwise, I feel as though I have been feeling at least neutral towards Vancouver, even positive, and I have much to be grateful for, and I am certainly grateful that I was able to drive the car home! The car has been a huge blessing to us, and we have had to put zero money into it, other than brakes and oil changes.
Whew, so, there it is. Greetings from the upper crest of the celestial kingdom!