Sunday, January 23, 2005

Not A Typical Day

Oh boy, where do I start?

I left Orlando to visit friends, Stewart & An, just north of Ft. Myers Saturday morning. Stewart and I have been best friends since early high school in New Jersey. Got about 150 miles away, about 30 miles from their place. All of a sudden, the car started to lose power. I turned off the engine and as I was coasting to a stop along the shoulder, I saw steam eminating from under the hood. Now, bear in mind, when you're traveling 75 MPH down I-75, you don't get to see that steam. The car gave me no sign whatsoever that there was a serious problem going on underneath that hood. Temperature gauge showed nothing unusual. No bells and whistles went off. Nothing. What happened, though, was that the top radiator hose burst. Unfortunately, when the car started to power down, it was due to a major malfunction. Minimally, I blew a head gasket. It only gets worse from there. Warped head. Broken camshaft or a combination of all of the above. No compression. When the towtruck came and raised it onto the bed, fresh antifreeze was coming out of the tailpipe. Not a good sign. I had called my friend from where I broke down and he stopped and picked up a new hose and coolant and drove to where I was. So, here I am. No car and 3 hours away from home. We left it at a Publix shopping center in Venice, with the manager's permission, so at least there won't be a storage fee. My father says he can rent a hitch and come and tow it back, so that's good. I put new tires on it last week and changed the oil. The new tires are now worth more than the car they rest on. My father is going to talk to his friend, a retired Ford engineer (mine is a Mercury) about my options, but, even so, I think I'm in a mess.

But it gets better...

While standing outside of Stewart's pick-up, I called my folks to let them know what was going on. All of a sudden, I started getting that ooh, ouch, yikes! sensation of fire ant bites. I must have had 10,000 of them on me. I was covered in them from waist down, inside and outside. They sneak up on you and, I have no clue how, they emit a silent signal to strike. All at once they all go into action. You don't even know they're there, until it's too late. Fortunately, I've never had a really bad reaction to any insect bite or sting. I have no allergies I am aware of. I got a little light headed for a few moments. My right hand got pretty swollen and is still sore. My legs got it the worst, but my hand bothers me more. Go figure.

Yet, throughout my day, I remained the eternal optimist.

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