The Car Inspection Day Out.

My favorite morning radio show had an episode a couple years ago detailing the co-host’s day out. It was one of the craziest stories where one thing happened which led to another then another then a call back to the first event. The Show has stayed in my mind all this time later. I’m not saying this past Saturday was an award winning hit, but it was adventure enough for this blog.

Saturday was car inspection day. Not necessarily by choice. Two days later we were driving and heard something awful from the back brakes. April is inspection month, and has always been. It’s also my wife’s birthday month which has led to her getting the shorted next to the expensive girlfriend that is the car. Appointment made for the afternoon and all morning my stomach attacked me like we spent the previous night at an all you can eat peppers and onions buffet. Multiple bathroom trips took place all morning long. There was tax rebate money, credit cards, bank account, a rebate, and some change in the glove compartment. Between it all I was confident¬† whatever was wrong with the car could be fixed but what if anything would be left over?

On time for the appointment, checked in, gave the manager a head’s up about the brakes, and walked across the parking lot to a grocery store with a little cafe and prepared foods area. Where I ate and drank nothing because my stomach was still leading chants and holding picket signs in protest against me. It was revolting. There may have been tear gas.

I sat there for an hour looking over at my car. It went up, it went down. The tires came off and bounced around. A couple different people walked underneath. While I was too far to hear conversation (and inside another building) I could hear the tools. Finally the car is down and I’m preparing myself for the news. Staring at my phone, waiting for them to call me. That’s when I saw my car brought into the garage. I had been looking at the wrong yet similar looking car for the last hour. Starting all over again. My stomach faced more knots than the first episode of a new Deadliest Catch season.

Due to being an over grown child, I was also playing the Pokemon Go app non stop to take my mind off of this stress. Last Saturday was one of the special days in the game where a rare creature shows up more often for a couple hours. While focusing on this I realized I had not charged my phone overnight. Now everything had to be shut down to guarantee battery life for any possible calls from the garage or to pick up my son who was on an adventure of his own.

There was a Coca-Cola freestyle machine next to me, $5 fried chicken meal, subs, fish, Chinese, and permission from my wife to get food. None of it mattered while I looked across at arguably the most important non living entity in our family. Driving to work, my son’s appointments, my wife’s work, groceries, family emergencies, and on and on. Staring across for going on an hour and a half my mind is running through the negative possibilities for the day. I’m probably walking an hour to get home. Might have to figure out a sitter for my son depending on when I’m getting home. Possibly calling into work on Monday if the car isn’t back in time – which means an entire day of lost pay on top of the car expenses.

Sure, there was a chance that everything would work out. That chance is not the basket I wished to put my eggs in so they don’t brake. At home we call it “no Icarus”. Meaning, don’t think everything is good – don’t fly too high – because that hot sun has no problem bringing our lives crashing back down to Earth. Also, life never lays things out the way we expect. If I came up with a hundred possibilities, life would have chosen option 101 to make reality.

Eventually I felt the car had been in the bay long enough and I walked back over. At least when the bad news hit, I would be present for it. The anxiety felt easier to deal with when the distance was closed. I walked in and waved off the manger, “I know it’s not ready yet but I ran out of ways to kill time.”

To my surprise they were almost done. One more option to check off or add to the estimate and then it would be up to me. This didn’t help any as my breaths only went half way as far than usual. I was short of breath and hopefully not short of funds. The inspection was done, the bill was laid out in front of me and…

I could breathe again. Thankfully it was close to a third of my guess, which was less than our overall funds available. In previous years I have to call my wife first to figure out how we’re going to juggle the cost. This year the only discussion was if we pay this way there’s one rebate and a different rebate for another method of payment. On the list of great battles and concerns in life this wouldn’t even make top one hundred in this month.

Now, with payment made and repairs commencing my stomach calmed itself and demanded food. My wife, in all her brilliance, suggests Moe’s across the street. Along the way I walk past one of the local Dollar Tree stores. Always hit or miss, this one – being on a side of town we don’t go to often – it had been awhile and was worth a gamble. It was a shock to find one random graphic novel buried on a shelf. This Planet of the Apes comic took a wrong turn somewhere along the way in shipping. Good news is, it was Earth all along, which means all comics will end up in my hands eventually.

A few more trips up and down the aisles and there was the best discovery. Pokemon cards. Packs of cards for a dollar each. When these same packs sell at Walmart and Target for $3-5 I can’t think of a purchase my son asks for that I shut down more. But a dollar? Wee man is getting five right now and I’ll stock up more for random surprises and rewards. Leaving this dollar store as an adult with comics and cartoon baseball cards. Move aside life and responsibilities like the car, I’m flaunting my Peter Pan syndrome. Which leads me to junk food.

I confess, I’m 40 years old and usually up for eating at any unhealthy chain restaurants. But somehow Moe’s had missed me. The one in town has been there at least four years but it’s the other end of town. Also not a chicken nuggets and fries establishment. If those two things aren’t on the menu chances are I’m not going.

But this was a solo mission. I walked right in and confessed my ignorance. Please help me, local Moe’s chef, I’m at your mercy.

This dude loaded me up. I ordered a home wrecker burrito and it could have been called the back breaker. I’m surprised this thing didn’t have a “Team Carry” sticker attached to it. Then there were chips, a variety of things to dip them in, and the soda. A Coca-Cola freestyle machine soda fountain. Oh! Let me play around with this and abuse the free refills policy. Vanilla Root Beer, Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola Lime. I kept spinning the high fructose corn syrup roulette. Plus this freaking burrito was just absurd. The car was going to take awhile so why not take my time with this spicy behemoth. Which might be my new pro wrestling name.

Once I was able to breathe again I chose to wander into other near by stores. Nothing fun at Rite Aid, nothing fun at Family Dollar, but there were still a couple of time killers near by. But then my phone rang.

See, one of the reasons that this day was chosen for the inspection is that my son was going to spend time with one of his grandmothers at a local Easter egg hunt. Which is now over. Because my car, which we all thought was in the bay an hour earlier than it actually was, should have been done by now. If it had been my car I would have been correct and it would have been done. But I didn’t update anyone on my mistake. So now my son is about to get dropped off at the garage where I am waiting and now trying to figure out anyway to keep him occupied for at least an hour.

I should have bought more Pokemon cards.

Grandma drops off my now two children. Because not only is my son in her car but he is also carrying a yard of Twix candy bars. A yard. Three feet of chocolate crunch with caramel. This is equal in absurdity to my burrito. Apparently the Easter egg hunt had a giant door prize and he was the big winner of the day.

I had debated coming back for the car. Telling the mechanics just leave the key in the unlocked car and I’ll get back when I can. Now that’s out the window because there is no way to walk the hour home with my bags, hold my son’s hand crossing multiple streets, and have this giant Hershey’s brand confection under my arm.

Here I am without a car seat for a taxi or Uber. I have a dollar of actual cash on me to take the bus back home if the car took longer, but as it’s a Saturday the buses have already stopped running. Still running through my options, my son says “Dad look its our car!” Yes it is buddy, that’s our car. In the bay.¬† Probably doesn’t have the wheels back up.
“No Dad, its behind us!”

You gotta be kidding me. The car is done. Just before the garage’s closing time. Made it by minutes. I thank everyone, buckle up my son and the giant Twix, and head home. Braking a little too often just to test them out. This caused us to take a side street with plenty of stop signs and … what the heck is that on a table in someone’s yard?

Longtime readers will remember my son discovering giant monster movies. King Kong, Rampage, Godzilla, and more. His discovery started after all the King Kong Skull Island toys were no longer available. When they were last seen on clearance for $12 I’m not spending $40 or more on eBay for the same toy. I will however pull over for a yard sale that has one up on a table staring out into the street.

The first woman says 5 dollars. My son is already sold on getting this, so I’m at least driving to an ATM at this point. Then the debate starts. Another woman, then a kid, then a third woman.¬† All confused about the price. The second woman has to call a fourth on the phone to get a price. While this is maddening, it’s also to be expected at certain yard sales. Some garage sales are to get rid of junk and maybe make a couple bucks as a bonus. Others like this one is ‘oh no we don’t have enough beer money, someone throw some crap out on the lawn and maybe we can make twenty bucks by sundown’. Finally, fourth woman on the phone says she doesn’t care and just give a dollar. Sold. Happy child and that is all that matters.

Such a happy child that he wants to take tonight’s bath with Kong. I wanted the thing cleaned up from white trash Amazonia anyways, so let’s thrown him in there too. Bath time had to be done, and dried off, before my wife was done with work at 9 pm. Plenty of time ahead of me. There couldn’t be any unforeseen problem which would take up tonight’s free time.

This is a quote from that night which I had posted on Facebook. “King Kong can’t go in the bath anymore. Please stop drinking the water from King Kong’s body.” This giant toy is completely hollow and not easy to drain. I gave up and just left it in the bath for a couple hours. Later in the night it moved to the sink and stayed until the next morning. I’m still not sure that was enough.

Nine PM and time to pick up my wife from work. Due to the day’s events neither of us was able to cook dinner and we didn’t want to start that late at night. Wendy’s just added cheap 5 dollar meals and it had been awhile since we ate there. Due to her not liking certain toppings on a burger it made the most sense to go inside to special order her food, regular order mine, and a kid’s meal for the Twix winner.

You have got to be kidding me.

Wendy’s has a freaking Coca Cola Freestyle machine.

Family soda time. We were taking the food home so there was no refill expirimentation but my son thought it was the greatest invention he’s ever seen. I highly recommend the Dave’s sodas especially cherry cream soda. The toy is also absurd and will be a future post unto itself.

With that we were all safely home and done with the craziness of the day. I think my wife and I watched some quick half hour show before passing out for the night.

Life can be awful, ridiculous, and sometimes fun. I highly recommend writing down your own days like this, even if it’s just in a journal for yourself. Days where you’re laying in bed at the end and slowly turn to your spouse saying, “if you told me when I woke up today all that would happen I would have said you’re out of your mind.”

These unexpected every day adventures can be the best ones.

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