Century Farmhouse Notes: Lesson No. 1 – Always keep the doors closed when packing your van | By Ann Marie Craig

June 2, 2017 – Big Cedar Lake, WI – The school bus that passed us was strapped to the flat bed of the tow truck that passed us as we hurtled along the 11 p.m. darkness of the Pennsylvania highway, and I was driving. Was I still awake or dreaming? Were we there yet? 

It had been a long day. No. Correction: It had been a long week and it was only Tuesday.
Packing for a major out-of-state show is a huge project that can take days. When our Studio shop closed in late February, we began by separating out everything we would need in New York in early June, marking it, and storing it separately to make packing for Country Living Fair in late May a snap. Theoretically.
I had forgotten that at least 800 of those almost 2000 bars of soap still needed to be wrapped.
I backed the van up to my mother’s garage and began the several-hours’ task of actually loading the van, directing indentured children to carry boxes and haul display pieces. Four hours later the load was packed and driven back to my house to await Tuesday morning’s early departure.
My first mistake was to be on time. The second was to put the key into the ignition and expect the engine to roar to life; a rattling, whirring noise greeted me instead. The third mistake was arguing with Mr. Century Farmhouse about whether it was the battery gone kerflooey or something more ominous.
I was looking for jumper cables and starting to cry and he was insisting on a tow and a professional assessment.
The driver of the tow truck arrived and professionally jumped the battery and I drove the van to a professional assessment.  $200 and a super-de-duper new battery later we left three hours behind our expected departure time. Mistake number four: Twenty-five miles down the road, realize the IPass that usually rides on the windshield is missing.
After standing in a not-too-short line at the Illinois Oasis, find out that the new one would not activate outside of Illinois for 24 hours.
Mistake number five: miss the exit for I-80 and listen to Robert, the British Butler GPS voice, tell me to drive in circles trying to find an alternate route.
The trip was becoming a comedy adventure.  The butler was fired.
From that point on, our trip to the Country Living Fair in New York became uneventful. With the possible exception of rogue school bus sightings in the middle of the night, we met only polite people traveling in our direction and no more mechanical issues. Yet.
This writer sends a huge Thank You to both Bob’s Main Street Auto & Towing staff and Todd at Roger’s Automotive for amazingly swift service and no snickering that I could see.

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