Back in November Jerry and I promised Michael a date with Natalie for his birthday: a movie and dinner. They wanted Kelly and Sterling to join them so off we went Tuesday afternoon and had a wonderful time.
Then driving back home in the dark Michael began imitating "the GPS lady" as we approached the Ranch.
Michael's an incredible mimic with superb comic timing and had us in stitches as we passed the Ranch.
The GPS lady became indignant: "You did NOT stop at your destination! I TOLD you you were at your destination! You have PASSED your destination! And what's that smell!?"
We dropped Sterling off and backtracked to the Ranch. First we had to stop by the Chicken Hilton for Natalie to check the chicks, turn on the heat lamp and bar the doors.
Then I made the rounds of the Village dropping off Kelly at Martha House, Michael at Barnabas, and Natalie at Teresa.
Then it was back to the barn to fix bottles for the Dude and close up his stall, since it was forecast to freeze.
Finally, back at Benedict House, Jerry was awake but already turned in, so I said goodnight and settled in to watch the "Good Wife" on TV and decompress a little from my busy day.
Twenty minutes in, the screen went black and a gigantic hissing sound began emanating from the set. Not a good sign. After fiddling with the controls I gave up and went to bed.
Next morning I was up at 5:30 AM to drive into Austin and meet the cable guy to hook up the new TV at the condo. Which he did, and it worked fine.
While he was here.
Early Thursday when I discovered it would not turn on, I resolved to call the cable company later in the day. My immediate plans included checking out furniture at Lack's for the new houses and buying breakfast items at Costco and then heading back to the Ranch.
Alas, the best laid plans...
I started the dishwasher going and as I put the detergent back under the sink I noticed water pooling on the the floor of the cabinet. Further investigation revealed that the whole undersink plumbing assembly was on the verge of collapse.
I quickly turned off the dishwasher, sopped up the water, and called Fox, who promised to send someone over that afternoon.
It was only about 9:30, so I drove to Lack's. Alas, as I entered the parking lot, the Granny Charger began to cough and sputter. I went inside, took pictures and noted prices, then drove straight to a local car repair to see what was going on. I left the car and walked back to the condo.
About 1:00 the plumber arrived and worked for a few hours redoing the whole installation under the sink. Then the shop called. They couldn't diagnose anything with the car and suggested I take it somewhere else. I walked to the shop, got the car, and lurching and coughing made my way up Burnet to Gordon Automotive. They couldn't promise to get to it today, so I called a friend and asked him to pick me up.
Since Gordon's isn't very visible from the road, I went next door to the Waterloo Ice House, where I was held hostage and forced to consume coffee and a piece of apple pie a la mode while waiting for Greg.
Greg arrived and brought me back to the condo. Fortunately, it would be easy to live totally without a car in our condo neighborhood. Everything one could ever conceivably need is within a one-mile radius of the Tiffany Condominiums: movies, grocery and department stores, parks, gyms, yoga parlors, craft shops, bus lines, candy stores, coffee shops, a gazillion eateries, and our church, St. Louis Catholic.
Jerry and I bought the condo a few years ago as we became increasingly reluctant to come into Austin in the evenings for concerts, church activities, or to visit family. That drive back at 11:00 PM is no fun for the old folks.
It's a nice contrast to Ranch life, where our motto is: "If they don't have it at HEB, Wal-Mart, or the feed store, you probably don't need it.")
There was one surprise however when we bought the condo. We expected a lot more noise--sirens and car noises and alarms and such. After all, we're just off Mo-Pac and Anderson, with the train tracks a block away.
But at the Ranch, the coyotes start choir practice at dusk and the donkeys and roosters fire up their serenade at dawn. All we hear at the condo most of the time is the gentle trickle of Shoal Creek, if that.
Anyway, it's been a puzzling and frustrating couple of days this week, what with my infrastructure crumbling about me, but I don't suppose it has any greater significance than coincidence. Everything will be fixed, we will be a little poorer, and our local commercial establishments will be a little better off.
And life will go on.