Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Continuing saga of the weather in Madison

When I got to work Monday morning, everyone was stuck someplace - my boss was stuck in Texas; Mark had spent the night in Detroit, on his way to Ohio; one co-worker was stuck in Milwaukee, where she was taking care of her sister's little boys - the youngest is only 3, and 2 puppies, and the sister was stuck in California; and John & Al's dad was stuck here.

John & Al's dad was getting a flight out at omigod in the morning today - 600 a.m. - which means getting up at 4:30 to be at the airport when it opens at 5:00 - and Al dutifully got up to drive his Dad (even though they had had a huge fight the night before, but like my friend Joe Janes says, "that's another story").

On the way to the airport, they hit a patch of ice and skidded into a parked car. Al thought it was just a flat tire, but bad - the rim was bent, so the car needed to be towed. He put his Dad in a cab, and we got the car towed to a nearby tire place, (although even then I was worrying that there might be more wrong with the car than the tire place could fix). Then Al got in a cab and came home. We all went back to bed, and I called the tire place at 7:30 when they opened, and they still thought the car'd be simple to fix, but they wanted me to get there with the keys, pronto, 'cuz the tow truck guy left the car kind of on the sidewalk, and they thought either I - or they- would get a $60 parking ticket.

I started off walking, missed all the right buses, but finally got to the tire place, and turned out there was some damage to the car's suspension, they can't fix it, the mechanic said he thinks it's a broken tie rod. So I had to get the car towed again, to the VW dealer's body shop.

And meanwhile, while I was hustling to the tire place, the guy who's car Al hit called me, and we agreed that he would get an estimate on his car, and I could decide if I want insurance to pay or pay for it myself - I have $500 deductable, and Al's a teenage driver, so it might be best for me to pay the other guy's damages myself.

The main truly uncomfortable thing outstanding is what the guy Al hit is going to say - I am anticipating a laundry list of all the things that are wrong with his car that are now suddenly Al's fault - and I just checked and he has a 10 mile commute to work, so he may want a loaner car, adding to the expenses....

While I was waiting at the tire place, I read this article in the local paper:


In an unscientific test, the Wisconsin State Journal measured a shovelful of hard-packed snow, like the kind snowplows leave at the end of your driveway. It weighed about 22 pounds.

22 pounds equals:

  • Three gallons of milk, which weigh in at 8.62 pounds each according to the National Milk Producers Federation

  • Four 5-pound bags of potatoes, give or take a potato or two

  • About six hardcover copies of Tolstoy's "War and Peace" (each 3.85 pounds according to amazon.com)

  • The average 15-month-old baby girl

  • Just more than two of the average backpacks belonging to middle school students. A University of California-Riverside study found those weigh 10.6 pounds each.

On the way back to work, I stopped at a coffee bar and had a latte in a for-here cup and a banana for breakfast, felt like I due a little pampering by then; I was ready to go for pastry, but none of them really looked appealing.

And now John just called and he thinks he left his camera on a (Milwaukee) city bus. I hope I didn't jinx him - I had just called him, to tell him how lucky he was to be back in Milwaukee and not here for the car crises and dad & brother fights.

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