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Shifty Gears
2007-03-13, 12:23 a.m.

Day 933

# 2 for today. Might want to go back one.

Went and took the day off work Tuesday. Between getting my mom to the doc, making sure Cindyís car is up & running and just general mental health, I just said screw it, I need a day. Knocks me down to something like 6 weeks of vacation saved up for the rest of the year. Too bad I canít sell it.

That thing I saw in the sky last night? Definitely was a meteor. That web site I checked out on Fireballs noted 48 sightings here in the northeast US & Canada. Mine wasnít listed among them. Bummer. Must not have conformed to the official observer procedures or something. Maybe you have to be a member. At any rate, what I saw jives pretty well with some of the other observations as far as brightness, (about a half moons worth of brightness) and color (green with orangey red trailings) and time (right about 8pm), but it apparently lasted a little longer than I thought. Many people reported greater than 5 seconds duration. I saw it for only 1 or 2 seconds, but Iím certain I caught it partway through itís fiery descent. Thatís maybe the third really, really bright one Iíve seen. During the Leonid showers in November Iíve seen dozens. Getting up early for hunting in November is a perfect opportunity to see them. Youíd swear you could hear them sizzle as they flare up, but thatís not happening. Over active imagination hard at work there. Still so cool to see.

Guess Cindy forgot to quit smoking. Might be more like in the movie ďAirplaneĒ when Leslie Nielsens character declares ďPicked a bad week to give up smoking!Ē (Of course, later on itís a bad week to give up drinking, then uppers, then something else, I forget). Anyhow, the quitting of the ciggy butts went up in smoke. She was probably stressed about her Dad and his performance yesterday. To combat that stress, she smoked. To offset the depression she felt about not quitting smoking, she drank. She drank, and as a group, the rest of us tuned her out. That just sucks so many different ways. Seems all it can do is turn into a self defeating spiral. Al Anon, here I come, again.

I distinctly remember saying I had stopped (or was desperately trying to stop) hunting down the hiding spots and counting empties. Well, it turns out it you stop seeking, they will come and find you. Got Cindyís car cranked up tonight. Not 100% certain the problem is corrected, but thereís at least one very stout band aid in place. As a bit of a confidence builder, I took her car out for a shake down run. She has a Saturn with a 5 speed in it that I think is just fun to drive most times. So after getting it running, I back down the driveway and take off on a quickie 2 Ė 3 mile loop around the immediate neighborhood. Every time I turn a corner, I hear a clanking coming from the rear end. Shift gears hard, more clanking. Slap on the brakes, clank again. No matter what I do, anything that results in an acceleration (lateral, front, back) I get this clanking sound, like large glasses banging against each other. Now Iím thinking there are beer bottles under the seat or something. I reach under the seat as best I can (while doing 60 down some back roads) and come up empty. Eventually arrive home, pull the car in the garage and forget about it for a while.

After the car has a chance to cool down, I get the oil changed, then fire it up again to make me feel better about the engine. It runs like a champ. Sweet. By now, Cindy has pretty well passed out, the kids are up studying or something, and Iím left to my own devices. I remember the clanking coming from Cindyís car. Being the curious sort, I went back out to the garage and popped the Saturnís trunk. Jackpot!! The source of the noise is identified. Thereís a kitchen trash bag in the trunk, tied closed. Inside the bag are 4 empty quart bottles of some of Canadaís so-so blended whiskey. Other than the bag, the trunk is pretty empty, so those bottles have free run of the place. They were certainly taking advantage of the room to roam.

Since Iím not keeping an eye on things, Iím not entirely sure how long itís taken to amass this collection, nor do I know if this is all of them. But I am curious about when they got stashed in there. Had to be Sunday morning when I was at the gym. So she was planning on taking them to work and getting rid of them there? Hitting up a dumpster at a local mini mart? Heaving them into the woods on her way into work? I have no idea. The only reason I found them is because her car wouldnít start this morning. If sheíd been able to get her car going, they may have been gone by now.

Think I will mention some thing about hearing some odd noises coming out of her rear end (ha!! I know what THOSE are) (Yes, Iím 12 (8?)and farts are still funny) and wanting to take a look at it soon. Make it sound like her tire jack is loose or something. I know, I know, itís button pushing, and not very subtle either. More like taking the wings off flies really. But had I NOT looked in the trunk, it would be a perfectly valid concern. Problem was, I got all conscientious (damnit) and already checked it out. Now itís button pushing.

OK, hereís a deal. Iíll go push the buttons, then repent for it tonight at the meeting. Thatís how it works, right? Commit a sin, confess, repent, get absolved. Sweet deal.

Naahh, didnít think so. Guess Iíll just tell Cindy thereís some noise emanating from the junk in her trunk. She may want to check it out herself. I wonít offer any more information than that. Maybe that will let her think sheís off the hook.

Maybe thatís letting her off the hook too easy. Maybe thatís being enabling. Maybe I should keep it simple (stoopit) Just tell it like it happened. Hard to confuse yourself when you tell the truth. Never wonder about ulterior motives. Just lay it out there. Hereís the facts honey Ė now deal with them. Yup, I like that. Simple, honest, truth. Canít often find fault with that. I love it when a plan comes together like that.

Off to bed with me. Busy day tomorrow. Might even let mom in on my dirty little secret (the Al Anon thing), but Iím sort of afraid where that knowledge might end up. In real life, Iíve been very private about it. Only Cindy and the kids know. I mean, it IS anonymous. Itís stigmatized too. Thatís what I worry about. Not what it says about me, what it says about Cindy and what sheíll think (of herself) if word ever got out. Maybe Mom isnít going to find out. Hate to burden her with a secret like that. Weíll just chat about broken ankles and how rough her brother has it these days. Ho hum.

Like I said, bed time.

Sweet dreams everyone.


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