Here are some gorgeous views of the Detroit River to start this post. It's a long one, and I'm sharing how I ended up in the back of a cop car on Friday evening (spoiler alert: I was NOT under arrest).

This weekend was all about my brother. 

A few months back, my brother called and told me he and his fiance had finally settled on a date for their wedding. October 17th. Immediate family was to be present for a small ceremony, and a bigger reception was planned for immediately after. Start looking at flights now, he told me. And I did. The rates home (Michigan) were decent, but they got even better about a month ago. At one point, I found a roundtrip ticket for me and the Mr. for $252. That was the total - for both of us. I knew I had a small window of time to pounce on the deal, but I waited for a couple reasons: 1) J wasn't sure he'd be able to get off work early on the desired departure date, and 2) My niece (she and I are the same age) and I had already been talking about renting a car and making the long drive up there. Her boyfriend was supposedly checking to see if a friend of his could get us a good deal, so all we'd really have to pay for was gas. I didn't want to leave her high and dry by buying our plane tickets without talking to her, but she was on an 8-day cruise, in the Bahamas. By the time she came back, those cheap tickets (Spirit Airlines) were long gone. This means we were definitely driving.

She booked a rental through Hertz, and that was that... or so we thought. The rental ended up falling through at the last minute (Friday morning), and she spent majority of the afternoon getting her own, personal car ready to hit the road. One new tire and an oil change later, Me, J, my niece, and her friend were all sitting in Metro-Atlanta traffic trying to get out of the suburban rush. By 5pm, we were heading towards the Tennessee border. We were home free!... or so we thought. My niece pull off on an exit in Calhoun, GA, because she thought her hood was up. I guess it looked funny, but nothing was out of place. As we pulled back on to I-75 North, her car decided nope, not today, and it stopped working. Completely. It shut off and we had to roll in neutral to the shoulder.

J used to manage an auto shop, so he stepped out to take a look, and he didn't see anything wrong under the hood. The battery was fine, the engine looked good, nothing was loose or leaking, but the car would NOT stay on. A few moments, later a police pulled up behind us and turned on his lights. After chatting with us for a while and learning where we were headed (and why we were headed there) he hopped back in his car and made a few calls. While my niece made towing arrangements with her insurance company, we were brainstorming how on earth we were going to get to Michigan by 4pm the next day. We were already way behind schedule, and even if we got back on the road immediately, we probably weren't going to get there until 3am or later.

That's when my mind started racing. For a very, very brief moment, I thought I guess I'm not going to make it. But I couldn't keep that mindset. I had to make it. The last few times I've been home have been for funerals. Last year I went back to say goodbye to my father. I had to get there for a happy reason. I had to see my family come together and celebrate a good occasion. I had to be able to smile at a family gathering for once, instead of cry and muster the strength to see everyone. I HAD TO. I couldn't let some stupid car trouble take that away from me. I was determined to see my brother and new sister exchange vows. There was no way I wasn't going to be in Pontiac this past weekend. So when my niece looked at me and asked what we were going to do, I hopped on the phone and called a couple nearby rental places.

While I was making calls, the officer (who turned out to be the Gordon County Sheriff) came back to our car and said he had also called a couple rental places, and he had spoken with a few of his colleagues. The only rental company that was still open was 26 miles and two counties away. Around this time, he also noticed the Dekalb County Fire and Rescue T-Shirt J was wearing and asked if he was with the fire department. Answer: yes. I'm not sure if that had any bearing on the assistance he offered next, but I'm not complaining if it did.

My niece and her friend The Sheriff then offered us a ride to the Bartow County line, and got on the radio to see if an officer in Gordon County could meet us there and take us the rest of the way. While my niece and her friend stayed behind to wait for the tow truck, J and I got in the back of the squad car... At 5:37pm. Did I mention we were racing the clock? The rental company (26 miles away, remember, is anyone still with me?) was set to close promptly at 6pm. I knew they were closing on time because I had called and made a last-minute reservation. I also gave them a rundown of all the drama that had ensued, and they said they would have the paperwork ready IF we could get there in the next 15 minutes.

A couple minutes into the ride, Hero Sheriff asked if we were okay with him going fast. After we said no, he REALLY went fast. He didn't have the sirens on, but that man drove like I was in labor or bleeding out in the back seat. He also called the rental company again, identified himself as sheriff, and requested they stay there until we arrive. He couldn't make that county line transfer happen, so he ended up driving out of his jurisdiction to make sure we got there on time.

At 6:05pm, we pulled up to Enterprise. They hurried us through the paperwork, swiped my credit card, handed J the keys, and sent us on our way. Hero Sheriff left immediately after we got out the car, but by the time we got back to my niece and her friend (they were still on the side of the road), he was already back there with them! HE SPED BACK TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE OKAY. He even called the tow company to see what was taking so long. I was blown away by the way he helped us. We ended up having to leave her car on the side of the road, since we didn't want to loose any more time, but the tow truck did eventually arrive and move her car to the nearest auto shop. Meanwhile, we graciously thanked Hero Sheriff and he sent us on his way.

Friday was a mess. A hot, holy mess. I say holy because God himself had to intervene and offer some help, but won't He do it! We made it, and I'd go through the whole fiasco all over again if it meant I got to see this...
While I was home, I had White Castle twice, showed J around my old stomping grounds (he even saw the house I grew up in!), and rode into the city for those lovely views of the Detroit River. It's already much colder up there than he's used to, so our tour around Detroit was limited to what could be seen from the car. There's also a lot of construction happening downtown, which gives me hope for a revival. It's time for my city to make a comeback. We made the drive back to Atlanta on Sunday (yep, all this trouble for a quick weekend trip), and the return was much smoother than the departure. I made sure to enjoy the delicious desserts at the reception, too.
Congratulations if you made it though this jumbled post. Have a cupcake today, and please accept my apologies for any typos. I did not proofread.

Until next time, Detroit! More photos to come, as soon as I empty the memory card in my Nikon.