Re: My Own Personal Grocery Angel (OT, but no politics)
- From: Helen <helensilverburg@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 04:14:27 -0700 (PDT)
On Jul 14, 6:02 am, "\"R&B\"" <noneofyourbusin...@xxxxxxx> wrote:
There's no more helpless feeling than the one you get the moment you realize
you're stranded somewhere.
Tonight Mulligan and I went to Kroger to replenish what had become mostly
bare cupboards, and had a whole carload of groceries, many of them
perishable. You might think that my having a car full of fresh groceries
would be an indication that I would be inclined to cook. But, no. I
stopped at Macaroni Grill to pick up dinner. Once my to-go order was ready,
I returned to the car, only to discover that it wouldn't start. Dead
battery, I figured. In the past few days, I'd noticed it was a little
sluggish in turning over when I'd start it up. But it always started, and
it ran just fine. So I didn't give it a passing thought. I'm not a car
person, as this story will clearly reveal.
A woman waiting for her to-go order was sitting in her car next to mine in
one of the Macaroni Grill "to-go" car spaces, and was kind enough to let me
use her battery for a jump with my cables that I keep in the back of the
car. After letting it charge for a minute, my turning of the key brought
only a faint sign of life from the battery, as it chugged once to turn over,
but that was it. I figured a longer charge might give it enough juice to
start just once so I could get home, but the woman seemed impatient and not
altogether willing to go along with the whole
waiting-for-it-to-charge-a-little-longer thing. She said something about
being afraid that jumping my battery would shorten the life of hers. I don't
know much about cars, but I knew she had nothing to fear. Still, I wasn't
going to argue the point. So I thanked her for her help and bid her
farewell. Besides, I didn't want to be responsible for her food getting
cold before she could get it home.
I have a good friend who lives nearby that I knew would be awake and wouldn't
mind helping out. But I don't have her number memorized, and naturally, I'd
left my cell phone at home. So I had the restaurant call a cab. Meanwhile,
as I waited for the cab to arrive, in the Crock Pot that was the inside of
my car, the perishable groceries were getting slowly steam broiled at a low
heat. I imagined that if I had to abandon everything overnight, a veritable
stew of fragrances would emerge when I opened the car door the next morning.
A half hour passed before the manager stepped outside to inform me that the
cab company they'd called had just phoned them back to say that my trip was
too short (and, I guess, the fare too modest) to justify their coming out so
late on a Sunday night. The manager offered to call another cab company.
I spotted an abandoned shopping cart that was resting against the curb
across the street, just outside the Costco parking lot. So I declined the
manager's offer, retrieved the shopping cart, loaded my groceries into it,
and let Mulligan, the Crime-Fighting Dog, out of the car so the two of us
could hoof it all the way home - about two miles (maybe less with the
shortcut we took over hill and dale and through the AT&T parking lot).
Mulligan pulled me along the whole way, mostly in directions that the
shopping cart and I didn't want to go. It was the kind of long walk she
dreams of, and the kind that could kill me. It was a haul, over a couple of
steep hills and one or two rough patches of unpaved terrain, pushing that
loaded-down cart with Mulligan pulling every which way while trying her best
to stay out of the way. We finally got home and I put the groceries away.
Hopefully the frozen stuff didn't thaw during that steamy 45 minutes in the
car and then the half-hour walk home in the muggy summer night, but knowing
me, I'll probably throw it out anyway for fear that it did. I've had food
poisoning a couple of times before, and I don't recommend it.
Now home, where I could get to my friend's phone number that was programmed
into my cellphone, I called her, and she came right over. She drove me up
to my car, where she was patient enough to let my battery charge for a good
long while before I attempted to start it. But when I went to try and start
it again, the results were no better.
So I called my dear friend Jon in Texas, who, after spending 25 years
working on a General Motors assembly line, knows more about cars than any
human being ought to know. I described the symptoms to him. He confirmed
my suspicion that it was most likely a dead battery (or perhaps a loose
battery cable, which I, in my infinite automotive wisdom, ruled out). Jon
recommended that I just go buy a battery and change it out, and gave me
ample encouragement to do so because, as he kept reminding me, "there's
nothing to it." Of course for Jon, who I've known to take apart an entire
car engine, bolt by bolt, in his dining room, and then put it back together
again, the challenge of replacing a car battery is no more complicated than
pumping gas in the tank. And I'm sure for a lot of people, it is a bonehead
simple thing to do. But for someone like me, who would have no more of an
clue about what to do under the hood of a car than I would about performing
brain surgery, such an assignment seemed wholly unachievable, especially
considering that the area where my car was parked was illuminated about like
the dark side of the moon. So I figured the car was just going to have to
spend the night at Macaroni Grill, my friend would take me home, and I'd
deal with the whole car drama in the morning.
So as I'm resigned to a night of "car-lessness" and the prospect of
awakening to a morning of dealing with it, my friend drives me home, all the
while madly calling everyone she knows on her cellphone. She eventually
raises one of her daughters, who, as luck would have it, was hanging out at
the time with a couple of her teenage friends - a girl named Kelly, and an
18-year-old guy named Spencer, who, like most grown men in the South, knows
how to change a car battery. Now we're in business. So we turn back around
from my place to meet them at Macaroni Grill, with a stop along the way at
Wal Mart, a block from Macaroni Grill, and the only place open at that hour
that carries car batteries, so I can buy a new one.and some tools --
whatever tools Spencer might need to perform Open Hood Surgery on my Honda
Since I have no clue what battery I need, we stop off at Macaroni Grill to
get the Honda Element Owner's Manual out of my car's glove compartment so I'll
have some idea about what battery I'm looking for in Wal-Mart. Of course
the numbers in the Honda Element book that show the battery's specifications
don't correspond at all to the numbers on any of the batteries at Wal-Mart,
and I'm clueless about what I'm looking for anyway. So an Assistant Manager
is summoned. A nice woman shows up, and tries her best to help me. But she's
no more clued in to car batteries than I am. At least she tried. A few
moments later, another Assistant Manager shows up and he starts keying in my
car's make, model and year into the little interactive touchscreen thingee
that's affixed to the shelves where the car batteries are displayed. (The
woman and I tried this earlier but couldn't find Honda Element listed
anywhere in the touchscreen thingee's menu options. But through some sort
of magical powers he possesses, this other Assistant Manager found it.) So
we finally learned what model of battery we were looking for, and after
digging through to the very back of the stack of batteries on the shelf, we
found the right one. So I buy a battery, a pair of pliers, a flat head
screwdriver, a Phillips-head screw driver and a flashlight - everything I
think we could possibly need -- and head back to Macaroni Grill.
The kids were pulling up just as we arrived, and this 18-year-old fellow
named Spencer examined the task facing him, and quickly got started doing
his automotive wizardry. But the pliers I purchased were too big to fit
into the tight space that must be negotiated in order to turn the nut that
has to be loosened to free the dead battery. So back we went to Wal-Mart
for more tools as the kids hung out in the parking lot at Macaroni Grill,
patiently awaiting our return. This time I purchased every tool I could
imagine that might possibly work - needle-nose pliers, another smaller set
of pliers, a set of wrenches, a crescent wrench, and a ratchet set that came
packaged with a whole assortment of heads to put on it. Doggone it, the
store was closing in 10 minutes, and I was not about to leave open any
possibility that I might return to my car without the right tool this time.
So back we went to Macaroni Grill with a veritable toolbox full of tools.
After choosing the right tool for the job (it was one of the wrenches),
Spencer had the dead battery freed in no time flat (once we realized that he'd
been turning the nut tighter instead of looser for most of the time he'd
been fighting with it). He got the new battery mounted, and lo' and behold,
the car started right up. Even with all the tools I bought (most of which
I'll never have occasion to use), he probably saved me about $100 in towing
charges and liberated me from what surely would have been a really lousy way
to start my Monday. Move over, Manny, Moe and Jack. There's a new sheriff
in town, and his name is Spencer. Thanks, dude.
And most of all, thanks Nesie, who alerted half of North Fulton County of my
plight, and ultimately made all the good stuff happen by summoning the
cavalry. What a good friend.
So I finally got home tonight with a car that starts, a tool shed full of
tools, a dead battery to dispose of, a sore back from pushing a shopping
cart filled with a hundred pounds of groceries across Alpharetta in the dead
of night, a dog that thinks I'm a whole lot of fun when I take her for long
walks, new teenage friends, food in the freezer that I'm not altogether sure
is safe to eat, a newfound sense that even I might be able to change a
battery all by myself next time, a once-fresh dinner in the fridge from
Macaroni Grill that I still haven't eaten, and a most elegant new
appointment to my home's décor: a Wal-Mart shopping cart in my living room.
Y'know, it acts as sort of a point/counterpoint to Mulligan's kennel. No
home should be without one.
So in the end, things finally turned in my favor. Some might argue that
things turned in my favor the moment I spotted that abandoned shopping
cart - My Own Personal Grocery Angel -- as it did enable me to avoid wasting
a fortune on groceries, many of which would have spoiled if left in the car
overnight. Certainly I couldn't have carried them all home with Mulligan on
a leash pulling me along as she always does when we're outside. But I see
it a little differently. I was only certain that order had been restored to
my world when the final and decisive bit of closure came to my evening. It
came despite my worst fears that the shopping cart adorning my living room
décor would become a semi-permanent fixture because it wouldn't fit in my
Honda Element and I would have to summon up the strength and fortitude to
walk the damn thing all the way back up to Wal-Mart, which most assuredly
was not going to happen in the next day or two (or in this lifetime, if I
could help it). But much to my relief, the shopping cart did, in fact, fit
into the back of the Element - barely, and only after I put up both back
seats. So, in a fitting end to my long and trying evening, I transported My
Own Personal Grocery Angel (the shopping cart) in the back of my Honda
Element, and returned it to its rightful owner, Wal-Mart, who probably never
would have recovered it after it had been abandoned a block from the
Wal-Mart entrance, just outside the Costco parking lot, and across the
street from Macaroni Grill's To-Go entrance. There was a momentary tinge of
sadness that swept across my heart as I set My Own Personal Grocery Angel
free, returning it to its stable of shopping carts outside the Wal-Mart
building. But I will always have this evening to think back fondly on it,
and I know that one day I may find myself unknowingly grasping My Own
Personal Grocery Angel's familiar handle while strolling through the aisles
of Wally World.
I am ready for a new week to begin.and I'm just rarin' to drive somewhere..
But at the moment, I'm really hungry. I still haven't eaten dinner.
Very funny, well written story. But one thing bothers me.........did
you leave Mulligan in that hot steamy car when you're shopping? Even
with the windows down a bit it's like a furnace in there for a dog.
I'm very impressed on how your good friend went out of her way to
help. Great story!
- Re: My Own Personal Grocery Angel (OT, but no politics)
- From: \"R&B\"
- Re: My Own Personal Grocery Angel (OT, but no politics)
- My Own Personal Grocery Angel (OT, but no politics)
- From: \"R&B\"
- My Own Personal Grocery Angel (OT, but no politics)
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