Sweet Clover and the Breakdown

Warning -- I'm going to play the pity card.  

So Saturday, I had the best morning that ended in tears.  I think only one sweet lady actually saw the tears, so I wasn't too much of a basketcase, but it was literally the funnest event that turned not fun at all.  Here is how the story begins...

4 weeks ago I had a baby -- via c section.  I feel strong, but apparently that can be deceiving because by the end of the day I felt very weak.  I desperately wanted to make it to the Hometalk Halloween walk with Sweet Clover, Lucketts and other antique stops along the way.  There were several reasons...

1.  My online bloggy friend Cassie runs Sweet Clover (with several partners) and I wanted to meet her in person.  Another bloggy friend Julia would also be there and I wanted to meet her as well.

2.  My online and in real life friend Darlene was going and bringing HER 4 week old daughter along too.  We hadn't seen each other whilst pregnant or with new babies.


4.  I have tried to go to 2 or 3 Hometalk events and things always come up.  I wanted to actually MAKE it to one, meet Miriam and hang out with bloggers.

5.  I ADORE the DC area.  Though Sweet Clover and Lucketts are quite a bit out of town, you can still feel that "power in the air" as you get closer to DC.  I miss walking around downtown and soaking in the power that oozes from the suits walking the sidewalks and admiring the beautiful women everywhere.  It is such a unique city and I would love to live there again someday.  Getting anywhere close to DC makes me happy :)  It's like the beach is for some people.  You know when you get close and you can start to smell the salty air?  DC is that for me except it is a swamp, not a beach.


7. The promise of a fun day out with girls - shopping away the day.  Delightful, right?

How it all began...

So I made it to Sweet Clover without any issues.  I had the "getting close to DC" moment as 15 started to feel like the GW Parkway the closer I got.  The ride down was peaceful -- baby girl made not a peep.  All was well.  Sweet Clover is ADORABLE.  I met Cassie, hung out with Darlene and Julia, chatted with Miriam of Hometalk and drank in the adorable wares throughout the barn.

Then it started getting hot.  Really hot.  Like it wasn't fall anymore, it was summer again hot.

So I decided to move on to the next store hoping it was air conditioned and maybe I would stop for an icy cold Coke along the way.  Sounds divine right?

I waited for my new friend Julia and we hopped in the van to car pool to the next stop.  The engine turned over and then slowly rolled towards the fence in front of us.  Oops.  I guess the car wasn't actually on.  Try again.  Same thing.  6 times.  The same thing.  CRAP.  I am out of gas!

Dear saint Julia carted me and baby girl to a local gas station where I bought a gas can, 2 gallons and headed BACK to Sweet Clover.  Did I mention it was 90 degrees out by this time?  ...and by this time I was REALLY wanting a Coke.  Like really...really.

The beginning of the end...

We drove back and went to put the gas in the van.  I am a doofus and have never used a gas can with one of those awkward tubes that you have to turn around, punch out, squeeze, turn and basically perform IKEA like surgery upon to get it to work.  Again, dear saint Julia to the rescue, both of us with hands covered in gasoline trying to get the dang thing together.  Finally, FINALLY it worked and 2 gallons went into the tank.  I got in and turned the key in the ignition.  The engine turned over and then slowly rolled towards the fence in front of us.  Oops.  I guess the car wasn't actually on.  Try again.  Same thing.  6 times.  The same thing.  CRAP.

At this point, we supposed that the car wouldn't start because of the angle it was at.  We needed to get it flat and two girls were not going to be able to do it.  SO.  We started rounding up men....at an antique store.  As you might imagine, there weren't many.  ...but we found 6.

Then, the one man of the group made the important point that we should have a log or block under the tires to move along as the guys pushed the van in case it rolled back.  Oh the horror if that would have happened.  I am SO glad he knew what he was doing.  In any case, I once again had to inconvenience the (oh so sweet and wonderful) staff of Sweet Clover for a log.  One sweet girl in her super cute skirt goes hunting for one and comes back carrying a giant log suitable for a bonfire.

The boys pushed.  The van rocked.  The wife of the smart man moved the log along.  The van rolled.  It was level.  Key in the ignition.  STARTS\.

Now we hop in cheerfully and go on to the other stores!!  yeah, not so much.  By that point, my baby girl had had enough of the heat I had had enough of the heat, we were both tired and worn, the van door on her side got stuck and wouldn't open and we were just DONE.  I wanted to go on, but at some point you have to just stop and go home.  ...and go home we did and finally the tears came.  You know, the oh my heavens, thank GOODNESS for nice people and I am SO glad that ordeal is over and I am going home tears.

Baby girl sat calmly the hour and a half home in her carseat (as I thanked the Lord) and I finally pulled into a McDonalds halfway home for that icy cold Coke I had been craving.  It tasted like nirvana.

SO.  The moral of the story?  A breakdown kit.  I learned a few things during this trip and today I am using my purchases from Sweet Clover to make the NEXT time we break down a little less of a breakdown for myself.   One caveat:  you should have an actual break down kit with a tire, jack, jumper cables and a gas can, etc.  THIS breakdown kit is in addition to that and is more about your sanity than your safety.  So do what I say and not as I did and have both on hand k??

The BreakDown Kit

At Sweet Clover, this little biscuit tin caught my eye upstairs in the barn loft.  It was nice and deep and looked old but it wasn't.  Perfect for actually using for cookies, picnics or a breakdown kit!  I also picked up some beautiful linen ribbon and vintage silver spoons (not pictured).   The tin is a silver aluminum on the bottom and a "rusted" top.

The proportions seemed a little off to me, so I wanted to break up the large expanse 
of silver with the pretty linen ribbon and a rusted star garland to balance the rusty top.  

Once the tin was "prettified", it was time to fillerup!

The biscuit tin breakdown kit contains the following:

1.  Money.  Small bills and a $100.  Just in case.

2.  A copy of your AAA card.  Just in case.  You should have your regular card in your wallet, but keep a copy in the breakdown kit in case of emergencies, even if it is outdated.  They can still look up your info with your #.

3. Deodorant.  You WILL sweat when you breakdown and you will NOT have deodorant.  You will want it.
4.  Sunglasses.  If it is hot and bright, sunglasses would be a lifesaver and you KNOW you won't have a pair along when you break down on the side of the highway in July.
5. GLOVES.  For when your breakdown comes in January instead of July.

6. A clean pacifier for baby.  If you have a baby along, said baby will DEFINITELY spit their nuk out on the filthy ground a thousand and two times.  A clean nuk would be helpful, yes?
7. At least one extra hair-tie...because hair in your face while you are trying to figure out the stupid gas can tube thingy is NOT fun.
8. Hand sanitizer.  Once your hands smell like gas you will be thanking all the world that you have hand sanitizer n the car.  Also helps when baby spits out nuk number 2 on the ground.
9.  Lotion.  Nice stuff.  You will need lotion after sanitzing your hands a million times.  Something that smells really really good helps you not flip out as much.
10. A granola bar and juice.  Maybe pack a few of these for yourself and the kids, but definitely one for you.  You will be sad, hungry AND thirsty during your breakdown saga.  Perhaps a simple drink of juice will keep you from having an actual break down.  A Coke took ME off the ledge and dried up all those tears right away.
11. A hankercheif.  For tears, spitup, gas cleanup and a million unforeseen obstacles.
12.  A note to yourself.  Because no one needs encouragement like you in this moment.

...and of course the note must say...

Bonus: A toy or two.  Just in case you are stuck with a toddler or older child, a new toy or two never hurts!

***Don't pack melty things like chocolate and chapstick even though you might want them during a breakdown.  Coating your cash and sanitizer in melty stuff would just make everything worse.  Stick to things that will NOT melt or freeze and burst in your biscuit tin.

...and remember...

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I just love you, Amy! I love your attitude and determination, and I love how calm you stayed through everything- I would have been flipping out! :) You are amazing. And I love your tin, and the note in that last image... yes it could! :) Great attitude, friend!
Julia Konya said…
I'm so not a saint! LOL It'll always be a story to remember and looking back it probably saved me lots of money ;)
The tin is such a great idea and I should probably have one in my car in case I get lost again. So I would really need a good map in mine ;)
James Meredith said…
I love this and as an 18 year old girl often driving alone, it would be really helpful in a potentially dangerous situation! One thing to note though, deodorant melts. I love the idea though so maybe deodorant wipes or something similar would be better. Thank you for sharing! :)
Amy Renea said…
Wipes would be a GREAT idea James!

Cass and Julia -- MWAHs forever and ever! here's to MAPS!