Monday, March 16, 2015

Take a Flying Leap.

We call Leeloo a circus dog, because she loves to get on her back legs and chase after you, if she thinks you have food, or anything that might interest her.  She runs around the house, chasing Mickey, tossing toys in the air, and leaping over anything in her path like it's her own personal steeplechase.  But nothing prepared me for yesterday's antics.

Jim invited his youngest son and his family over for dinner last night, so after morning church, we headed to the grocery to pick up a few things.  We went home, unpacked, and realized we'd forgotten a couple of necessary items, so I got the dogs in the car and back I went. 

We take the dogs almost everywhere we go, as long as the temperature is ok to leave them in the car.  Mickey just curls up in the seat and chills out.  Leeloo stands on the back seat, front paws on the console in front, and stares out the windshield, standing proud like she's the great adventurer she is.  Sometimes she rests her head on my shoulder and stares at me with those sweet, big, brown eyes.  There is no greater love at that moment.  ::sigh::

So, I locked the car, ran in and got my things, getting an odd look from the Girl Scouts who were selling cookies, because they had just seen me there about half an hour before, but in different clothes.  Such is my life, girls.  Deal with it.  I went out to the car, juggling bulky bag and a big package of toilet paper, being cautious to keep the puppy from getting loose, because she can be a bit wild.  She's a puppy, ya'll.  She gets rambunctious at odd times.  I started the car and went home, pulled into the garage, and got my stuff out.  Opened the back car door to let the dogs out.

There's only one dog -- Mickey -- staring at me.  Staring at me with a confused look that says "what the heck just happened?"  There's no Leeloo.  What. The. Heck.

I went into the house and dropped the stuff in front of Jim and said "I can't find Leeloo."  He turned around and stared at me with a stricken look, and said "don't say that."  "I'm serious."   We went back out to the garage and found that the back passenger window was open.  This meant that no only had she managed to open the window, she had jumped out of a moving car as well.  Now, I've had some crazy dogs. I've had some dumb dogs.  I've fostered, owned, or petsat for more animals than I can count, but I have never had an animal jump out of a moving car.

Marsh is at least a couple of miles from our house, and I had no idea where we had been she had taken her flying leap.  I called Jim's daughter in law, who said she would help search, and I took off for Marsh.  No Leeloo.  Customer Service hadn't had a report of a dog, and the window washers at the next building hadn't seen her.  I jumped back in my car and Jim drove up.  He couldn't find her either.  He headed off one way, and I went the other.  I ended up retracing my path carefully, looking for places where I had turned, thinking perhaps she had jumped at a stop sign, or lost her balance on a turn.  There's a place in our neighborhood where it takes a job -- Jim hates it that I drive that way, but I like it.  Normally, when I turn on that jog, Leeloo knows she is almost home, and starts barking joyfully.  Right in my ear.  I didn't remember her barking, so I knew she had to have gone out before that turn, so instead of taking the jog, I drove down the dead end street to the left.  And there she was.

She heard my car and came racing up to me, flopping in front of me just as I opened the door.  She gave me a look as if to say "where the heck did you go?"  She was wet, after running across a huge puddle to get to me, and she leapt into the car, soaking me in the process.  I tried calling Jim, but he didn't have his phone.  Lo and behold, I headed toward home and was right behind him.  We arrived in the driveway in sync, and both breathed a big sigh of relief.

Needless to say, the lock will be kept on the windows from now on.  A head count will commence before and after each outing.  And we may have to look for a sparkly cape for our little circus dog.  And a Xanax for me.

What a (Lug) Nut

I had a flat yesterday.  No biggie, really.  I've changed my share of flats in my life.  Heck, I taught the boys how to change one.  Seth had the quickest tire changing lesson ever.  It's still the only time I've been to Toledo.  Flat tires are not a huge thing to me, as long as I can lift the new tire up.  ::reminds self to do more pushups::

I was driving home from work in the Miata -- a rarity at this time of year.  I left a few minutes early, looking forward to the drive on a clear winter's day, music blaring.  Ten minutes later, I felt that familiar thump, thump, thump.  Phooey.  Fortunately, I was at an intersection which was blessed with a Marathon station, so I pulled in, popped the trunk, and got ready to get to work.  Easy peasy Japanesey -- clear day, chilly but not too cold, and a small tire that's low to the ground.  I figured I'd be out of there pretty quickly.  I called Jim to tell him that I'd be late getting home -- the last time I didn't do that, he was ready to call the State Police, thinking that I was in a ditch.  Sweet man, he is.

I did a little inventory of the trunk, wondering if I'd taken my own advice.  When the kids bought their cars, I told them, ALWAYS make sure when you buy a car that you have a spare and a jack in the trunk before you drive out.  Spare?  Check.  Jack?  Check.  Huh.  The spare was held in place with a lug nut.  Okay, no problem.  I reached into the cubby in the trunk and pulled out the ziplock bag that held the lug wrench.  UH OH.  There's an adaptor, but no lug wrench.  Huh.  I looked around.  No lug wrench. Look in the owner's manual to see if there's a cubby I'm missing. Nope.  There was no lug wrench. 

No problem, right?  I mean, everyone has a lug wrench, right?  Not so much.  I quickly realized that I was parked right by the divorced parents' parental drop off, because someone pulled up by me and jumped out with their kid, and struck up a conversation with a person in the next car.  I asked if they had a lug wrench I could borrow.  "Oh man, I don't.  My lug wrench isn't gonna work on your car."  He had a pickup truck with big tires that apparently uses different, bigger lug nuts.  He asked his ex, who was standing next to her truck.  She rummaged.  Nope, no lug wrench.  Geez, lady, I hope you don't have a flat with your child in the car.  I looked around, nothing but pickup trucks.  I finally find someone else with a car -- no lug wrench. 

I decided my best bet was to go inside and see if anyone had one.  I went to push the door open, and realize that the whole station was full of Amish people.  Well that isn't gonna help me.  I went up to the clerk.  No, he drives a pickup, too.  He asked the other clerk, who looks at him blankly and asked what a lug wrench is. He looked at me and rolled his eyes, while he explained what it is.  "Oh, I don't have one of those.  My mom drove me to work."  Seriously?  The first clerk looked at me and said "the towing companies probably have one."  Dude, that's what I'm trying to avoid -- getting charged for something stupid.

I decided that my only real option at this point is to call Jim and tell him what's going on.   Only now, I realized that I am apparently in the Bermuda Triangle for T-Mobile, where my cell phone never works.  How it worked the first time is beyond me, because it's never worked in that area before.  Apparently, it used all its magic the first time, because I have no signal, no matter where I move.  I went back in and asked the clerk if I can use his phone.

 He says no problem, he'll just head up there and rescue me.  He arrived shortly thereafter, lug wrench in hand.  Unscrewed that lug nut and what?  The stupid lug wrench is under the spare.  Which was held in place with a lug nut. No way could I have changed that tire without the lug wrench.  No way to get the lug wrench without the lug wrench.

And thus, a weekend was started with me stranded at a gas station with a flat tire, a bunch of Amish people, and no lug wrench.  And you wonder why I'm half nuts.