Thursday, May 12, 2005

Start Living A Strange Life...

Yes, for those of you paying attention, I changed the words to this song a little bit. After today it seems appropriate. Life is pretty strange for me these days. For instance, I just bought a car (and got a damn fine deal) for the first time in 6 or 7 years. I kept looking at it today (as it sat, undriven) and shaking my head. It was just strange thinking about owning a car again. I've driven company cars for so long that I've forgotten what it feels like to own one.

Today was one of those days that was a series of long stretches of inactivity punctuated by short periods of running around. Sometimes I had to sit and think how I was going to get around a problem. I guess I should start at the beginning.

The other day I had the new (used) car towed to a local repair shop to have the alternator replaced. I had actually planned to pick it up the same day but they didn't have it done in time. So this morning I caught a ride down to the city that the shop is in, which is about an hour and 15 minutes from where I live. L brought me (isn't she sweet) and I made her drop me off near the highway so she wouldn't have to fight traffic getting to the shop and back. My plan was to take the city bus the two miles or so. That little plan went out the window when I could not find a single bus stop. Not a big problem, I just walked. When I got to the shop I got the bill and it was slightly higher than I had been told, but within reason and legal limits.

I went over to the bank, which was across the street, to get the necessary cash. Here is where I started feeling like I was in a movie. I found that my checking balance was quite a bit lower than I was expecting. The first thought that flashed through my mind was "ok - they did not deposit my severance pay last night like they said they would". However, the balance was still too low, even considering that. I couldn't figure out what the problem was unless I had an internet connection or spent some time going over stuff with a teller. When I put a few more brain cells onto the case I found that I had another problem. There wasn't enough money in the account to cover the cost of the repairs on the car.

Now, I knew I had a little money in my pocket, but was it enough to cover the difference? I got it out and counted it. I discovered, to my horror, that if I emptied out my bank account to the last cent and added the money I had in my pocket, I would be exactly $3.12 short. I looked down at the cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee in my hand and thought about the two donuts I'd had for breakfast. It cost me $3.42 to have breakfast this morning. If I had not had breakfast this morning I could have left thirty cents in my checking account and paid for the car repairs. This was not the way I wanted to start my day.

I briefly looked around for a store that looked easy enough for an ex-teenage criminal like myself to knock over. Scratch that idea. I looked around for people who looked muggable. The most muggable person around was a mean looking old man carrying a hardwood cane.

I finally came to the conclusion that I'd have to call my father, who lived not too far away, to come help me out. It would have to be quick, because I foolishly had not charged my cell phone the night before, and I had one bar of charge left. I talked with him and told him I needed to borrow money until tomorrow, and he was on his way.

Over the next several hours I not only paid for the car repairs, but got myself insurance and spent several hours sitting at various tables in McDonalds and Wendys studying a tech book. I couldn't drive the car because I needed to get temporary plates on it (there were none) but I couldn't do that until I had met the requirements. The last thing I needed was the title and an odometer form. For that I had to wait for the woman who was selling me the car to get home.

I got things done just in time to go and visit my son, but realized that I had not brought the car seat with me. We had fun anyway - I put him in the stroller and we walked around all over the place. We had some damn fine pizza and looked at tractors, woo-woo cars (as he calls them) and motorcycles. The wanderlust was upon us tonight.

So tonight I ended up driving back home in the car, and I swear that every fool in a 3-state radius had decided to make a run at hitting my newly purchased car. And not just the fools - I would be remiss if I did not mention the idiots also.

All in all a very good day, but I'm so tired I can barely finish this post. I'll have to save the comments of my STBX for tomorrow.