My week did not start well. Joe was in Honduras and not due back until late Tuesday night, but the chances of him being back in the 'office' on Wednesday were somewhat promising.
Arriving at our office before 7:30am on Monday, I chose not to start work immediately, but instead turned on my computer, took out my most recent knitted offering, and started to unpick the stitches, as the perfectionist in me was burrowing up from the depths of my being, and asserting authority. As soon as my laptop screen came to life, I decided to use my time wisely, and settled down to watch Coronation Street, an English soap opera that is available on line! Unfortunately, the thirty minutes 'free time' was reduced drastically as by the time I had made coffee, vacuumed the carpets, and washed up the few 'empties' that had been beautifully placed in the sink, by my fellow workers, I was left with a little over fifteen! The day started vigourously, and the projects poured in. I try not to complain about being busy, as I know it is what feeds us, and our guys, and I was rather grateful that we did have a lot to do! Despite being tied to my desk for most of the day, I managed to escape to the post office around 3:30pm. The clerk took my certified mail and checked the amount of postage on the envelope. It was correct! Smiling, I told him that I was very good at maths when I was at school; it was keeping my mouth shut that I found so difficult! He laughed and said he didn't have a filter either, and compared to him, I was probably much better behaved. The competitor within me came to the surface, and I retorted with a punchline that I have been itching to use; 'They used to call me human plutonium! Explosive!' He, and the other occupants of the area all found this highly amusing. Yes! I won! The long day ended on better note than it began and I had high hopes for the rest of the week.
The probability that it would possibly be the last extra early morning on Tuesday, was very refreshing. It is amazing how spoiled I have become! I saw another episode of Coronation Street and unpicked another couple of rows of my scarf. As the clock struck eight, I started work, and was very diligent all day. We left slightly later than usual, but the traffic had not become any less heavy. After taking an alternative route, Dana appeared to be a little pre-occupied. (I am sure he doesn't listen to half of what I say, but usually he at least feigns interest!) He was concerned about the brakes, as the car appeared to be pulling slightly to the left. As we entered the ramp to the freeway, the steering wheel seemed insistent on luring the vehicle to the far over taking lane, (I received a reprimand in my original driving test, when I called it 'the fast lane', and have heeded the caution ever since!) and more than a firm grip was needed to show the car who was, indeed, the 'Alpha'! My comment that it was indicative of a flat tire was snubbed, as I was reminded that in our new spaceship, there are an array of lights that flash, and blink, whenever something is amiss. It had to be the brakes. 'It's a flat', I mumbled, indignantly. 'It's the brakes', came an equally indignant murmur. Admittedly, my expertise with all things motor related do go back to my late teens, when I dated a mechanic, who insisted that I know how to fix my car, should I break down somewhere remote. Although capable, there were only a couple of occasions when I had to do anything vaguely resembling a 'repair', and one of those was hitting the starter motor with a crowbar! The new-finagled electronic boxes that are visible as soon as you 'pop the hood', are as alien to me as they would be to an advanced extra-terrestrial! My husband, on the other hand, has far more experience, and current knowledge, about engines. I will not that I gloated passionately when the display indicated 'flat tire', but it did resemble a more subtle, triumphant 'told you so', sigh! I did attempt to veil my enthusiasm with the comment, 'Better that, than something wrong with the brakes!'
Our chariot hobbled home, which was by now less than a mile, and looked rather forlorn, dipping down in one corner. As it was dark, and the cedar pollen was prolific, Dana decided to leave the repair until the weekend, and suggested that we take my car for the next couple of days. What a blessing that we were, once again, a two car family! Always erring on the side of caution, I thought it might be prudent to start the engine of the little dynamo, as it had been sitting, dormant, since before the holidays, and the weather had not been particular kind. To pronounce the battery 'dead', seemed to be an underwhelming statement. It did not so much as flinch, let alone respond to a jump from the larger three wheeled wagon, that had bravely limped across the carport in order to give its smaller relative a boost. Our options were now very limited. Moving the tripod back under cover, Dana retrieved his tools and set about removing the offending piece of rubber. The 'team' that had entered to gain the record book title, 'who can make the bolts more tight', had either practised, or competed, on our car. No matter how hard he tried, (which included hitting the bolt remover with a hammer,) the metal holders would not budge. The offer of 'can I do anything to help', was accepted with the comment, 'Yes', and improved with 'move out of the light!' Our options now resembled the amount of games my American Football team won this year. A big, round, zero! My brainwave to 'call Jerry', appeared to land on deaf ears. Jerry, one of our guys, always appears to have, or knows someone who has, 'the tool', for the job. Following a couple more minutes of grunts, and groans, I made the suggestion again. After another 'negative', I decided to go into the house and start preparing dinner. After all, we had to eat! I will not say that I gloated passionately as I came back outside to see if Dana wanted to 'give up', and try his luck after consuming some protein, but I failed to veil my enthusiasm with a less than subtle, 'told you so', when after asking to whom he was speaking, he replied, 'Jerry..apparently he has some fancy wheel remover!'
We ate our dinner as we waited for our trusted friend to drive the twenty miles to our house. Jerry was our hero! Not only did he remove the wheel, replace it with the spare, but he also had a heavy duty battery charger (which confirmed the battery on the mini was, indeed, totally deceased)! Even his cap had a 'clip on, four bulbed' flash light! Furthermore, Jerry's took the poorly tire, and said he would show it to his son, who has a 'repair shop', to decipher if it was worthy of a second chance. We were back in action! I had, as mentioned, erred on the side of caution a second time, and warned Samantha that we may have to call upon her services in the morning, to collect us from the condo and take us into work. She was somewhat relieved that her usual routine would not have to be disrupted. After all, she needed the extra time it would have taken to complete the detour, to finish knitting her first attempt at a glove!
Coffee at Joe's was not an option on Wednesday, as the spare tire was slightly deflated, and the extra miles would add unnecessary pressure. Dana made a few phone calls to various establishments who would be open late enough for us to visit after working hours, and opted for 'Discount Tires', on the north side as they provide an excellent after sales service, as well as prompt exchange of any 'flat'. We had to leave the office early, and took our patient slowly along the Interstate, and arrived a little before 6pm. I let Dana explain to the wonderfully polite, (and patient) salesman what he thought we needed, and ventured into the showroom. A local Sheriff was seated by the door, and as I entered, tipped the brim of his hat as he said, 'howdy ma'am'. I smiled as I settled down to unpick the remainder of my knitting, musing at the fact that no one would consider it odd for me to be undertaking the task in a repair shop! Life goes on, right! As I wound the wool back into a ball, the lawman was told that his vehicle was out front, and he once again, tipped the brim of his hat, and told me to 'have a good evening, ma'am', which I assured him I would. After all, he was a Sheriff! Dana appeared shortly afterwards, and took a seat next to me.
It took less than fifteen minutes to put two new tires on our carriage and do whatever it is that they do to make sure it was all copacetic. This was not enough time to completely unravel the scarf, but there was always tomorrow! Our next stop was to pick up a new battery, and after visiting 'Jim's' which was conveniently around the corner, for the Wednesday night 'pot roast' special (no, I did not partake. It's stew!! I had a bowl of tortilla soup....which resembles a chicken casserole...completely different!) we headed home. We were, once again, a two working car family!
Unfortunately, we did not get to see Joe on Thursday morning, nor on Friday, as he was suffering from food poisoning! My immediate sympathy was for him, rather than for poor ol' me who had to go into work early and make coffee herself! I did complete my scarf, and my daughter's mitten became a pair! The weekend was upon us, and thanks to the late Martin Luther King, Jr, we have a day off on Monday, so I am sure I will enjoy the extra time to make up for that lost last week! Dana plans to work on Monday, and I plan simply to not! What I do will probably become the outline of ........... another story!