Monday, October 19, 2009

Rotate What?

Every two weeks, on a Friday evening…come rain or come shine, (it’s almost always the former) I make the three-hour round trip from my home to bring the boys to their dad’s. Every two weeks, we pack the largest suitcase you can imagine with every boy-toy from boy-central…because Heaven forbid they have to go for two days without

  • The Nintendo Wii Game System

  • Taylor’s computer

  • Their iPods

Last-minute-items, such as clothing and toothbrushes...are sometimes forgotten completely in lieu of the important stuff.

Because Heaven forbid

One of the (many) hazards of negotiating singular adult life after a marriage ends is the
possible dropping-of-the-ball on responsibilities previously assigned to the male counterpart of the duo.

Now, before you ladies get all feminist on me, you need to understand:

  • I do electrical (well)

  • I do plumbing ("eh…")

  • “I can bring home the bacon…fry it up in a pan…and never, never let you forget you’re a man…’cause I’m a WO-MAN…”

Ahem….sorry. Please accept my sincere apologies for spontaneously breaking into song before 8am. (Yes, that’s when I’m writing this…I must really love you guys…or somethin’.)

I just don’t DO cars

Or, I didn’t.

Now, I’m starting to realize that I have to. I’ve had a very (teeny-tiny-miniscule-so-small-as-to-be-almost-non-existent) slow leak in one of my tires for….like, ever. Rather than deal with taking the car in for repairs, I’d chosen “option deux”…before driving any distance, we have to hit the Mobil station and pay 50 cents to fill up the left front tire. It’s become part of our every-other-Friday cycle…pack up, fill the tire with air, hit the road. We save all our quarters just for this purpose. I’ve basically become a prisoner to an air machine that only takes quarters. So, this is now the new bane of my existence. I probably could have gone on like this indefinitely, but as the boys were filling their dad in on my movements, I’d recently received an earful on the merits of servicing one’s car in a timely, responsible, adult fashion.


I will admit to you, my faithful readers, that this lecture alone was not enough to motivate me to make an official “appointment” to get the car serviced. The real kicker was the fact that my brakes have been making a loud, obnoxious and ridiculously long squeak ever since I had them done…I wanna say, a year ago. I’d stopped into the car place several times when I was in the area (on my way to somewhere else, obviously) and the manager, Pete, would always say the same thing: “We’re swamped. It’s gonna be at least an hour.” And, I’m outta there till the next time I stop in, when we repeat this conversation yet again, with the same inevitable outcome.

When my neighbor mentioned the other day that she can tell every time I come down our hill by the incessant s-q-u-e-a-k of my car, I was just mortified enough to call Pete and arrange to bring it in.

“Thursday morning. 8am”, says Pete. Adds an incredulous “Are you sure?” to my remark that I’ve stopped in four times to try and get the brakes to un-squeak…and “oh, yeah…then there’s the whole tire-going-flat thing,” I add.

Riiiight….” Says Pete.

So, I have my appointment at Midas. Or Mavis…or is it Maaco? Why exactly are there so many car places with the same first letter? Does anyone else find this confusing besides me? And, what’s with the mattress companies? Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Sterns & Foster…(or is the latter a brokerage company?...wait...I think that's Bear Stearns.)

I digress….again.

8am becomes 8:30am by the time I get there. I figure they’re never on time to get me OUT…why should I worry about being late getting it IN? Pete’s eyes light up when I walk in as he realizes that he does indeed remember me blowing in and back out again on several occasions. All I’m thinking is “Wow….I’d forgotten how blue Pete’s eyes are.

My car is taken in immediately….STAT. I settle in for the duration, ever-present laptop booting up and cell already ringing…

Every 15 minutes or so, Pete checks in with a status.

“Your rear brakes are low,” says Pete. I scowl in response. He goes away.

“Your left front rim is bent,” says Pete.

“Why?” I ask.

“Dunno,” says Pete.

"Does it matter? I mean...can I drive it that way?" I ask.

"Sure...I guess. You obviously have been..." says Pete.

I have no response for this. He goes away.

“Your rear tires are choppy,” says Pete.

My eyes jerk up from my screen…the nigglings of anxiety twisting in my stomach. “Choppy tires” is never a good thing…right?

“What? Define ‘choppy tires,’” I say.

“They’re wearing more around the edges. When’s the last time you rotated them?” he asks.

“Rotated what?” I ask. The guy sitting next to me snickers. I shoot him a quick scowl.

“Your tires,” says Pete patiently.

“Uh,” I answer.

“Oh,” says Pete. He punches numbers into his handy-dandy computer and I know I’m going to regret what comes next, as I realize he's got all my car info on record in there.

“Your car had 50,000 miles on it when we put new tires on. Now you’ve got 76,000. You should rotate the tires every 5,000-10,000 miles,” and he fixes me with those baby-blues.

“Crap,” I mutter under my breath. The guy sitting next to me snickers again.

“You’ve never rotated them…have you?” the guy murmers out of the corner of his mouth, just low enough for me to hear.

“Nope. Crap,” I say again, switching on my brightest, mega-watt smile reserved for emergency situations just like this one. (Why do I suddenly feel like I’m in the principal’s office, after having just been busted for leaving school grounds to go to the A&P to buy blueberry frosted Pop Tarts?) Not that this ever happened to me…..

“Okay. And your brakes? You’ve been driving around with this squeak...since... 2007?” asks Pete incredulously, as he squints at his computer screen.

“Noooo….no way! Maybe….. Possibly,” I sputter, doing the math in my head and realizing that yes, indeed…it probably was 2007. (More snickering from next-door...this guy's starting to really bug me...)

“But…I tried to stop back to get them fixed…” I say…sounding defeated.

“Let me see what I can do,” says Pete, sighing deeply.

30 minutes later, he walks in with my keys and my bill. I've watched (or more like felt) everyone I came in with come and depart...I realize I'm now surrounded by a new group of weary-waiters and I figure this is cannot possibly be a good sign.

I look at the bottom of the ticket for the box that says “Please pay this amount”…and it says “0.00”.

“Go on…get outta here,” Pete says softly enough for only me to hear. I smile gratefully, staring into those baby blues for one meaningful second...

And then I'm not only golden...I'm gone.

Mark Price said...

See even Pete knows how awesome you are! Oh wait I'm comment swamped. It will be like an hour before I can post this! LOL I'm glad you got your car fixed. My city car has squeaky brakes too it's sooooo irritating. Usually I just turn up the music.

Mark Price said...

p.s. I took the word verification off my blog just for you!

BlackLOG said...

Blimey Kathryn if I start fluttering my eyelids the bill tends to go up. I can only think that either :-

A) Pete is looking for a date

B) You forgot to tell us that Pete is related to you

C) You entertained him so much he felt you were even...

On the subject of the boys and their electronics I travel with 3 Ipods.
The 1st is to listen to

The 2nd is in case something happens to the 1st

the 3rd is in case something happens to the other two.

Sounds excessive but is stopped me going into total melt down when my 1st Ipod got stolen in India Rajasthan Vol 4 - India the lost world.

Mrs B is not entirely happy with the situation but figures it beats me taking 100 cds like I used to or going into a coma if I don't get to listen to music...

P.S. glad to see you made an early start 6:13am

Anonymous said...

Haha....I wish I was that lucky. Every I have to get my car fixed, the bill has too many numbers and they aren't zeros. XD Great post as always. (: And as for any "toys" I take with me, I always take my ipod. I can't live without my tunes.XD

Runnergirl said...

Is he single?

He obviously has a soft spot for you... maybe you should offer to take him out for a drink/coffee to say "thanks!"?

emotional diva said...

I get lucky like that all the dang time! My rapier wit, my clandestine laugh. Or maybe it's the huge gonzagas? Either way, it's NICE to get a bill that looks like that. Wayyyy nice. =)

Awesome. =)

Krissi said...

Ahhhh.. However, I think that the one place left in the world that firmly puts a woman in her place is anywhere that has anything to do with cars. I just don't get it.

Lynn said...

Can you come over? We just found that the transmission is what blew out in the van over the weekend, and we could use your obvious skill in bill reduction. ;o) I'll bake you a batch of Nanaimo Bars (my pay-back baking of choice) and we'll call it even.

Spot said...

Ah Kathryn, you've discovered the great secret of the universe. One of the few places where good old fashioned flirting and acting (or in your case not acting) completely dumbfounded still works! I know a bit about cars (my dad didn't have any sons you see) but I always take the car in and act completely wide eyed and dumbstruck and incredibly sweet and those nice guys always knock some off the bill. And I'm not even single or as cute as you! I think car guys just really respond to the "damsel in distress" thing. Thank goodness!

I agree with whoever said you should ask Pete out for coffee! He obviously is interested!


Unknown said...

My hubby's a mechanic. The kitchen's my domain; the shop is his. Battle lines are clearly drawn.

Heather said...

I thought for sure this post was going to end with an invitation to a date.

My hubby has (over the last 18yrs) been trying ot teach me all there is to know about general upkeep on my truck. It just doesn't seem to sink in, no matter how much he rants.

Congrats on your 0 bill...I bow to the queen.

Tea said...

Awwww, he is so wonderful! I had a big smile on my face when read the ending. It's like a cindrella story. I love it!

KT said...

Unfortunately I'm such a girl. I don;t so cars, I barely do bills, I don't the little yard work we have. I barely do laundry and cleaning. Wait! um...Let's forget I mentioned all that. So, was this Pete guy good looking or was it his eyes only? I agree with BlackLOG i think he's looking for a date.

Jen T said...

Go you, using your beauty and awesomeness to get your car worked on for FREE!:)

I'm the same way with my car and always have been. This probably goes hand in hand with the procrastination problem. That and the fact that I hate dealing with car stuff and try to avoid mechanic-y places at all costs because...yawn. Luckily Geoff is pretty handy and can fix most things that need work.

Micsteel said...

Please tell me Pete has a blue eyed, female mechanic relative in the South Alabama area... I've neglected my car as well!

TC said...

I'm married but he thinks the car is my responsibility? We've gone through tires being almost nonexistent and it blowing oil through the valve covers, model defect. I'm a mechanics daughter but this thing has so many wires and computers....
Congratulations, maybe Pete should get like a Christmas present?

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

Ask Pete when the last time he had his tires rotated....wink wink....

Lauren said...

I once got out of late fines on my library books. They were one day late and it was Christmas... they'd have been heartless otherwise right? Still, I think you're way out of my league on getting free stuff. Go you! And Pete? My my...

Moonrayvenne said...

well, now you have to make sure you keep up the maintenance on the car. Just to show him how much you appreciate him going all out for you. I'm sure he wants you coming back more often, too! Awesome! Gotta love those eyes! My hubby's name is also Pete with bright blue eyes but he's a mailman & I know what those baby blues can do!

Ron said...

You GO, girl!

BRAVA on the 0.00 amount!

Maybe I should try that the next time I own a car and take it in for service, what do ya think?


The more I read of you the more I see our similarities. I have no problem with attending to the upkeep with things except a car. I think the longest I ever owned a car was four years because I never took care of it. I would just let it go until it died, then would by a new one. I barely remembered to put gas in it!

This is one of things I LOVE about living in a city.


Great post, my friend!

Happy Monday to ya!


Junk Drawer Kathy said...

Does Pete have a brother? I'm married, but that doesn't matter. I would leave my husband for a mechanic like Pete. In fact, I think my husband would leave me for a mechanic like Pete.

You're one lucky woman.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Yes, methinks Pete has a crush on you!
If he didn't rotate those tires, I suggest you head on over there...

Momiji chan said...

wow wish i had an ipod but all ive got is a stupid zune

carissajaded said...

oohhh ive had a check engine light on since 2005.. and I don't think ive ever rotated my tires! but I get new ones often because the always busting... you make me feel a little better.

MeanDonnaJean said...

Ahhhhhhhhhh, here I am with no car 'n all its expenses to worry about, no kid who wants to/needs to spend weekends with the-sperm-donor-who-aided-in-his-existence (but I most certainly DO remember those days of packin' up every stinkin' solitary toy in the toybox...but I most certainly do NOT miss 'em) and a toolbox that'd make most guys mouth drop 'n drool.

Mmmmmmmm yes, life is good for MDJ.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Don't worry about not being the only one with no clue about cars.....Ed (my Dad) can name every model and which year they were built and how he can recognize said model. I just read the name on the trunk.

kathryn said...

Mark Price: YES! No word verification...just for moi? I LOVE YOU, MAN! This shall be our eradicate all word verifications...right after we fix your squeaky brakes. Did you notice that everyone stares?? It's freakin' embarrassing!!

BLACKlog(Notice I've capped the "black" portion and lower-cased the "log" portion...I'm in a rebel-kinda mood): Okay. I am NOT related to Pete, nor is he looking for a date. THAT leaves the entertainment value that is moi and I'll readily admit to THAT. As for the iPod(S!) are majorly OCD, my friend. I've heard of having a backup, but a backup to the backup? What kind of riff-raff are you hanging with that you have to worry about 2 units being lifted?? I'm thinkin' Mrs. B. isn't too happy with ANY of the abovementioned options, my friend. And as for the early start at 6:13am? Hope I didn't wake you. Oh, and could you please stop banging on the ceiling when you want more COFFEE? You can come get it yourself, dammit.

currentlife2u said...

nice blog..
click here..

BK said...

Good that at least the car was checked. Now you can be sure the car is safe to drive.

kathryn said...

Insanity! I hear that re: tunes. The guy next to me had a Sony PSP...he looked a little old to be playing one, but who am I to judge? (But I DID...((snickers)) Hey, I was lucky that day and I KNOW it...that's why I'm sharing!

Runnergirl: No, he's married! Mentions his wife and everything...I think he's just a softy. He KNEW how many times I'd stopped in to take care of it...and it was their job to begin with!

emotional diva: Every now and then, the universe cuts us some much-needed slack. Who are we to question why??

Krissi: Tell me about it. It never makes the sound when the mechanic is around....and you've gotta take their word for most of it. Kinda like computers.....

Allegria: Okaaaay. But. How will we get Pete to come? I don't know if "da magic" will work without Pete!

Spot: God, I hope he's not interested...his poor wife! I honestly think he's just a nice guy who felt bad that he kept putting me off. (The whole not rotating the tires was, of course, all MY fault...but no-one told me!)

jmberrygirl: EXCELLENT. Can I put you both on speed-dial??

Heather: You may rise, oh humble follower. Doesn't hubby know when to quit? 18 years and he's still trying to get it to sink in? Hubby: Give. Up. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Isabella: Well, that makes two of us! I was grinning from ear to ear...don't cha love happy endings??

book*addict: I dunno about anything but the eyes. I'm taking the fifth on everything else! Although those eyes...they were that cobalt a clear September sky....that's all I remember!

lifelove'n'wine: You should have seen the way I read your comment! "...Using your beauty & awesomeness to get your car worked on for free! I'm the same way with my car & always have been..." Oh, my! I'm SO GLAD you clarified that Geoff does your fixings for you!!

Mike Steelman: I'll get back to you on that one. That's what we need...a male/female version of Pete in every town!

TC: Yeah...Pete's a good guy. I need more Petes to feel sorry for me. Tell hubby to quit it, or I'm sending Pete to YOU!

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt: HA! Now, WHY didn't I think of THAT?? (Wish you'd been there to remind me!)

Lauren: Nah...just GO ME. Pete's taken...just a very nice guy. Hey, I'd like to think they'd cut you some slack on being 1-day late...what if you forgot your wallet?

kathryn said...

Collette: Well, there ya go. You know what I'm talkin' about then. And yes, I'm going to be diligent about rotating those tires, bay-bee!

RON! I only WISH I could make do without a car! Not only wud I save on gas and repairs, but I wudn't need my navigation either. I KNOW my way around the city!
Love ya,

JunkDrawerKathy: LOL! Oh, you naughty girl! Tell Dave that Pete's married...but maybe they can still "hang"!

Maureen@IslandRoar: Maureen! I haven't seen this side of you! a little wicked, too!

saku chan: Someday, girlie. Patience, grasshopper. The iPod you get will be even BETTER.

carissajaded: Um. That's NOT GOOD. Although, if the car hasn't died by now, I suppose the "check engine light" could be malfunctioning....yeah! That's it!

MeanDonnaJean: Sweetie, you're welcome to c'mon over here and get your fill of kids/cars n' things that need fixing ANYTIME!!!

oddyoddyo13: I'm with you, girlie. I wanna put gas in and I want it to GO. End of story. I think that should be enough, already.

Bobby Allan said...

WHA??? How awesome is that, you sexy minx!

Aren't guys named Pete the best?

Pop Tarts. Yum..

BlackLOG said...

cATHeRiNe two can play at that for the verification The BlackLOG has gone naked. So to make up for all the lost readership bring on the spam I say. I could do with the comments. Especially the ones that don't insult anything but my intelligence.

kathryn said...

currentlife2u: Thanks for stopping by.

BK: Thanks. I feel MUCH safer (and quieter) now.

Chrissy! Pete and Frosted Pop Tarts! YUM. Is. Right. (Blue eyes...BLUEberry pop tarts...epiphany!)

LogThatisBlack: Congrats on going commando with the word verification! I was on a mission yesterday to mention it on each & every site...but then you get posts that are sad, or require encouragement...and, well...I cudn't bring myself to YELL at them. Now YOU are another story!

BlackLOG said...

Kathryn where's my encouragement?

kathryn said...

WOOHOO. Go, Blakeloogerman! Proud of you for taking this GIANT leap of COURAGE against DA MAN (not to be at all confused with da boys, where the fight would more than likely be equal) by putting yourself emotionally OUT THERE. And I don't mean in the usual, crazy, men-in-white-coats-take-me-away crazy (you usually do) either...I'm talking about the ability to stand up to those default settings and saying, "NO. NOT. ME...NOT. THIS. TIME." (With your chest all puffed out and manly...not like the Stay-puft marshmallow man at all.)
Fight the fight. Go team, go. God help us....back to you, Clinton.
Clinton: "Next crusade: Getting people to stop dressing like crap."

BlackLOG said...

I feel better now - abused but in a strange way better. The sort of better you get when you go 10 rounds with a mother bear after you picked up her cub and accidently dropped it on its head, while she was watching. Actualy come to think of it I'm not sure that the word is 'better' I think the world is 'relieved', relieved that I survived the mauling.

As I replied on the BlackLOG "Why do you need a sarcasm font? Don't you need a font for when you are not being sarcastic...?"

Unknown said...

Kathryn, you seriously crack me UP girl!

I am one of those women who can do basic maintenance on my car (I can rotate my *own* tires and change the oil and diagnose and sometimes fix some of the weird sounds my car makes) so I had to giggle at your story.

Old Blue Eyes sounds like a sweetheart. The world needs more Petes!

Alicia said...

Wow, how did you manage that one? You're good! I've been having car issues and had to take off from work today because of it and so far I'm $190.00 out of pocket and my car is still sitting in the driveway not starting. I'm waiting for the tow truck guy for another trip to the mechanic!

kathryn said...

BlackLOG: HEY. Watch it, mister. I am definitely NOT sarcastic more than I AM sarcastic. If you'd quit egging me on, you'd know this. Now, we shall set you up for therapy 2X/week to discuss your need for this abuse and your inability to recognize the all-elusive sarcasm you speak of. (I have no idea what I've just said. I've read it back and I've still no idea. Huh. I may need to borrow one of those therapy sessions....)

Smoog! You can rotate your own tires? Then, what do I need Pete for? At least you wud've reminded me to rotate 'em before they became all "choppy". "Choppy tires" are never a good thing...

kathryn said...

Alicia: Well, you are correct my dear. We do not sweat, nor perspire...we become all dewy and glisten...that is IT. You love the fog? Is that 'cause you can't see the neighbor's house with that awful paint job? (JK)

Oddyoddyo13: Isn't it a dry heat there, though? Here in NY it's more the humidity that gets us in the summer....then there's all that SNOW in the winter. I guess you're right...the grass is always greener.

Jen: I know, sweetie...I know. I'm glad you're back though...I've missed you! (Channeling Jamaica's tradewinds your way...and mine!)

kathryn said...

Alicia: Oh, honey...I'm sorry! I read your rant (I don't blame you one bit) about your dead battery....I hope all is better now.

Raises glass in toast to end of the day...

Chelsea said...

HaHa you sound just like my mama.. She managed to go 3,000 miles over the limit of needing her oil changed.. Funny! I guess that does go hand in hand with being a single mom.

kathryn said...

Chelsea: Ya can be great in the beginning...but it's a MACHINE. If just ONE time you can get away w/not doing it when they tell you to, you start to wonder if it's all hype. Then you don't find out the logic till MUCH LATER. UGH!

Unknown said...

Smoog! You can rotate your own tires? Then, what do I need Pete for? At least you wud've reminded me to rotate 'em before they became all "choppy". "Choppy tires" are never a good thing...

LMAO... choppy tires are bad, yes. I can rotate my own tires - it's just a matter of changing them four tires. It's kind of a pain in the ass though. I didn't say I'd ever actually *done* it... I just know how! LOL

Before my dad would let me take out the family car he made me rotate the tires and change the oil. Easy Peasy... but dirty and yucky and as liberated as I am I still consider these things to be "Blue Jobs." hehe

Have a great day K! Talk to you soon!


kathryn said...

Smoog: I'm still impressed. At least it's crossed YOUR radar.....They shud put that oil change sticker right smack dab in the middle of the windshield...THEN I'll remember. Maybe.

Sandi said...

My husband is a Mechanic. We have been together for 13yrs and my car never gets fixed until it has to be done. I've been complaining for 3mo about my breaks making noise and they still havn't been fixed. The sad thing is they were replaced in June and still under warrenty. I warped them driving up North to visit my family. That's why I'm filing for Divorce. LOL

kathryn said...

Sandi: that's like the tailor's family that has no shoes. Isn't that always the way??

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