I stumble from my bed into the dimly lit bathroom. Crap, fifth time I wake up to piss tonight. I knew better than to drink so much water late in the evening last night. As I get into the bathroom I look at the damn blue lights on the digital clock we have on the back of the toilet. Crap, it's already 8 a.m. We gotta go. I take a quick piss and turn all the lights on as I try to walk rapidly into the kitchen to make coffee and nuke a couple of frozen breakfast sandwiches.
The wife groans when the overhead light hits her in the eyes. "What time is it," she asks as I pass through the bedroom.
"Eight. Hurry up we have to get on the road in less than thirty minutes to make it to your doctor's appointment." She moans in duet with me. Damn old stiff muscles for me and residuals of her chemo for her. Crap. It hurts every morning but I think this one is worse.
While the coffee maker does its thing and the microwave turns a moderately appetizing piece of rubber warm I rush back to the bedroom and throw on some clothes. As I pass through the living room I glance at the digital thermometer on the book shelf. Well, at least it's working today and transmitting the 'news' inside. Crap, the fancy thermometer says it's already 84 outside and 58% humidity.
I sit on the edge of the bed and use my hands to lift each leg up so I can put on my socks. Damn, I remember when I used to just use my leg muscled to do that. Crap getting old is the pits. I stand up to put on my pants and get my foot caught, lose my balance and fall back onto the bed. Crap.
Finally we are dressed for the day. We rush into the kitchen and fill our travel mugs, grab the rubber sandwiches from the microwave and head out to the garage and our car. Push the button on the wall and the door groans upward, it jerks and stops then the damn lights start flashing. Crap, they just adjusted the damn door and it's not working right again. Push the button again, down it goes. Another push, it jerks and wobbles but this time it rises all the way. Yippee. We can go now.
I back out of the garage and push the opener button to close the garage. Since it's not working correctly I watch it close all the way. My wife sees the damn cats all over the front porch. She looks at me and says, "Did you feed the cats honey?"
"No, I forgot it." I take my foot off the brake and start to back out of the driveway.
"Stop. We have to feed the cats. We have time to do that if you hurry." Crap, I hate those damn cats and now it's my job to feed them. Damn cats. As I put the car into park I wonder about the "we" in that statement. She's sitting in the car but WE have time to feed the cats if I hurry. Crap.
I push the door opener again and then open the car door. I duck under the slowly opening garage door and then go into the house to the bag of dry cat food. I take their ration of food out and open the front door of the house. In come the two youngest kittens right under my feet. Oh, yeah, you know what came next. I kick one of them and almost fall then they follow me to each of the two food bowls wanting something better than damn ole dry cat food.
Ok, food is in the pans, now I rush back into the house. Well, hallelujah, I beat all but one of them. One of the damn kittens beat me into the house and I have to chase it down to get it out. Ok, cat out, front door locked, out the garage and into the damn car. Push the button, watch the door close, put the car in reverse and off we go.
Fuck, the damn music stopped. I turn to the wife and ask, "Why did you turn off the music?"
"I didn't turn it off. It just stopped." Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
I look over toward the wife and say, "Fasten your seatbelt and shut the damn bitch up (You know, that's the bitch that lives in the dashboard and talks back to you now). As I say that I see a message over the face of the radio display—fasten seatbelt to unmute stereo. Crap. I'm in trouble now.
Yep, sure enough the wife says, "It's not MY seatbelt that's not on."
Crap. Ok, we're still on the dirt road to our house so I am driving slowly. I reach for the seatbelt and the damn car decides to take a quick right. Crap, I let go of the belt and grab the wheel again. Ok, now we're straight. I try to one hand the belt. Damn road is rough and it locks up so I can't pull the damn thing to the latch. Crap. The car swerves again. Crap.
Ok, now we're at the stop sign by the highway and I get the seatbelt locked. Ok, now we can play my song, "On the Road Again".
We make it the next 40 miles ok and get to town. Crap, the light where I got rear ended is red. I have to stop again. I feel my ass pucker and I look all around for someone coming to hit me again. Finally the light is green and I can take off again. Whew, dodged that bullet.
Well, finally arrive at the Oncology center. Hey, that's pretty good. We're only five minutes late. We check in and wait for the nurse to call my wife back. And wait. And wait. Finally twenty minutes after her 09:30 appointment she's called back.
Ok, now we do the twenty question gig and, of course get the vitals. Oh, boy. We only had to wait about ten minutes after the nurse left us alone in the exam room for the doctor. We play ten questions this time. The wife asks her list of questions, the most important one is, "We have time scheduled in Florida beginning Tuesday. We planned to leave for the drive down Sunday. Is there any reason we shouldn't go? What about pools and hot tubs. Can I use them?"
"Oh, no. You can do anything you are able to do now. Just don't overdo it and stay out of the sun as much as you can."
Great, we can go! We quickly finish the visit to the doctor and go home. As soon as I get home I begin packing for the trip and loading what I can into the car. Man, I get to do something different for a short while.
Sunday morning comes and I wake early then make sure the wife is awake. "What time is it," she asks.
"A little after 05:30."
"I thought you told everyone we were going to leave when we woke up? Why are you up so early?"
"Well I woke up to piss and its morning so we need to go."
"Can't we wait for a while? I'm still beat." Well, Crap. I'm wide awake and dressed. Crap, I walk into the kitchen and make coffee. I take my pills for the day and sit drinking a cup, looking around. Wonder what's on TV. Damn, 157 channels and not a damn thing to watch. I'm about ready to turn it off when the wife stomps out of the bedroom and glares at me.
I look at her and say, "I thought you wanted to sleep a little longer? Why did you get up?"
"Well I sure couldn't sleep with that racket blaring through the house."
She fills her travel mug with coffee and picks up her purse. At the front door she stops and looks back at me and says, "Well are you ready to go or not?"
Crap. Hell no, I'm not ready to go. I still have to turn off the water and water heater then I have to unplug the cable and computer and TV's so if we have a lightning storm they won't get burned out. I put my cup down and hustle off while the wife stands glaring at me.
Finally I come back into the kitchen, grab the cooler and begin filling it with the snacks and drinks for the trip. After it is full I fill MY travel mug and clean out the coffee pot.
Ok, NOW I'm ready to go. I put the cooler in its place in the car and we get into the car. I back out of the garage and the damn cats are milling around on the porch. Ok, you guessed it. My wife looks over at me and says, "Honey did you feed the cats?"
Crap. I slam the car into park and head back to the house to feed the damn cats. I HATE cats. Ok, task accomplished, get into the car and take off. "Left turn ahead," says the bitch in the dashboard.
What the FUCK? I look at the wife and say, "Why did you program the GPS? Hell, we make this same trip twice a year. I know where I'm going."
"I know Honey but I like to see how much farther we have to go so I turned her on." Crap. Now I have to listen to the damn bitch moan and groan all day because I don't take the route she wants me to take. Ok, now I'm almost three fourths mile from home and I turn ... wait for it ... I turn RIGHT because that is the shortest route time wise to where we are headed. The GPS is programmed for the FASTEST route—HA! I have proven distance wise AND time wise my route is shortest AND fastest but the GPS wants me to stay on major highways and interstates so I can DRIVE faster.
Ok, you got it. As soon as I turn right the bitch says, "Make a U Turn when possible." Of course I keep going. Hell, I know where I'm headed. The estimated mileage to our destination keeps rising as I go farther along the WRONG route. Every major intersection I come to I hear, "Right turn ahead." Of course when I don't turn where the GPS wants me to turn I then get another bitchy message.
FINALLY, almost an hour after we start the GPS gives up and recomputes our route. Ok, great, now at least she agrees with the route I have chosen and surprise, surprise, the mileage to our destination has declined by almost 300 miles from her projected mileage when we left home. Of course for some reason the ETA stayed the same. Go figure.
Ah, peace and quiet. I'm enjoying the silence as the scenery flows by. "Dring, Dring, call from Dad," says the bitch in the dashboard.
Crap. Which one of these damn buttons on the steering wheel do I push to answer the damn phone? Nope, not that one. Crap, that one made it louder. Ahhh, that one got it. "Hello."
My 85 year old Mother is on the phone (Dad is too good to make a call or something. At least he never does. You call him and he'll talk though) "Jim. Jim did you feed the cats before you left?" Well, crap. "Is there anything we need to do at your place today? Your sister wants to go to town to see her grandchildren so she needs to know if she needs to go to your place before she goes." (My divorced sister is retired and lives with my parents now)
Crap. "No you don't need to do anything at the house."
"Well did you remember to feed the cats?"
Crap, I hate cats. "Yes I fed the damn cats."
"Well you don't have to use that kind of language. I just wanted to know."
"Sorry. Yeah I fed the cats. Just have her check things every couple of days like we talked about and we'll be fine."
"Well what about the cats? Don't they need to be fed?"
"Not really. They're outside cats. They can hunt mice for their food and the creek is less than 100 feet from the house so they can drink there. There's tons of mice in the barn. They'll be fine."
"I'll have your sister go down every day and feed them then."
Crap. "She doesn't have to do that mom."
"OH, it's no trouble and they'll be hungry."
"Ok, whatever you want to do. Look, traffic is getting heavier I have to go."
"OK. See you when you get home."
"Jim, that's no way to talk about your mother!"
Crap. "Honey I was talking to the car."
Ahhhh, blessed silence. It sure is pretty and green here. Look at that view. Beeeeeep, Beeeeep. Roar. A black flash zooms past. Hey, the long haired punk driving thinks I'm No. 1. He's waving his middle finger at me.
Crap, speed limit is 45, I'm doing 50 and some pissed off punk buzzes past me and flips me off. Asshole.
Ok, finally at the town for our overnight stop. We've never stayed at this hotel before but it looked nice on the internet and the area has been pretty when we drove past it in the past. I check in. We go to the mini suite. Very nice room and best of all it's free! (I used some patronage points to cash in for a free room this time).
"You want to eat first or hit the pool and hot tub honey," I ask.
"I'm hungry. Let's eat first then we can relax the rest of the night."
I go to the front desk as we pass through the lobby and ask, "Can you point me in the direction of the most restaurants?"
"What do you want to eat?"
"I haven't really decided. Not fast food but nothing too expensive either."
"Well, there's nothing really close. Go to the road you came in on and turn left then go back on the interstate. There is an exit 6 miles down the interstate to the west. Take that exit and turn left. There are several places to eat there."
Crap. "You mean there's nothing close here down the road we're on? Hell I drove past that exit when I came in."
"No sir, not for about seven or eight miles. Well, unless you want to go on the other side of the interstate. There's a convenience store that sells chips and stuff like that."
Crap. "Ok, thanks." We jump in the car and off we go. I hit the interstate and hear ding, ding. I look at the instrument panel and the display is flashing 48 miles until empty over and over. Crap. I meant to fill the tank at the convenience store in the morning before I left. Well crap, I'll just fill when we eat tonight.
I make the exit as directed and turn left. Crap. Nothing but fast food stores and convenience stores. Oh, there's an Outback Steakhouse. No other sit down type restaurants in sight. I guess we go to Outback.
WOW. That's great. That convenience store has fuel 8 cents a gallon cheaper than most of the others. I whip in and slide the ole credit card into the reader. The pump is chugging away. Man was the car empty or what? Ten gallons plus in the little fifteen gallon tank and we're already at $34.30 total cost and climbing. Whoa, what's the deal here? The damn sign says unleaded gasoline is $3.359. The pump says it is $3.439. Crap. Damn misleading advertising. I'll be damn if I pay that. The advertised price is what I should pay.
Finally the tank fills and I stomp off to the store with my receipt. I walk in and a long haired bearded punk looks at me than says, "You need something?"
Crap, what happened to polite employees. "Yeah, your pump is set wrong. The sign says fuel is $3.359 and the pump charged me $3.439. I need you to give me a credit on my card."
"No sir. That's the cash price. It's 8 cents a gallon more if you charge it."
"That's not what the sign says."
"Yes it is. It's marked clearly on every pump sir."
"No, it's not. You'll have to prove that to me."
"Come on then."
I follow the punk outside to the pump I used. Right over the little slot you stick your credit card in is a faded rolled up label about the diameter of a pencil. The punk points at it and says, "See. That notice plainly says the advertised price is the cash price."
"That's nothing but a rolled up piece of plastic."
Heavy sigh. Asshole reaches out with both hands and unrolls the little slip of plastic. There very plainly is 'Adv r ce is c sh pri. cr d pric 8 ts ore.' Crap. Fucking ripoff. I take down the name of the station and address then get into the damn car. I'm going to write someone and get revenge on these assholes. Well I am if I can find someone who cares.
I drive onto the side street and up to the main drag. I turn on my left turn signal and sit waiting for a break in the traffic. A horn blares behind me. I turn and glare at the asshole then turn back looking for a break in the traffic. I hear a thumping on my window and roll it down a little. Another young man is standing there looking very angry. He says, "Can't you read? This is a Right turn only intersection. The traffic's too heavy to ever turn left across it." I look where he's pointing and see a 'Right Turn Only' sign nearly completely obscured by hanging foliage. Crap.
The man walks angrily back to his car and I change my signal and turn right. I have to drive two blocks before I find a street with a stoplight. I turn down it then turn around so I can go the direction I need to go.
Finally, we reach the Outback Steakhouse. The parking lot is almost full and it's only about ten after 5. Crap. Well, in we go. I stop and smile. Nearly half the tables are empty. Thank gosh, no wait. The hostess does the "How many in your party?" question and my wife says "Two."