The brother in law (hereafter refered to as either BIL or Hork…long story on the nickname…or his new name, Dorf) flew down to Tampa last week to get in some golf games with his buddy before assisting me to drive my lil Mazda home again. I was all geared up (direct quote from the Hork: My middle name is F for Flexible) to leave on Tuesday so we could take our time and be home relatively relaxed by Thursday-ish. First thing Mr. Flexible announces when I pick him up is that he has to be home by noon on Tuesday, which caused instant panic and depression and whining because that meant we had to push up our departure to Monday at the very latest. Sunday was already reserved for dinner with the Florida gang, my “clean out everything edible from the fridge and freezer” meal, so that couldn’t be changed. But at least Hork was there to help with the packing up, locking up, cleaning up, turning off, screwing down stuff that goes with leaving the place over the summer. Spoke to the neighbor, to let him know I was leaving. He already had a beady eye on the Hork and a finger poised on the 911 button until I said he looked that way normally, no need to worry. *snort*
Coming down, Hork and I had a blast, yakking all the way, catching up on a few years worth of reminiscing. I didn’t see much of him for the three days he was there; he was off to a golf course most mornings chasing little balls around with a stick…er, club. Yeah. I like golfing about as much as I like curling, but that’s fodder for another day.
This time, Hork was all golfed out having spent four days in Tampa with his buddy chasing little balls around with a stick…er, club. So he was there to relax, enjoy the pool, soak up the sun. The ladies taught him our local card game…Hoof and Mouth…which he caught pretty fast and got instantly included into three card nights. Winning money, apparently, makes his toes tingle. Losing makes him stutter a bit. He mostly stuttered *evil grin*
So there we were, Monday morning, running around doing all the stuff that had to be done prior to departure at 8:10, only slightly behind HIS 7:00 schedule. I was manic, whining. He was…well…Hork. He helped roll up, pick up, put away, seal up, nail down, turn the key in the lock and drive away. Knowing I was reluctant to leave, he took the first shift driving. Probably suspected I would just go in a big circle and come back *snort*
On the road, lets see…he almost sideswiped another car five minutes onto the interstate. He claimed there was a blind spot. LOL If you’d seen the way that car was packed, it would be hard to argue. All I can say in my defense is: thank goodness for suck-em-up bags, those vacuum sealed storage bags that you fill with 50 Tshirts, seal them up, suck the air out with a vacuum and reduce it to the size of a pancake. My shopping ventures included about ten trips to Bealls…my absolute FAVORITE store in all of Florida (did considerable damage there, but everything was on sale!!!! You HAVE to love a store that takes 15% off sale items already reduced by 79%, then takes another $10 coupon on top of that, then another 10$ Bealls Bucks on top of that!!!!…to the Aeropostal outlet for my grandkids (major damage there)…to Downtown Disney (nodding, yes, more major damage) to Bath and Body, Target, Wallymart…etc etc etc. Long story short, the queen size bed was covered to a thickness of three feet with various articles of clothing…which, after ten minutes with a vacuum and some suck-em-up bags was reduced to a stackable pile of four bags, each 3ft by 2ft by about 4 inches thick. Even I was impressed and I’ve used the bags a dozen times before.
The kicker was, of course, the golf clubs, which arrived with the Hork. Really. If I can find a way to reduce an 8′ by 8′ by 3′ pile of stuff down to 2′ by 3′ by 4″…surely someone can think of a way to shrink a honkin goof…er, golf bag.
So yeah, there might have been a few blind spots, but in truth, I was amazed at Hork’s packing abilities. There was even space for Suzie’s crate, should she choose to snooze in it rather than ride on our laps…which of course never happened on the way back. Going down, she curled up in it and slept most of the way, but then I had room on the trip down. Coming back, nada.
So there we were, like the Griswalds packed to the hilt…me grumbling, Hork still insisting the other car had come out of nowhere. Within another ten minutes, he nearly drives over a great huge hunk of rubber from an exploded tire. What’s with that anyway? The interstate is littered with blown tires…great huge chunks and strips of rubber left by exploding tires. This trip in particular, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much evidence of exploding wheels, and most seemed to be of the transport truck variety, so each time we passed one, I envisioned the tire exploding beside us and blowing my little car off the road.
However, this is when Dorf emerges. I get hourly updates as to whether we’re on schedule or not. How many miles to the gallon we get/should get/are getting. Estimated time of hitting certain cities, if we’ll pass in rush hour, if we’ll get traffic, etc etc. It gets worse the further north we go, and thank God we got past Charlotte without hitting much traffic or I’m sure it would have been analyzed to death and back. We made a pit stop for lunch and I must say I haven’t eaten at a Waffle House for 20 years but he was orgasmic over the hash browns and chili. He deliberately avoided the sausages so as not to cause an international incident. The poor elderly man who shared the restroom with him on the trip down probably still does not have full sensory abilities restored.
We stopped around 10pm for dinner somewhere north of Beckley, West Va, and decided, since we only had about 8 hrs left to keep going through the night. Dorf was in full timetable mode by then, but that was when his sinuses started to kick in and he started snuffling and snorfing and making odd Felix Unger noises trying to clear them. Oh, and I forgot to mention…his ears. On his two day relaxation mode of swimming and sunning, he had plunged underwater several times and apparently (so I was told in elaborate detail) his ears needed blowing out cuz the wax was trapping pool water somewhere in the canals. It also rendered him half deaf on one side. Halfway home he discovered if he tugged down on his ear lobe he could hear better. I discovered it was sort of like talking to myself since I could mutter things and not be heard. His resemblance to Tim Conway’s Dorf character grew in leaps and bounds.
We crossed the border into the frozen north around 5am…the sole car amidst four bazillion transport trucks. We hit Mississauga around 6:30am, where I waved at my sister in the driveway whilst Hork removed his goof bag and various possessions, clearing an admirable space for rear view viewing. Oddly enough, it had remained warm and sunny all the way up to the Blue Ridge Mts, but once across them, the leaves vanished from the trees, the temp started dropping, the clouds spun over, and by the time we were over the border, it was downright COLD. So I wanted to get home. I waved, backed out, and flicked on the radio…in time to hear of a massive accident on the main highway, which I would have driven straight into had I not chosen to flick on the Dorf-replacement-noise.
So, by alternate routes, I avoided the main route and managed to get home by 7:50.
Ahhh, home. I expected it to be cool inside with the heat turned way down in my absence, but I hadn’t expected it to be frigid. First thing, flick on the furnace. Nothing. Flick flick. Nothing nothing. Check the breakers, check the furnace switch. Nothing. Some humming, a bit of rattling, but nothing else.
Shivering now, flick on the fireplace. Nothing. Peer…peer again..the pilot flame is out. Suzie is looking at me as only a dog can, saying: we came home for THIS?
Still in shorts and a T shirt…I trudge down to the neighbour’s house (can’t find my phone book either) and luckily he’s in the driveway, so he comes back with me and at least gets the fireplace going. He also takes a look at the furnace and after fiddling with some things, announces it’s the blower fan that’s not working. So…call the furnace guys. Someone shows up just before noon and announces, yup, its the blower fan and motor, and some other gadget not getting any power. Estimated cost after calls back and forth…1400. Do I have another choice? As he’s writing up the order he mumbles…you know, a brand new furnace with a 10 yr warranty on parts and labour is only a thousand more.
I give that a thought. I’ve already had major headaches with this furnace…igniter switches that don’t ignite, rumbling and rattling, and a thermostat with a mind of it’s own at times.
I ask: how soon can a new furnace be installed. He says: within three hours.
Keep in mind, I’ve been up since before 6am the previous morning and driven the length of the U.S with Dorf the Hork n’ Snorf.
I say fine, order the new furnace. I need heat and I need something I can rely on for the next few years. Good selling feature too, I rationalize…new furnace, way quieter, way more efficient than the old clunker. I can stay upright for another three hours.
Upright, but with no food in the house, not even a drip of milk for a cup of tea. So out I zoom to the local grocery store, which, in my absence, has decided to make one door the entrance only and one door the exit only. I always park at the exit side, so I get my cart and stand in front of the auto doors like…well…a Dorf…waiting for the doors to automatically open. Nothing. I stomp on the concrete, thinking the little gnome who works the door is asleep. Nothing. I peer through the glass doors and see people inside…one of whom eventually sees my hand gestures and comes to open the door, politely pointing out that this is now the exit door and I have to walk around to the other side of the building to the entrance. Putting on her best Mother Theresa face, she smiles and says she will let me through the sacred exit door THIS time, but please keep in mind this is exit only.
Ten minutes later, I’m out, using the sacred exit door (which is so stupid I can’t even begin to expound on the level of ridiculousness for a small town store to start pissing off their regular customers) and home again…counting out the three hours until heat arrives. Three pass, then four. I’ve dragged out a portable heater by this time and heaped afghans on myself and my poor shivering beastie. SIX hours later, Furnace Guys show up. Another hour of banging, drilling, sawing, hauling out the old, hauling in the new…and I have heat. I’ve caught up on all my recorded hours of Project Runway and have started on Top Chef when I am finally able go upstairs and climb into bed. It’s 10:35 pm. I turn off all the lights downstairs, make the weary climb…flick on the bedroom lights and….Nothing. No power to the lights, nothing in the bathroom. The only outlet that works is…tada…the TV. Curled up with Suzie, flicked on the first episode of Top Chef…didn’t even make it through the opening muzak.
Welcome home girly-woman.