Sitcom of a Day

You know how some days you wake up and just know the day isn’t going to go your way? That you are just doomed from the start? Well, that might have been a nice warning.

Today started pretty typical, and looked to be rather busy but nothing too out of the ordinary. Between office hours and teaching, I was at MSU from 9am to 4pm, plus I needed to finish a Fellowship application. The junior girl scouts had a cookie booth at 4 and Diana needed to pick up cookies for it, plus there was a prescription we needed to get.

However, we needed to take the van in to get the brakes fixed. They had started squeaking a week or so ago (which could be bad or not), but yesterday changed to a scraping sound.  Not good. So I dropped the van off at our usual place first thing in the morning and hoped we’d get some new pads, rotors and whatever, and have it back by the end of the day for the cookie booth.


It took a couple calls between classes to finally talk to the estimator and he started the conversation with “You know, Ken, this is one of those days where I don’t have good news for anyone.”

The gist of it is new stuff in the front, but also something broke in the back causing it to pretty much seize up and then he says, “Now for the bad news…” *sigh* The back brake that had the self-adjuster or whatever break hit a hose and caused a leak. But not only that but the hose was totally fused in place and couldn’t be removed without destroying it. AND apparently Dodge likes to have proprietary parts so they can make hundreds of dollars on a simple hose. BUT, they might be able to jury rig something up with spare hoses so that they can skip ordering that part.

Hit with a price we couldn’t handle, I ask what is necessary to get it running for today, then we can see what can be done later. At this point we were still hoping to get the cookies for the cookie booth.

Now, this is where the fun starts.

He talks to the technician to see what needs to be done to get it basically running again.Well, it ends up, the real show stopper is that hose because once it goes, we would lose our rear brakes, and it was very close to going. So close in fact that… well… he hesitated on the phone… when the technician took another look at it, he wound up breaking it. So the van was already not drivable.

Mind you, this is already 2:30 in the afternoon.

So I give them go ahead to try and rig up a hose since there’s nothing to lose now, and the owner will give me a call later to see what we can work out with the cost. I start trying to work out with Diana arranging a car rental and seeing if we can still pull off the cookie booth, but wind up postponing it.

After my 4th discussion of positive and negative rights with the few students that actually showed up to class on a Friday afternoon, the owner calls up and says that they will get a hose working in there one way or another. So that part of the repair will be $15 rather than $460. Which is definitely nice. As for the rest, since we have been going there with all of our cars for probably a decade now, he’s willing to have us pay in a couple installments. Unfortunately, it’s just not going to be ready until Monday.

Since we still have stuff we need to get done this weekend, I go ahead and see about reserving a rental car. Thankfully Enterprise has a great weekend rate, but I do some price comparison with other places. One asks for my driver’s license number which is easy, cuz I’ve had that memorized since high school. Next it asks for the expiration date on my license. Ok… I have no idea when that is, so I pull it out… December 9 (my birthday, of course).


I have been driving with an expired license for 4 months now. And they certainly aren’t going to rent a car to someone with an expired license.

It is now after 4pm, so I walk (quickly) over to the Secretary of State in downtown East Lansing while giving Diana the latest update. I get to the SoS and see… a “For Lease” sign. They moved several miles away. I hustle back to Grand River and hop the bus. At this point, the clock is ticking down on getting the car before it closes at 6pm, and picking up a prescription for Diana before they close at 6 as well.

I get off the bus and walk into the new SoS and then get in line to get a number.

Yes, I waited in line in order to get a number so that I could wait in line again.

Apparently, the SoS didn’t just move, they condensed several locations into one. A busy day at the EL location would be maybe 10 people. Here, they were serving #42 and my number was… 94. The place was 3 times the size and 4 times as packed.

Ok, at the rate they were going, I should be able to get my license a little over an hour after the SoS closes, and approximately 15 minutes after the rental and pharmacy close. This was not good for the plan.

So, I talk to Diana and we decide that maybe she can just get the car, but they would probably have to pick her and the kids up. Sure, kind of a hassle for her and the kids, but that would work. So I call and set up the pick up, transferring the reservation to her name is no big deal and before I hang up he adds, “Oh, and make sure she has a credit card, we don’t take debit.”

Diana doesn’t have a credit card. We only have one account and we never use it (safer that way) and so I never bothered getting Diana a card. We debit or cash everything.

So I do not have a license and Diana does not have a credit card. Neither of us can actually get the car.

New plan – Diana has begged a friend of hers to drive over to get me, and then we can go together to the rental place. The friend is on the way and I call Enterprise to update them and… they can’t rent the car in one person’s name and use the credit card of another – even if we are both there.

This is the point where my right eye starts twitching from the stress and Diana tells me that I am forbidden from calling her unless I have good news.

I go back to check the SoS (I have been making the calls from outside) since they are locking the doors in a few minutes and see that apparently a bunch of people gave up because the numbers jumped to the upper 70s.

I go inside before they lock and up and almost give myself a neck cramp looking back and forth between the number being served and watching for Diana’s friend outside. Number 80. No car yet. Still number 80, still no car. Number 81…

At 5:20 my number is finally called and I start the process (thankfully no test this time). She has me look in the little box and read the letters. Between the twitchy eye and general frazzledness, I can barely focus on anything but apparently guess the letters well enough to pass (or she just wants to get done and home). Then she asks if I see the blinking lights.

Um… there’s no blinking lights. I quickly wonder if I should just say yes, or if she will ask which side. Ultimately, I hope it’s a technical glitch and say no. She hits buttons, gives up, then takes my picture while I try not to look like I want to just sleep under a rock.

Diana’s friend gets there, and I ask her to drive me to get the car, which after we finally find the place goes surprisingly well. I manage to get the prescription with about 5 minutes to spare, and get home where the kids oh and ah over the shiny new car. I just crawl into bed and hope nothing catches fire or any tress fall on the car.

No fun Friday.


4 thoughts on “Sitcom of a Day

    1. Heh, I’m just glad I’m not the only one who had an expired license without realizing it. But weeks, not months in my case.

      You guys goodish?

      1. Fitton!! How are you doing?

        Yeah, we’re hanging in there. I’m just hectic busy working two part time jobs (one of which is teaching up at Alma, crazy), and working on the PhD. It is its own kind of stress, but it feels nice not fixing code all day.

        Diana and the kids are still doing great and growing like crazy – the kids that is, not Diana. (Ella is catching up to poor Samantha in height!)

    2. Thankfully it is calmer now. Yesterday morning when the screen door blew open and put a scratch in the rental car, I was worried it was going to be another fun day, but thankfully that was it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s