SO I figured that it had ended, and maybe it has. A week is a good, measurable chunk of time. Why would the God/s extend their wrath?
SATURDAY: Went and recieved my birthday gift from my wife, a TASCAM didgital mixer/recording machine and a pair of condenser mics. It turns out the TASCAM requires phantom power to run the condenser mics, and the mics you might use that don't require phantom power (experience tells me) will sound like crap on the TASCAM machine. TASCAM: You've Been Had.
So we went out to the University area, which, although being by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is really shorthand for the burgeoning retail shopping area that has been burgeoning over the last fifteen years or so, where I went to the music store I prefer-- a part of a small, relatively local chain, which passes for The Local Music Store. Phantom power? No. But Augustine Blacks, yes, and I got a pack for my Takamine and a pack for Carlita. (To those of you new here, those are my classical guitars.)
Thence to a bike store, where Rachelle finally bought a bike, a Trek mountain bike which she test-drove before buying it. Also, we got a bike rack which fits the Mini nicely. So far so good.
Later in the evening we change into our fancies, me wearingthe Lawsuit (my gray pinstriped, double-breasted suit), off-blue shirt, MC Escher Tessellations tie, rachelle in skirt and blouse, and we headed off for the celebratory birthday dinner. A short way down the road, the Mini started making a screeching noise, from the left rear wheel, clearly a brake problem. Bummer. After a brief discussion, we decided to turn about and switch the Mini for the Miata. After a quick stop to move our reservation from fifve-thirty to a quarter of six, we plopped into the Miata and off we went.
Downtown, at Trade Street and Church Street. A little traffic, not bad. The valet kids were swamped; there were two of them, and I think they had been expecting less traffic. Anyways, I swung the miata into the valet station with a swing-and-hook maneuver that scared the bejesus out of the Wifey and amused the hell out of the valet kid. He gave me the ticket and took the car. "Take good care of her!" I said as he took the car. He liked that. He gave me a nice grin.
Inside, seated, cool waiter, great service. Terrific food. Appetizers, entrees, sides, two beers (for me), then a dessert to share and a coffee (again, me). One hunred and eighty bucks after tip. (Including a fiver to the valet kid, who gave us a grin that said we were his favorite customers that night.)
SUNDAY: There was some walking and stuff, but mainly the Wifey spent the day obsessing over the notion that we were spending too much money.
MONDAY: The Wifey hung around until the tow truck the Mini people sent out got here and took her car off to the dealership for a diagnostic. As soon as that had been accomplished, we jumped in the Miata and I took her off to work. About noon the dealer's service guy called: they examined and tested all four brake assemblies, found no problems, figured a stone might have gotten wedged in or something. Anyways, the car had a clean bill of health, and they were washing it for us even as we spake. So I called the Wifey, and we decided to ga ahead and go pick her up. So, I zapped down to the office, grabbed the Wifey, and off we headed to what we figured was as good a route to the dealer as any.
On our way up 485, the wifey said "Wow, look at all the Troopers!"
Four of them sat behind a barrier well off the road. I dropped off the gas, but I saw one of them go active in the rear-view as we passed. "Well," I said, "Looks like I'm getting a speeding ticket today, m'love."
Cop pulls us over. "We had you clocked at 81 at the bridge back there." He took the license and reg, and as we watched the other motorists being pulled over, up the road ahead of us and down the road behind us, by maybe a dozen troopers, out in force, it dawned on me: the bridge. The trooper who ran us down had been stationed a good tenth of a mile past the bridge. Someone else was there with a radar gun, cherry-picking and transmitting the offenders for the hounds to chase. We had been had. We were set up, we were knocked down. Sure, I was
speeding, but still.
So we stewed about that, both of us, the rest of the drive to the dealer. We got the Mini, free of charge and sparkling like new, and Rachelle went back to work and I went home and spent the rest of the day feeling subtly cheated and judged wanting.
So today, a gray, rainy, lousy day, I confined my activities to a single trip to the store, for lunch and a few sundries, and a call to a law office so we can get this goddamned lousy ticket taken care of without affecting our insurance payments. E Pluribus Unum