It’s been kind of a trying week, but it looks like we’ll come out of it in one piece. The greatest calamity: the Chevy Suburban Katrina was driving to work “threw a rod” early this week. Now, I don’t know enough about cars (despite my fanatical viewing of Top Gear) to know precisely what that means, but I do know that it’s very bad news. Especially if you are an engine block. So that car has to have some expensive repairs done to it to get it running again.
The Rixes actually have a small motor pool of cars, so on the surface, this isn’t a huge problem. However, only the crippled Suburban and a single Subaru Forrester have automatic transmissions, and neither Katrina nor I know how to drive a stick. So on the days when, say, Katrina and I both have work, there are no vehicles I can drive. And Buff and Anna (who both drive stick-shifts) are understandably cagey about having me experiment with learning manual transmission with their vehicles.
Almost in response to this, business has picked up at work, so several days this week, elaborate plans had to be made to get both of us to work on time. Katrina’s schedule is a very regular Monday-Friday 8-4 affair, whereas I usually need to start heading into work about the time she’s punching out. So someone drives me down, we meet Katrina, who leaves me the Forrester, and she rides back up the mountain with Buff/Anna. This is obviously a major inconvenience, and the both of them have made this abundantly clear (especially Anna), and there has been some bickering over who has to drive Evan down this time.
In a stroke of luck, a friend of the family is trying to part with an old, but still functional Honda Accord, and is willing to give it to us for a reasonable price (read: less than the Permanent Fund Dividend check). In the meantime, she’s let us borrow it on good faith to get us through this logistics mess. It’s an alright car, though kind of a “granny-mobile” with a plum-colored interior and a cracked windshield (which would be illegal in California, but the Alaskans cannot be bothered).
This whole debacle has made it even more clear that Katrina and I need to get out of here, and find an apartment of our own. The trouble is, we work practically opposite shifts (I mainly work nights, and then long weekend shifts), so getting together to go apartment hunting is something of a challenge.
As I mentioned, business has picked up at work. The first PFD checks are in the mail, so the weaker-willed recipients are busy blowing their fortune at places like GameStop. To make matters more complicated, the store’s Internet connection appears to have been damaged in the last series of autumn storms. Sometimes the credit card readers will stubbornly rebel, and the managers pull their hair out as frustrated potential profit just walks out the door.
We are also building up to the holiday season, and it seems that PFD time is also early Christmas shopping time, so we see a lot of adorably clueless parents with lists of games that the kids have requested. Company policy is to always warn them about M-rated games (especially frequent parent-offenders like Grand Theft Auto, Saint’s Row, and Duke Nukem), and it usually comes as a shock to these parents that lil’ Timmy wants something with “Intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and strong language”. For the uninitiated, M-rated games are (generally) the equivalent of R-rated movies, content-wise, only far more common. Most of the popular modern franchises everybody knows (Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, Mass Effect) are M-rated. Some of the saddest things I’ve seen working behind the counter at a video game store are parents who just don’t care and buy their 12-year-old whatever he wants to play. Of course, then they blame us, “the industry”, for desensitizing their kids. Okay, let me get down off my soap box before I hurt myself.
October also means the MLB Postseason is in full swing. I’m a big fan of baseball in general, and the San Francisco Giants in particular, so I have been following the action as best I can without a television. I kind of figured I’d have to restrain myself from turning this into a baseball blog, following the Postseason exploits of my boys in orange & black, but that may not last long. As of this writing, both the Giants and their American League brethren, the Oakland A’s, have lost the first two games of their series, so they must win the rest of the games or they’ll be eliminated in the very first round. The Giants, in fact, played their undeniably worst game of playoff baseball in memory. I’m going to need a backup team to root for. Maybe the Nationals?
Climate-wise, my assumption that the snow we got last week was actually here to stay seems to have been misguided, as temperatures have risen to a balmy 50 degrees, and most of the snow on the surrounding peaks is gone. It’s still rainy, foggy, and we haven’t seen the sun for days, but at least it’s not frigid yet.