Thanks to our mechanic!
Thanks for holding on to our car for 9 whopping weeks in order to overhaul the transmission and replace our engine. Thanks for then realizing that you hadn't ordered the correct engine for our car. And thanks for making us sweat while removing our engine to repair the head gaskets as we waited anxiously to find out if the engine was even damaged. Thanks for the news that the engine was fine and for keeping the car for yet another weekend so that you could "drive it Saturday to make sure all was well". Thanks.
Thanks for being the main reason that we came so close to missing Justin's first and only Illinois concert date on Corbin Bleu's tour due to OUR CAR BREAKING DOWN IN LOMBARD.
It was God who made sure that we didn't lose ALL THE TRANSMISSION FLUID while on busy 294 and whatever exit we took that was full of construction, toll booths, and traffic. Our true and non-sarcastic thanks and praise go only to the Lord, who must have pushed our car past all that heavy traffic to the entrance of a Popeye's Chicken before I smelled the problem, felt the problem, and then experienced fuming anger as I realized that the car wasn't moving another inch.
George pushed the car into a parking space. Hood up. Transmission fluid everywhere. Transmission fluid seeping out of the car.
My heart broke. Broke. I heard myself whimper, "Is it over?"
George replied with a confident, "No!"
I exited the car and immediately called Justin, who I couldn't reach, (duh), as he was prepping to go on stage in 45 minutes.
We tried to hold it together for the kids. We called people to pray. We tried to keep the goal in mind: getting to the concert. I spotted a Midas Muffler and told George to run there as I thought they would have a listing for Taxi's.
Alpha One Taxi and Livery Inc. (630-549-3009), whose advertisement states, "We are there when you need us", came our rescue as I shared with Andreas, the owner and our driver, why getting to the Dupage County Fair by 7:00 was of the utmost importance. He hauled like any good taxi driver, even going through store parking lots when the traffic was backed up due to a freight train that decided to push my boiling point. He charged my cell phone for me during the ride, which I promptly forgot in his van. He drove BACK to our parked car after the concert to give us the cell phone AND called a towing company which he knew took AAA and credit cards.
Only AAA had already scheduled a towing company which took credit cards. Or so we thought. Surprise! While AAA insured us the company took credit, this was not the case, and thus, the tow truck driver had to take George to the ATM before dropping off the car. Elvis of Esco's Towing was really great. Guatemalan and a Christian. So George and he had a great discussion about coffee, Jesus, and Justin on the ride home. Elvis now wants me to coach his kids. Oh, Elvis. How about some Mary Kay instead?
So, thanks to our mechanic for a great night!
Yes, I got to see Justin. He was fantastic. Sure, we had to lug our car seats into the venue, barely had a moment to take it all in, missed talking to Justin at the "meet and greet" afterwards because we were figuring out the next leg of our trip, (with Justin's Dad, Avi, leading the way in rounding up New Trier kids to get us wherever we needed to go) and, thus, I didn't even see Justin standing 10 feet away from me signing t-shirts and cd's, but we were there.
We were there with his family, all his friends, and new fan's. Thank God that all of Glencoe, and almost every kid I'd ever coached was is attendance, as we needed them at that moment, just as they've needed me over the years. Marcie, Justin's mom, loaded us up with a t-shirt and 4 CD's. Another Mom bought the kids glow necklaces. The McDonough's drove us back to the car and then took me and the kids home. I even met the Artistic Director of Writer's Theater in Glencoe who gave me his card and told me to call him for tickets to A Lion in Winter, which just happens to be one of George's favorite plays.
But the best part was when I opened Justin's CD to read the liner notes:
Joline, 13 years! I can't begin to express what you mean to me, and I wouldn't be who I am on stage or off without your years of direction.
And then, the floodgates opened. Every emotion I'd been holding in throughout the evening burst open. It was then that I realized that while I had physically attended the concert, a piece of me had missed it.
We spoke around midnight. I could hear excitement and fun in the background. The gist went something like this.
"Joline! Where were you! I didn't see you!"
"You didn't get my message, did you? You were brilliant!"
I told him what had happened.
"Are you ok? Did Harper and Zane like it? Oh no, my cell phone is dying. I'll call you tomorrow."
"Ok. Have fun!"
That's ok if he doesn't. He sounded like he was having an incredible time. It was just good to talk to him and insure him that I was indeed there. I wouldn't have missed it. I couldn't have missed it. I will relish in the fact that while my brain was tied up in the events of the evening, I was still in attendance, row H, watching 13 years of coaching sing and dance across a stage in front of adoring fans.
$22 cab fare and a well deserved $10 tip. $3.00 pretzel. $3.00 corndog. $4.00 for root beers. $6.00 for ice cream. $10.00 Corbin Blue "dogtag" necklace for Harper. $3.00 tip (and a Justin Stein CD) to Andreas for returning with my phone. $70 tow.
Seeing Justin in his ultimate element.