Back at work. Back to a nice predictable hum again. It’s hard to know what’s expected of you when you’re on vacation. When I take the staycation vacation, it’s difficult to predict how my constant presence around the house is going to be perceived. After all, the weekdays are the domain of Mrs. S, and having her wake up every morning and find me starting back at her when she comes down for her paper and breakfast will at some point cause tension. I uh, “cramp” her style. Since I have no style I don’t really understand how you get a style cramp, but I’ll leave that for her to explain some day. I do get leg cramps once in a while and those babies hurt.
At least in the professional environment I know who I aggravate and how I do, for the most part anyway, and can better manage it. Spouses are more unpredictable. Spousal aggravation is an unavoidable side affect of being married. The longer one is married the better one becomes at managing it, or rather understanding the circumstances which bring about that state. Whether or not you choose to do anything about it, either to alleviate or inflame, is really the question of the day.
I leave it to you, the gentle reader to guess which path I take.
Middle kid has been working towards that rite of passage, the drivers test. Test was scheduled for this morning and I’m pleased sorry to report that he didn’t pass on the first go around. Something about parking trouble, specifically parallel parking, which begs the question, why do we make suburban kids learn to parallel park anymore? I took a drive with the lad on Thursday, soaked my new Spiderman for Men underwear in the process. I’m not sure if it was getting hung in the middle of the second busiest intersection in Apple Valley that did it, or if it was the left turn into our street at 25mph or what, but I wasn’t sure he was ready. Now he was MUCH better than the last time we drove. That time he took out the neighbors trashcans. I think we’re sort of beyond that now.
He had been scheduled to take the test in Mrs. S’s 15 year old Camery, the car that he’d been practicing in. But, in yet another affirmation of the existence of Deity, that car didn’t start this morning. The lad had left the lights on when came home with Mrs. S last night. So, he had to take the test in the truck, which meant he had no chance of successfully parallel parking. He’ll get another shot when I die or he turns 30, which ever comes first.
My oldest Son, is hot on trail of a car for himself. Now that he’s loaded with summer job money he’s been looking for a car. I wasn’t aware that we’d crossed the line between “looking” and “buying” last week. The lad has been looking for an Audi A4. I don’t know why either. He’s got about $5,000 to spend so the car he’s looking for is something from the end of the last century.
Why an Audi? I have no idea, and I forgot to ask until it was almost too late. His initial response was my buddy likes Audi’s and says their good cars. And “He” knows a lot about cars. I was unmoved by this logic. This is the same fellow who’s bumblebee colored hot rod sat dead in my driveway for two weeks a couple winters ago. The souped up VW Rabbit, or what ever it was, had all electric locks, no key locks. Which means, when the battery dies.. you can not get into the car. That’s what the tow driver said anyway when he was hooking it up to take away to be crushed.
Friday night I caught wind that he was meeting a seller at a gas station in Bloomington at 10:00pm. I pointed out that meeting anyone, anywhere at 10:00pm with $5,000 in cash was a bad idea. I also pointed out that he should do some research on Audi’s and let me know why that particular model is a good choice for a young mans first vehicle. My understanding is an oil change on an Audi runs about $200.00. I exaggerated and he was angry about it. It’s not even $125 with a coupon, and you need to do it every 500 miles to maintain it.
Audi’s it turns out, like synthetic oil. I didn’t know that. Mercedes do as well I’ve since learned. Makes sense I remarked, the Germans ran out of oil in 1943 if I’m not mistaken and have been using synthetic oil ever since, which does make one wonder what they’re crushing to make that synthetic oil.
There is one good thing here, I happen to know a guy who’s been a mechanic at a local Audi dealership in town. He’s factory certified to work on Audis and even has an Audi name he uses in the Garage. Dieter.
Dieter agreed to meet us to look at a car on Sunday. When the young man with the soul patch and pierced lip showed up with the car, he opened the negotiations with “I’m so stupid to sell this thing” Little did he know. Here’s a sellers nightmare. The guy your selling the car too pulls out a sensor device with a nine pin plug, without looking plugs it into a receptacle under your steering column that you probably didn’t know about, and within 10 seconds tells you your catalytic converter is about to fail, you don’t service the vehicle in an authorized shop, you’ve replaced the fuel pump for some reason and you like hip-hop music.
Dieter looked under the hood mumbling stuff the whole way like “engine cover’s missing”, “fuel line has been repaired”, “after market speakers in the back”.. He got in the car and took a drive.. “clutch has about a month left on it”.. When they got back to the station he got out of the car and gave me an unmistakable “NO” look. Car needs about $3000 in repairs to get it to good condition. Since he’s asking for $5000 you could ask him to take it off the price.. which he wouldn’t do, so we’re still looking.
Nice to know a mechanic.
Friday night we had some big storms around here, dumped about 3 inches of rain in an hour at our house. Apparently I’d left the windows open on the Scion. I know this because when I opened the door, there was about an inch of water on the floor. This sucked. A lot. The car had a hard time starting it was so moist. I got it started and left it on the drive way all day Saturday and Sunday to dry it out. Sunday night I closed the windows and went to bed. When I woke up this morning, and this is my commuter car, the I saw that we’d had a decent dew the night before and the car windows had condensation on them. I was NOT happy to learn that the condensation was on the inside of the windows and not the outside.
Getting in the car I was reminded of those heady days when the kids were young and they’d drop bottles of formula in the back of the car, out of sight. Where they’d sit. And ferment. And at some point you’d get in the car, put the key in the ignition, only to have to open the doors to dry heave as the smell of baby formula or human breast milk homemade soft natural cheese reached your olfactory center. Many bottles were deposited directly in the trash over my wifes protests. If you have to use a spoon to get the stuff out of it, it’s going in the trash. They’re $1.25 each? Here ya go.
While the car didn’t smell exactly that bad, the 100% humidity inside the vehicle made up for the difference. While I was happy to drop 8lbs on the way to work, the my suit and shirt weren’t going to smell so good so I drove to work with all windows down and the AC cranking. By the time navigated the 20 miles to office my head was so full of ragweed pollen that it was completely useless. The ride home, not much better.