It started out like most others.. cursing the alarm, attempting to separate myself from the bed, a good morning from the dog that included leaping on parts that are better not bounced upon….

The odd part started when the car didn’t.  It cranked but never caught.  This is a first for this car, not to mention a weird one.  I wonder if it had anything to do with that lady yesterday….

I’m about to pull into my parking spot last night, coming home from work.  I notice a minivan in my rearview mirror so I signal and slow to really project the message that I’m about to park.  Don’t you hate it when you put on your turn signal and can’t back into a spot because the idiot behind you is so far up your butt they might as well be in your trunk?

Anyway, I execute a Perfect Parking Maneuver, in that I parallel park my Land Yacht in a small space with one reverse into the spot.  I’m gesticulating madly to the minivan that it’s ok to just continue going straight and noticing that the driver isn’t.

When I look out my window, the minivan’s driver looks and me and says something, smiling.  I nod and wave, having no idea what she just said.  She drives off, finally.

Observing the entire automotive ballet from the front steps is my wife.  She comes over and says she never would have believed it if she hadn’t seen it herself: apparently the lady was so knocked out by my parking skill that she stopped and watched.   After I waved her on, she stopped to tell me I was excellent.  Now my wife knows that random women stop me for no particular reason to tell me I’m excellent.  She was most amused.

I started to wonder why no one ever appeared to swoon when I played the guitar or why the Parking Swooners weren’t among the ones for which I’d swoon but decided to table it for the moment.

Back to this morning, my wife decided to be helpful by asking if the car needed a jump.  I mentioned that as it was cranking just fine, a jump would not help much, but thanks just the same.  She went inside to get some clothes on so she could drive me into work and told me to warm up her car.

In the Old Days<tm>, there was some use to the term `warming up a car’, in that the engines we the size of battleships and took a long time to produce heat.  Nothing built in the last twenty years or so requires warming up but old habits die hard.

Warming up the White Whale (my wife’s land yacht) would be a pretty benign affair if it weren’t for the alarm.  The alarm on her car was factory-installed and as a result, no one will even try to fix it.  It doesn’t work is about the best description I can give of the contraption.  Well, actually that’s not entirely correct.. it does work, but its hours of operation seem to be largely very late at night, in the cold, after my wife has put on her pajamas.  It will go off for no particular reason.  Nobody knows why.   Nobody knows how to disable it either.  Putting off an extremely expensive trip to the dealer (for a very old car), my wife pulls a battery terminal to keep the alarm from sounding.  Her theory is that it only goes off when the temperature goes below forty-six.  Where she got this theory, I have no idea and I suspect it’s more than I need to ask how she arrived there.  It would only make my head hurt.

Attaching the cable, I managed to get the car started for its `warming up’.  My wife has driven me to work in some rather interesting getups, including fuzzy animal slippers, Eeyore pajamas, and a Barbie steering wheel cover (don’t ask).  For whatever reason this trip required her to be fully dressed, so fifteen minutes of warming up later, she appeared, being towed by the dog down the steps.

We’re not sure what’s up with Marshall (the dog).  He loves going places.  The odd part about this is that as soon as he gets there, he can’t wait to leave again.  Perhaps for him, it truly is about the journey, not the destination.

As if the car not starting weren’t enough, along with the wait, my wife wants to stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee because “they know her there.”   They sure do – by the time she hits the counter, they have her coffee ready to hand to her.  The only question is how many she wants.  I think it would be more efficient to run an intravenous line with coffee in it but she disagrees.

Marshall showed us his brand new habit on the way to work: whining.  There is nothing more annoying than a whiny cocker.  If he sees a dog, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or dust out the window, he starts making all sorts of half-barking noises.  He knows he’s not supposed to bark so he starts grunting, then whining when he can’t eat the pedestrian or whatever he saw.  He doesn’t really eat people but he sure is anxious when he sees them.  Then he continues whining for a few minutes, long after the person (or dust) is out of sight.

My wife asked me to play a podcast from my phone, which was a great idea.   When I say great idea, that assumes that all parties have entered into a verbal contract to listen to said podcast or at least remain reasonably quiet until it is over.  The moment I hit PLAY, my wife had a few important questions, then a few impromptu observations about pedestrians and other drivers.  Ten minutes after I shut it off, she asked me wasn’t I going to play a podcast.

Normally my wife likes to chatter while she drives.  I just realized I don’t.  I was fortunate in that she only uttered one sentence the whole ride in.  Unfortunately the sentence lasted the whole trip in.

Marshall started getting really agitated, which my wife tells me indicates he has to go to the bathroom.  Yes, she can even tell me what he needs to eliminate by his behavior.  Maybe there is something to her wanting to go back to work after all.  We’re not sure but we suspect his reaction is a comment on the building in which I work.

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice of my wife to spring into action and get me to work.  I kissed her goodbye and entered the building.  Stumbling toward the coffee machine, I observed it exhibiting a strange behavior: the noticeable lack of coffee production.  There was some sort of error message but I do computers, not coffee machines.

My employer is nice enough to provide soft pretzels every now and then.  I went to put mustard on it (it’s a Philly thing) and the mustard pump broke.

So this is how it was going to be.

I very gingerly walked to my desk with my coffee, a pretzel, and my briefcase, amusing my coworkers to no end.  I told them to watch carefully… something hilarious was bound to happen very shortly.  Well, hilarious to those watching anyway…

Meanwhile, somewhere down the street, my mechanic is feeling lucky…