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Not with a bang but...

The first week of work at the new job started out with a whimper instead of a bang. Seems like the good karma has run out and I’m back to normal life now. Monday was a shitty day for weather. What was supposed to be light snow flurries that were to taper off and end by noon continued on well into the afternoon and evening. I got a late start and just a mile from my house in Peoria, the car died on me. I’d filled up with gas in Rushville a few days before. The gas station where I filled up had been closed for about a year and had just reopened under new management. The fact it had been a Shell station and within a month, the new owners had pissed Shell off enough they told them not to use the shell name, should have probably been a clue that everything was not right with the situation. What I think happened is over the year they were closed, condensation and debris got into the underground tanks and was now being pumped up with the gas into everyone’s tanks. The car had been acting like it had water in the fuel for a couple days, so I’d gotten a can of fuel treatment and added it and then tried to drive until the tank was almost empty. Put in a new tank of fuel and more fuel treatment and hoped for the best. But apparently, the damage had been done.

The car had stopped dead in its tracks in the right lane of a busy 4 lane road just before rush hour on a day when the roads were wet and we were getting a mix of snow and rain. Could you have worse conditions to break down in?

Someone tell me what is the purpose of people honking their horns at a person who is broken down in the right hand lane? It’s not like I wanted to be there. Of all the places on earth I could have chosen to break down, folks, believe me, the right hand lane of War Memorial Drive at rush hour is not the place.

So I called Deb on the cell and got her to call me a tow truck and the repair place just up the block from us to see if they could work on my car. The only silver lining to this cloud is the towing company was willing to add the tow bill to my repair bill since they tow for that repair shop all the time. And my insurance will cover the cost of towing and labor. If I really needed it, they would also cover the cost of a rental. But I still had my S-10 in Peoria so I didn’t need a rental right away.

I was able to walk home after getting towed to the shop of course. Now we had new problems. We had to take the truck over and unload the car in the rain and put everything I’d spent hours fitting in every little nook and cranny of the car, into the truck. Deb had been planning to drive the truck this week so that meant we had to make sure her car would run after days of sitting on the driveway through freezing rain and snow. I tried to start it but her interior lights would not even come on. It was dead Jim. I hatched a plan to push the car down the driveway, pull the truck into the front yard, raise both hoods and jumpstart her car. Easier said than done. Her hood was frozen shut. After a liberal application of hot water, I got the hood open. Next, to push it down the driveway and then jump inside to put a foot on the brake before it rolled across the street into the neighbor’s parked car. Nothing doing. The wheels were actually frozen to the driveway and no amount of hot water was going to unfreeze them. Finally it was decided a new battery was in order. I was actually kind of proud of Deb at that moment. She handed me a $50 and told me to go buy a new battery. No complaining about how much it would cost or anything like that. I have to say, as long as she can avoid a panic attack, she’s really steady in crisis situations.

So off I go to the parts store to buy a battery. Then back to install it in the rain. At least the install on her car was easy. I’ve seen battery applications you would think about taking to a mechanic before trying to do yourself. I mean the car manufacturer knows there is going to have to be a battery in the car. So why do the make the placement of the battery an afterthought? Backyard mechanics need to design cars I think. The battery would be easy to change. The oil filter would be easy to get to. And you could change the spark plugs without having to buy a new special tool each time. And while we are on the subject, can they make the coil springs on front struts any more hard or dangerous to get off the car? I think not.

So new battery installed, it took me just a few minutes to get the car started. At least her car (Toyota Camry) does not have problems with the fuel line freezing. Just so you know, that’s a problem with VW Jetta’s from the late 80’s to mid 90’s. Ask me how I know this? Before you ask, I had to leave my 87 Jetta parked in front of my neighbors house for two weeks during a deep freeze when water got into the fuel line and froze. I had to wait until it warmed up past 40 degrees to get it started.

By now it’s way past dark. Neither one of us have eaten in some time so very uncharacteristically, we head up to Mickey D’s to get a quick supper. It was after 9 pm before I finally hit the road. In good conditions it’s only a two hour drive up to the new house in Joliet. We did not have good conditions. By the time I hit I-80, rain had turned to freezing rain and then to real snow. I was actually glad I had the truck for that because it’s far more sure-footed than the Jetta. It was near Midnight when I got to the house. The plan had always been I would unload and then go out shopping for groceries and a shower curtain.

Peoria has two Wal Mart stores. Both are open 24 hours. One at least is the kind with a grocery store and all of that. Joliet is at least 3 times more populated than Peoria but apparently only has one Wal Mart which closes at 10 pm. What gives? I even drove several miles to the neighboring suburbs and didn’t find a Wal Mart that was open. The only things I did find were a Jewel Osco, home of some of the highest grocery prices in the world and a Walgreens. So far I’ve actually found the cost of living in Joliet to be comparable with Peoria. But the grocery prices have me thinking we might be buying groceries for the month in Rushville and bringing them back with us once a month. I paid $76 for what I could have easily gotten for $40 in Peoria or $30 in Rushville.

I finally get back home around 2 am, the night before my first day of work. I take the trash cans out to the curb as my landlord had asked me to do. The last of the trash from the previous tenant. I spied a pirated copy of the Flight of the Phoenix DVD on top of one of the cans and snag that. Hey it was someone else’s piracy, not mine. Then I proceed to make my new living space more livable.

We’ve taken 2 truckloads of stuff up so far but my living situation looks more like I’m camping out. Kind of pitiful actually. I have enough food to make fridge look like a college dorm fridge. I have enough stuff to do laundry with. I do have most of the clothes I own up here. I’m sleeping on a twin bed mattress on the floor of the guest bedroom which will eventually be my office. I have a table set up with my computer on it even though I won’t have Internet or phone service until Saturday. I have an upside-down milk crate with a 27 inch TV on it. I had though initially I wouldn’t have cable until Saturday either but the last tenant apparently paid his basic cable through the end of January. So I do have basic cable. The gas/water/electric was left on so I’m not freezing. I will say it is awesome to have an attached garage. No getting windblown, wet, snowy or cold waiting to get into my truck in the morning. All in all it could be worse.

Monday it took me almost an hour to drive the 22 miles in to work. I resolved to find an alternate route. I’d only gotten 2 hours of sleep so it was tough going anyway. Most of yesterday was spent filling out paperwork. I suppose there is a large corporation somewhere that has a handle on making smooth human resource transitions. It’s just not this one. Apparently the day after my last day of work, they took me out of the system, erased me from the network and threw out all my paperwork because we had to start over from scratch. They could not get me a user account on the new network until all my W2’s and I-9’s had been reprocessed. So basically I spent a whole day being introduced to all my new colleagues, going out to lunch with the managers on my level and filling out more paperwork. Then I drove home by a different route and promptly got lost. Well not really lost. I knew I was still going south so I had to hit a familiar cross street eventually.

On the way home, I was assailed with all sorts of doubts and fears. I felt like a caged animal and kept wondering how I’d gotten myself into all this and if I could get out without it being too messy. Then I got really sort of depressed.

So I took a nap when I got home then went out to Wal-Mart and picked up light bulbs and new wiper blades to replace the ones torn up by all the weather lately plus a little more food. Went home to make dinner, watch some TV and consult the 12 county map to find a faster route in Wednesday. Got about 7 hours of sleep and Wednesday for the first time in days, the sun was shining brightly. Not enough can be said about sunlight. Even though the cold remains, it’s at least dry out and my mood has done a 180. I was eager to get in to work and conquer whatever challenges life and work had to throw at me. My new route in saved me 15 minutes and I never had to get on the Interstate. I think with a few more adjustments, I can make it in within 35 minutes. The HR here figured out they could probably get the HR from the other part of the corporation to just fax my old I-9 to the center that sets up our network connections. So by the end of the day I may be able to actually get on the Internet or receive e-mail. I’m not holding my breath though. My colleague in the next cubicle over has some busy work that needs to be done and I’m all about helping him out until they can train me to do the new job. So things are looking up. We have a company trip to Dubuque on Monday, staying overnight so that will be fun and now it looks like everything is starting to work like it is supposed to work.

Peace,

Wander

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
brotherskeeper1
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
That was a bummer of a rough start you had. It seems that everything goes wrong at once. I'm glad that when you broke down on the busy highway that you weren't hit like happens with so many people and police officers.

I hope the worst is behind you and you can relax a little.

Peace,
Judy
wander
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Me too. The weather is actually not too bad up here, jsut cold and today went much better than the previous days.

Wander
boomshak
Jan. 19th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
It's always like that. I think so you can appreciate it when it's over. I'm glad you're settling in. It's exciting to move/new job, etc. LOL that there's TWO 24 hour Wal-Marts in the town. Is there a Costco? Then you could really stock up once a month (for non fresh stuff).

Congrats anyway. A new adventure.
wander
Jan. 19th, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
There is a Sams Club and one ofthe 24 hour WalMarts has the full grocery store in it as well. Good price there. I've discovered something called Ultra Foods up here which advertises discount prices. We shall see.

wander
justkimu
Jan. 19th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
*hugs you*

Sounds like you had one helluva time. I'm glad all things are back to normal, or somewhat normal. :)

You have done very well, condsidering all the stuff you have done to move in such a short time. Maybe the Universal rubberband just had to snap a bit?

*more hugs*
wander
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
I'm finding out today that most of those dark clouds had silver linings.

Hug

W
redsgoddes
Jan. 19th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
When you have to deal with new stuff and things get thrown at you all at once, it tends to get overwhelming. I know, I've been there and have the tee shirt (a wise man once said that to me LOL). So I can understand the depression. But you got through it!

*HUG*
wander
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
Things have calmed down a bit now. Thanks
tomyris_beat
Jan. 19th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
Nothing like an "O SH*T" day
Bummer dude, at least the car repairs are covered. Eric started his new job too and seems to be settling in ok. No major snafu's there other than a badge that wouldn't work. B. is on her trip to warm and sunny places but should be back soon all tan and rested. I just finished reviewing a book for my Mom that her writing group completed for one of their members that died of cancer before she could finish it. It turned out really well. Let us know if you need any house warming goodies and I will see what we can do about getting some Mead to put in your college dorm fridge. Glad to hear you got some sun! Tomyris
wander
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Nothing like an "O SH*T" day
The Mead goes much too fast and I'd love some more. I'm going to start making cider I think. Now that I have a finished basement to do some experimenting with.

W
tomyris_beat
Jan. 30th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
Re: Nothing like an "O SH*T" day
Mead and Cider between the two house holds we have it all covered! Tomyris
wander
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Re: Nothing like an "O SH*T" day
I saw a good cider making kit at the beer and wine store last time I was in. Fermentation time is not quite so long and I'll experiment with adding berries and such. Hopefully next time I see you, I'll have some cider for you.

W
tomyris_beat
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC)
Re: Nothing like an "O SH*T" day
Sounds yummy to me. Eric just racked the current mead, cranberry, it looks really rich and red. Hope the flavor lives up to the presentation! We are getting ready to do some cleaning and purging of junk so we will have more room to do a few smaller batches. I would like to start another Tupelo for the holidays next year. Tomyris
wander
Jan. 30th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
Re: Nothing like an "O SH*T" day
The Tupelo is still your best but the apple was pretty wonderful too!

W
tomyris_beat
Jan. 29th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Cider for mead
yummy sounds like we will have all our bases covered
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )