Category Archives: Cars

Yet another birdshit story

Yesterday, I borrowed my mom’s car to take DD to Ikea. Using her car instead of mine or DD’s was necessary for two reasons:

One: My beloved BMW is a fabulous car for many reasons, but trunk space is not one of them. Every one of my previous cars had a hatch, so this car’s trunk is frequently a major pain in my butt. I can’t seem to fit anything into it, except for things like groceries. A box? Dicey at best. Two boxes? Not even close. Ikea stuff? No effing way, so don’t even think about it, however briefly.

Two: DD’s beloved car is a hatchback, and can fit many, many boxes of many, many shapes and sizes inside it. The thing seems to stretch the more you try to put in it. We’ve had an entire loveseat tucked in there – with room to spare! But DD’s car lives in my garage for the moment, as it’s uninsured. DD has no parking spot at her basement apartment, and doesn’t really need a car in her neighbourhood anyway. She doesn’t need it to get to university either, as there’s a direct bus maybe a short block away and she has a student bus pass that’s included with the price of tuition. She doesn’t mind insuring her car for a day or so if necessary, and was, in fact, planning to do that when we planned this Ikea expedition. But then my mom suggested that we take her car and give it a good run on the freeway, since she only drives close to home and maybe only once a week at the most.

So, as I said, I borrowed my mom’s car to take DD to Ikea yesterday.

We were in and out in just short of two hours, which is truly amazing, as both of us love Ikea and could easily spend the day there, sightseeing. But she was on a mission to find a small shelf unit for kitchen storage, a coffee table for her living room, and a bathmat. She was armed with measurements and her debit card. And she found a shelf unit, coffee table, and bathmat that suited her needs very quickly. We found the shelf unit and coffee table boxes in the self-serve furniture section equally quickly. There was, miracle of miracles, no lineup at the self-serve cash, so she scanned the items, paid for them, and we loaded them into the car quickly, too.

Back at DD’s place, we unloaded everything, then I put together the coffee table while she put together the wicker baskets that would be stored in the shelf unit, then she filled them with kitchen stuff like tupperware. I started to assemble the shelf unit, and it didn’t go nearly as well as the coffee table had. Holes weren’t aligning properly, and those dinky little wooden dowels that Ikea insists upon using to hold together shelves and partitions kept snapping off. I got frustrated, so we decided to go out for frozen yogourt, then I could tackle the project again with a full tummy.

As we walked past my mom’s car on the street, I remarked how convenient it was that I’d been able to find a parking spot right in front of DD’s house, and also under a tall leafy tree that was providing shade on such a hot day. Then I saw the giant plop of birdshit on the back window. Uh, maybe parking under that tree wasn’t such a good thing after all? “I’m going to have to wash that off before I return Grandma’s car,” I told DD. “But a bird crapping on a person is supposed to be good luck, so maybe that’s true for a car, too. Maybe I’ll be able to finish that shelf unit with no further problems when we get back?”

That’s not how it turned out, however. We actually had to make another trip out, to a hardware store to purchase more wooden dowels. Every single one of the ones that came with the shelf unit broke! What are they made out of these days, balsa wood?!? But eventually, I got the thing together, we put it where she wanted it, she put the baskets in their places, and it looked great! “Just don’t climb on it,” I warned her, “because I don’t think those shelves will hold too well!”

I went home, washed the birdshit off Mom’s car’s back window, then brought it back to her. I told her all about our day, including the trouble I’d had assembling the shelf unit and also about the birdshit on her window. I assured her that I’d cleaned it off, and anyway, that was supposed to bring good luck.

“Oh good,” she smiled. “I’m thinking of going to the casino tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll win big!”

Mom phoned me this morning. She’d just come home from the casino. She won a thousand dollars on one pull on a slot machine.

I’m glad that birdshit luck went to somebody in the family!

A little too quiet

I get in my car this morning and start ‘er up. I hear the engine.

Wait, what?

I hear the engine.

No, no, I’m supposed to hear the stereo. My iPod, to be precise, with music that I personally have chosen.

I hear the engine.

I punch a few buttons. I fiddle with a few controls. I remove the iPod from its pocket, muck a bit with it, put it back.

I hear the engine.

So I turn the engine off.

Then I start the car again.

I hear the engine.

Something is wrong, I finally admit to myself. My stereo is not working this morning. I have no music, no talk radio, no sound at all. I resign myself to a music-less drive to work. I’m not super-concerned, because this has happened before. I don’t know what the problem is, but every now and then, my car stereo just doesn’t work. I can’t even change the track on the iPod or switch the radio on. The controls don’t do anything at all. But the issue always resolves itself the next time I start the car, as long as there is an hour or so in between starts.

And that’s exactly what happens this time.

After work, I get in my car and start ‘er up. I hear the engine.

I press the audio button on the dash. I press the iPod button. I hear my music.

To be precise, I hear the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up”.

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You’d almost think my car planned all this today, wouldn’t you?

Cleanliness is next to … impossible

I may have already mentioned this a few million times – though, to be fair, probably not here. Here, it’s probably less than that. It’s actually probably only to PG that the “few million times” applies. And he doesn’t read this blog. So really, there was no reason for me to specify the “few million times” either here or anywhere else – oh. Wait a minute. What was I talking about? Do I even have a point?

Yes. Yes, I do.

The point is that there is no way for me to get to my place of work without going past farms. I live in a fairly urban residential/ commercial area, my school is in a fairly urban residential area, but in between, there are vast expanses of rural lands. Farms. Acreages. Fields. Lack of urbanness (is that a word? Spellcheck doesn’t think so.)

This comes up frequently when PG washes my car. He often says, in an exasperated voice, “Where do you DRIVE? Why is your car always so filthy?”

And I always respond in my usual calm, reasonable voice, “I drive to WORK. I drive past FARMS to get to work. Farms are messy places. The roads past them are messy.”

Then he says, “So take another route! Find a cleaner way to get there!”

And again, in the most soothing tone I can manage, I answer, “I CAN’T! I have TRIED, but there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for me to get to work without going on FARM ROADS!”

At that point, PG sighs and gets back to work scrubbing the mud off my tires.

wash-me-on-dirty-car

But it is true, I absolutely cannot get to work without going through these rural areas. Even if I take a highway or two, they all pass by undeveloped, farm-ish lands, which, as previously noted, are often full of dirt and mud, which gets tracked onto those highways, and then deposited upon my car. From Spring till Fall, I often get stuck behind a slow-moving farm vehicle on my way to or from work, as well. On one of my routes, on my way home, I sometimes have to stop so that the cows can cross the road to get to the barn for milking – so I REALLY understand that old saying “till the cows come home”.

But last week, the traffic gods conspired to make my daily commute just a little bit worse.

Now, on every single road that I can possibly take to get to work, there is construction. On some roads, it’s not a lot, just a few orange cones to indicate where they are working on the gravel shoulders, but it’s enough to slow all the traffic down. On other roads, they have closed a lane in either direction to repair a bumpy surface, which again, slows all the traffic down. On yet more roads, there are large buildings being built, so there are flaggers controlling traffic so that the trucks can safely move in and out of the construction sites … which slows traffic down.

And construction is also pretty grubby, maybe grubbier than farms. So not only am I being slowed down on a daily basis, now my car is getting even grimier on a daily basis. PLUS, the autumn rains have now begun, so even if some of the farm dirt on the roads gets washed away, there always seems to be more mud to replace it.

This could be a very long, very dirty winter … and I may end up having to wash my own car.