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Column 6 – Part 2

But never once was I asked again, and the rest of the day just ticked away. I won’t deny that I was excited about the possibility, but it my mind it was only a possibility if Sarah and I could go together. In passing I had heard my boss say something about it being more cost efficient if one person went, but there was no way. I would not travel that far overseas without my new wife and have my whole weekend gone.

Another employee was emptying my trash and I asked, “So what is going on our there?”

He said with a laugh, “So, you want to go to England?”

“I could, I have a passport. But not without my wife.”

“Really? Come on, be spontaneous. I would take that opportunity.”

This made me feel a world better, or maybe that was his intention when he made that demeaning comment.

As I was leaving, I printed out a document. I passed by my boss’ office and my other fellow employee discussing the game plan. “Not to offend you or anything, but,” and then he stopped and asked, “…unless you were serious?”

“I was, but I am not going without my wife.” I couldn’t understand why this was such a hard concept to grasp, and why no one answered that challenge.

He didn’t say anything, not even an explanation why that wouldn’t work. So I left.

I was pissed.

Why should I be? Because it just seems to be the way things fall for me. Why would that be even a real consideration for me, that wouldn’t make any sense. I mean, it wasn’t enough that I thought I heard that the customer would pay for any means to get the parts there tomorrow, including someone escorting the goods overseas. Proportionately, they were losing much more money per day in downtime.

I could have been in England tonight.

I came home and told Sarah, and secretly wished that I would be called and asked, “Were you serious? Because, we have decided if you and your wife want to go, we could use your help. We can’t pay for any meals or your gas to the airport, but we will cover any airport parking and the airfare,” which, in my mind is what I understood the charges that they were capable of billing the customer.

So, this paints my mood just a little, and I would go into more depth, but those of you who really know me, don’t need me to.

I arrive at home

I told Sarah to be ready to go when I got home, because we had dinner reservations at 5:45 tonight at the EGR Grill. I came in the door, threw down my stuff, explained what almost happened today and grabbed a small nail polish sized container from the counter. I was shaking the whole time I was talking, and when I finished my story, I went outside.

My car hood was really hot from the sun and from just driving it. I wiped it down with a wet rag to clean it off of the accumulated dirt from the night before when I had washed it. I leaned over and looked really close.

My hood has been a sore point, and every time I wash my car, I get more pissed.

Let’s go back to the wedding day. My best man and another groomsmen decorated my car with this foam stuff that was supposed to be exactly for automobile type surfaces. The night of our wedding it rained, and it was a late night. We had an early morning and we left the car parked in the Lansing airport, with most of the foam still on, some pulled off. It had that whole week we were gone to bake on.

The first thing I did when we got back, was to pull the foam off. It wasn’t until about three weeks later that I finally got around to washing the car. It was filthy, and we scrubbed it hard and long. But no matter what we did, we were not able to get off the residue this “special foam made for cars” had left on my hood, and other parts of my car.

While we were scrubbing, we were having particular problems because some areas seemed kind of bumpy. But the actual problem we realized was not a thicker residue. Oh no, it couldn’t be that simple. We realized that the six months I had driven on an unfinished loose gravel surface on M-45, twice a day, at speeds up to sixty miles an hour had done more damage then I thought. I had two ruined windshields on my new car, and now realized, I had probably over 30 small chips in my on my hood from my travels as well.

I had dealt with the long process of getting money from the road commission’s insurance agency, I didn’t have the time or patience to do it again.

So here I am, leaning over my car, squinting in the bright reflection from my hood, and as I steady to touch up the spots on my hood, I realize that I will have all these little red dots, and that it just won’t look nearly as nice as new. To top it off my skippy go lucky attitude, the hood was so hot that I about burnt that sensitive skin around my elbow, and the hand I was leaning on for balance.

I finished and came inside. I sat down to make more changes to my client’s website that has been riddled with them over the past week.

I look at the time. It is 5:35, and I still see my wife wandering around in casual clothes. I yell, and I am pissed.

She has had the whole damn day off, we are going to a special dinner, and she isn’t even dressed for us to get to our reservations on time. She has no management skills, and worse, a lack of respect for my feelings. I was glad that this date meant so much to her that she couldn’t be ready on time an hour after she started, and 8 hours after she got up this morning.

We left, and 2 miles into our trip, the light to my gas tank came on. Seems that the mileage I was counting on for the amount I put in, was wasted away from my stop and go driving on the Beltline this week.

We get to the restaurant. I don’t have much to say, I am still hurt. My day has not been good. We have some water, I take deep breaths, and we talk a little as I try to put on a new face.

We talk about our impressions of the restaurant. As soon as I start to speak she looks off at the table next to me and is smiling, watching a noisy child talking to the waitress. I know she isn’t listening.

As Tom Cruise said, “And the hits keep on coming.” I shut my mouth and drink some more water.

The waiter comes and asks us if we are ready. Sarah finally decides, and I order accordingly. We had a gift certificate, and the whole point for me, was to try to stay within the monetary range of that gift. There were a bunch of items on the menu that interested me, and so I told her to choose what she wanted and then I would order.

After she ordered her mid range piece of dead piggie, I decided I would compliment that with the pizza. Now, mind you, I remember only these things from the pizza description; grilled dough, wood fired with mushrooms. It said pizza.

Wood fired would not have meant anything to me 8 months ago. But since I moved home to Grand Haven, I have been to a restaurant that does wood fired pizzas. They are just so good. The crust is dry, with a soft powder on them a little coarser than flour, but none the less, not greasy. The toppings are generally a little off the beaten path, my personal favorite is the marinara sauce with grilled chicken and garlic covered in melted mozzarella. Not just a sprinkling of garlic on top, or mixed in with the dough. No, we are talking like mac truck sized hunks of garlic flesh all over the little 10 inch pizza.

The pizza’s aren’t cheap, but they are just the right amount of food for a person. Male or female, and they don’t leave you with the that same achy feeling you get after eating thanksgiving, only compounded with the feeling of eating 80 pounds of grease like you get from Pizza Hut. (Don’t be mad, you know I love you Pizza Hut.)

Out comes my pizza, it was like a nightmare. It was this burnt flakey matza type stuff with an all star lineup of toppings. Take a seat cause this is “bery bery excitink.” It has hunks of asparagus, diced tomatoes and slices of mushrooms, with randomly plopped gooey piles of feta cheese.

Mmmmm mmmm. Good God, does it get any better.

Sarah gets her dinner, and I can barely see over the pork chop as he sets it down. It is like when you go to Ponderosa and the slice that meat off that hunk of animal under that red light. It is this gorgeous huge amount of meat on this perfectly shaped bone and they slice you off a two by two portion of the fat and ask you to come again.

Well, it was like Sarah got the whole piece of meat, minus the fat. She got mashed potatoes and carrots. It was like pork stew and any guys dream dinner.

I got the Paula Abdul special instead. Our waiter must have thought I was so gay. I passed on the initial drinks as well, as my worldly wife got some wine, I just said, “Oh, water is fine.”

Sarah was nice enough to share her pork with me. The piece she gave me though was like night and day. The cross section looked like Michael Jackson standing next to Michael Jordan, with a film of fat on it. The meat was kind of spongy and I wasn’t even sure sometimes if it was fully cooked. Although very good, I think that was largely in thanks to the sauce.

I kind of picked at other items on her plate, as we both stomached the hippy goat food that mysteriously got set in front of me.

“Did you read the description?” It was a vegetarian pizza!” She laughed ask she asked me, surprised.

“Pizza! Pizza! Pizza has a red sauce, covered in some sort of melted cheese. This is a garden on burnt toast!”

If this isn’t at all funny to you, then I guess you had to be there. Sarah thought that she would try to cheer me up. So the whole dinner as I was starving, she laughed her ass off at me. She just kept laughing and laughing, and saying, “Mmmm, gosh this pork is good.”

So, I take some whole potatoes off her plate and pop them both in my mouth. I crunch down and get this sweet rush of chalky potato. Not like sweet potato, but like a potato, covered in sugar, but raw. Oh, and it had a skin.

“Can I put anything that tastes good in my mouth tonight?”

Sarah just kept laughing.

Finally we left, full of garden crap

Finally we left and came home. I opened the car door for her and shut her in. I took another look at my side paneling that I noticed last night. On the passenger side I had had a stupid Asian chick driver slam into me and mess me up. I had it repaired a long time ago in January, but it appeared that my paneling was coming off.

I smiled and wished I had gone through with installing that bed in the back of my car, so I could go back to it before I started this delightful day.

The whole ride home, Sarah kept chuckling like Santa Claus in a roasted almond factory.

Except, by the time I had blown through an unseen stop sign, created a “straight ahead” lane where there really wasn’t any, an orange light, and about ran over a 8 inch tall hubcap, I was laughing so hard my eyes were watering.

“I feel like I am going to puke” Sarah kept saying as she just giggled and giggled incessantly. There really wasn’t anything funny, but we were to that point where everything was amusing.

I about rear ended another car, and my gas light came back on.

This shot off another storm of giggles and a surprised smile similar to when your wife comes home and you are using the restroom with the door open and she looks in.

I laugh some more and just keep thinking,

“I am sorry, there is no column today, I had a sudden trip to England. I will write all about it when I get back.”

…and I realize why God was making it so hard for me to write my column this week.

~final

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