It all started on three weeks ago.
I got into my car to head over to West Terre Haute to watch the Greencastle High School girls' basketball team face Owen Valley in the first round of the Class 3A West Vigo Sectional.
Pop! What in the world was that (deleting the expletive rant here).
I opened the engine hood to discover a sparkplug had been jolted out of place. How could this happen? The car isn't that old. There had never been any problems with it.
But there it was, laying on the engine, still sparking and still connected to the plug wire.
I turned the car off. How in the world, I thought, was I going to get to West Terre Haute? Game time was in less than two hours.
Hmm. The gears began to grind inside my head.
Thankfully, I found a way to get there, by using another vehicle.
I had to drive that automobile to work in Greencastle the next day. Surely I could get my vehicle worked on that Thursday.
When I got home from work, I had a friend help me replace the sparkplugs in my car. I have never been mechanically inclined, but with all of the vehicle problems I've had in recent years, things are getting easier.
We used a Helicoil thread kit to re-thread the hole for the sparkplug, placed the plugs in and voila, it seemed to work.
But something was missing. The engine.
For a solid week, the engine was missing as it would putter down the U.S. 40 headed toward Greencastle.
I went to Ellettsville to have my brother-in-law take a look at it.
Once again, we took the plugs out, replaced them and everything seemed fine. We drove to Bloomington to pick up some tasty Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings he and his wife had ordered earlier.
Then, putter, putter, push, pull, etc. The car was missing again.
We went back to my brother-in-law's house and replaced plugs again. But this time, we couldn't get the original rascal (the plug that went pop!) back in.
My vehicle sat in my brother-in-law's garage until Sunday evening, when we wheeled it to the front of his house.
It was towed to Spencer, logically of course, since my family lives there and a family member thankfully works in Greencastle, giving me a free ride to work every day.
I've been without a vehicle for nearly two weeks and I'm going stir crazy. Sure, I haven't had to purchase gasoline (luckily) in the last two weeks, but I sure do miss pulling up to the station and pumping gas, even if it is $2.50-plus right now.
I've only been to my apartment twice since the debacle began. I've been living a vagabond life so to speak, for two weeks.
The mechanic working on my vehicle called me Monday morning to tell me he could not fix it immediately. He said the engine had to be sent to Indianapolis to be fixed and it was going to cost quite a bit more than originally believed.
My stomach tied itself into a knot the size of the McAnally Center when he told me how much. How can I afford that?
But that took care of itself.
Still, without a vehicle at least until the weekend and while all this is going on, the boys' basketball postseason is looming.
Thankfully, the four county teams play in only two sectionals, both of which take place in Putnam County this year, easing the pain somewhat.
But I missed the smell of a packed gym Tuesday evening. The crisp, cool shine of the court and the sound of the basketball pounding on the hardwood.
I did manage to listen to the second half of Greencastle's first-round game with Owen Valley Tuesday on the radio. But it wasn't the same. There was something missing. You have to see the game to feel the game. Trying to visualize it through the eyes of a radio announcer (nothing against radio announcers) isn't the same thing.
The days have been dragging for two weeks now. I'm still without my car. But the mechanic working on my vehicle offered me a glimmer of hope earlier this week. I could get back on the road at least by the end of the week.
At least that's something to shoot for.