Saturday, January 10, 2009

better make that screwdriver a double- my contacts are cruddy

i could lie to you and tell you i've sat down to write something new several times over the past couple of months....though, come to think of it, that's not really a lie, as i've sat down to pound out the annual holiday letter and numerous emails, and i've handwritten my fair share of thank you notes and checks to pay the bills.

so, let me simply say that this is the first time i've sat down to post something new to the blog. (fair enough?)

my trip up to maine for the holidays would have made great fodder for a post, but the notes i scribbled furiously (ok- maybe i wasn't furious at the time, but there were certianly moments when i felt a wee bit inconvenienced) fill enough of my journal that i doubt you would care to set aside half an hour to read the post. it's more a "chapter at bedtime" length, and at the rate i'm going with my bestselling autobiography, we'll all be heading for bed in the nursing homes of our choice before the words will be in print.

....but i digress, and it would be unfair of me to hook you with such a tempting title and not deliver, right?

yesterday started as my fridays usually do: i'm still trying to get caught up on my full-time work after returning from my vacation, so i woke up early and put in a couple of hours on my most urgent project. after a snack and a shower, i headed out the door a little later than intended. (to borrow from tom jones: it's not unusual.)

after loading three boxes' worth of avon orders into my car, as well as all of the stuff i'd need for my work across town, i plopped down in the driver's seat (the place to be when one intends to drive), plugged in the ipod (current obsessions: foxboro hot tubs, the soup dragons, and scissor sisters), and fired up the ignition.

except, for the car to actually go anywhere, something has to happen when you put the key in the ignition- and this does not include giving the car funny looks, muttering under one's breath, or throwing something. in fact, it's rumored that once the key is turned in the ignition, assuming feet are on the proper pedals (if required), the car customarily makes the next move.

my car did nothing. not a damn thing.

so, i did the logical thing. i took the key out and tried it again.

still nothing.

so, i did the next most logical thing; i called for help.

fortunately, my dad is retired, and in between international travel and fixing things around his houses, he has little else to do with his time than sit around, waiting for me to call for advice.

(ok- maybe not completely true, but i think he likes this whole "giving advice" thing- especially since, during my formative teen years, i was loath to take any advice he tried to pass along.)

sorry- digressed again. it happens- especially when i go so long between posts.

anyway, the first thing he said was:

"okay. haul out your screwdriver. flathead would be ideal, but if you only have a phillips head, that could work in a pinch."

now, i ask you: how many of you keep screwdrivers in your car?

exactly my point.

so, with daddy still on the phone, i locked the car and walked the fifty yards and two flights of stairs back to my apartment.

in retrospect, it would have been helpful if he'd mentioned at this time that i might need to also grab a wrench or pair of pliers or some other torque-producing tool*, but he saved that little tidbit until after i used the screwdriver to scrape the metal battery terminals and the car magically started.**

while i walked back the fifty yars and two flights of stairs again, this time for the pliers which, by the way, are currently riding shotgun in my car, i asked if it would be possible for me to run my other errands (avon deliveries, bank, work across town) before getting the car taken care of. i'll spare you the details, but let's just say that my dad advised that i keep the stopping to a minimum until after my "contacts are cleaned".

i pointed out that i wasn't wearing my contacts- i was flying blind. (i like to think my family, particularly my dad, appreciates my smartass sense of humor.)

i made a couple of stops ("slow-downs", really) on the way to triple a, where i found out that my car couldn't be seen for another 2 1/2 hours. i called the boss across town to advise him of this, and he told me not to waste my time and money- he'd take care of my car when i got there. since i had my now-trusty screwdriver (i'd had to scrape the contacts when my car wouldn't start after my second tool-retrieving trip to the apartment) and pliers (though i suffered from the inability to loosen the bolts enough to pull the clamps off of the contacts), i figured i'd throw caution to the wind.

three stops, two phone calls to male friends who might have experienced this predicament firsthand (i bet neither of them carry tools in their cars), and one more screwdriver-scraping later, i pulled into my boss's driveway.

three hours, two retightened clamps (turns out one had been really loose all along), and one sheet of sandpaper later, i pulled back out of the boss's driveway.

since everything was taken apart and scraped with the sandpaper, i'm not sure there's any real reason to carry the screwdriver around anymore though i suppose, if i get frustrated enough then next time my car won't start, i can hurl the screwdriver, and then use the pliers in the event it becomes stuck in whatever i happen to hurl it at.

*i have no clue if "torque-producing" is even accurate, but since i'm now driving around with tools in my car, i'm trying to sound like someone who knows technical stuff about these things, unlike someone who, prior to this, carried an emery board and a tire pressure guage thingy and nothing else remotely toolish (toollike?)in their chariot.

**after i put my key back into the ignition. i mean, it's not like i'm driving chitty chitty bang bang here.


The Rover said...

Soup Dragons? Wow, not since 1993... Way to flash back! And really, it's time to put together a small toolkit for the car. It can be tons of geeky fun!

duff said...

i'd been looking for the song "divine thing" for awhile, and thanks to amazon's used cds and a gift card i got for christmas, i've got not only that, but "pleasure" (i believe that was the follow up single, though it didn't do much on the charts), as well. also bought an iggy pop album i used to play on my retro show in college, two air cds, kylie minogue, and a few other odds and ends......

Larry said...

First of all, welcome back.

Second, I carry tools in my car. I have screwdrivers, wrenches, and a socket set. I used to have a little hydrolic jack that was great for tire changes, but when I changed over from possessed minivan to tiny Chevy Cobalt, the jack had to go.

And third, I think "torque producing" is passable. "Toolish" however, is beneath you. :)

Bite Me said...

When you drive cars like mine you always have tools in the car, and jumper cables, and a spare brake light switch, and a compressor, a flash light, batteries, two quarts of oil, a quart of transmission fluid, some anti-freeze..........I'm sure there's more, but I don't have much more room. Good to see you back, I was hoping didn't get eaten by bears on one of your hikes. :-)

The word verification was "dents", they must have seen my car. ;-)

duff said...

larry: for the record, i was leaning slightly more toward "toollike".

hoopty-driver: what? no flux capacitor?