I should really preface this entire story by saying, my husband does not deal with change well. He is very set in his ways, gets frustrated easily, and has high expectations of himself. In other words, God forbid something not go according to plan. I am very go with the flow, I like a challenge, and I see most everything as a learning experience and it takes a lot for me to lose my temper. I am not saying that my way is better than his way of learning, but at least I don't punch inanimate objects when I get frustrated. Just sayin'.
We had been here about 5 days when we decided that not having a car was just not an option anymore. Sure we could walk around the base, but in order to get to D's house we had to call her or her husband to come pick us up and frankly it was getting exhausting for all parties involved. I hate having to depend on others, she was getting behind in her everyday activities, and we couldn't fit all members of both families into one car.
Finally on Thursday my husband, the kids and I walked our behinds down the the local base car rental office and paid entirely too much money to rent a shoe on wheels, I mean car. We rented a VW Polo, with an automatic transmission and UK specs. In other words it has its steering wheel on the right hand side of the car.
Now at this point I have been riding with D all over the area for days. I am pretty used to what it feels like in a UK spec'd car. The Man, well he had been at work for most of the week and then on Wed. he was struck down by the 24 hour stomach virus from hell. He was still not up to snuff on Thursday when we went to go rent the car, and had not had much time in a UK spec'd car or riding around learning the rules of the road. So what possessed me to let him be the first one to drive the car is still beyond me. I am not saying it was the worst decision ever made in the history of the earth, but it might be right up there on the list.
So there we are sitting in the parking lot of the rental company, armed with a map of the surrounding area outside of base, a map of the base, and a vague idea of where the base hotel is. We just need to get to the base hotel. Not hard, right? Yeah, that is what I thought. So wrong, so so very wrong. The Man inches out onto the road, left hand side. Good. We head down the road at a turtles pace and I am telling him the directions to get back to the hotel. Everything seems to be going fine.
Me- "Now we need to take the 2nd exit on the roundabout to get onto this road to head back to the hotel"
Him- *confused* "What? Do we need to go left, right or straight?"
By this time we are entering the roundabout and he takes the first exit to the left and we are heading off of the base into the English countryside. Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Him- "Damnit Kat, you didn't tell me which way to go!"
Me- "Ummm yeah I did, you just didn't listen buddy."
Him- "Oh great, now what do we do?"
Me- "Dude, just turn around."
Now we are heading down the road towards one of the towns near base, but I couldn't tell you which one, because the map of the local area...yeah it sucks. I get him to pull over onto a little road so that we can turn around. Then I realize that I have left my ID to get back on base in my purse which is in the trunk of the car...ya know, cause going off base wasn't exactly in the plan. He pulls to the side of the road, I hop out like we are doing a chinese fire drill and grab my purse out of the trunk.
Me-"Ok now go. Remember, pull out onto the LEFT hand side of the road."
Him- "I know that much."
Me- "Alright. I was just reminding you. I mean it isn't like you have had so much experience driving or riding around."
Him- "It doesn't help that the roads are only 3 feet wide."
Me-"They aren't 3 feet wide, it just feels like it."
We head back down the road, me clenching the door handle so tight my knuckles are turning white and praying we don't hit the little curbs on the side of the road and flip the car. Lucky to be alive, we make it back to the base.
Me- "Ok now when we get to the roundabout, just take the first exit. That should take us back towards the room."
On the way back we hit a four way stop intersection*. Now that is something my husband can deal with. This whole looking for cars coming at you, paying attention to turn signals and guessing where the car you are merging in front of is going thing. My husband, I don't know if he is gonna catch onto it really quickly. He has already tried to kill me roughly 4 times since he has been driving.
To quote my husband when we got back to the room a couple days later after yet another near miss at a roundabout where he tried to kill us all. "I love the feeling of almost dying everyday. It really makes you feel alive."
For the record the first time I drove here. It was dark, a Friday night, and I made it there without one near death experience and the kids were screaming and talking the whole way. I am not saying I am a better driver than him, but ya know, I didn't almost kill anyone.
*These are the only stop signs on base. Anywhere you would think there would be stop signs are roundabouts or give ways. Also, give way does not mean stop. It is basically a yield sign.