Monday, August 22, 2016

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

I have a lot to cover in this blog post.  Lots has happened since I popped in with a July post. 

Our EGA chapter had a great retreat in Sebring so I'll talk about that, I finished Camp Loopy 2 on time, YEAH!  and we just returned from the worst vacation I can ever remember having to our favorite Smoky mountain spot.

First the happy stuff - the retreat at Inn on the Lakes in  Sebring FL was great !  Check out the duClay Chapter EGA blog
for more great photos and a report by our own Jackie and check out her beautiful blog while you're out there looking.  duClay EGA also has a FB page - please like us and follow our blog too, we do lots of great stuff.

Here is a photo of my Camp Loopy 2 finish.  Not a great photo but it's really big - over 600yards - that was the challenge for this CL project.  the other challenge was that it needed to be something in your que or wish list for over a year.  This was Zuni and I think I provided a link and info in my prior blog post.

 Here is a shot of the lake from the pool patio. it was H O T but it was July in Fl and I don't think anyone was bothered by the heat.
A different angle of the lake, the flowers and foliage was not nearly as dramatic and gorgeous as it is in the spring when I was last there but it was still nice.

Here are the 20 "pirate booty bags" I put together for all 20 of our retreat participants.  The "treasures" inside were all donated by wonderful shop owners and vendors.  We played a fun game involving these gifts and I think everyone had a good time and ended up with a "treasure"

We always look forward to vacation in the late summer in the Smoky Mountains.  We usually stay at a condo in the Pigeon Forge area.  Here is DH relaxing on the condo patio during one of our brief happy non-stressed times.

and me trying to catch a little peaceful knitting time!


Our magnificent view of the smoky mountain range.  Never tire of looking at this out our windows
my progress on Camp Loopy 3 - this is a 50/50 wool/silk by JulieSpins in the colorway called Rhubarb.  It looks like rhubarb too!  It is another Janina Kallio pattern called Shine.  This challenge was a minimum of 800 yard OIY and it needed to be a designer not in your own country.  Janina is in Finland.  I am enjoying the pattern and DF Henri (no blog) is KAL-ing along with me on this project. I saw Henri for a meet up on day 6 of the challenge and I said "Henri, why is yours different"? Yikes I had misread the pattern and had worked for 6 days doing the wrong start to the scarf, SHOOT!  I sat right there and pulled it all out and started over .
Will I finish by 8/31 - whew!  the pressure is on.

I'm leaving the horrible vacation adventure details till last in case you want to skip it. 

We left on a Saturday morning planning to spend the night 1/2 way along on the trip at a favorite stop in a quaint little town Thomson Ga.  We've been staying here for years and years but they have a new Hampton there so it's back on the list again for a nice place to stay. All was well - we met my folks who arrived earlier for dinner at a nice pizza joint downtown.

Day 2 we left, heading for the hills - I always do the driving but we had taken my DH 13mos old vehicle with less than 10K miles.  We drove it to the mountains in December and it did fine so why was it feeling strange now ????  As we got more into the mountains (what we flatlanders call mountains are probably hills to many) I noticed some kind of herky jerky action in the transmission when I let off the gas.  Oh it must be my imagination - no need to worry DH - keep pressing onward.
By the time we got on top of Ole Smoky - we had a noticeable jerk and it seemed like the vehicle which shall not be named was actually slipping OUT OF GEAR !  EGADS - surely this could not be - a practically brand new vehicle - NO!!!!!!!!!!  Coming down off the mountains - I sure had a fear of not being able to control the car and careening off the mountain with my dear parents following behind in horror.  I did not tell them of the issue. Thank the Lord we made it down into Gatlinburg and now the vehicle was lurching every time I started off from a stop - it was evident even to my folks that something was wrong.  We made it to the condo check in and when I backed out and tried to put in Drive it wouldn't move - OH NOOOOOOO - have I crapped out right here in the office parking lot.  I was rolling backward towards an embankment - I guess I panicked and my DH said HIT THE BRAKE, HIT THE BRAKE!  OK nothing wrong with the brake and we pulled up the hill in low gear.

So I stewed about the vehicle all night - I looked on google and found the nearest dealership, we'd have to wait for the morning but I did email our service manager in Savannah where we've bought 4 of these vehicles. 

Monday morning - I was in touch with our service manager - he suggested I call the manufacturer car care line and they would open a case and arrange for a tow.  OK - good idea ! So the flatbed driver arrived in a few hours and we watched our vehicle  roll away to Alcoa Tenn.  where the heck is Alcoa Tenn.??  ALL DAY MONDAY was taken up with phone calls, making phone calls, waiting for phone calls, trying to get a rental car which apparently is not easy in this area.  Finally at close to closing time we drove out to Sevierville and picked up a rental - a Kia sedan which smelled of smoke so bad  it was disgusting.  At least we had wheels.

Tuesday morning - got the news that yes our transmission was bad and would have to be replaced.  My confidence level sunk low - nothing against people in Tenn. but where was Alcoa and what do I know about the people who work there.  I have been in the car business my whole life and most of time I know everyone who works on my vehicles personally.  I work for the family who owns the  dealerships where I buy my vehicles, yes it is a blessing and apparently also I curse because I am feeling very naked and alone right now dealing with Podunk Tenn. with their 1 service advisor.

My brain is already working - a transmission job will take days - it will probably take days to even get the parts - what will happen - I can't drive back to Tenn. to pick up my car in a week or two - I have to go back to work.  Humm - maybe I can have my vehicle transported home - I know we arrange for transport all the time for customers at our stores when purchasing.  So I call our dear service manager and run this possibility by him.  As a matter of fact - why don't we have it trailered down to Savannah and let them do the repair - B R I L L I A N T  - idea Mel!  So our dear GM and SM went to the district manager for the manufacturer and pleaded my case and got approval - YIPPEE -  Day 4 of vacation and things are finally looking up !

So I called the dealership and spoke to #1 ASM and he stammered and stuttered and said  well OK - I'll go tell the tech who was working on it.  end of story right ?

Day 5 - Wednesday - I am nervous about being parted from my vehicle - I know how many things can go wrong at a car dealership - I've heard every horror story out there.  I'm trying to recoup my vacation - really I am but I am edgy and apparently irritable  and none of us can agree on a plan for the day - I am so wiped out - I just want to sit and do nothing but we gather  ourselves up and head for the Wild Plum Tearoom over in Gatlinburg.  I'm sure my dear mom thought that would surely perk me up along with some retail therapy.  after lunch I get a voice mail come thru from the manager of the #1 service advisor saying "Don't worry Mrs Bryan - we are going to do our best to get your vehicle fixed and back on the road"   NO NO NO - Didn't you get the message we are NOT having our vehicle repaired in Podunk Tenn. by people I don't know.  So I immediately called to talk to this guy and got #1 ASM on the phone and I said " didn't you tell your boss I was having my vehicle transported to Savannah?  Why yes ma'am I did - duh - I don't know why he's calling you! 
Yes you do you freak - he doesn't want to let go of that huge transmission job for his tiny store in Podunk Tenn.  I panicked again -  EGADS - they are going to tear into my vehicle where it can't be transported, they are going to claim they've ordered parts - they are holding my vehicle hostage - OOOONOOOO  - I call our dear service manager AGAIN !  Don't worry Mel - I'll handle it - he calls back in a little while - OK - he understands that we are transporting the vehicle and doing the repair in Savannah.  WHEW - OK - try to calm down.  By this time my folks have given up on me - they have left to go their own way and get out of my way.  I think DH and I retired to the balcony to try and find peace in the view and bury myself in my knitting.

In the midst of all this - I called Enterprise and asked for another vehicle.  I was not comfortable driving a sedan, I hated the smoke smell and I was told they were not at all sure they could put me in another vehicle- call and check back every day.

Day 6 - my next big worry is when is my vehicle going to be picked up???  Would a disgruntled tech who is losing a transmission job do something nasty to my vehicle?  would someone vandalize it? Is it properly locked and secured - WHERE OH WHERE is my wayward vehicle.  So I worry and I stew about all that.  I do bring myself to leave the condo for some retail therapy and a visit to Dixie Darlin' cross stitch shop.  My mom is shopping away and finding all kinds of goodies and I buy 1 chart and a couple of pieces of linen.  big whoop !

Called Enterprise and yes they had a SUV I could come and pick up - OK - let's go get it.  It was a GMC Terrain, a heavier vehicle than I am used to but at least it had a comfortable seat and I could see over the traffic.

 DH and I talk and we're going home - I would have left that minute had it not been 6pm - OK we're leaving in the morning so we set about packing..

My folks got home from their concert and were surprised we were all packed up but this was just the best thing to do at this point. I was having a miserable time, nothing was fun for me and we'd even had crappy food - oh the horror !! 

Friday we headed out over Ole Smoky - raining and nice cool temps  We stopped at our favorite farm stand in the No. Ga mountains and got a bountiful haul of fresh veggies, some cut right out of the field that morning.  We got BBQ from the purveyors on site - we already knew we liked their BBQ.  So we took off heading south with our BBQ in the bag and a car full of fresh veggies - we stopped about 30 - 45 min later by a lake and sat in the car eating our BBQ lunch.  we took off a few minutes later and as we got farther into north central ga. it started getting hotter - so I turned the A/C temp down - hotter - fan up - finally DH said - I don't think the A/C is working - OMG - you have got to be kidding - NO A/C in the hottest part of GA in the middle of the day - seriously - this can't be happening.  Luckily - I thought get DH on the Ipad and have him search in Thomson for an Enterprise store.  SUCCESS - there was one and I called them - YES - they were wonderful and they did have a SUV we could get into.  Halleluiah!!   So we pulled into Thomson - sweating, nauseous from the heat and worried about our veggies spoiling.  Off again - 30 min later - they were fast and efficient - we repacked our entire contents into a Hyundai - OK - well the A/C works GREAT!  Off we go - FINALLY arriving at our home at 9pm - safe and sound and cool ! 

That concludes the worst vacation I've ever had in my life.  Will I go back to Tenn.?  Oh yes I'm sure I will.  My intention was not to make all Tennesseans seem inept but just to dramatize the impact this debilitating situation had on me and my DH.  I meant no harm or disrespect to the residents of Tenn. in the telling of my story.

See you again soon I hope !  I hope you are enjoying the Dog Days of Summer and picking up a needle or two and keeping cool as you can!  Please come back and visit me again and tell me what  you've been doing to have fun ! 

8 comments:

Susan said...

Mel, so sorry your vacation was ruined by car issues! It must have been doubly frustrating knowing all the things that could go wrong. But you looked relaxed in the picture of you knitting.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Am so sorry your car troubles spoiled your vacation Alcoa is named after Aluminum Company of America as they have a very large plant there. It is a nice city. Knoxville, the third largest city in TN is about the same distance as Alcoa and have many reputable dealerships and rental agencies. I hope you will not let this horrible experience spoil the mountains for you. Have you ever eaten at Ogle's Brick Oven its quiet good

Rugs and Pugs said...

As always, your knitting is beyond beautiful!
Sorry you had the vacation from hell but happy it worked out in the end.
Hugs :)
Lauren

Ellen said...

Oh Mel...what an awful car "adventure! It must have been so scary and then frustrating. Did you ask yourself when you were going to wake up from the nightmare?

Your retreat sounds marvelous....too bad you didn't have it after your "car vacation". I'm sure you could have really used a retreat after that,

I know how much you and your family enjoy the beautiful Smokey Mountains. What a shame that your time there was not the relaxing time you had imagined.

Jackie said...

Oh no Mel! I'm so sorry you had a terrible vacation. Each day had something go wrong. Ugh! I guess one good thing to say about it is that it is over!

SO many rental cars smell like smoke.

Roberta said...

First off your knitting is wonderful and your retreat sounds like great fun. As for your vacation - sometimes we are tested!!! what more can I say, you both did good and passed!! Hugs

Margaret said...

OMG! Poor Mel! Poor hubby too! :( So is your car still in the shop?? Is it the transmission? I assume it's with your trusted garage now. I'm so so sorry you had such a terrible vacation. You deserve better than that. And going through three rental cars too! Talk about everything that can happen happening! You make me realize how lucky we were a few years ago when we went up to Maine. Our old minivan was doing a weird jerky thing on the way up and I was worried. But we made it to our rental house -- and believe it or not, right on the road outside the driveway is where the car finally died. Talk about lucky! We were also lucky in that there was a lovely garage close by and a car rental place right in town. Everything worked out for us so smoothly -- it could have gone like it did for you instead. (It wasn't our transmission -- it was something much simpler than that.) Anyway, I hope you are recovered from that experience. I'm glad you are done and dusted with two camp loopy projects. Bummer about having to restart on the third one, but it looks great.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Oh Mel, that is the worst vacation story hands down! Please tell me what happens next. I'm going to worry and fret over you and this gawd awful mess. WOW! And to think, you had to use vacation days for this too. Even makes it worse!