Saturday, October 07, 2006
Greetings from Sunny Hell
Just a quick post, (hah! I mistyped "pot" for "post." There's a habit that I never picked up in college... and now I'm kind of regretting its absence...) from the bowels of the netherworld... also known as, within half an hour of my mother-in-law.

Okay, fine. You're right. I'm being overdramatic. It's not THAT bad. And the woman is grieving, so we'll cut her some slack. Suffice it to say, she's behaving just exactly how we all expected her to, and oh it's just grand. She has placed herself at the center of a three-ring circus and then refuses to make any plans or decisions, so all of us clowns keep wandering around aimlessly while she repeats her world-famous patented refrain... "We'll play it by ear." Tell you what, lady, I'm mostly deaf. I could use some sheet music for this one.

Deep, calming breath.

Speaking of which. Yesterday I was finally able to pick up my minivan after it took them two weeks to replace the headlight. No big deal, we had a rental, and I was happy to get the van back in time for the 8-hour car rides of this weekend.

Astute readers might recall that just as I was dropping it off at the garage, I got clipped by a tow truck on its way out of the parking lot, so I also have a brand-spankin' new driver's side mirror. Perhaps because of that bit of weirdness, or maybe just because the whole process of getting it repaired and having someone else pay for it was so complicated, I was feeling a little paranoid and left-of-center when it came time to leave it in the lot. So I just hit the little trip-meter button thingy, to reset it to zero. You know, just out of curiosity, thinking maybe they would need to drive it as much as around the block or something.

And then I picked it up.

And glanced at the trip-meter.

And saw a number.



That is just so many more miles than I think it should take to go from the parking space to the garage and back out again. I (calmly, tranquilly, politely) brought it to the attention of the manager, who agreed that, yes, it was a big number, and when we compared the odometer reading to their paperwork there was a big discrepancy there, as well - but that was "only" 290 miles, so apparently I'm allowed to get upset if it was 437 miles, but a measly 290 miles, that's no big deal.

After many repetitions of "I don't know, ma'am, but I'm sure that no one took it off the lot" by the manager, and "Okay, then, please explain to me the odometer readings" by me, I decided that this was not a problem that was going to be resolved in the moment. I had him write down all the numbers, I took pictures of them all, and the owner of the company will call me back on Monday to figure this all out. Because, of course, the owner leaves on Fridays at 12:00... and this all happened at 12:15.

Seriously. I couldn't make this kind of thing up if I wanted to.

Hmm... what else, before I stop blatantly abusing J&L's hospitality by sucking up their wireless signal and not being social? We discovered that just the right little tiny knee motion by Willem can jar the minivan's engine and electrical system completely off, except for the radio - so we'll be coasting down the road and suddenly nothing works, but there will be no audible change in volume. We also discovered that if you sit in the very last row of seats in the minivan and Willem puts Styx in the CD player, it sounds as though you're getting a personal lapdance by Tommy Shaw himself. And we discovered that Emily and Jacob have absolutely NO fear of garter snakes, bless their curious and over-friendly little hearts.

So, it's been educational thus far. I'm going to go chat with L, because she is sweet and lovely and treats me as though I'm not a money-grubbing, child-abusing, Satan-worshiping prostitute... and then later we'll go have dinner with my mother-in-law.