You ever have one of those weeks in which you just expect everything to just keep breaking down on you? I do. Sometimes its my body, a virus or an illness or an exhaustion just taking over one little bit every day. Lately, at the end of this wonderful summer (I'm not being sarcastic its been a great summer), I feel as if mechanically, logistically, sensibly - everything is going to break. Perhaps summer has put a curse down because it's mad that fall is creeping in on it?
I guess it might have started when I decided to take the 1990 Mercedes on a road trip to Cleveland to visit my folks. My dad has already driven me batty with his criticism of the car he had never met, and the car in question had just survived a trip to Mackinac Island and back. I liked the idea of a triumphant return to the homeland - "I have no job, yet I drive a red Mercedes - behold my hood ornament and bow before me. Now I'm off to get cheap cigarettes."
I started the trip off wrong by a) being incredibly hungover on whiskey cocktails (Real Housewives of Atlanta is on Thursday nights and housemate likes to have a little party every week with some local gals), and b) I had no car air conditioning in 90 degree + weather. I hadn't really missed the a/c before because well, its hasn't been too hot of a summer. The last roadtrip was a mid 70s type weather, and we were along the MI coast on smaller roads. Interstate 80/90, with no cloud cover or any shade whatsoever, for 6 hours was going to do me in. I had to stop at just about every other rest stop and get ice water and empty my emptying bladder (I was also apparently on a hunger strike for some reason). I practiced breathing exercises and tried to think happy thoughts.
About fifteen miles outside of Toledo I noticed that the steering wheel got stiff, not that I was steering much coming out of flat and boring Indiana, but the normal side to side adjustments set me off. I tried changing lanes, and although I could do it safely, the wheel was definitely different. I had been planning on the next rest stop at any rate and I pulled in. And tried to turn to the right to go to the car park. And realized not only were the breaks not going to help that happen but the steering was not going to go over that far either. I managed to find a spot straight ahead and stop. All the lights came up red on the dash and I turned the engine off. I called motoboy, who knows all things moto even on a car. "Hi baby. How are you? Oh good. Well, I'm a little concerned..." He asked me to open the hood and when I got out of the car I noticed a lot of steam emanating from one corner. Oh no its on fire! But alas, it was near what looked like a plastic container of water (radiator fluid, I later learned) so perhaps it was performing its function. I told him what had happened and what things looked like now and Dr. Moto immediately knew - he asked me to look directly in front of me for the fan belt. And I informed him it was in shreds.
As it happens I broke down in the best place possible, as the AAA-approved tow truck lived only one exit away, and they were across the street from the Toledo airport, where I could rent a car if need be. As it turned out it wasn't just the fan belt that was busted, so parts had to be ordered and I went on my way to land-o-cleve in a delightful little shit gold Kia. I loved this car like no other because it had two things I could now not live without: air conditioning and a fan belt. I think the breakdown might have been divine intervention because I'm not sure what might have happened if I continued to sweat in the Mercedes (lovingly nicknamed now "the money pit"). Perhaps I would have passed out, or swerved out of control, or just abandoned it on the side of the road? All much more expensive options.
So I finally was able to return to Toledo, and in turn then Chicago on Tuesday evening. Got right back into being busy on my internship and little sales job and motoboy's parents were in town and it as all great but I was still kindof in shock from my own family trip. I should have taken a full day to myself after all of that but it was not to be.
And then, on the Monday after they left, there was a burbling fountain from outside my window. In the treelawn ("parkway" to the rest of you midwesterners). And it was coming up from the water pipes underground. I watched the city crews come out and stand around and look at it. Then they came back a few hours later and dug a hole around it, turned off the water. Then they inexplicably dug a hole across the street, wherein they hit another pipe and ruptured that side. They fixed that side (leaving the gaping hole) and came back to our side where they dug all kinds of holes and filled them back up. One young lady finished her water and threw the bottle into the hole and then buried it. Housemate and I were riveted by all the activity all night, and watched from excellent vantage points on the second floor. Then at ten pm they packed up and went home, leaving us still without water. I later learned they had promised a night crew was coming at eleven, because overtime was verboten as the city is saving up for the Olympics, if it comes this way. Then no one came all night or in the morning, and I was looking for the upstairs neighbor who was in charge of all the communication, and then finally I called 311 and they told me the water should be back on. It's not on in my building! I said. And then we called the Alderman's office and they used a special secret hotline to the Water Mismanagement Department and finally someone came out and said why is this not finished? And we said I dunno you tell me you're the guys who should know. And it turned out the foreman of the night crew had a death in the family and they decided not to come or tell anyone else and no one at Water Mismanagement (I got this nickname from a cute worker I ran into today) even wondered if the job was done. But, 48 hours later, we were finally able to flush our toilets and wash our dishes and have a new appreciation for something we had taken for granted. Ever wonder how many times you reach for the faucet while preparing a small meal in the kitchen? Now I know.
Here's to nothing else breaking for a little while?