Thursday, November 06, 2014

Good Day and Bad Day; Or Bad Day, Good Day?

Boy do I have a story for you about my day. Now that it's almost over, I feel safe having a laugh over the comedy of it. Normally, I drink a couple of glasses of wine each night for its therapeutic properties. I think tonight I shall drink to celebrate the day's close.

Let's start off with the setting. I am newly unemployed. That's bad. But, fortunately, I have skills and clients have been calling me to fix their technology. That's good. In fact, I had some subcontract work to do today. The job was quite simple, install a printer.

Then one of the partners in the business had some issues with remote access for a technical support guy trying to fix their software, so he has me try to figure out what the problem is. I know very little about the network and nothing about the software, because I'm a sub who does overflow work. That's bad.

But, because I don't freak out easy, we figure something out and determine that there is some network trouble somewhere helping corrupt their database. That could be bad, but, it's good because it's way beyond the scope of my assignment, so I can bugger off before I break something.

So, as I'm going home, my van's engine cuts out on me and I have to pull over to the side of the road. My gas gauge engages in lies and deception, so I figure I'm out of gas. This is bad.

My Mother lives nearby, so I give her a call to ask her to bring me enough gas to make it to the next gas station. She wasn't working today, so she says she'll be right over. This is good.

I try to turn the engine over again to see if I can go another few yards, but my dashboard goes crazy. I've seen this before, battery or terminal issues. So I go out and open the hood to see if I can adjust the terminals sufficiently to get the van to start. It didn't work. My Mom arrives with my brother-in-law and some gas. We put in a few squirts of gas, but without a funnel we're just spilling gas all over. In any case, we figure out that it's probably the battery that's gone bad. This is bad.

So, I remove the battery and we go to the nearest auto parts store to test the battery. Yep, it tested bad and was the cause of my problems. Knowing the root cause is good. A new battery is $129.

But it's the wrong store.

So we drive over to the right store two driveways down, where they carry that brand and can look up my warranty information. Very good.

Yes, they found my account and the battery was under warranty, but it expired two months ago. Nuts. That's bad.

But, maybe the clerk can do something for me to get around the two months. Very good.

Nope. He can't override the warranty. Bad.

But, he can get me a really good discount for a replacement battery, only $42. Very good.

But, I don't know how much money I have left in my debit card and worry it won't be enough. Bad.

It worked. We buy the battery, pop it in, and the van starts like nothing happened. Awesome! So I drive to another client's business to pick up a check and cash it.

I stop by the store and let the girl at the front desk, a new employee, know my business there. She can't find my check. Bad.

She calls her supervisor, who tells her where to look for the check. She searches once and doesn't find it. Searches again. Bingo. Very good. I thank her and go cash my check.

After cashing the check, I begin to drive home for a pit stop before going to pick up my wife at work. As I round the corner about a mile from the bank, the van putters to a stop again. I almost made it into a driveway, but it has an inclination so my van is half in and half out. Bad. Very bad. I crank the engine, and this time it cranks, unlike the other time. Out of gas, definitely this time.

Fortunately, a guy driving by sees me pushing the van and stops to help. A couple other guys who work at the place whose driveway I'm blocking help me push the van further in. Very good.

But, because it has been raining all day, the parking spot where I stop is in a puddle so my feet get soaked. Bad.

Fortunately, the place where I stop has mechanics and a good possibility of a gas can. He comes back out with a gas can. Very good.

But, he says that it has some oil mixed in for use with weed eaters. Bad.

But, he says the mechanics assure him it won't be a problem. It will get me to the gas station where I can dilute it with more gas. Good. We add a half gallon. The van starts up. I think the guy for his help.

I turn around to get in the van when I hear bubbles coming from the front tire. I look, and sure enough, there is a slow leak. Bad.

I was able to make it to the gas station. The tire is still OK. Managed to pick up my wife and kids and go home. Very good.

So, I then decide to take the van to get the tire patched. The shop is still open. I'm just in time as the last customer leaves. It turns out that the tire cannot be patched. The hole is almost at the sidewall. The patch won't hold. I only have a few bucks. I ask the guy if he can sell me a used tire, and how much? He says he can't go lower than $30. I only had $26. Damn.

But, I remember that I had some cash in the sunglasses compartment. Nice.

It is only $2. Crap.

Ah, but I might still have money on my debit card. Good.

He doesn't take any kind of cards. Cash only. Nuts!

I called Mrs. Mata to ask if she has any cash on hand, we live a few blocks away, close enough for me to walk. She doesn't answer, but soon has my oldest daughter call me back. She has $3. Very good. I asked the guy to get started and I'll bring him the cash. He agrees. I walked home in the drizzle and got the money. Upon returning, the job is done. I payed the guy. AND I have $1 left over. Very good.

So, today has been an emotional roller coaster. I am sitting here with my first glass of wine recalling the events. Over the years, I've learned to accept what life throws at me almost as well as Buddhist monks do. There is little point getting upset. You just have to rise to the challenge and find solutions to the immediate problems before you. You can't worry about what happened before or what could happen later. Focus on the problem before you.

In my youth, today would have been a day of unrelenting suckage. However, now that I am older, I see the blessings before me.

Blessing 1
Mom and my brother-in-law lived nearby and was available to help.

Blessing 2
That reminds me that I had a phone I could use to call for help. Back when I was a kid, I'd have had to walk to a pay phone.

Blessing 3
I had enough money on my debit card to buy a discounted battery.

Blessing 4
I had money to collect.

Blessing 5
Complete strangers took a few moments to help me push the van and get enough gas to go to the gas station.

Blessing 6
I had cash from cashing a check that help me get a temporary fix for my flat tire problem.

Blessing 7
It turns out I had more than enough money on my debit card than I imagined.

Blessing 8
I can toast to an interesting day with my two glasses of wine.

Blessing 9
My wife feels all kinds of sympathy for me and might be extra huggy and cuddly.

Blessing 10
I reached my 10,000 step goal through all of this.
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