Firstly, for the past week, I've been trying to catch up on everything going on since I The last week of vacay I did not have any friends to hang with in the evenings, so was reading all the stories on here. As much as I tried, I've decided it's futile to try and catch up 3 weeks of events. So, the whole trip started out great! Walkway over the Hudson Howe Caverns 5 days at Lithuanian Family Heritage Camp in Vermont Ferry trip to LI, NY NY Aquarium and Cyclone at Coney Island Queens Zoo Open boat fishing for fluke 4th of July party at a friend's Adventureland (mini theme park on LI) Everything was wonderful with just a few small difficult child issues - DD1 went into an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) meltdown in camp over tictacs! A boy had given her one during night games Sunday, and for the next two days she could focus on almost nothing else but getting tictacs. Every time she saw me she asked if I had gone to the store yet to get them. No, not until we leave on Wednesday. Oy! By Tuesday night she was absolutely beside herself, she finally calmed down and very maturely stated that she really NEEDED to go for a drive and get out of camp for just a little while. So we did, and got tictacs. The Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is driving the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and while she functioned so much better at camp this year compared to last (made lots of new friends), it still wasn't perfect. DD2 threw me for a loop with the Ferry ride. She got herself into an anxious tizzy about boats and DID NOT WANT TO GO. Well, I wasn't driving around and through the city with all the traffic. This was the first time she displayed any serious gfgness. Growling, digging her nails into my wrist, refusing even ice cream. I finally got her to "break" down into tears and express her fears and assure her I wouldn't leave her side. She LOVED the ferry ride. OY! So I'm still trying to figure out what issues and behaviors of her's are real, and which are copied/emulated from her sister - such a fine line. So, we started our trek home on Wednesday. Killer traffic out of NY, in Jersey, and again when we reached the Difficult Child area. Then suddenly, the van would not switch gears! WTH? Kept going, trying to get it to shift (automatic). After about an hour or so of that, it started to overheat. Pull over and call AAA. Finally get a tow to a shop that is still open. Yes, ma'am, you need a new transmission. That will be 4K And of course, the repair shop is in an odd location with no fast food places or Hotels. Fortunately there was a Staples across the street so I could get wifi and hunt down some friends #s and a hotel. Put a call in to a friend from HS who lives in Difficult Child (whom I haven't seen for 12 years) and find the cheapest hotel within "walking distance" - 2.9 miles. Packed essentials into a backpack and a duffel bag, and the kids and I started walking. While walking, the friend called, and said sure she could put us up, but she was still on her commute from work. Gave us directions (by sheer coincidence, she lived just 2.5 miles from the repair shop in the same direction of the hotel we were heading to) so we kept going, feeling a bit better knowing we had a free and friendly place to stay. So we're almost there. One landmark she gave me was a KFC so we stopped to rest and eat since it was almost 9 already and we hadn't eaten yet. Friend calls and tells us to stay put, she's got other friends coming to get us (she had cocktails at a work thing and wasn't driving anywhere). WHEW! Finally we got there and were quite relieved. She decided to take the next day off and do work from home, but she couldn't put us up again. Didn't matter. I had a 'local' helping me out with strategies and calls. Got the hotel for that night lined up, gave the repair shop the go ahead to fix the van. She drove us up to the car to get more clothes and stuff for our stay. Then we took advantage of the situation and took the Metro to the National Mall and visited some museums (they are all FREE). When we got back, she took us down to the hotel. This was Thursday. Friday morning I got a call from the shop saying it would be ready Friday, but not until late, so we booked another day. No biggie, the place had a pool, so we could just relax for a day. Well, Mother Nature had other plans and graced us with thunder storms. FINALLY I get the call that the car is ready, and I call a cab to pick me up at a set time. 15 min later, no cab, so i call again. 15 more min and still no cab, so I call AGAIN. Decide I'll try to hail a cab since I see so many going by. Well, the second I decided to do that, it seems all the cabs went on break because I never saw another one. I called the shop and since it was closing up, told them I'd be there in the morning due to their flaky cabs (if I had decided to walk or take the bus instead of a cab I would have been there in no time) Took the train to the shop Saturday morning without incident. Got back to the hotel, and we got all packed up ready to go. Only 15 minutes behind schedule (I wanted to get back to FL in one day) We got on the highway and.................................................................................................the &*(^^&$$#$%$^&^&*(*#$% transmission would NOT SHIFT GEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOST it! Pulled over, called the shop, returned to shop. Sorry ma'am, but the sensor they sent with the transmission is faulty, we're getting a new one for you within 2 hours. Yeah, OK, you sure it wasn't the sensor in the first place, and I just wasted 2 days and over 4K for nothing?????? GRRRRRRRRRRR trying to keep that thought out of my head. So, the kids and I spent two hours hanging out on the sidewalk between Staples and Domino's. Had a pizza picnic lunch. We looked like a high tech homeless family - laptop, portable dvd, cell phone, books, but no where to go. So again I got a fateful call, but this time the shop was SURE we were good to go. Fortunately we were, but still had to stop in SC - No way I was gonna be able to make it all the way home that day. I am SOOOOOOOOOOO happy to be home. Even the thought of doing dishes and endless laundry is not bothering me in the least.