Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Never underestimate the power of three wise and worldly women.
My friends Susan (here for the summer from the Dominican Republic) and Joanne (violin teacher extraordinaire) took a brief respite from the day-to-day hustle and bustle to spend a couple of days shopping in Hilton Head with me.
We arrived at Tanger Outlets around lunchtime Sunday and began our store-by-store survey of the potential bargains.
First problem was parking. The last few times I’ve been to the outlets there I found few others shopping. Not this time. We went round and round trying to find a parking place. When I finally did get a spot, I pulled in a little too close, grazing the car’s underside with the concrete stopper at the end of the parking place.
We then made the rounds, including a stop for a late lunch at Robert Irvine’s “nosh” restaurant – delicious burgers and a fantastic grilled sandwich of turkey slices with cranberry slaw on Texas toast.
After exhausting our shopping options (since the stores closed at 6 p.m. Sunday), we got back into the car to head to the hotel. However, there was this horrible noise coming from the front of my car. I stopped and Joanne got out to check.
“This is not good,” she declared after taking a look.
I got out to inspect the damage. The dust cover (at least that’s what it looks like to me) had come loose. I think this covering is mainly designed to protect high grass and such from catching fire if a car with a hot engine drives over it. I looked closely and could see several holes strategically placed along the surface of this cover that was now dragging the ground. But I could find no screws on the ground with which to reconnect the cover. I tried to bend the cover back into place to no avail. We finally got it to stay up far enough so that it was no longer dragging the ground.
We drove to a gas station with little or no scraping. That was a good sign, right? We figured we could get some heavy string or rope and try to find a way to tie the cover up off the road until we could get home. We tried looking like damsels in distress in front of a truck driver sitting in his cab near where we stopped. Unfortunately, he drove away rather than coming to our rescue.
So Susan went into the convenience store to look for string, while I continued to try to lodge the loose end of the cover into something that would keep it in place until we could get back home the next day. She came out saying, “You can fix anything with duct tape, right?” Susan then lay on the ground and proceeded to duct-tape the heck out of it. After a half a roll of duct tape, the errant panel didn’t seem to be moving. We deemed it a success and prepared to return to the business of shopping – our No. 1 priority.
Tom called. I promised to check the problem every time we stopped.
We continued on our shopping spree, stopping to check into the hotel and continuing on to the restaurant for a late post-shopping dinner.
I parked carefully for the night, and hoped for the best.
Monday dawned with a whole lot of rain, so my promise became a hardship in the rain. I figured if I couldn’t see the cover touching the ground from a standing position, it was probably fine. Right?
We continued our shopping. Somewhere along the way a man standing outside Steinmart referred to us as “the Golden Girls.” I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or insulted.
The duct-taped cover survived, and we were doing fine until we stopped for gas on our way home. While I pumped, Susan and Joanne went in for drinks, but the iced coffee machine was empty. They asked the clerk if she could refill the machine. She said sure, but she had never done it before, and she was also very short, so she couldn’t reach the machine in question very well.
Susan and Joanne tried to help, with the critical factor being connecting the new container of coffee to the dispenser. My friends saw what needed to be done – insert the coupling into the dispenser fitting and twisting it into place. But the clerk didn’t turn it all the way the first time. Iced coffee began to spew everywhere. Luckily it was directed mostly to JoAnne’s feet. After she and Susan danced a little two-step slide away from the spurt, the three women managed to get the coupling on right. No more mess.
As we prepared to trek home, they returned to the car reassured that they could handle any adversity that comes their way.
Golden girls? I don’t know. Wonder women? Definitely.