Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Odyssey odyssey

So. As kvetched mentioned yesterday, when we attempted to pour out the door into Homer the Odyssey yesterday, we were confronted by a large, minivan-shaped rock in the driveway.

The lights worked. The remote would unlock the doors.

But the key would not turn in the ignition, no matter what we tried.

So after a quick consultation, the husband took off for work with the Denizens-minus-Eldest crammed into the Civic (yeah, not exactly a good family vehicle for a family of six, y'all) (but an awesome commuting vehicle), while I stayed home to deal with the Odyssey Situation.

A couple hours later, when the shops and dealerships were beginning to open, I grabbed my cell phone and went outside, ready to make a call that was probably going to cost me an awful lot of money. Early research was suggesting a problem with the anti-theft system; each key is coded with a microchip that the interlock system reads before allowing the key to turn.

If it had gotten fried, it was going to be an impressively large repair bill to get it fixed.

So I walked out there and glared at Homer resentfully. Sitting there. All…not-working-y…in the driveway…and gah, right in the middle of the danged sand and rock piles, too. That wasn't going to be fun for the husband, if we couldn't get it handled right away. Or for the tow truck, I'd bet. Because lookit that, he's kind of over that pile on the one side and the front bumper is right up in the gravel…


No. Yes? Nah. But…maybe…suppose it was…is there a…sensor…or…something…under…?...sigh

I got a shovel.

Now friends…shoveling sand is not a lot of fun. Shoveling wet sand is even less fun. And rock is yet more less fun due to the weight-thing.

And all of that is nothing compared to the double-plus-un-fun of attempting to shovel sand and base rock out from under a minivan you'd rather not dent up.

Twenty minutes of hot, sweaty work later, I climbed into the cab, put my key into the ignition, paused to ponder whether I'd be more happy or pissed if this actually worked, and then made the gentle, familiar turn of the wrist…


I said a few words. Never mind what words precisely; suffice to say that they started off with something that rhymes with "oil be clammed" and may have gone a bit downhill from there.

I was more pissed than happy, at the time; among other things, my back muscles were already starting to do this fluttering thing that tends to be the early warning signs of nasty spasms. Shoveling is not an activity I should be doing in the first place, really, and certainly I shouldn't do it two days in a row, and most assuredly I shouldn't be doing awkward and heavy shoveling of the kind you will perforce be doing if you're trying to remove base rock from under a van.

Furthermore, not only did I have to clear what was directly under the van – I had to move almost half the danged pile, because naturally when you try to take stuff from the bottom of a pile, well, the top just slides right on down to replace what you just took out.

It's called gravity, and it is mean that way.

Sooooo, I had to move maybe a quarter yard of sand and rock four inches to the left to get my poor minivan out. And for a fair bit of it, I was shoveling while crouched down all weird so I could get the shovel under the van.


As I was standing there, panting, victorious, pissed off, rubbing my back and trying to fend off the spasms with willpower alone, trying to be pleased that I'd thought to try it before calling a professional , here came my husband – driven home by a sympathetic coworker after the power went out at the office and left him stranded in Pleasanton.

Now friends. This is the man who parked the vehicle in the building materials. This is the guy who created the situation in which I found myself this morning, struggling with a shovel on a work day to free whatever sensor had gotten confused by the presence of Too Much Crap Around The Tires.

It is his fault, people, that I am wondering if I'm going to find myself taking a fistful of muscle relaxants, possibly washing them down with vodka, and lying on a heating pad exactly the way they warn you not to for the next four days.


"Wow, you moved the piles. {pause} But you know they're on the wrong side now, right? Yeah. 'Cause I want them to put the pavers there, so I kind of wanted the piles to be here…"

Ahem. Yes. Well, I have another suggestion for where the blasted pavers can go, and although it is anatomically improbable, I'm willing to give it a try right about now.

Also, Important Safety Tip: Don't smart off to a pissed off, sweaty woman who just spent half an hour fixing your mistake.

Especially not while she's still holding the shovel.


JustGail said...

Too funny (not about your back though)! Just a thought - did he use a different key than you used? If so, it may be bent or it's sensor thing not working. I've also had the key not turn if the steering wheel was not in the right spot, so maybe by shoveling, you moved the wheel just enough. Hope it's not a big repair coming up.

Steph B said...


Okay, I'm sorry....I know it wasn't funny to you at the time, but holy carp, the mind-video is awesome! Did Hubby get his attitude adjusted appropriately? Hope so. Also hope that your back didn't go into total revolt again. These darn bodies of ours, don't they know they're supposed to just cooperate? Sigh...

But at least now you can drive Homer to get some (insert sedative/comfort food of choice), yes?

Kate said...

You make me laugh. A lot. I'm sorry (actually, I'm not).

Let me know how that paver installation goes ;-P hehehe

Another Joan said...

I've heard pavers will eventually flatten out dead bodies. Unless you're planning to use him for bone meal throughout the rest of the garden?

Unknown said...

OMG. I'm laughing and laughing sitting here in my office all by myself, laughing. Those darned husbands - usually mine shows up after I've done something heavy asking why didn't I wait for him to do it for me, when I'd asked him several times in the last several days to do it (whatever "it" is). Coddle yourself with some vodka. And ask Hubby for a back rub to ease his guilt for parking his darned vehicle in the wrong place at the wrong time!!!!
Nancy FP

Michelle F said...

Death Wish!

Unknown said...

I second the vote for putting him UNDER those paving slabs!

Anonymous said...

That's the trouble with having machines do *all* the thinking for us. If it had piped up and said "there's something behind my back bumper, do you really want to start the car?" you could decide, but oh, no, the car decided for you. The wrong decision, too.
Of course, the upside is that (back misery or no) you didn't experience the humiliation of having Homer towed to the dealership only to have it start right up and have the mechanical person look at you as though you were demented ...