Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Road Trip That Was, But Wasn’t…



I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. I had a road trip planned, but I didn’t have to leave until 9:30 or so, so I took it easy. I watched the news and, along the way, ate a piece of buttered toast with my morning pills.

As for the road trip, as I reported last weekend I still had that damn cold. So, this weekend, since my cold was over, I thought I would go see my Brother Carl and drop off that barstool top I had fixed and had forever. Since I was that far, I thought I’d stop by my friend B___ for the Christmas visit that never happened. And, if I was there, I might as well go the extra mile (or miles) and go see Melissa and Dave. They had birthday and Christmas presents that I never picked up that she kept reminding me… plus, of course, it would just be nice to see them again (now that they’re not 12 hours away!)

So, I called Melissa first Friday night. She said they had real estate agents to meet in the afternoon, but we could probably work around that (or I could tag along). I told her it would probably be late afternoon (she’s the farthest away).

Then I called Carl. He said sure, he’s be home all morning. Finally I called B___, but got no answer. I left a message. His wife called back and said they wouldn’t be available. So, I called Melissa back. I didn’t get an answer (damn, all these people seem to be leading more exciting lives than I do!) so I left a message that it would probably be more like early afternoon, if that worked.

She eventually called back and asked that I called her first on my way there to see if they would be there.

Okay… so now you are caught up to Saturday morning.

I thought I would check the pipe solder, so I got a bucket, put the hose in it and turned it on…

The damn thing leaked!!! Okay, so I was officially pissed! Why? Because you can’t “sweat” (solder) wet pipes. So, that means heating it up, pulling it apart, waiting several days for everything to dry out and trying again… But, I now had an alternative (more about that later).

So, I finally got cleaned up and ready to go. I checked Facebook and found that Amanda (my Brother Carl’s granddaughter) was in the hospital, having her third child! But, I figured, fnck it, I’d leave the damn thing on his porch or something. So, I headed out. I had a road trip planned and a road trip it would be!!!

Once I got off of I-696 onto Groesbeck, heading north, I started looking for car washes (hey, you want to show off your new vehicle to your Brother and Daughter, right?) I found one and pulled in.

While I was waiting in line, I called Carl. It was weird, as the radio faded out and his voice came through the speakers!  Oh, yeah, I forgot. I’m synced with the blue tooth in the truck (first time and it freaked me out a little). So, I just talked to the truck and he answered. He said no baby yet, so come on over.

So, I did. I gave him the bar stool top. Despite its obvious flaws (if you remember, the oval shape prevented me from clamping the ends and I had to use “stainable” – what a joke) wood putty to fill in the gaps, he seemed pleased.

I mentioned the unsuccessful soldering effort and he said he couldn’t do it either. But he said Khal (Hannah’s husband) can do it with his eyes closed. Damn! I should have invited him over! I told him my massage therapist, Margaret, told me she had learned about something called “Sharkbites” AFTER she burned up her cabinets trying to install pipes. He said he had heard of them. They are a clip on connectors that don’t need soldering!

Sidebar: Why am I just learning about this now?

We shared some coffee and caught each other up. He checked his text messages every now and then and there was still no baby. But, finally, I took my leave. He said to just back up and turn around. So, I did. But when I back up, the sensors were screaming I was about to hit something! WTF? The camera didn’t show anything. Then I remembered this happened the last (first) time I got the truck washed. So, I let him guide me and ignored my technology.

I called Melissa and she said they were just leaving to meet the realtor. She asked if I wanted to tag along, but her itinerary (Lake Orion and points north) sounded like a long trip. So. I begged off. She said maybe another time? I said I was this close, so just leave the presents on the porch and we’d hook up some other time. She agreed. So, I kept going up Romeo Plank Road to 26-Mile.

[Sidebar: Nothing there was familiar. The little two lane, twisty Romeo Plank Road I used to drift my old British Green Triumph Spitfire on is now four lanes with those damn turn circles (or whatever they are called). The farms are gone and replaced with miles of subdivisions.]

Melissa called back and said that they would leave the presents in the front seat of their Jeep, but to be careful as their driveway was icy. I said okay, and wished then well on their house-hunting.

I had to go through two more damn turning things (at 26 Mile and the Van Dyke expressway), but I finally got there and carefully walked up to the Jeep.

Sidebar: Does living in North Carolina for a spell make one forget about rock salt?

Inside, I found a heavy (HEAVY) gargoyle statue and a CD (Bob Seger’s “Face the Promise”). I lugged both back to the truck and then locked their truck. I went to back up the sensors started screaming. I finally put two and two together and got out. I rubbed my finger over each sensor to get the car wash soap off and things went back to normal.

I thought briefly about dropping in on Terry Upleger, but knew I had a long trip in front of me. So, I turned around, passed Smale Street by and headed south.

I was hungry (I was going to take Melissa and Dave out to lunch) so I kept an eye out for a friendly diner or something. I passed the Loon Café on 15 Mile and Van Dyke before I realized it! Damn! I ate lunch there a couple of times some 20 years ago! And, it was excellent!

But, I continued on… Finally, I came upon a Joe’s Crab Shack. Now I spent many a happy lunch hour there when I worked in Auburn Hills. So, I pulled in.

To set the scene: The one in Auburn Hills was always packed and noisy! But, they had great seafood. This one had only two booths full: a couple in one and the other were the staff… I forgave them as it was Saturday. That may have been a mistake…

I couldn’t remember what I liked (It’s been like 15 years, okay?) so I just ordered the shrimp and fish plate with French fries, which came with coleslaw. I did ask for extra tartar sauce and malt vinegar.

So, my food finally arrived. Why it took so long, I cannot guess, since I was the only one there without food. I splashed the malt vinegar o the fries and salted them. I grabbed one and took a bite. They were cold…

But, on the plus side, the six shrimp were perfect and the cocktail sauce was delicious!

On the minus side, the “coleslaw” came in a little paper cup the same size as the tartar sauce (two bites).  The “tartar” sauce was mayonnaise. And, the “fish” in my fish and chips was some sort of mystery fish fillets. The two patties were about 1/8-inch thick! (In Cod We Trust!)

And, because it was the weekend and not “lunch,” I paid $13 US (before tip) for this crap. It reinforced my long-held opinion: You can never go back. Never look back.

I drove the rest of the way back to my ‘hood. But, I didn’t go straight home. I went to Home Depot and bought a SharkBite 1/2-inch elbow. I specifically asked the plumbing guy if I needed anything else (like a tool) and he said, “No, not unless you need to remove it.” From there I went home.

My first chore (before even closing the garage door) was to put my new gargoyle in his spot to guard the entrance to the house. He will now be my first line of defense against bad guys (you don’t even want to try the second line of defense!)





Thanks, Melissa and Dave. I appreciate it!

Back inside, I treated the whiny cats, changed clothes and started the first of the two weekend wash loads. It was just before 2:30 p.m. I check the Internet and found I was now the proud Great-great uncle of a baby boy, Nicodemus Carl Renard Smith.

Then I went out in the garage and worked on today’s main project. See previous post.

When that was done, I took a nap. I woke up and looked at the Sharkbite elbow. There were no real instructions, just pictures I didn’t understand. So, I went online and found I needed to buy another gizmo to install it correctly. Dammit!

So, I gave up on that for the day and finished the laundry. I decided I needed to eat something but didn’t feel like making “dinner.” So, I made a grilled cheese sandwich and a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I put the soup in a coffee cup and ate my dinner watching the evening news.

I took the rest of the night off and watched the Olympics. I dozed off and on, but watched them until late in the night.

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