The week that was

It’s been a week, my friends.

On Monday I decided to do something about the car that has been sitting immobilized in the front driveway. The snow has gone in most places, though there are still fat lumps of it slowly melting where no snow clearing has been done, or where my assiduous attempts to have a clear sidewalk and driveway resulted in mountainous piles of the white stuff. My activity between Christmas mid-January has been driven by snow clearing.

The car, when I finally tried to get it out, would not start. I had replaced the solenoid early December and paid a frightful amount of money to do so; now it wasn’t starting again. On Monday I called the Automobile Association and they came, tried it to no avail, and then they arranged to tow it into my dealership in Vancouver.

Mondays are dreadfully busy for these white knights of the asphalt roads. People wait until after the weekend to ask for help; Monday becomes a concentrated day of rescuing. It’s a little known piece of trivia except in the car repair industry.

I had to wait three hours until four-thirty for the tow truck to come, and I hitched a ride into Vancouver with him.  It saved me a two hour bus trip which I wasn’t looking forward to. I knew that the dealership would not be able to fix my car problem until morning, so I arranged with a friend to keep me overnight.

I had arranged this day for dealing with the car because it coincided with a Vancouver Playhouse production, Miss Julie, for which I and my friend had tickets. That was one of two saving graces this week.

The tow truck driver and I arrived at the dealership just fifteen minutes before six. The personnel were none too pleased – they wanted to go home. At five-fifty nine, the sales associate asked me very pointedly when I expected to be picked up and fortunately, my friend’s headlights could be seen turning into their parking lot. They seemed glad to see the back of me, and I was glad to be gone.

The play, Miss Julie, was excellent, by the way. It’s about a plantation owner’s daughter forcing her attentions on the plantation’s reluctant black chauffeur. There are three actors – the third is the black cook – and there was no intermission. The tension built up like the proverbial frog being heated in a pot of water. No one escapes the situation and all is terribly fraught with both physical and mental danger as the play winds to conclusion. Set in th 1960’s about the time of black Americans fighting for their right to vote, the dilemmas are excruciating. It wasn’t a play to calm my otherwise frayed nerves.

The acting was spot on. Wonderful. I recommend the play to you and if you are in the Vancouver area, it’s still running. It’s funny, despite what I said above, and full of meaty ideas. Exactly what great art should be, in my mind.

So, skip to after the play – we both needed a swig of something soothing to calm our nerves after we got out of that one. A nice merlot fixed us up; and then skip to Tuesday:

I had time to waste until I could collect my car. My friend had to go to work. On this grey, rainy Wetcoast day, I had to find somewhere warm to go. I bought a book of bus tickets at the Esso station at Granville and 41st then hopped a B-line bus to Seymour and Robson, then walked up to the Vancouver Art Gallery. I arrived just in time for the opening.

The gallery is just changing two floors of exhibition, but there are two more floors of very interesting work. I spent my time in the Kai Althoff exhibition on the fourth floor – for a description of that, please see my other blog,

I met a friend for lunch, then about two, I walked down to the Burrard Skytrain station, took the train and hopped over to the Main Street Station, then walked about three very long blocks to the dealership. The bill (especially after having already fixed the ignition in December) was heart-sinkingly high. I could barely speak politely to them as I left (but I did) and I felt I needed a good cup of coffee for the run home. I denied myself a two dollar fruit and nut bar in honour of the car bill, as if that would make any difference.

The flight home was uneventful. The car worked just fine. I very thankfully arrived home by five on Tuesday, took off my coat, emptied my bag of things that needed to be put away, put on a cup of coffee and fired up my computer. A game of free cell would do me just fine in working my way back into the house. Do you ever feel like that after having been away? I seem to have to readapt myself, reacquaint myself. I can’t just start doing something useful.

And so, hot cup of coffee in my hand, I returned to the computer and moved the mouse. I clicked on my housemate, Freecell, and the green screen came up. I dealt a hand with the flick of the mouse and then the mouse would not move.  Oh, fiddle!!!

Long story short, I must have tried to bring the computer up six times before I admitted I had a serious problem. I phoned Hugh in Ottawa. He walked me through some things that didn’t work. He advised me to get someone in to fix it. I was going to ask Mark to come, but his phone number was held safely within the confines of my hard drive.  I phoned around to see if acquaintances could provide me with phone numbers. I didn’t get Mark’s but I got some other references for good repairers.

On Wednesday, I finally contacted someone who would come; and then the computer was fixed by Friday.

We forget how much the computer has invaded our lives, for good and for bad. I feared for all the data I had not backed up recently. I’d just done my business tax bookkeeping. All my recent writing. All my telephone and address information. My entertainment. My dictionary and encyclopedia; my information guru.  Gone!

For two days, I wasn’t exactly paralyzed, but I had to find things to do. Not that there weren’t plenty of things to do. But like coming back into an empty house and re-owning it, I approach tasks with a routine that sometimes includes rewarding myself for having finished something by ten minutes on the computer doing things I like. My whole routine was upside down.

The other good thing about this week, if I may be a bit ironic at the end of it all, is that I got another challenge/proposal on the conclusion of the Estate and that just made my heart sink. Back to the lawyer for advice. …. I just don’t want to tell you.

My horoscope last Friday said that I should start nothing new, just finish up old things; and that the week would be a struggle. Oh, man! It has been like treading deep water to keep afloat.

I’d like to see the local newspaper with Tim Stephens’ prognostication for the upcoming days. I’m glad I can blame this past week on the stars.  I’d like to hope that he has something better to offer me for the coming days. But I checked with Mrs. Stepford next door. Neither of us received the local paper. Did something happen to our renowned  stargazer?


2 Responses to “The week that was”

  1. wrjones Says:

    “Long story short”? I don’t think so, but an interesting story of a car repair adventure.

  2. swatch Says:

    Hi K – its me. That cold weather adds a whole new layer of planning to everything. I trust your technology is all up and running now. Isn’t it unnerving to find out just how dependent we are are computers.

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