The Mystery of the flat tire in Sizzler’s parking lot

mystery of the flat tire

Haven’t talked to my BFF,  Zelda, for a few weeks. We’re both cray-cray because we’re trying to get stuff done. Me the book series, she her information product package.

Anyway, she was hungry, I was hungry – it seemed a trip to Sizzler was in order. The big draw being the all you can eat salad bar. Because, you know…All. You. Can. Eat. Big appeal to those of us on a budget, right?

I told her about my project. She told me about her project. We ate. Then we ate some more. And just for good measure, we ate some more.

Sizzler apparently closes at nine o’clock now. I guess people don’t get hungry after nine in our town. The server was nice. Eyes averted he asked us if we wanted more plate (for the all you can eat salad bar) but his voice said please don’t ask for more plates because my feet hurt and I want to go home and soak them. Also, behind him, other workers were breaking down the salad bar, turning off lights and whipping out industrial sized mops. Hint-hint.

On the way out I blamed Zelda for letting me eat too much. She told me to shut up.

So out we walk to the mostly empty parking lot. It was a gloriously cool evening and after the weeks of ball-breaking heat we’d been experiencing, I was feeling uber happy. At last, Fall had arrived.

“Oh my God,” Zelda said.

My head jerked left and right. “What?”

“I don’t f’ing believe it.”

Head bobbing up and down. “What? What? What?

Zelda bent over the left front fender. “The tire is flat.”

“Damn.” Still, I had to grin because whenever Zelda and I get together, it’s always something. We just have that kind of karma.

But not to worry, Zelda had a mini compressor in her trunk (Zelda has many magical things in her trunk – more about that later). Yes, they make those. Who knew? It’s cool, you hook it up to the car battery, it blows air in your tire and you’re off to the races.

Except, not so much. The compressor didn’t work. Zelda frowned. “Hmmmmm, it worked last month.”

Okay, Plan A definitely not working.

I called my room-mate. Voice mail. Hmmmmmm.

We flipped the switch on and off, played with the electrical lead. Begged. Pleaded. That compressor could not be sweet-talked.

Zelda decided to call Triple A. Okay Plan B. Auto Club. Sounds good.

She also had to use the rest room in the grocery store a few steps away.

Time passed.

I tried my room-mate again.

More time passed.

The homeless folks wielding shopping carts rattled by. And a guy in a weird truck drove circles in the lot.

More time passed.

I called my room-mate.

Apparently I was alone on the planet.

Then Zelda emerged from the grocery carrying buckets (don’t ask) – the phone stuck to her ear and rolling her eyes.

That was the second call to the auto club and apparently the driver was coming in 20 minutes, which technically is what they told her 20 minutes before.

We decided to get the spare out of the trunk, so the Triple A guy could change the tire faster. Not sure there was real logic there as much as it gave us something to do.

Now to get to the tire we needed to move some stuff. A lot of stuff. Water bottles, microwave mac’n cheese, ski poles, duffel bags, a tarp – like I said, Zelda has many magical things in her trunk. We emptied the contents into the backseat, which made her Lexus look more like Jed Clampett’s ride than an awesome luxury vehicle.

Just when all hope seemed lost, the drive rolled up. My pulse quickened, my eyes gleamed – I might get home by ten o’clock and catch a rerun on TV.

Driver was a nice guy – shaved head, I imagined with a wife and five kids. He looked that tired. He whips out his fancy jack, wheels it over, puts it in the right spot of the car and pumps. All good.

He fights a bit with the lug nuts but he wasn’t about to lose that battle and the lug nuts finally relented. Okay, we’re moving into the final leg of the journey.

He wiggles the wheel to get it loose. And then the car rolls back because he didn’t chock the back wheel.

Steam coming out of Zelda’s ear. Me grasping her arm so she won’t slug him.

Sigh.

The bad tire did manage to absorb some of the fall and the driver’s fancy jack helped some too. Except that now the jack was smooshed up. Need a new jack.

Driver shuffles to his truck to call the dispatcher.

Zelda mutters and takes pictures of her wheel base for proving damage. I smell a nasty letter in somebody’s future.

More time passes. Is it even still Friday?

Another driver shows up. He’s young, friendly, lots of energy. This could be better. Time is spent deliberating how to get the car up without bending the frame or something like that. Talk, huddling, mutters.

Somehow they (after they’d chocked the back tire) manage to raise up the car and get the spare tire on. Lugs nuts on.

Okay pulse quickening once again. Just a few more minutes and we’re on our way. Oh-oh, the spare is flat too.

The happy driver has an air compressor on board. Yay.

Tire inflates. Phew!

We wave, blow kisses, thank the drivers profusely. Just get me the hell home, I think.

The happy driver makes a sad face. “Wow,” he says, “good thing we got the air in that tire, my compressor just broke.”

I looked at Zelda, “Drive, damn it, just drive. Before something else happens.”

So I got home just before eleven. Zelda didn’t call so I assume she got home too.

Weird thing was, we couldn’t see any damage to the original tire. Just flat as a pancake. No obvious or apparent damage. Oh well, that’s a mystery for another day. True story.

So, how was your Friday night?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

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Lock, Stock & Barrel

My blogging career, such as it is, has been quite the ride and I’ve really loved every minute of it. I had no idea when I started this thing up how much fun, laughs, tears and thought-provoking moments I would experience. The people I’ve met over this last almost two years are all amazing and you couldn’t be more blessed than to have met all of those I have.

The fact that total strangers have become dear friends – more than friends, family in fact, never ceases to amaze and humble me. Never in a million years would I have thought such things were possible by hooking onto this whacky ‘fad’ called blogging.

Not long ago, it dawned on me that I have done everything I can in this place. From jokes to midnight confessions. And then of course, the next thought was, ‘what next?’ The obvious answer is to move on. And that’s just what I’m doing. No, I’m not giving up blogging – I’m just taking the next step.

I’m moving, lock, stock and barrel, to a bigger, and hopefully better blogohood. Yup, I’ve taken the plunge to self-hosting. It’s not really a very far drive but I have to tell you the view is amazing. I hope like the dickens, that you’ll all be visiting me at my new home. The directions are here. And the drinks are free. 😉

And really, I just want to say thanks to everyone who ever walked through the door of this blog. Everyone who read, chatted, left a comment, gave me a link, blogrolled me – I’ve never encountered such kindness and friendship and it’s truly touched me and enriched my life. And a big thank you to WordPress for giving me this free platform for my rants and thoughts too.

So – hope to see you at the new place – real soon. Like now, would be a good time.

WC

PS: I did send out invites and I apologize to anyone I may have missed, I tried to get everyone, but I’m sure I may have missed a few.

Queen Elizabeth

About four years ago, my friend Jenny decided to take a job in Texas and leave California. To say I was crestfallen puts it mildly, as she was and always will be one of my dearest friends. But she knew her future was there and so it was. She met a great guy, got married and had two more kids.

I have known her first child, Arthur all his life and couldn’t love a kid more if he were my own. I taught him how to say “Republican Rage”, the Italian flip off and how to make a mashed potato pimple (you don’t want to know). But I never met her ‘new’ kids until Thanksgiving of last year.

She and her brood came down to visit everyone over that holiday weekend and we all headed up to Santa Barbara for the family feast. Her new little boy, Maverick is one of those cuter than cute kids who at that point didn’t really talk but had a series of grunts that meant certain things, it didn’t take long to figure those out and I became a hit with him when I gave him a keychain that had a little button that turned on a light.

Then there was Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth to you cretins. For a three year old she had an amazing presence. It was clear on my first look that she knew her own mind and soon so would I. As soon as she got out of the car, she stared me down with her unwavering gaze as if to say, “Who is this broad?” The fact that I have a little dog who is cute as a button fared well for me with QE and I guess she decided she liked me.

Elizabeth is a girlie girl. She likes her dresses and shoes. Craves hair ties and tierras. Purses, wallets, mirrors and probably make up if you gave her any. I figure by age 5 she’ll be donning stilletto heels and ignoring all the giggly little boys who follow her in her kindergarten class. She is a cutie to be sure. And stubborn as the day is long. Crafty too. On the drive up, she kept managing to get that little keychain away from Maverick which of course inspired blood curdling screams from little brother. Her ability to create and wear convincingly the I don’t have a clue what’s wrong face could give all the Barrymore’s a run for their money and it took a while to figure out what she was doing. And there were battles over blankets, snacks, water and so on.

Clearly, in Elizabeth’s world, all that she purveyed was hers to have and let the peasants take what was left or bored her. It’s the kind of attitude that will make her a rich and very savvy entreprenuer one day. She is a go-getter. She knows what she wants and goes after it with a venegance. I wish that when I were a child I’d been that focused and sure of what I wanted – how different my life would have been.

Throughout the weekend, Jenny and I made jokes about her queenly attitude in all its many manifestations and it is truly one of my fondest memories of that weekend. This willful and charming child stole my heart.

For Christmas, I sent her a watch (because we discovered over that weekend where Jenny’s watch kept getting to) and a variety of hair ties. Which I have been told by Jenny that she covets and guards with enthusiasm.

The other day Jen sent me the top picture and I had to laugh because I thought, “Finally she has found her crown.” And from the looks of it, couldn’t be happier in her kingdom.

So, here’s to you, my Queen, long may you reign!

Love,

Duckie

Pinch Hitter

Hey Everybody,

Yeah…I’m working on it…jeesh!

Just wanted to let you know that tomorrow my friend Jess Em will be pinch hitting for me. She has a very funny post which will be sure to amuse – and A-Mum make sure you aren’t drinking your cuppa when you read it.

She’s relatively new to our little blogosphere and a great find. She’s smart, sarcastic, funny and in a word, a hoot.

So, please give her a nice welcome, some encouraging comments and visit her site too. I promise, she’s dah bomb (why do I attempt to use modern slang? It always sounds so dumb coming from me. And probably that phrase is outdated by now anyway.)

Tune in tomorrow.

I’ll see you guys on Tuesday – providing I survive the synopsis. Cripes.

WC

PS: The picture really has nothing to do with this post, I just thought it was funny. Okay, okay, I’m going back to work now.

50K, Whaddaya Say?

Well, I got so involved with my gang story, I forgot to brag about hitting yet another blogger milestone. 50K hits. I can’t really believe it to be honest. When I started this blog last summer I thought it would probably last a couple of months and then I’d get bored or it would be so boring that petitions would be circulated to pull the plug. Well slap me silly and color me surprised.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this little piece of real estate in the blogosphere. I’ve met some amazing people and even more amazing writers. I’ve learned about many new things, have become somewhat less technologically challenged and even learned how to use my digital camera. All good things.

I’ve learned how to employ discipline to write regularly. In fact, I’ve never written more, which is a good, good thing. I’ve also become more curious as a person again, thoughts constantly going to what subject or topic I want to post on the blog. Read a lot more too.

But the very best thing about blogging for me is the interaction between myself and people from all over the world, across the country and probably even down the street. I’ve had some amazing debates, conversations and ideas tossed back and forth from all of you guys out there – and I want to say, Thank you. So very much.

I am honored and thankful to all of you for coming, reading, commenting, helping, giving me a laugh, a run for my money and introducing me to your worlds as well.

Much love,

Annie (aka Writer Chick)

Don’t Ya Love Your Girlfrienz?

It’s official, I received an email informing me that it is National Sisterhood Week. So all we sistahs and girlfrenz are supposed to celebrate our girliness and comraderie and revel in being women.

Hell, I do that every day, don’t you?

And seriously, if it’s National Sisterhood Week, who the heck is acting in behalf of the nation to proclaim it so? Well g**gle provided this which is probably closer to the truth. And of course, sexism is alive and well so what is really supposed to be National Brotherhood and Sisterhood Week – becomes National Sisterhood week. Jeez Louise noboby will leave well enough alone will they?

But you have to laugh at the cute, cute picture. In fact, the one on the left really does look like me when I was that age and I had to do a quick memory search to see if I’d ever been in a place like that as a kid. It is possible….really cuz the other kid looks like my first best friend Sandy Evanouch. Wow, this really could be the most incredible of coincidences, couldn’t it? At any rate, it’s obvious I was adorable as a child and quite the inquisitive mind since clearly I have been experimenting with how to blow smoke up my own skirt for some time.

So that being said – I say celebrate people. Celebrate your brotherhood and your sisterhood, celebrate your friends and all those without whom life would be one dull parade. Call them on the phone, go shopping, see a movie,  have lunch or at least send them an email. Saying I care can never ever hurt.

Love ya! My sistahs and brothas! (doing my best n’orleans accents)

WC

Breakfast at the Museum

I guess we all get a bit peckish, sometimes. So, here they are Zelda and my alter egos…for your entertainment. 😆 WC

Renaissance Man

(I originally wrote this post last summer while guest blogging for the subject of the post. In honor of his birthday, I repost it here. Happy birthday, Michael – you’re one in a million. Annie)

He’s a writer. He plays a mean piano – by ear no less – hard on the head but easy on the hands from what I hear. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. And to me, a friend. What you would call a real friend.

It’s funny, though we’ve never met face to face and honestly I’m not sure what it would be like if we did, we have fostered a friendship over the last 4-5 years that is rare. We go beyond friendship, almost all the way to family.

He’s shared with me about the tragic illnesses of both of his parents. I’ve told him about my brother who died of AIDS. I know all about his beautiful daughters and how special each of them are to him. About how his wife is one in a million. About his cute little cats. And his big silver truck. He knows about my love-hate relationship with cigarettes. My sloppy, anal room-mate. My hilarious dog.

We met at an online writer’s group, of all places. It was one of those places that wanna-be writers flock to and need-to-write-to-live writers approach with caution. What the heck, it was free and you also got to meet other writers. What’s not to love?

We swapped crits (critiques) on each other’s assignments. Culminating into a ‘story’ at the end of the course. His was the “Goodbye House” mine was “Faith.” From the beginning I admired the work and the man. Always taking the time to really say something, really give you his honest opinion. You could tell this guy had a lot of heart.

Well, our stint at the online group didn’t last long. We both realized in our own ways that truly we were engaging in Writer’s Socialism. Struggling to help the writers who couldn’t and barely having time for the writers who could. We both like to think we were among the latter.

But our friendship didn’t end there. After there were emails. More story swapping. Talking about anything and everything. Yakking on the phone about this and that. Really, somehow this guy became the brother I lost so many years ago. Somebody who I could talk to about anything and everything. Somebody who really cared about what I had to say.

I was amazed by his life and how he took everything in stride. Juggling parents that needed constant supervision, a family, a marriage, a job, doing music gigs on the side and somehow still finding the time to write. For cripes sake he wrote on the train into work.

Not long ago, we got into this wild marathon email where we starting discussing deeply writing – the ins and outs – where to publish – how to publish, the whole ball of wax. And it got positively addictive. It got to the point where we were each jonesing for the next response. We even had discussions about posting it on his blog. But realized that only a lunatic or a psychic would be able to follow it. It’s done us both good. And I hope it continues to do us both good. Keep us inspired and motivated.

Recently, he went on vacation and asked me to babysit his blog. Frankly, I was a little scared. I’d read his blog and hell I’ve read his writing. A little intimidating to say the least. I was sure his ‘readers’ wouldn’t like my style. That it would be a shock to the system to go from warm, gentle Renassaince Man to whacky, who the hell knows what’s firing those synapses Writer Chick. But…I like a challenge and try to force myself to do things that scare me.

So, I’ve struggled along this last week. Trying hard to entertain the troops in his absence. I hope I have done him justice. Cuz he’s a helluva guy and a true Renassaince Man is a modern world gone (almost ) mad.

Writer Chick

How to Tell if Your Christmas Eve Bash is a Success

christmas-tree

I’m not really one of those people who throws holiday parties. I’ll definitely do the dinners and cook up a storm, but when it drifts over to the party category I defer to ones better than I at such things. Happily, I have friends (Zelda) who do parties and I’ve been able to get a real observer’s station at same and feel I can pass along a few tips:

Your Christmas Eve bash is a success if:

1. Your guests don’t use the deserts as an ashtray.

2. The gag gifts you pass around don’t actually gag anyone.

3. You have no one by the name of Skip, Muffy or Biff on the guest list.

4. None of your guests notice the wee paw prints left by your several pets in the dip.

5. The groans you hear whilst guests are munching is because of the deliciousness of the food, not because they have broken a tooth.

6. Your choice of music does not prompt your guests to ask why you are playing funeral dirges.

7. The Christmas movie you make especially for the occasion is coherent and possibly causes your guests to chortle with laughter.

8. Guest do not refuse to take home leftover food and deserts when offered.

9. You do not require a first aid kit to have a fun time.

10. You do not invite people who discuss their recent operations around the fondue pot.

11. Your guests are too drunk to notice you have broken out the cheap wine.

12. You remember everyone’s name through-out the entire evening. Or they don’t hear you when you call them buddy.

13. No one shows up in surfer shorts and asks why all the old people are there.

14. The pets do not break through the barricade you have spent the last three days building.

15. You manage to delete and/or photoshop all the pictures of you before they are viewed.

16. You get through the evening without losing a pet or a guest.

17. Everyone leaves before you fall asleep in the family room.

18. The following morning you wake up to discover Santa’s elves have cleaned up the entire mess and you can go back to sleep.

There may be more and perhaps you can add a few – but in the meantime…

cookies

 

I’ve Got a Branch, Let’s Make a Tree! 12 days of xmas #12

For many years I had the best room mate ever. Let’s call her Buffy. We met while we were both working at a cute, little dive called New York George’s. It served tacky New York Diner food and was a very popular place, especially considering it was tiny and had no real designer ambience to it. What was fun about the place was that everybody was a wise guy and the customers really delighted in being harrassed by the waitresses. Which of course, was right up our respective alleys.

Now Buffy is a very cute girl, who is very tall, has big feet and a laugh that can split your eardrum if you get too close to her when she lets one rip. She also has a heart of gold and I love her like a sister. Truly family in all the really great sense that that word can conjure.

We became fast friends and I convinced her to become my room mate and share the house I was renting from a friend (henceforth known as the Psycho-Lady). The house was cute and pretty comfortable but it was basically in the ghetto section of Pasadena. Which may not exist now but did then. We were the only non-ethnic folk in the neighborhood and I guess were regarded as a sort of oddity although no one ever hassled us, nor did we feel unsafe – it just was what it was.

Both Buffy and I are Christmas nuts. We would die happy if we could permanently live in a Hallmark card. Buffy has her own collection of glass reigndeer ornaments which she has been collecting since she was a child. These are like gold to her. And they are amazingly beautiful – the first time I saw them I think I let out a little orgasmic Christmas gasp. Even today they sparkle in my mind.

Needless to say, like every other year before it we were excitedly anticipating Christmas. Our favorite time of year – an excuse to act like a couple of big dopes, eat lots of great food that is bad for you and your thighs and santa hats, reindeer ears and lightable Christmas ornament earrings – what could be better?

Well, this year was a bit different. For reasons I can’t remember, we decided to work retail sales at shopping malls over the holiday season. We’d both done it before and for some reason we thought it’d be different this year. Dreams of big commission checks and taking a couple weeks off at the beginning of the year spurred us on. Also, Zelda got in on the act. So, the three of us signed on with Gold Exchange.

Oh yes, you read it right – Gold Exchange. Now can you imagine the tacky shit we were hawking from a place with a name like that? I know, I know – we were adding to the evil propagation of commercialism, but hey we needed the money and wanted presents, so….

Either our memories were really selective, we were out of our minds or we were just getting too old for this shit but man, it kicked our asses. For that six or seven weeks we just worked and slept and barely had any fun at all. With the schedule we had there was no time or energy to tend to things like trees, decorating, Christmas movies or anything. Luckily we were working in shopping malls, so buying gifts wasn’t an issue.

Anyway, Buffy and I were kind of glum because we weren’t being able to dramatize our insane love for Christmas and we knew we’d be way too beat to try to put a Christmas dinner together. And at the time, I guess we didn’t have any Martha Stewart type friends so we were pretty much on our own. But Zelda piped up and said her roomie was a Martha Stewart type and did all that Christmas junk every year and we had only to arrive on time and we too could have a big Christmas dinner and enjoy and admire the whole Christmas ambience created by another.

Well that kept us going all the way through the selling season – which was hideous and exhausting. And through til Christmas morning. We got up and had coffee and toast and exchanged gifts and chatted. But then we noticed the time was ticking away, tick, tick, tick. Still no word from Zelda. Hmmmm. We started getting those knots in our stomachs. As if the Grinch had been by the night before and we just hadn’t noticed that it was really December 26th. I called Zelda a couple times but no answer.

Our stomachs were growling and we were starting to get really bummed out. Finally, the phone rang and it was indeed Zelda. Yay! Christmas was saved! Except…Well I guess Martha Stewart roomie decided she wasn’t into it that year (and hadn’t mentioned it to Zelda) and they decided they were going to order some deli samiches and did we want to come over and do that.

Well no fucking way did we want to do that. So then there we were sitting in the living room completely bummed out, with no tree, no food, no hope. We were sad – big time. Then I said, ‘screw this shit.’ There was no way we just weren’t going to have Christmas. So, we jumped in the car and went to the local grocery store.

Of course it was slim pickings, no turkeys to be sure – but they had chicken, and instant mashed potatoes, and stuffing mix and corn. No pumpkin pie but I think we got twinkies or chocolate cupcakes or something. So, we paid for our stuff and went home.

While I started dinner, I told Buffy to get out the ornaments and lights. She squealed with delight. She strung lights on the walls, put ornaments out on every flat surface – now we were having fun. But we didn’t have a tree. We HAD to have a tree. Oddly enough about a week before we’d had some pretty bad wind storms – so bad in fact that a huge branch got snapped off the Wisteria tree in the front yard. I told Buffy to get the Christmas tree stand ready then went outside. After some looking and thinking and finding a hacksaw I found a branch that had some shape and might fit in the stand.

I brought it inside and we managed to get it to stay upright with some jury-rigging, spit, chewing gum and prayers. We strung it with lights and hung a few ornaments, plugged everything in and turned off the lights. “Ah….” it was Christmas after all.

Dinner was ready and though chicken isn’t turkey and the potatoes were kind of soupy and our tree was really just a branch I fished out of the yard, it was grand. Just as we sat down to eat, “It’s a Wonderful Life” came on television and we both let out a hoot. It was the finishing touch to our chia pet Christmas.

Ironically, of all the many Christmases I have celebrated in my life, this is truly my favorite. Because it was our spirit and spirit alone that made it happen – despite all the many pitfalls. And the utter spirit of play of Buffy who was with me all the way in making Christmas happen. And I really loved that little tree more than any other because it proved that even a lowly stick could be something beautiful. In fact, I loved it so much that this year I found an even bigger stick and made another ‘unique’ Christmas tree – it’s pictured above.

For me, Christmas isn’t what other people make it for you, it’s what you make it for yourself.

Thanks for reading (putting up with) this series of memorable Christmases. Much of it was probably too warm and fuzzy or just plain boring – but hey, that’s my life.

Merry Christmas everybody.

WC