Sunday just started off on the wrong foot. Well...that's a lie. It was okay at the first. Because I checked my e-mail and discovered that Liv had won a 4 year scholarship to Peace Academy, her choice for a high school. Apparently, they give out 2 per year to 8th graders and she had an extremely high math score...
So, bully for her. I was invited in the e-mail to show up on Tuesday morning at 10 (and was told which door to sneak into since the scholarships are always a big surprise) and witness my daughter getting the big news.
So, the day started out great. Truly. SO proud of my girl and now we don't have to take money out of her college account to pay for her high school tuition. Provided she doesn't let her grades slip below an A. Which I don't think she will. And she automatically will be put into all honors/advanced classes.
But, truly...it went down from there.
I went to an early afternoon movie with my sister. We saw this:
It sucked. Big time.
And I really, really like Jason Bateman. Or, as my sister calls him CONSTANTLY: Justin Bateman.
What a waste of time and money.
Came home and found out that Bing had not cleaned up her gigantic mess on the dining room table as she promised. AND that she had not baked the bourbon banana bread pudding that she also promised to make for us to gobble down while we watched the season premiere of Walking Dead. Because we are total and complete fan girls.
We decided to go to the gym and then come home and she'd still have plenty of time to bake. Maybe we'd order a pizza for dinner.
Liv was doing homework, nixed the gym. Which turned out to be a great idea.
Because halfway there, we suddenly heard a horrible grinding noise coming from Bing's truck.
We pulled over on the first turn we saw, a dirt road.
She thought we'd blown a tire. I thought our muffler was dragging.
Nope. We could see something that was still throwing a few sparks in the passenger side wheel well.
We called a tow truck.
He said one hour.
It was an hour and half.
I killed time by reading the book I had with me. Bing played some insane game on her iphone that made this plooping sound continually. I finally put my book down and glared at her. She shrugged and kept going.
It was dusk when the tow truck driver pulled up with his flatbed.
He took one look at our problem. A ball joint needed to be replaced. We asked him to tow us to the place by our house that we usually go to. He frowned. Suggested that we go to this great place that he knew.
I know, I know. Hind sight is 20/20.
Did I mention it was also bitter cold and sleeting?
So, he got poor old Smitty (yes, we name our cars....hers is Smitty, mine is Trudy Belle....we are just precious like that....) up on the flatbed and then he motioned us to get in with him in his tow truck.
First he had to unload a huge sack of brightly colored garden gnomes from the seat. I kid you not...there were probably ten of them in there. And they were all trying to escape, I think, because they kept rolling out of the sack as he juggled them into Bing's truck for safekeeping.
"I collect garden gnomes," he told us. "I have over 100 in my yard."
Now, this is where I am thinking that he is a serial killer on the side. Because serial killers all seem to collect weird things. But, I was too freezing cold to argue. Bing and I could take him on later, if need be. She knows judo. I could try my Vulcan mind meld trick.
I prodded Bing to go up into the truck first because I did NOT want to sit next to Morty. That was his name. Morty.
When we opened the passenger door, a bunch of things fell out: A tire iron. A large chain. Another bag, this one filled with skeleton keys. Morty told us that he also collected skeleton keys. Had a whole wall just filled with them.
"My wife don't like it much," he said.
No kidding. I wonder how she handled the gnomes.
Bing gingerly hopped in after we had thrown everything back in. And did I mention that it was bitter cold and sleeting and before we got in, we had to retrieve every stinking skeleton key off the dirt road? Morty has eagle eyes. He found every damn one.
When Bing got in, I noticed that there was about five inches left for me to sit in. I hopped up and immediately saw why. There just was no room. The floor was covered in junk. Hub caps, more tire irons, a gigantic tool box with a lid that kept popping open and spewing wrenches and hammers. And in the middle of the seat was a large grocery bag.
"I stopped off at the store before I came to git ya, because they was having a sale on a bunch of shit," Morty told us. "Band-aids, ginger ale, Christmas ornaments, bread and that fake sugar, whatzit called? Stevie?"
Stevia, I told him.
He smiled at me. "You don't talk much, but you're a brainy one, aren't ya?"
I was puzzled. Because I knew what stevia was? Wow. Didn't take much to impress this fella.
As I sat down, halfway in Bing's lap, because my butt is bigger than 5 inches, I noticed that there was a really potent smell of bug spray.
There were also several cans of it rolling around the floor.
Bing bluntly asked him why he needed bug spray in the Winter.
"Aw, we can't seem to get rid of those bugs in our house," he answered.
Um..WHAT? BUGS? WHAT SORT OF BUGS?"
Bing, who has no problem in speaking her mind, asked him what kind of bugs.
"The ones that make yer legs itch at night," he said. And then he thoughtfully scratched his leg.
And suddenly everything on my body itched badly.
I tried to see if I could spot any bugs, but since I didn't really know what to look for, this proved fruitless. Also, my head was suddenly itching now too.
Did I feel movement in my HAIR?
I reached up cautiously.
In the meantime, Morty and Bing kept a running conversation. Bing is good at this. She will talk to anyone about anything.
But, she could barely get a word in edgewise. Morty told us about how he married his wife ten years ago because she was "with child" and he had no other choice.
"Didn't much love her, but well...what else could I done?"
He described all the food at his wedding. This was TEN years ago and the dude had PERFECT recall. He went on.
"Betcha you gals don't know what a quasar is?" he said, grinning hugely.
I said that I thought it was the center of a supermassive black hole.
He sat back.
"Yer close," he admitted. "My great uncle invented quasars."
I let that go since this was the guy who was going to charge us for towing. I sort of wanted to stay on his good side. But, well now. I don't think so, son.
Bing didn't say anything. She thought it, though. I could see her thinking it.
Morty went on. "Did you know that I got married in an outhouse?"
Well, fuck me.
No, Morty. I didn't know that. And you tell people this...why?
He smiled generously again. "My wife's uncle, he's real good with his hands. And there was this old outhouse in their back yard. Ya know, from way back when. And he converted it into this real nice little gazebo thing."
Bing looked at him quizzically.
"Did it have a door?" she asked.
"Naw, he said. "Uncle Randy took the door off and cut down all three side walls down about half way. So, it was just a real nice little place in their back yard. We stood up there with the minister and got hitched. Right in the back yard in Uncle Randy's ole outhouse. Not many can touch THAT, now, can they?"
No, Morty. You win.
The ride to the really great place took about ten minutes. It felt like an hour. Morty would not stop talking and he kept segueing into different points that made no sense.
He was telling us about how he once fell out of a tree and that is why he has a pin in his arm. (My damn elbow just works crazy. Look at how lopsided it is.)
Then suddenly we were discussing his neighbors who were "plum crazy" because they painted their house pink.
I suggested that maybe they really, really liked John Mellencamp. He looked at me.
"Did he go to St. Clyde's?"
"That Mellencam dude. Cuz, my neighbors, they's big time Catholics. We used to call them cat lickers. 'Scuse my French."
Bing gave me a look that said This man is gonna charge us money. Be nice.
I just sighed and said no, I didn't think that John Mellencamp went to St. Clyde's. But, maybe St. Bernadette's....
Then, he was off on another tangent. This time, he told us that his son wanted a dog but since they already had four cats, naw.
Fleas, I thought to myself. Maybe the bugs he is talking about are fleas....
By this time, I felt like my ankles were being bitten.
We finally arrived at the repair place and after helping Morty unload the truck, Bing went to put our keys with a note in an envelope through the key slot in their door. Morty and I waited for her. Morty, in true absurd fashion, looked at me seriously and asked me if I was always this chatty and then laughed hard at his own joke.
I just smiled and shook my head.
"I guess I'm shy, " I said, trying to smile sweetly.
"Naw," he told me. "You ain't shy. Yer...what's the word....selective. I knew lots of girls like you in high school."
I had no idea if he was complimenting me or insulting me, so I just craned my neck to see if Bing was anywhere close to the truck. She was. And then suddenly, there she came, hopping up into the passenger side and pushing me up against the gear shift and seeing that Morty's groceries were in danger of being smashed, I held my ground and made her try to fit her ass into those five inches.
She sat half on my lap.
Morty drove us home. When we pulled into the driveway, Bing told him to just COME IN THE HOUSE AND I'LL WRITE YOU A CHECK.
I glared at her. This man was a stranger. A stranger who collected garden gnomes and skeleton keys. (Which he pronounced as SKELL EE CAN.)
And he had BUGS of some kind.
I made sure that they stayed in the kitchen. Vowed to have a word or two or seven with her after he left. I had texted Liv what had happened while we were waiting for the tow truck. Now, I quickly texted her to STAY IN HER ROOM UNTIL I CALLED HER.
He stayed for a half hour until he finally said, "Well, I'd love to sit here and shoot the breeze wit you two gals for longer, but I need to get home to the old ball and chain, I guess."
I had that door open in ten seconds flat.
And STILL, he stood chatting with us, with the door open, letting all the cold air in.
"I just love Denver," he began. "I went hiking there before I had my leg injury. I got it caught in an elevator door!......."
"Bye, Morty!" I said, sweetly. "I need to shut the door. It is sooooo cold!"
So, he just waved gaily and left. At last.
I plopped down in a kitchen chair. Told Bing that I wanted her to check my hair for bugs NOW. She said I was good to go. Of course, she had to scare the shit out of me first by checking my hair with her fine toothed comb and saying, "OH, boy..."
She thought this was hysterically funny.
But then, she admitted that her legs felt itchy too.
We both went to the basement and stripped off our clothes and threw them into the washer. We realized too late that we didn't bring robes down with us, so ended up sprinting up to the first floor stark naked.
And then put on coats to go upstairs and get dressed.
Liv was standing at the top of the stairs.
"Why do you still have your coats on?" she asked. "And why couldn't I come down and meet that guy?"
"Long story," I told her. "Let me take a shower and I'll fill you in later."
And I did.
So...we finally got the truck back today. It did indeed need a ball joint replacement. It cost us nearly 800 bucks and the repair place had to ship the truck to another shop because they didn't have the proper tools to align it after the ball joints were replaced. I'm sure this all makes sense to you if you know cars/trucks. Which I do not.
Bing thought it was overpriced. The translator's husband at my work place, who is a mechanic, agreed.
But, lesson learned.
Next time, we won't be calling Morty or taking the truck back to that repair shop.
And it's finally back in our driveway.
My Da used to say that it takes all kinds and I suppose Morty is an ok guy,
But, I really don't want to run into him again. Ever.
Can anyone beat my tow truck story?
I am laying down the gauntlet now......