Not Complaining

Perspective is a powerful thing…

Normally, I’d be convinced that someone or something is out to get me, yet I’m feeling a little lucky in some ways and uberlucky in others.

It all depends on perspective.

Around this time of year, I’m usually a bit frazzled. Shopping for the holidays. Wrapping up work so I can take my traditional vacation from work over the holidays over Christmas – yeah, it’s my blog and I’ll call it Christmas if I fucking want to – if you’re offended by that, be offended by this: go fuck yourself. Honestly. Just because you have a problem with what I call it, don’t expect me to change to please you or attempt to sooth your over developed sense of righteousness. It’s Christmas break, for me. Oh, yeah, so anyway.

I still like having semblance of “school” by having that time off. What this means is that shortly after my birthday, I start to work harder to get to Thanksgiving – once past Thanksgiving, I do whatever I can to finish out the year. Some years that means coasting. Other years, like this one, it means working at top speed to finish everything and I hit Dec 24th rather rent and ragged – either way, it’s a much needed break and I usually return to work in January as a fully functioning mammal.

Yes, all of that was just to say that I’m already frazzled by this time of year, so you have to expect that it just gets worse from here.

When I came home on the Dec. 4th, I picked up my mail. There was a chunk of flyers – tis the season, after all – and a few bills… I stepped on the T-molding between two of my rooms, where I had some hard wood put down a few weeks ago. For those of you keeping score this is the second time this molding has broken loose. After shaking my head at the piece of wood, I noticed a Jury Duty Summons.

Having served on a jury for a civial trial before, I said, “Huh. Wonder what it’s like out here. Ah look at that – they want you to come in for selection for two days, rather than one… wait. They expect me there tomorrow?” I looked at the clock: 5pm. No way they’re there… the summons says that you can postpone your appointment for up to one year. I don’t mind serving – just give me some notice so I can plan for it!

As it turns out, I’m also working on a prototypical piece of technology for a customer that is also prototyping something. I can’t say more on that, but what I will say is that they need our bits to be tested and ready for Friday. Missing Wednesday and Thursday was simply not an option. Nor is missing Christmas in CT because of a trail. Unacceptable. Must fix!

So I call the number anyway: leave a message. Went to the website – no information for late notice. Sent an email to an addy there. No good news anywhere. Meh. Now I’m stuck for it: I have to go to the court house and ask for my extension in person.

Court opens at 8am. I leave the house at 7. Traffic and parking being the key motivators here, and good thing too. In that section of Seattle, there are many hills and bridges and crossroads that don’t make a lot of sense. I pay my $10 for parking and walk into the Jury Room at 7:50. I queue up, talk to the people there, schedule my new date for May, and I’m back on the street at 8:05. I say “Yes! No lost time from work!”

I drive back to I-5. On the way, I have to go up one road for three blocks that vertically spans about a 20-story building. No joke. Most buildings you enter on one side on the first floor – the other side of the building has exits on the sixth floor. I don’t think anything of it. I did it in my 1995 Jeep with the lawnmower engine and 10 year old clutch, when I lived downtown. I shot up the thing with my MINI. Just before getting on I-5 I’m like “Ew. Something synthetic is burning! Must be that bus.”

On the way back to Redmond, I notice a slight shutter or skipping going into first and from first to second… First though? “Uh oh.”

I get back to Redmond, go *sniff* and said, “Aw, fuck. It wasn’t the bus.”

I made a frantic call to the MINI dealership which is about 40 miles from where I live and set up a service appointment. I got up at 5am so I could avoid stop and go traffic (which is so what you don’t want for a transmission/clutch problem) and camped out in a Denny’s from 6:15 – 8a. When I went out for a drive with the tech, so he could see what was wrong: he sorta poo-poo’d me about it. First it was “I don’t feel it”. Then when I drove “Oh that’s slight.” When he drove it again “Yeah, that’s really slight.” ‘But I feel it and it wasn’t there until yesterday.’ “Yeah well…” Then I mentioned the burnt smell – he quickly hooked a U-Turn and we went back to the lot.

Guess I’m really in tune with my vehicle and how it feels on the road.

At the moment, I’m sitting in the MINI dealership’s lounge, having received the sobering news that if the clutch is not defective, its my responsibility to take care of it. After all, it’s a wear and tear part. It’s a known risk when leasing. If it was a brakes issue or a tire issue, we’d be having the same conversation. I do question the quality of the part, since the car has less than 6500 miles on it, is only 1.25 years old, and this is my fifth or sixth car with a manual transmission. Only one of those ever had a problem: a 1984 Jeep Cherokee that had over 80K miles on it and I drove it until there was nothing left of the clutch. I mean literally – the mechanic came out with two smooth disks and said “See how these are smooth? There’s supposed to be teeth here.”

Either way, I need to get it fixed: no point in paying for another 1.75 years of a lease for a car I can’t drive. Either way, I know I can drive a manual transmission just fine – the question is did it not mix well with the MINI or the downtown hills? I have no idea.

What I do know is that work has been so hectic that I haven’t been to the gym but one time in two weeks and I gotta do something else with that too, or else I’m going to have to make a large purchase from Old Navy soon so they can outfit my re-inflated fat ass.

And in spite of this, it could be far worse. I coulda been shopping in a mall in Tacoma or Omaha. I coulda been on a snow covered trail in North Bend. I coulda been living in Centralia, which is still under water. I coulda been in a situation where I couldn’t pay the coming bill from MINI. I’m not getting soppy about it or writing a Hallmark card here – I’m just very aware that while these are shitty problems that they aren’t the unsolvable or life threatening problems that other people have been handed recently.

Well, except for maybe the gym thing – I’m hoping I have enough health inertia to carry me for a week or two…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.