Sunday, May 6, 2012
My Life is a Bad Country Country Song - Part 1 of ?
I'm sure you all have heard the joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards...you get your wife back, your truck back, your dog back, your hair.... Let that be a warning to those readers who are faint of heart or overly emotional...there be teary eyed moments to follow. I'm also going to break this up into at least two parts because 1) I don't feel like writing it all down in one sitting, 2) you probably don't need that much bad news in one sitting, and 3) did I mention I really don't feel like writing this all in one sitting? Heck, I've been avoiding thinking about parts of this much less even writing about it. Before I go any further, I will tell you now to alleviate any concerns on your part that, though The Queen and M&M both have parts in these sad tales, both of them are more or less healthy, upright and able to take nourishment. M&M's part of the story is more or less a story unto itself. So, that will probably be part 2 (sorry Kymber). Any story, our tales of woe begin with me traveling to Charlotte, NC for business a few weeks ago. On a Tuesday. Why is Tuesday important you ask? Well, The Queen and I are participating in a coed volleyball league on Tuesday evenings with folks from my office. It's been quite fun even though my grasp of the game is not dissimilar to a labrador retriever playing fetch. BALL! PLAY! I'LL GET IT! [slobber, drool, tongue hanging out, tail wagging]. My team mates are very kind to my handicap (the fact that i can't play) and gently suggest things like "how about you let me set for you". So, while I was busy having a networking dinner with about 150 people, The Queen was busy playing volleyball without me...and pulling her calf muscle. By all accounts, she wasn't even doing anything truly epic or graceful to warrant a pulled muscle. Now, The Queen is a tough woman. As you will recall, this is the same woman who said "If you can keep up." when we first met. I've also watched in horror as she flipped a four wheeler over on top of herself only to run up and find her giggling maniacally. Crazy broa...love of my life. So, there I am about a thousand miles away on the phone with my wife who is crying in pain scared that she might have torn a tendon or ligament. Not unlike friend Stephen, wife tears are my kryptonite. I spent two years during the darkest days of The Queen's mystery illness being stuck in Houston due to work having to listen to my wife in Dallas suffer over the phone. It's not something I want to repeat. Ever. Flying home was out as I had business commitments in Charlotte for the next two days including an active part in a presentation to a group of risk managers and safety directors about crazy claims that you just can't make up. Fortunately, The Queen's parents were at the house babysitting M&M while The Queen played. They stayed the night with her and helped her get to her regular doc the next day. As mentioned, it turned out to be just a badly pulled muscle. She's been on the gimp...I mean on the mend ever since. She's better than she was by far, but she still needs a week or two more before she will be dancing swan lake or playing volleyball again. Day two in Charlotte dawned with The Queen informing me of two other minor crises. First, The Queen's carriage managed to pick up a length of wire in the right rear tire. In the sidewall no less. For those who are not mechanically inclined, tire shops won't even bother trying to fix a tire that has a puncture in the shoulder or sidewall. I've never heard a good explanation of why, but it's pretty much unanimous in my experience that they won't touch it with a 10 foot pole. Oh, and did I mention that The Queen's carriage runs on 20" tires the cheapest of which go for $150 before you add in tax, mounting, installation, disposal fee, air, road hazard insurance, etc. And, of course, they did not have the $150 tire in stock. They only had the $180 or the $220 tire in stock. That's $250 I had to spend for the safety and security of my family that I willingly but not happily spent in light of the fact that the existing tire had a lot of tread life left on it. The other day two crisis is the heat pump at Castle Erickson. I reported on the effects of last summer's heat wave on the castle's HVAC system. Well, The Queen reported that we are in for a repeat as the system was not cooling the house. And we haven't even really gotten consistently above 90 yet much less 100. We had our regular AC guy (who is a friend and church member with my brother in law) come out a few days after I got back from Charlotte and recharge the system which has historically at least helped the problem. 30 pounds of R22 later, we had cool air blowing...for all of two weeks. As of Wednesday of this week, there was no cold air and no frozen refrigerant lines meaning there was no refrigerant in the system. I had companies out on Thursday to bid on a replacement, and we made the decision yesterday on a 14 seer 5 ton system that will hopefully solve some if not all of our problems. At a low, low, highway robbery, they've got me over a barrel price of course. The winning bidder assures me he will give us priority since we have a baby in the house. So, hopefully by the middle of next week, we should be awash in cold air again. Finally for part one, You've heard the saying that a friend helps you move, but real friends help you move bodies. Sometimes to body you move is that of your friend. The Queen and I had to make the sad decision to have our oldest dog, Sasha, put to sleep. She was a lab shepherd mix who was thirteen years old. She's been suffering with degenerative arthritis for a while now. Our vet had been keeping her going with regular vitamin B injections in her acupuncture points. That would help for a while; however, we finally reached the point where she could no longer walk. She was a wonderful dog...far better to us than we ever could have been to her. I took her down to Mimi's place and buried her in the shade of a nice tree. She would have appreciated that. More to follow.