Saturday, April 30, 2005


When I took my car to the shop to get the rear shock-strut repaired, I had intended to replace the good side, too, in order to keep too much pressure off the right side. Usually a good idea when repairing anything that has two sides. Surprise! They screwed up my paycheck by over $400. So I got only one side done.

My wiper blades are in bad need of replacing ever since I pulled the right one loose from the frozen trough on the windshield, pulling off the rubber blade. No big. It was time to replace them anyway. Surprise! Brent, the mechanic from Fraser Auto, brought my car back in the gnashing teeth of a blizzard, complete with ice, rain, snow and flesh slicing winds and the wipers hadn't been replaced. He had to order them. Good news? It was still light -- sort of. I drove him back to the shop but couldn't pay for everything because his computer was down. Surprise! I pulled back onto the road for home as the gods slammed down the horizon blinds, fighting winds determined to flip me casually off the road and into every ditch and guard rail and over the bridge between Fraser and Tabernash. I had to stop every few hundred yards to face the lacerating sleet, snow, and deadly breeze to clear the ice off the mangled wiper blades so I could see enough to keep driving toward home. I didn't have any gloves and my jacket was insufficient to the task. Good thing I didn't wash my hair that day. The accumulation of sleety snow eventually melted enough to drench my hair. The only thing I lacked was shampoo and conditioner. I did make it home despite the defogger failing to defog the window and stopping to clear the windshield by hand.

Brent told me I could come in the next day and get the new wiper blades and pay for the repairs. When I woke the sun was shining, throwing rainbow glints off trees drooping with heavy, wet snow. Surprise! I recognized the heap of snow that was my car under a foot and a half of snow. And the guys didn't come to plow. Good thing I still had plenty of junk food left over from my junk food fest the night before. (Joy at the Snooty Coyote gave me a ton of free Frito-Lay products left by the retiring delivery guy. Surprise!)

It continued to snow on and off throughout the rest of the day and it was snowing when I woke at 6:22 this morning determined to unsnow my car and drive down to Fraser. Surprise! When I opened the door an avalanche threatened me and knocked me to the floor. Snow from the steeply pitched roof obscured the windows on the first floor, neither of which I could see in the narrow closed-in entry, and buried the paving stones under the covered walkway. I floundered through the snow toward my car, found the handle and pulled it open while snow from the roof, door and windows deluged the front seat. At least it would keep my butt wet and cool. Just what I needed. I cranked the ignition, but the car wasn't in the mood to cooperate; it knew what awaited it. I was determined and it finally, weakly, and reluctantly gave in and turned over. While it warmed up I circled the car in thigh-deep, wet, clinging and insidious snow with my long-handled scraper and cleared the windows and windshield, prying up the useless wiper blades and clearing them of ice. Back inside the car, I said a quick little prayer and hit the gas, forcing my way down the driveway. Surprise! The county plowed the road at the end of the drive and left me a big foot-high fence of snow and ice. I geared down to low, hit the accelerator and bucked my way across the impasse and onto the cleared road. So far so good.

Hit the post office, crept into the parking lot at the repair shop and got out. Surprise! The wiper blades were there, but so was a bill much larger than I expected, especially since I had declined the left side repair. At least the shock-strut is under warranty and I can get my money back from that -- when I get to Arvada the next time. I paid the bill and winced when he ran my card through the machine that -- Surprise! -- didn't want to work. It finally did and I folded up my receipt while Brent got his screwdriver and headed for the car. He replaced the wipers quickly and offered to adjust the blade arms down because they weren't hitting the windshield at the right angle. He started working and then walked away while I paced and walked around. Fifteen minutes, no Brent. Twenty-five minutes, no Brent. Thirty minutes, no Brent. Surprise! He forgot about me. I picked up his screwdriver laying on the power steering pump, dropped the hood, walked the screwdriver back inside and drove around the building to get gas and fill the tires with air.

The rest of the day was pretty anticlimactic -- for a change. I got my groceries, dropped off the DVDs at the Fraser post office, and headed for home with my wiper blades clearing every speck of dust and dribble of snow that hit and melted on the unfogged windshield. Surprise! Yes, another storm was on the way. It was Brent's fault. He got his jeep out and cleaned it up because last weekend the weather was clear, sunny and warm. He angered the weather gods and they dumped their cold revenge on us every day since last Sunday.

So here I sit. I have no new movies to watch, too many books to read and review, plenty of junk food left from my orgy Thursday night, and a gathering distrust of the weather gods. They continue to spit their cold fury down on my world and I wonder if this year, like last year, spring will be a no-show and summer will appear and disappear in two weeks. Surprise! I won't be here to see it -- if I ever get out of here -- because the weather gods are much kinder on the other side of the Continental Divide. I must remember to offer a proper and generous sacrifice in the Garden of the Gods after I move to make sure they don't follow me and spit cold fury on me any more as I get lost among the multitudes in Colorado Springs.

For once, I'm looking forward to no more -- Surprise!

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