The week started as the last ended, fast and furious. Although we were once again a three man operation, Dana was out of the office more than he was in.
Unfortunately, despite my rude awakening last week, retirement is still a while off, and I accompanied Dana into the office every morning.
Wednesday started the same as Monday and Tuesday. We got ourselves ready for work, walked the dog, and went on our way to Joe. Wednesday, however, was not meant to be an easy ride. As we drove, we heard a rather strange noise. Hurtling towards us in the inside lane, was a rather ancient looking Land Rover. It sounded like a military plane, the type that makes you look to the sky and wonder if all is okay. (Okay, so am I the only one who looks into the sky and wonders if all is okay?) However, the Land Rover passed by, and the noise continued. 'It's us', said Dana, and started to pull in to the side. Surprising as it may be, I was not at all perturbed. 'I think you have a flat', I said, and despite my obvious lack of mechanical knowledge, I was correct. Surprising as it may be, I was still not at all perturbed when we did not have the tools to change the tire. Very calmly, and completely out of character, I pointed out the number of our trusty mechanic, stuck to the inside of the windscreen. Surprising as it may seem, I didn't panic when there was no answer, and suggested he call Joe, as someone at the coffee roaster may have the tool we required. Joe was there, and said that he did not believe he had the wrench to fit, but he would bring what he had.
Still totally unperturbed, I sat in the car trying to keep the dog calm. Samantha was in North Carolina, with Edward, visiting his parents, so I was on quadruped duty. I was about to get out of the car when I heard Dana talking to someone. As he had left his telephone at the office the previous night, I knew it must be a live person. A slightly past middle aged motor cycle cop had pulled up to see who had stopped on his watch. Of course, the obsessive compulsive dog decided that Dana was being attacked, despite the three feet or so between the two men. As Dana opened the car door, I wondered at his sanity. Hearing the APD officer questioning as to why we had stopped on the highway, I was astounded that Dana was going to add insult to injury by subjecting him to a psychotic dog. Fortunately, the law official was not only a dog lover, but the owner of two dachshunds. He had also worked with the canine division of the force. Due to Frank's deformed lower jaw, his bite is virtually non-existent, and he did not pose too much of a threat to Lassie's master. There is also a bond between dachshund owners, probably because most agree that the breed, in general, appears to be totally bonkers!
Motor cycle cops do not have tire bolt wrenches. Taking off his helmet, and sporting a black bandanna, he told us how he usually works in the office, biding his time until retirement, but as they were short staffed, he had decided to ride the highways, which was very fortunate for us, as he was able to radio through to a car, to bring a wrench, so as he could help us to change the tire. Eric Estrada he was not (again, under 40's must google) but CHiPS was California's Highway Patrol. This guy was AHiPS, and as he was usually a desk jockey, the HiPS would have to be replaced, and due to his impending permanent vacation, go figure! However, this did not deter our immense gratitude for his assistance.
As Austin city's finest continued to tell us about the rest of his family, and their dogs, Frank decided that the long grass, and it's wildlife aroma, was more appealing than leather footwear, and stopped trying to 'gum' his boots. Suddenly, our saviour stopped talking, took out his phone, and put it to his ear. 'Why is my phone singing to me?', he asked us, rather demonstratively, as if we would have an idea. Dana and I looked at each other, wondering if this was perhaps a test. Was he going to play the 'good cop; bad cop' scenario, all by himself? We breathed a sigh of relief, when he explained, with a laugh, that he had downloaded 'Pandora', the personal Internet radio station, and he was unable to turn it off. Rather bemused, we were treated to a list of his favourite musicians, just before policeman number two arrived. The four pronged wrench provided by policeman number two did not fit, neither did Joe's single headed bolt loosener. What were we to do. Cop number three failed to provide a suitable alternative, despite attempting each prong three or four times. It was at this point that I became perturbed. Being a lady is something towards which I strive, but every so often, the attributes I manage to achieve are left somewhat in disarray. 'It ain't gonna bleedin' fit!' was what came into mind, although, attempting to be a lady I merely mumbled, through gritted teeth 'you have tried that one before'. Patience is generally known to be one of my virtues, but every so often it is tried. A smile, however, (despite my rude awakening last week to my lack of youth) does manage to calm all, and the nice policeman finally agreed, 'it's no good'.
The only answer, it would appear, would be to call the tow truck. There is a recovery vehicle that patrols the roads during the morning rush hour, and cars are towed, free of charge, (during this period) off the highway. Before nine, however, it is not possible to be towed to the place of your choice, but to the nearest 'safe place', and then arrangements could be made, at a cost, for you to be driven to your desired destination, after the traffic has subsided. In our case, we were just moments away from the mall, and as it was nearing eight o'clock, Dana could call out his mechanic. As the truck approached, the three policemen started to whisper. They were not entirely sure that the driver of the said truck was completely up to the task, of which he was called to perform. In fact, they were all in agreement that the said driver should have retired, years ago. The said driver alighted from his vehicle, and limped, slowly, towards our car. Free rides before nine had obviously denied him the ability to pay for dental care; he grinned, baring his gums, and asked for the keys, so as he could drive the car onto the ramp. Eye care was another advantage the octogenarian was unable to afford, as he backed the car up several times, before he finally made contact with the metal guides. The three policeman stood, arms folded, lips pursed, each taking a sharp intake of breath with every attempt made. Leaving Dana to sit in the passenger seat of the recovery vehicle was not ideal, but I had to get into the office, and Joe was kind enough to offer to take me to work.
Standing in the long grass, trying to control the dog's obvious urges to explore, mosquitoes had revelled in the opportunity to feast upon my ankles. Keeping bug spray in the car is an excellent idea; using it would have been considered brilliant! It was not until they had eaten enough to hibernate, for three years, that I took the precaution to protect the remainder of my lower limbs. As soon as the hiss of the spray was evident, the buzzing stopped, as the insect drums stopped their open invitation roll, and I walked, albeit still precariously (there may be other multi legged creatures in the long reeds) to Joe's car.
I left my phone with Dana, so as he would have the ability to call his mechanic, after hopefully being safely delivered to the car park of the mall. I missed my photo opportunity of two police cars, a motorcycle, three policeman and a tow truck with its civil war veteran driver, all being on site to change a tire. It would have added a whole new perspective to the 'how many people does it take to change a lightbulb' question.
Suggesting Dana wear a white shirt, as he was possibly going to be called to attend a meeting, was such a bad idea this morning. Removing grease marks is not my forte. Much as I constantly joke, 'stop me from being my mother', there is at least one area where I would insist, 'make me like my mum'. If my mother were to wash a black and white shirt, and the colours were to run (which would be an enigma in itself in my mother's washing machine) they would come out in a perfect checked pattern. She must be the only person on the planet who has never suffered 'one sock' syndrome. Seeing Dana walk into the office, with areas of grey on the front of his shirt, I started to write the label for the return envelope, and wondered how much it would cost to ship the garment to England. My other two options were to throw the shirt away, or ..... to throw the shirt away. 'Stain be gone' is a wonderful product, but I am the reason they add the disclaimer, 'may not be successful on the first attempt'.
With a new tire on order, and Dana not having to attend a meeting, the rest of my day was somewhat uneventful. The rest of the week was a little more frustrating, but that is....another story.