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The Best Laid Plans of Mice And . . . Dads

June 3, 2020

It’s not what was on the agenda. In fact, it was going to bump some seemingly important things off the agenda. My daughter sounded distraught over the phone.

Daddy. . .it wouldn’t stop. . .and the light was red. . .and I don’t know what to do

Okay. Just try to calm down. Where are you right now?

In the middle of an intersection.

Are you hurt?


Is the car hurt?

THAT’S WHAT I WAS TRYING TO EXPLAIN. It wouldn’t stop. And the light was red and finally I used the emergency brake and now it won’t move.

So, no one was hit?


Okay. First turn your flashers on right now.

sniff. . .they are on

Okay, first thing we need to do is get you out of the intersection. The brakes failed right?

Yes. That’s what I said.

Okay, you should be able to release the emergency brake and gently give it a little gas to get out of the intersection. Then, pull over to the side.

Okay, I’ll try that now. . .

Lots of “Dad” emotions going through my head at that point. My daughter’s car is an older Honda Civic. It has a couple hundred thousand miles on it. She really wants a newer car, but I’ve explained that all cars have issues. Generally with the car you have, you know the issues. And, her car is completely paid for. So, any repairs come out of the money she’s not spending on a car payment.

I drove down to Orem, where she was waiting on the side of the road, flashers dutifully blinking bright orange “please don’t hit me” messages to the passing cars.

She was mostly calmed down by the time I got there. I drove her car off the busy street into an empty Golden Corral restaurant parking lot. I think Golden Corral parking lots are probably going to stay empty. Not sure how that restaurant can survive the new social distancing rules. She followed in the Suburban.

Her brakes were soft, but not failing. I ruled out worn brake pads. There was no squealing, nor the normal mushiness that worn pads display.

My guess is an air bubble in the brake lines. I sent her on to meet her friends in my car while I carefully drove her Honda back to the mechanic’s garage that happens to also be my home garage.

Tomorrow, I’ll drain the brake lines and give the car another inspection.

Funny thing is that I can no longer remember what it was I was planning to do tonight. Nothing else seems quite as important.

Stay safe.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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