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July 14, 2004

The Book Of Job

"It's been a hell of a day a sea, Sir." --some miswritten Coastie in the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn comedy, Overboard.

Hate the movie, hate the line. SW and all her kin love both, however, so it's been beaten into my brain over the years. And, I must admit, sometimes it's a pretty good description of life.

The Explorer wouldn't start yesterday morning. Called Triple A, got a tow truck to come out and jump me. Could've done it myself, mind you, got my own cables and everything, but SW was on the way out with the munchkins. Craft hour at the library, mustnít be missed. As well, she doesn't have the highest faith in me when it comes to matters automotive; not since I told her the story of the time I sent great clouds of smoke billowing up from the old Omni whilst trying to jump it one day. No matter that it was over 15 years ago, and that many a jump had been successfully completed since. (I drove the Omni for 11 years afterwards, until I could see the surface of the road through the holes in the floorboard. At one point, I also had to cement the parking brake to the floor in order to pass inspection, but that's another story.) As far as SW's concerned, I'm not to be trusted around the automobiles.

Like the man said; "You fuq one goat...."

So the man from Dave's Tow-Away, whom I requested personally from the AAA operator, as I knew he lived only a couple of miles away, showed up, knocked off a few pounds of bluish granulated acid buildup from the negative connection, and gave me a few amps of precious juice--enough to start the car and get it to the garage.

So far, so good. It was even the same garage that I'd gotten the battery from three years earlier, and, as it was a five year battery, I'd be getting a new one with a few knocked off the price. But I couldn't have it anytime soon.

Ok, ok. I can deal with that. Work from home in the morning, then SW can drop me off at work in the afternoon so I can attend two of the incessant meetings that come with working at a state-supported institution. Take a bus most of the way home after, get picked up, then retrieve the car.

That goes mostly as planned--aside from nearly dying when some clueless idiot comes to a dead stop in front of us while trying to merge onto the highway, forcing SW to go from 50 to a dead stop in what seemed like 20 yards, then from dead stop to 65 in order to merge into a veritable convoy of 18 wheeled pig haulers. She hasn't really recovered her normal sunny outlook since.

Also, the garage wanted to do $500 in extra repairs "found during our 14 point courtesy check," including a power steering fluid flush and a ignition wire replacement--they were, horror of horrors, the original wires! And the Explorer with over 117k in mileage!

I declined the extras. Stunningly, they'd also forgotten to pro-rate the price of the new battery. 20 minutes and much tapping at the keyboard later, I get $30 knocked off the bill. Drove the...damn thing really should have a name.... drove the Money Pit home, ate dinner, decided that SW needed a break from the kids, loaded them into MP for a trip to the pool, backed out of the driveway.

And noticed a huge, new, very damn new, puddle of black liquid in the driveway, right where MP had been parked.

Pulled back into the driveway, went into the kitchen, wrested the upturned bottle of Riesling from SW's death grip, installed her and the kids in the van, took the Money Pit back to the garage, listened to their protestations of innocence "all we did was check the fluid levels, sir, but if you leave it here overnight we can check it in the morning," got picked up then dropped off with the munchkins by a white-knuckled maniac in a minivan at the pool for a relaxing swim.

The water was tepid. Scotty M puked on my head. At the time I thought he'd just swallowed too much baby pool water.

I was wrong. It was not too much baby pool water. It was foreshadowing.

SW, Ngnat and Scotty were due at the Museum of Life and Science today at 9 this morning for a church field trip, so we woke up running. Stressful it is, forcing a pre-K to rush. I was once again dropped off, at the garage, and bade farewell. Or not. Felt more like a dismissal, to be honest.

"An incredible coincidence" was the official diagnosis on the part of the garage. A seal on my rack and peanut steering had become.... unsealed. Oddly enough, said seal was as far from the parts of the engine that they would admit to touching as another piece of engine can be. The entire thing would have to be replaced. It would cost me 600 large.

I top off the power steering fluid and take my business to the Ford place down the road. MP shudders through every turn, making a sound like whales mating the entire way. The cell phone rings the minute I pulled in. Scotty M has begun projectile vomiting in the back of the minivan.

There goes the new car smell. I leave MP with the fellow at the Ford place, who promises to let me know if thereís anything they can do. His pupils are the exact same shape as dollar signs, so I somehow doubt it. Gonna cost me 600 large if they do have to replace the rack and peanut, he tells me.

I seriously want a cigarette by that time. No I don't smoke. Not regularly. Not since 95. Not unless I'm fishing. Or drinking. Same thing, really. Not since SW moved in, in any case.

That's another thing I can thank her for.

The Ford place is on the way home, so SW picks me up in the eau-de-vomit perfumed minivan. Scotty smiles at me blearily. He's covered in chunks of undigested watermelon, green seedless grapes, blueberry halves and scrambled egg. Ngnat asks when we're going to the newseum.

Yes, "newseum." Very cute. Less so when overlaid with the smell of gastric juices.

I call the boss. I've been in the office this week, what with one thing and the other, for about two hours. Critical services that I'm in charge of are just this side of dead apps walking. I tell him that, due to car and vomit, I'm taking Ngnat to the museum.

"That's fine," he says.

So at least that goes well. SW feels that there is a distinct possibility that I've been entirely too non-confrontational about the whole thing so far, as if I should have walked into the garage with a six-shooter and forced them to admit to having poked holes in the racks and peanuts, so I swallow what little masculine pride I have remaining and promise to call her father and ask his advice--he being the sort of man who isn't an absolute pussy about these types of things, in her opinion.

As it turns out, the Dirty Harry of the insurance biz can't think of anything else I could have done, so my pride, like Scotty's breakfast, comes back up. Ngnat has a fine, if hot and sweaty, time at the newseum.

On the way home, the Ford place calls. Official diagnosis--"An incredible coincidence." Parts won't come in till late this afternoon--too late for them to fix it. 600 large is mentioned yet again. "Ah jest hope the pump ain't been damaged," says dollar sign guy. Can I wait till tomorrow to pick it up?"

Why certainly, I tell him. It would be naught but pleasure to have my automobile in the hands of quality care mechanics for a third day in a row.

Later that night, I come in from the back porch, where I went to "watch the storm come in." Somehow SW detects the residue of tobacco, and gives me a disapproving look.

"It's been a hell of a day a sea, Sir," I tell her.

And somehow, that's enough of an explanation.

Posted by Bigwig at July 14, 2004 10:35 PM | TrackBack
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Poor thing! Poor thing! Remember the old white Toyota and Little Sister's big puke in Williamsburg?

Posted by: Yomama at July 16, 2004 10:22 AM

Oh, man. And I thought my day was sucking rubber monkey butt today. Good luck!

Posted by: Random Penseur at July 22, 2004 11:56 AM

Fixing your steering is going to cost 600 thousand dollars? Man that sucks.

Posted by: Greg at July 22, 2004 08:36 PM

Ha! Jeez, I think some days my life stinks, and I find a blessing like you by accident.

Accident? Or design? Anyway, thanks so much for lightening my load by sharing such a big one.

Posted by: rick at July 25, 2004 03:07 PM
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