Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sometimes, three is NOT a magic number

Today I got home from work to find that Nelly had [warning: discomfiting material] splattered the house with explosive diarrhea. We know it was Nelly because she'd had some symptoms yesterday. This morning I left the house with a nagging feeling that she might be sicker than we thought, but I just couldn't bring myself to up-end yet another day of work for a personal emergency. There was the whole water heater thing. I was scheduled to take Eva in for service today (an amusing anecdote on THAT follows), after blowing off the garage twice at the last minute already: once because I had to drain my leaking water heater, and then a few days later when I just completely spaced it. I couldn't face making a last-minute cancellation call to them AGAIN, because I hate looking like a ditz. I know, pride goeth before a fall (or in this case, before a house full of poo).

Anyhoo, that turned out to be a poor choice.

So Enrico has bundled her off to the emergency vet, which is clear across town, and most likely a three-hour excursion, minimum. He immediately volunteered to do it, because by the time he got home I had, as he put it, done the worst task (namely, the cleaning of poo - our hardwoods will never be the same). So it seemed only fair. And I have to say, karmically speaking, he kind of owes me on this one, after that one time that I had to take Nelly to the emergency vet in the dead of night while he was out of town, oh, and, let's not forget THAT OTHER time when I again had to take BOTH dogs to the emergency vet while he was out of town, on the same day our car broke down and the house across the street burned in a massive middle-of-the-night conflagration. You see the trend here?

The other trend? Is the whole trouble-comes-in-threes thing. There was the aforementioned veterinary emergency/car trouble/arson day. And then a couple years ago there was the broken finger/car accident/house burglary combo. So my question is: Does the water heater/van repair/veterinary emergency count as three? Because the van repair wasn't really an emergency, it was pretty much expected. The price tag was much higher than anticipated, so maybe that counts; but it's not entirely clear, and now I'm on edge, waiting for the third shoe to drop.

I'm sure Nelly is fine, by the way, in case you are fretting about her. She probably has giardia or something. Dogs eat stupid shit; sometimes they get sick. It's only a big deal because they are (relatively) small and dehydrate quickly. I'm just glad it didn't happen while we were on the road.

Speaking of which (I know, this is too long and rather rambling, and I should probably break this out into two separate entries, or perhaps just shut up, but such is my state of mind at the moment), I did indeed take Eva in for a check-up today. As expected, she needed an oil change, air filters (engine and internal) and replacement of pretty much all her fluids. That wasn't a surprise, though just as everyone has warned us, it's crazy expensive to do anything to a Volkswagen. The special fairy-dust VW transmission fluid? Literally costs seven times as much as any other kind of transmission fluid. And they have to do this whole elaborate thing to change it. So it costs $350 fracking dollars. But since the transmission is kinda important, and we know it's a weak spot on this model, we gritted our teeth and told them to go ahead and do the work.

An hour later, the shop called me back.

"We just got your van up on the lift," he said, "and the underside is completely caked with, like, an inch of mud. The wheel wells, struts, underside, everything. Totally coated."

"That doesn't surprise me at all," I said calmly. "Like I explained, we spent a lot of time on gravel roads."

"Seriously, it's totally encased in mud. I'm surprised you didn't have any alignment problems. Where exactly did you go, anyway?"

I explained where we went. He thought that sounded cool. He expounded a bit more on the unbelievable extent of the mud.

"So, can you clean it off?"

"Well, yeah, we have a power washer that can do the job. But we think it's going to take about an hour, so we're going to have to charge you for labor."

"That's fine, I understand."

This was followed by a bit more of [Dude! the mud, THE MUD!], and when I hung up the phone, I cracked up. I envisioned every single mechanic in the shop - and this was a large place, not the two-man hole-in-the-wall we took it to before; Volkswagon Guru Man was on vacation - anyway, I envisioned every guy in the shop standing underneath the lift, gazing up in awe at Eva's belly. You ever seen that much mud? Not me. No way, me neither. Man, that's the most mud I have frickin' EVER seen underneath a car.

When I picked her her, I asked if this impression was correct, that this was indeed The Muddiest Vehicle they had collectively ever seen. The guy chuckled, and didn't really answer. But then he leaned forward conspiratorially, and said in hushed tones, "You ought to see the guy who did the work. He is filthy."

So I guess I made up for the fact that I blew them off twice, by providing them with a tale that they can relate for years to their spellbound children and grandchildren. The mud, THE MUD!

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