Monday, May 17, 2010

What's this fish doing in my bed?


1) I took my car to get a new set of radial tires. (Random curiosity: Why do we use the term radial tires in 2010? Is anyone outside of Danica Patrick buying other kinds of tires?) Whilst I was there I inquired as to whether they could change the oil while the car was up on the jack. They said they would. I also made sure they'd mount the two new tires on the rear of the car. Check. No problem sir.

I walked home to my palatial estate assured that my vehicle was in capable hands.

Fawad, my newest bestest buddy, called me on the cell four hours later to tell me that my car was in fact, ready to be picked up. When I got there I had to wait for like seven hours to pay. Remind me to call Fawad in my spare time and suggest that he stagger the way he calls customers in to pick up their cars, will you?

But it was worth the wait when I picked up my car to find out that the new tires were incorrectly mounted on the front. Oh well, I said to myself. Or something like that. Listen, I'm telling a story and there's no telling what I actually said to myself. It's a leap of faith for you, OK?

So after "Oh welling" I opened the trunk to find out that my spare was thrown in there in the same manner as a silverback gorilla might handle a chew toy. At that point, my acute senses detected that a less than quality job might have been performed. As such, I checked the oil to see that it was far from the maple syrup look that one would expect and much more like the "Irish Guy dares his engine to fall out of the car" consistency.

At this time I re-entered the store to denounce my new friend as a charlatan and confidence man.

"But I didn't charge you for the oil change!" Was his honest retort.

Well, ok then. That's better at least. I mean, I didn't pay for the oil chan....wait, what? Then why is my bill the same as I assumed it would be?

Shop fee. Check.

Installation. Ok.

Tire cuddling. What?

Vulcanization surcharge. Now wait a second here!

I bet you won't even notice this charge, charge. Fawad!!!

"Oh. You wish me to remove those charges??"

2) I'm unclear how the cable company stays in business. I believe I receive about 117 individual mailings per day on why I should switch companies and use their product. They offer free months, free DVRs, and enough free Cinemax until I'm actually tired of looking at breasts. I used to have an actual functioning marketing degree, although it's probably expired by now, but I don't get it. Especially since I'm already a customer and wouldn't qualify for the promotions anyway.

3) I love when I get great promotions in the mail with crazy disclaimers. I think I got an offer from Coldstone Creamery for a free milkshake but in fine print is said "Must own goat."

4) I'm getting a free oil change, and you're not.

5) Stop laughing. Yes, I realize that my free oil change will probably end up with the top being cut off of my car and deer antlers being mounted. Maybe that could be a good look for me, did you ever think about that?

6) I just started doing business with Wells Fargo. I might have seen "The Music Man" too many times since every time I get some mail from them I think to myself "Or it could be, yes it really, really, really, really could be. Something special....JUST FOR ME!!!"

7) I am now having a hybrid thought of a car with the top cut off, mis-mounted tires and deer antlers on the hood pulling a covered wagon.

8) Celebrity Death Match: Rupert Boneham vs Russell Hantz

9) R.I.P. Ronny James Dio : I was not a fan but "Hungry for Heaven" was one of the best songs on the Vision Quest soundtrack which was one of the best soundtracks of all time.

10) I think I could take "The Shute".

11) What fish?


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things you know you wish you knew. Ya know?

1) Most days I do my best to enjoy my commute, especially on the way home. This week, however, I've been working late trying to keep on top of a project I'm working on. (Yes, I understand that the first two sentences have been boring. I'm on it. I promise.) So when I leave late, I risk missing one of the best parts of my day. I mostly wouldn't admit this because my children are complete maniacs, but I do love spending time with them before bed. I also enjoy avoiding the special Kung Fu I know my wife may use on me. It might happen if today is the day she snaps out after being left alone with the maniacs too long. So while my respect for the generally accepted speed limits and their positive affects on driver well being in the new millenium is nothing short of legendary, I was driving like a bat out of someplace warm. And I was making great time, I don't mind telling you.

2) It was then that I noticed that I was a little low on gasoline. And by a little low I mean the needle was so far below "E" that it was very nearly pointing back at "F" again. This would, of course, modify the behavior of the average person. I am many things, but average is not one of them. Your mileage may vary. (I sure hoped mine would.)

3) Cresting a hill about 5 miles short of my house I realized that I was about to pass the last chance place for gasoline on my route home. That is to say that once I passed up this station, there were no other stations in between that point and my front door. I made the decision to press on towards bedtime. Reserve baby. I mean, there must be 5-10 gallons of gas in there below the E, right?

4) Home. Or at least passing right behind my home ready to turn into my development. Like a mirage a person sees when looking for water in the desert my needle appears to be turning different shades of red. I think I might even see the middle finger. Really? My own car is giving me the bird? I might never fill it up again. We'll see who has attitude now.

5) Ever got into an argument with your car? Don't lie.

6) Liar.

7) Leaving the worries of my own personal gas crisis behind, I arrive at bedtime. My wife is dressed in white and has a bit of a glow around her. I believe she is about to be assumed directly into heaven. Maybe this is my perspective because she has fed, bathed and dressed these for bed and is now reading to them. Or perhaps she's overused the bleach. It's difficult to say.

8) Even now my thoughts drift back to the car outside and the white knuckle driving I'll be doing in the morning. However, years of evening Mark putting the screws to morning Mark should make it pretty easy for morning Mark to handle. My only real concern is that morning Mark might forget that he needs gas and end up broken down on the road.

9) OK, there's a better than average chance that I'll be broken down on the road anyway, but at least if I remember I'm out of gas it might be a little country road with a 30mph speed limit within walking distance of a gas station instead of on the median of a 70 mph highway. Any smart person would write himself a note so he'd remember. Of course, I went to bed.

10) Yes, I did remember. In fact, I had dreams about running out of things all night. Not just gas, but I ran out of jam and milk and bread and socks and fish food and orangutans and fruit bats and bananas and hair gel.

11) I don't even use hair gel.

12) In the car this morning, I am figuring out ways to get to the nearest gas station. It's only a mile from my house. I am doing physics in my head wondering if it's better to drive at a steady pace for a longer distance or a relatively straight shot with stop lights where I'll have to idle. I end up picking the third option, which was to approach the station from a hill where I could hopefully get some poor soul to help me push it because I know darn well I'm not going to make it.

13) I'm at the stop light. How long is this stop light going to last? Seriously? These people get a left turn arrow AND then get the full green for 2 minutes? I begin to curse to myself. Every sound coming from the car is the engine getting ready to make it's final rotation. I'm in the middle lane. If I get stuck here, it's going to be a total debacle. I switch from swearing to praying. The light refuses to change. I try to think of a Saint to pray to. Who is the patron Saint of green? I am blanking. I finally figure St. Christopher is a good person to whom I should direct my dire pleas. As I make this realization, the light turns.

14) So much for prayers. St. Who? I'm gonna make it. I'm gonna MAY-AY-AY-AY-AKE it! "I'm Makin' It, if I've got the chance I'm takin' it..." I am now doing vintage 1981 disco moves while driving the car.

15) I swear, I do NOT use hair gel.

16) I see a hill that I forgot about. It's not down. It's up. I suppose there was a little hole in my downhill plan. You would think that years of adolescent bike riding and playground usage would have reinforced the idea that you must first CLIMB the hill before you can go down the hill.

17) Who was I praying to again? St. Christopher! Oh goodness. I'm so sorry I got distracted.

18) I'm past the hill. I can coast to the Sunoco from here. (Cue the Disco music!)

19) Stop light. Commence a strange prayer that includes cursing. I might have to answer for this one.

20) At the gas station. As I enter the parking lot a strange calm comes over my body. I am one with the car and all petrol products. I have the composure of that Yogi over in India who hasn't eaten, had anything to drink or peed in 71 years. Nothing can phase me. In fact, I *want* the car to run out of gas. I want to know that I was THAT close and beat the odds. I meander around looking for the perfect pump to use so that I'll have an easy out back onto the highway. If I had hair gel, which I promise you I do not, I might apply some.

Still the engine runs. How is this possible? I notice a very attractive blonde woman going in to the Mini Mart. (Focus man, focus.)

21) I fill the 12 gallon tank. It takes 13.35 gallons of gas. I treat the nozzle of the gas pump like a six shooter from the old west. I place it back into its holster with the flair of the Waco Kid.

22) You'd think I had other things to talk about, but I suppose you'd be wrong.