Well, we have been to 3 of 6 of the corners of our state, and went through two neighboring western states in the process. The trees are in full color - better than they've been in over a decade. That's probably not what you are here to read, but it's important in all times, and maybe especially in hard times to look up and notice the beauty of green trees blushing pink at their tips, or shudders of gold coursing through an aspen grove flanked by the stalwart evergreen of the pines. They smell good too.
Well yes, wow, that was a jaw dropper of a stock drop today. We were actually standing in a vehicle repair shop when we caught the news. We have an old truck and the shocks were spent and we were about to load a 450 lb stove and pipe and bags of stuff from costco and... well there aren't enough hours to do everything yourself. As we drove around getting estimates for repairs at brand name places, I was interested to find that every single tire/repair shop could work on our truck and had plenty of inventory with no waiting.
The reason we had time was that we had left early to get Nee back to school before noon (they are doing a simulation on totalitarian government and she had to show loyalty to the state - she took them home canned food and reported in on her whereabouts on our trip). That meant we had to leave before confirming that our stove had actually arrived for pick-up.
You see we are trying to do business with regular folk and not big business, when we can. So I gave my credit card over the phone to have the stove shipped and the person on the other end. The woman was obviously elderly and mentioned told me her husband had Alzheimer's - which explained a few things from dealing with him on the phone. She and I never arrived anywhere in a conversation in a linear manner (sort of like this post) and such as it was, I never actually got an address as to where I was to pick this stove up.
I called as we were nearing the city and they told me the stove wasn't in yet. Sorry to say, I went into a "deal or no deal - figure this out and make me happy" mode. They said they'd call back but after a few hours,I didn't heard back - nor did they answer the phone. Here they have my credit card number but I didn't have an address, they didn't list an address in the phone book, and after stopping by the public library, their web site really didn't list a physical address either.
Mr. Greenjeans and I began to have one of those moments that couples have when one is thinking the other one just got them ripped off and the one bearing that brunt thinking, "that it's easy to pick when you haven't been doing the research" ... well if you are married, you've been there...um, maybe.
The phone rang.... and our dealers said they'd been at a funeral - and no the stove wasn't in yet. I asked where they were and she instructed men to pick up our own stove pipe from one end of town at a wholesale place and then to come back to them. I asked in my deep and authoritative voice, for the address of their business to which I got a round about answer that the show room was in one place but the warehouse in at... yes I got a physical address.
We found the wholesalers but when we tried to find the business we drove in circles of seedy locations, incurring some looks from people we passed by several times. We went down a side road to a storage locker place - no, they didn't say they were in a storage locker - but they did give a gate code - ans so when I saw a gate and entered the gate code the doors opened (I'm now feeling like I'm living in a computer game). Next we traveled up and down isles until we found a semi-truck unloading stoves. There was our elderly couple with their "home" business out of a storage locker in dress-up funeral clothes. This couple had been in business 50 years - or he had been and she had to take over after he got Alzheimer's . Did I mentioned he had Alzheimer's? She had been running the entire business, except being the folk lifter operator.
Mr Greenjeans took one look at the stove in its crate, measured the crate with a tape and declared that it wasn't going to fit under the shell of the truck -- too tall. Our dealers thought they just needed to load the longer arms on the fork lift. So in the midst of our own marital discussion we find ourselves down in this maze of storage units with Mrs. Owner who ordering her husband, MR. Alsheimers to put on the long forks on the fork lift (yes, he's still the fork lift operator) and I'm lobbying hard to Mr. Greenjeans to not allow them to load the forks that would load our stove through the window of the cab... except that it wouldn't make it through the opening of the gate.
Mr. Greenjeans works a field job and is calmly telling Mrs. Owner to watch her toes as her husband drops the forks and we all watch our heads as Mr. Alzheimer's tools around in his machine with the forks raised. (He doesn't get the drive the car).
Meanwhile we have to figure out how to load stove too heavy to lift sans its crate. Eventually we take the crate apart and strip it down to the last supporting beam and work very closely with our tie-wearing twinkly eyed fork lift operator who gets bored with the operation. But in the end Mr. Alzheimer's picks up the stove and places it light as a feather on the tail gate - though he begins to become confused that the forks wouldn't drop. In the end, Mr. Greenjeans holds the stove in place, instructs us to back off and has the forklift operator back up. The forks clear the tailgate and drop dramatically. We all ask the operator to keep the machine in reverse and breathe a sigh of relief as he goes on his way.
The other people in the area are those who live in the storage units with their remaining material possessions - a car - a basketball hoop, a refrigerator... that brings us around to the broader day's events and our continuing challenge to which I will return to tomorrow but tonight I'm tired.