Thursday, October 27, 2016


NOTE:  Writing this from Santa Barbara,  Walt's sister and her husband are out of town and I have the run of the house.  EXCEPT, I can't get on his internet server, so I can write an entry and post it...eventually...but it will be tricky.

Are you old enough to remember "service stations"?  When I was growing up and first driving, if you needed gas, you didn't go to a "gas station," you went to a "service station," where there was a helpful crew who pumped your gas, cleaned your windows and checked your oil and tire pressure.  There were always people who could you direct you to where you needed to go if you were lost and if they could not, the would whip out a map and find out.

I miss those days.

My day (which ended by discovering I can't get on the Internet) started the day before....or the night before that.  It was about 11.  Walt was upstairs in bed.  I was downstairs at the back of the house watching TV when suddenly our car alarm went off.  After checking for bad guys, and finding none, Walt went out and tried to see what the problem was.  The alarm was off now, so we both went back to what we were doing, when the alarm went off again. I'm not sure how he "fixed it" but we were able to sleep without being disturbed by the alarm.

The next day, I got into the car to go to Atria and as soon as I put the key in the ignition the alarm went off and all the dashboard lights started flashing.  That was pretty impressive.  Wondering what I had done wrong, I took the key out, checked to make sure that I was doing all the stuff the same way I always did, put the key back in to try again, turned the key and again the alarm went off and the lights flashed.  I got out of the car to call Walt and when I tried to lock the car, the alarm went off again.

Walt was at work and not answering his phone or texts, so I contacted the theater where I was to have reviewed Sound of Music and told them I would not be there.  I got good advice from Facebook readers, but none of their suggestions worked.

I was figuring that something terrible had gone wrong with the electronics and that the car would have to go in for servicing the next day and I started warning people that I might not be driving to Santa Barbara after all.

Walt finally got home and thought the battery in the car might be dead, since now I was getting NOTHING when I tried to turn on the engine.  He recharged the battery, got the car started and drove to Honda to have things checked.  The told him it was the dead battery, fully charged it, and sent him home.

So now I was going to Santa Barbara.  But he decided he wanted to get new tires since it was going to rain and we were about due for new tires anyway.  He went out and bought new tires.

In the morning, determined to get on the road early, I got everything packed and headed off, listening to my Harlan Coben book.  I had gone about 3 hours when a warning light came on the dashboard. I pulled over and checked the instruction manual and found out that the symbol indicated low pressure in the tires. I was in the middle of nowhere.  I finally found a gas station, surrounded by nothing, and tried to see if I could check the air in the tires, only I would have to pay $1.50 in quarters, which I did not have because Walt cleaned the change out of the car before he took it in to be serviced.  

I checked with the person in the little store, but she was a grumpy old lady about 85 years old, who had never put air in tires and didn't know how to do it.  She did, however, open the air machine so I wouldn't have to pay.  But that was pretty hopeless.  I HAVE put air in our tires, but probably not for 50 years and the angle at which I had to put the hose and the tiny print on the gauge made it impossible to know if I was putting air IN or letting it out.

I called Walt and we decided I was probably OK to drive for a bit, since the tires didn't look low.  Fortunately I was only 7 miles from a big area where there are lots of gas stations (notice I didn't say "service" stations).  I couldn't see any air machine in the first one, but did find one in the second.  Not only that, but there was a nice strapping young guy just finishing up pumping his gas.  I asked him if he could help me put air in my tires, but he said he had two babies in his car and couldn't leave them.

The next guy I asked was on his way to the bathroom and couldn't help me.

The third guy was the clerk in the store, who again turned the machine on for me so I didn't have to pay, but couldn't leave the counter.  He finally decided that the store was empty so he came out to help.  He said the first tire was OK and I think he put air in the second.  I thanked him profusely, but when I turned on the motor, I was still getting the warning light.  I decided to drive on, hope I made it to Santa Barbara without losing a tire, and have Tom check it for me.  Walt agreed that would be OK, as long as the tires didn't look low.

My back was really starting to hurt, so I stopped at the Harris Ranch to get coffee and a small dessert and as I was leaving the parking lot Walt called back and said that maybe the problem was that the tires had not been calibrated after they were installed, so he was trying to help me figure out how to do that over the phone.  It took a bit because his definition of "dashboard" and mine are different, I discovered.  But eventually I found the right button, hidden from view, and when I pushed it and started the car again, the warning light disappeared!

Finally I was on my way, with about 3 hours driving time left.  I managed to hit not one, not two, but THREE heavy rain squalls (discovered watching the news this morning that there was flooding in those areas later) so that I could hardly see the cars in front of me.

The other problem was that I had finished my Coben book and had started an Alexander McCall Smith book, which was not a gripping story and it was putting me to sleep.  I kept drifting over onto the right shoulder (fortunately we have those rough patches that make a horrible noise when you drive on them and wake you up!).  I finally pulled over and found a better book and that did the trick.

I felt like Dorothy waking up in the poppy field and seeing Oz shining brightly in front of her.  Other than being  exhausted by the time I arrived at the turnoff, things had gone all right, except that I had drunk about a gallon of water since I left the Harris Ranch and had to pee.  NOW.

I pulled into Tom's driveway (to pick up the key to this house) and dribbled my way into their bathroom.  Laurel was reading to the girls so I didn't want to stay (plus I wanted to get out of my wet clothes) and just came on over here.

I got in here, took off all of my stinky clothes and put them in the washing machine and discovered I couldn't get it started.  Maybe Joe does something to the washer when they leave the house for several days but I didn't want to mess with anything. So I have wet clothes, covered with liquid detergent sitting in the washing machine and I hope to take it to Laurel's tonight and wash them.

FORTUNATELY, I decided not to try writing this last night because fighting with their TV remote, which is so much more complicated than ours, and then finding out I had no internet access would have been the icing on the cake.  As it was, I realized I had brought all my meds, but forgot Tums and with all that was going on I had major heartburn.  Also, I brought all of my dental stuff...and forgot toothpaste.  Off to K-Mart in the morning!

But now I have to see if I can use my brother-in-law's computer (which I hate to do) and get onto my Yahoo account and post this.  Wish me luck.

Well, that didn't work.  It seems that NONE of my regular sites, including Yahoo, where I post these, and Facebook, will accept my password. But I just realized I can take my COMPUTER to Tom's and use HIS internet tonight, so I'll do that

It doesn't help that my eyesight has deteriorated a LOT in the past year and I can not see any of the tiny screens I'm using very also doesn't help that I can't find anything on TV except TRUMP...TRUMP.. TRUMP.  Thank goodness an SVU marathon starts soon.

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