April 19th, 2003

Roman

(no subject)

I've got the postcards printed at last, the cards for Steve, with extras for Dorothy and me. No mass production possible on that one. Printer eccentricities, Word eccentricities. But done, finally. I am going to look for a simple holder for the cards at the dollar store, a plastic thingie meant to hold photos in bulk. Farmers market this morning, too, for a few things. Then start cooking beans to bring with us tomorrow, and cornbread. And pack, of course. Leave at eight tomorrow morning? I'll make it happen.
Roman

75 cents' worth...

I spent three hours in the waiting room at the car repair place today, during which time I spent three quarters in their little machine, buying three little batches of peanut m&ms. Somehow buying them this way seemed okay, better than buying a bag of them from a store.

Small reward for waiting three hours, however, after having waited two hours in the downtown area before that, waiting to get air conditioning working in my car.

The freon certainly needed to be recharged, but once that was done the real fun began. The air conditioning didn't kick on. A fuse was blown, but why? The investigative team started work, isolating, testing, raising the car up, then lowering it, searching with a flashlight, turning it on, off, on, off. Finally the answer. Something called a super-heat switch, a switch that turns the compressor off when the engine overheats. My engine doesn't overheat, but never mind, I need the switch or the air conditioning won't go on at all, and of course there are no such specialized switches available from run-of-the-mill automotive parts stores on a Saturday. So we have no air conditioning.

It's really okay, this end result. We know the problem, are on the way to fixing it, it is all going to be fine, Dorothy and I can stand driving there and back without it. Dorothy is as flexible in this way as I am, is as positive and able to put a good face on things, take things as they come.

It was an interesting day in some odd ways, which I did recognize before I became so tense and wound up that I felt I would burst. Before I talked myself down, took lots of deep breaths, thought rapidly how I would rearrange and adjust my schedule and plans.

It was beautiful downtown, and lots of people were out strolling or shopping. The hot dog cart on the corner of Marsh and Broad, right near the auto shop, is called "Dogfather's" - the dog you can't refuse. Across from Dogfather's is Cheap Thrills, a music store. I stood in line behind this music store, waiting for a public restroom to open up, while strains of Rachmaninov's second piano concerto, coming from loudspeakers near the roof, heightened our experience. The restrooms are brick with a brass or iron sculpture, approximating sycamore trees, spread across the top, covering the grills as well, quite the visual treat in themselves.

I had a book with me, which, I believe, kept me from killing someone. I managed to get enough into it to keep my blood pressure relatively low as I wondered how long, how long. The mechanic at the desk came into the waiting room periodically to discuss what the others were doing to my car. He seemed to enjoy describing exactly how everything worked and what seemed to be wrong, each step of the way. Normally I enjoy this kind of attention and information as much as the next person, but what kept going through my mind this time was, "how long?" and there never was an answer. Nor was there an answer to "How much?" At the end, he did everything he could to cut the bill down, lowering it by a decent amount by refining the amount of freon, using my auto club discount, cutting the mechanic's hourly rate (the *lowered* rate was still over $70 an hour). I do appreciate his efforts. I am glad to be home, glad to be finally getting onto the things I intended to have done by now. And to setting aside things I am not going to be getting done.

If ever I needed a retreat, it's now. So maybe in a way this was a good thing.