Thursday, December 11
9.30 am; 7 HOURS TO BREAKDOWN
A storm is coming. Our tires our balding and we have an long incline, decline and incline to get the girls to school. We need snow tires for educational purposes. Corey calls on Wednesday to reserve some tires. The employees graciously invite us to stop by 'anytime' to have them installed. I drop the girls off at school and head directly to Les Schwab. I handover my keys and they inform me that due to the coming storm, there is a bit of a backup. It may take 2 hours. I can handle a few hours. I came prepared with notebook, a book, and Nintendo DS. Ansel spends the first hour on the DS and I spend it reading. This will be delightful.
10:30 am: 6 HOURS TO BREAKDOWN
Ansel wants some of the free 'all you can eat' bio hazardous popcorn that is so generously offered. I shovel some in a bag and eat most of it. Ansel gets mad and I have to get him HIS OWN bag. I watch some of THE VIEW (it is so loud, I really can't help it) and get really annoyed at the women interrupting each other constantly. Good thing Whoopi is there to mediate or they would probably be pulling each other's hair. Ansel interrupts by pulling the lever on the water cooler without putting a cup underneath.
11:30 am: 5 HOURS TO BREAKDOWN
I have to get out of here. They aren't even close to getting to our car. We walk out into the fog and cross the street to the second hand book store. Ansel pulls out the books he wants me to read....Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, and Scooby Doo....Really Ansel? I am so disappointed in his selection. I love reading to my children UNLESS I am reading the mind-numbing script from a television episode.
12:30pm: 4 HOURS TO BREAKDOWN
I am expecting Les to call any minute and have my phone close by. Our next stop is the coffee shop where Ansel and I get some hot chocolate and a muffin. There is a cozy fire, a box of toys, and today's newspaper. OK. Maybe I will find some redemption in this little slice of heaven.
We do have a nice hour despite the background Pop star desecration of timeless Christmas Carols.
1:30pm: 3 HOURS TO BREAKDOWN
Convinced that they have the wrong cell phone number and that our van is ready and waiting, I decide to go back to Tire Headquarters. A feeling of Doom sets in when I see the same people waiting in the 5 ft by 5 ft waiting area. I call Corey and try to blame all of this on him. It is a short conversation. I have a long conversation with an older gentleman about all the artwork that he completed as a young boy while Ansel draws the ABC....ELLEMENOP's in his notebook and Sings the ALPHABET song very loudly. I eat more popcorn.
2:30pm: 2 HOURS TO BREAKDOWN
There is a posted sign saying, "Please do not ask us when your car will be done. The time we quoted you when you arrived is an "estimate" and the waiting period may exceed our quote." What a lame disclaimer. Their "estimate" has now been exceeded by 3 hours. I have gain a little control over the situation ignore their little sign. With complete composure, I let them know that I will have to pick my girls up from school and that if I knew that is was going to take this long, I would have arranged a ride. They shrug their shoulders and hand Ansel a box of crayons. This keeps him happy for about 3 minutes. Several people come in to complain about snow tires that were installed improperly the day before. I have to get out of here. We walk to "Zips," a local fast food restaurant, and order a kids meal. Ansel eats the hamburger and I eat the fries. My internal organs are about to slip out from all the grease I have ingested today.
3:30pm: 1 HOUR TO BREAKDOWN
We return again to headquarters and find that our car is in the dock. They are removing the old tires. I need to pick the girls up from school in 1/2 hour (luckily, they had Spanish class giving us an extra hour). Maybe I will make it. The employees disappear. There are no tires on my car. It is getting dark. I picture the girls vulnerably waiting for me in the foggy darkness. I try to call the school secretary. No answer. Nobody is working on the car. I suppose they decided to take a break or maybe they are bored of the monotony of replacing tire after tire after tire and want to find out what the crazy blond lady is going to do. I get a hold of a friend who can drive over to the school and retrieve the girls. I know they will be disappointed because I promised them I would take them to the last day of the book fair which closes as 5 pm. I, unlike the people at Les Dweeb, take my promises seriously. Oprah is interviewing Sarah Jessica Parker, who is wearing some hideous shoes, about her upcoming Sex in the City movie. It is a repeat so no one will mind when I turn it off. It become eerily quiet.
Someone is finally putting the tires on my car....in slow motion. Ansel starts to cry . He wants to go home. I start to cry. I want to go home too. I am humiliated that I am crying. I never cry in public. I can't help it. What a stupid thing to cry about. I am sure it is all the supernaturally yellow popcorn that is making me cry. The older employee who gave Ansel the crayons steps over and says, 'Lets get you out of here'. He goes out to the dock and whispers in the installers ears. They move a little faster. Sometimes it pays to be crazy. I should have started crying hours ago.
This better be one big snow storm.
POST-BREAKDOWN It snows one measly inch. Not even enough to make a snowball.
Because this post is so grinchy, I will end on a positive note with a cell-phone snapshot of a spectacular sunset that we witnessed on the way home from school last week.