That’s My Son’s Truck

I’ve been writing a lot about vehicles lately—Jeeps, our GMC Safari… Here’s one more, courtesy of Dizzy Blonde Chronicles.

garageSeveral years ago, my oldest son’s Dodge Dakota needed new wheel bearings. Since the garage my husband and I use would do the job for a good price, he dropped off his Dakota and took my Jeep for the week. I’d drive his truck when the mechanics fixed it, and then we’d swap back next weekend.

One evening, my son called and said his vehicle would be ready for pickup the next afternoon. So the next day, I had my youngest son take me to the garage.

“Wait here, in case it isn’t done,” I told him.

It’s a good thing I asked him stay, because when I walked into the garage, the first thing I saw was my son’s brown Dakota still on the lift.

When a mechanic came my way, I pointed to the Dakota. “That’s my son’s truck. He told me it would be done by now.”

The mechanic took off his hat and wiped his brow. “Sorry, but that truck needs a lot of work. We’re not finished.”

“But my son told me it just needed new bearings.”

The mechanic replaced his hat. “It does, but we found a lot more problems.”

I cringed. My son was a new teacher and not making much money yet. “My son said the bill would be around $600,” I said.

The mechanic shook his head. “Not anymore. He’s looking at $1,500, maybe more. Let me show you.”

He led me under the truck and began pointing out the problems. I’m sure he wasempty pockets trying to be kind, but all I could think about was that $1,500 would wipe out my son’s meager savings. While the mechanic pointed to thingamabobs and twiddled hickey majigger, I contemplated asking my husband if we could help by paying at least half the bill. But, no matter what, I’d have to break the bad news to my son when I got home.

I called him as soon as I walked in the door.

“Honey, bad news on the truck,” I told him. “It’s not done, and they found more that needs to be fixed. And it’s going to be over $1,500.”

“But they told me $600,” my son said.

“I know, I know. But they showed me all the problems. And even though my knowledge of truck innards can be summed up in the words ‘diddly squat,’ even I could see that those parts needed replacing. But don’t worry, we’ll help you.”

After I hung up, I found myself angry. How dare those mechanics give my son a price, have him haul his truck all the way up here, and then swindle him. Wait until I picked up his truck—I’d give them a piece of my mind they’d not soon forget. And I’d never, ever, ever take our vehicles back to them.

An hour later, my son called. “Mom, I just talked to the guys at the garage. They said the bill was $600.”

“But, but…”

“They also told me they finished my truck this morning.” My son broke it to me gently. “Mom, I think you were looking at the wrong truck.”

The wrong truck? Now that I thought about it, I’d never told the mechanic my son’s name. I’d just pointed to a brown Dakota, assuming it was my sons.

“Mom,” my son continued, “can you go back and pick it up today? I already gave them my credit card number and paid for it.”

“Uh-uh, no way José, I’m not showing up there again,” I said. “Never, ever, ever. I’ll be the laughingstock of the whole garage!”

20171020_154622But in the end, I went back. But not until the next day, hoping another mechanic was on duty. Just in case I saw the same guy, I pulled my hair back, put on a ball cap, and wore a different coat, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me.

But, when I slunk into the garage, there stood the same mechanic. And, yes, he recognized me right away. I could tell by the way he bit his lip when he saw me coming.

Fortunately, the man must have a blonde wife, because he had the remarkable ability to keep a straight face. “So, talked to your son yesterday. I guess you got his truck mixed up with another customer’s truck.”

When all else fails, I’ve learned to try laughing at myself. “Ha ha, isn’t that funny? What’s the chance of there being two Dakota’s in here at once? And both dark-colored! What a hoot, I can’t believe I did that, I’m so funny…” I snapped my trap shut. I was babbling, like I always did when I’m humiliated. I got the receipt, grabbed the keys, and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could go.

Today, we still use the same garage, now that I’m back to trusting them again. And I’m never embarrassed to have my son or husband drive me there when I have to pick up a vehicle.

Of course, I have them pay and get the keys while I sit outside slumped down in the seat.

Wouldn’t you?


One Jeep, Two Jeep

cropped-img_3836.jpgIt’s the fourth Monday of the month already—my time to blog something humorous so that we can spend time laughing at, well, mostly me. And it’s okay, because I’ve learned to laugh at myself, too. Here’s another doozy…

On the Saturday before Memorial Day, I came out of the grocery store and walked to my blue Jeep Patriot. Because I only had two bags, I decided to put them on the floor of the front passenger seat. I clicked my key fob, pulled the door open, and pushed the seat all the way back. That’s when I noticed a strange metal contraption on the seat. My husband is a chemist, and since he’s always bringing home metal panels, I shrugged, lifted the bags to the jeep, and once again stopped. Beside the  metal thingamabobber was a sandwich bag containing dog bones.

“Now what’s he doing?” I said aloud. Maybe he decided to bring some treats home for our Boxer, but he had never done that before.

Then I glanced over at the driver’s side and saw a book—a book that wasn’t mine.

“Oh no.” I straightened and looked to my right. There sat my jeep, a few parkingIMG_4062 (1) spaces away.

I was in the wrong blue Jeep Patriot.

Feeling like an idiot, I scanned the parking lot. When no one appeared to have noticed my strange behavior, I slammed the door and high-tailed it over to my jeep. Once inside, I took stalk of my belongings. Shew. I hadn’t left anything behind in the wrong jeep. Then I remembered that I had pushed the front passenger seat all the way back. Should I run back over to the other jeep and push the seat forward? But what if the owner came out and saw me?

As I debated my course of action, an older, bearded gentleman emerged from the store and walked to the jeep.

I felt funny, like I’d invaded his privacy. Maybe I should tell him what I’d done. He might think my faux pas was funny. Then again, he might not.

I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I decided to leave it at that and drove away. He’d never know. And as for the seat, he’d probably blame his advanced years for the fact that he couldn’t remember moving the it back.

Three days later, I went to the drug store and exited in a huff. They had sent a text telling me that my medication for my inner ear disorder was ready for pickup, but when I got to the counter, they informed me that only one of the two was done.

“Can you wait while we refill the other medication?” The pharmacist asked.

“I have a dentist appointment in twenty minutes,” I told her. “I’ll have to stop by later.”

I had a busy day ahead of me and no time to go back at the drug store. So I stomped out into the parking lot, clicked my key fob to unlock the jeep, and opened the driver’s-side door.


I was about to sit down when I saw the envelope on the seat. I rolled my eyes. Just great. On top of the drug store irritation, I must have forgotten to mail the mortgage. I picked up the envelope, hoping I could get it to the post office and still make my dental appointment on time. That’s when I read the address.

“Who is this?” I again said aloud. I looked at the return address. I didn’t recognize that name, either.

“Oh no, it couldn’t be…” I popped out of the jeep and looked behind me. At my jeep. A few spaces away.

I was in the exact same wrong jeep.

“Oh my gosh. Not again.” Once again, I slammed the door and scurried to my Patriot, glancing around me and thankful that no one had seen me make a fool of myself a second time. I slid into the front seat and stared at the other jeep. The elderly owner certainly was a trusting soul, leaving his jeep unlocked. Anyone could pull open a door and get inside.


As I  put my key into the ignition, the automatic doors opened and out came the same little old man. He shuffled to his jeep and, just before he opened the door, noticed me gawking at him. I looked away, started my jeep, and sped away.

As I think back on this experience, I still find it hard to believe it. I mean, what are the chances of getting into the same wrong jeep twice? Pretty minuscule, and yet it happened.

Well, I’m off to town. Come to think of it, I saw that jeep in the shopping center parking lot not too long ago.

I think I’ll take the truck.



January Shorts

As usual on the fourth Monday of the month, it’s time to lighten things up and enjoy one of my many dizzy blonde moments. Here’s another winner…

My family has always told me that I spend half my time living in my own little world. This has never been more true than during the last year while I’ve been writing my novel. I’ve spent five days a week, eight to ten hours a day living in the fictional village of Jubilee, Michigan, with characters from my imagination. And when I’m not writing about them, I’m thinking about them. Sometimes, I almost forget which world is real and which is all in my head.

And sometimes, I completely forget.

When I’m suffering from writer’s block, I often close my computer and get out of the house, hoping a change of scenery will jump-start my creativity. On one of those boutique-646295_960_720days, I decided to drive to Kohls Department Store to see if shopping for new clothes might help. Armed with a thirty-percent-off coupon, I strode through the automatic doors and scanned the store, wondering where to start my discount adventure. That’s when I noticed a couple from church, Norina and John, standing at the check-out counter.

I walked up to the counter and gave them both a hug.

John held up a bag. “I just picked up some things for vacation.”

“We’re going to Florida,” Norina said, “and John needed a few more pairs of shorts.”

“Wow,” I said. “I bet it’ll be nice wearing shorts again.”

They both gave me odd looks. Finally John spoke. “Well, I guess, although we’ve prettysnowy-street-554957_960_720 much been wearing shorts until last week.”

Now it was my turn to give them an odd look. What were they talking about? The temperatures had been well below freezing for weeks, with snow piled high and people bundled to the hilt to ward off the icy wind.

As we stared at each other, it finally hit me.

I wasn’t in Jubilee, Michigan, where my fictional character was currently enduring autumn leaves-1363766_960_720another sub-zero January day while she slipped on ice and watched her dog’s slobber freeze. No, I was just down the road from my non-fictional home in Romeo, Michigan, on a pleasant October afternoon.

“Ah, well, yes, of course,” I said, trying to cover my stupidity (though, obviously, not very well). “I just meant, like, still wear shorts, again, you know?”

“Oh, sure,” Norina said after a pause. “That’s true.”

One of the many things I love about Christian people is their remarkable ability to respond with grace when someone has clearly lost their mind.

I wished them a safe trip and scurried to the misses section, thinking about what a ding-dong I was. And worse, I was thinking about Norina and John thinking about what a ding-dong I was. The next time we met, would they act like they were uncomfortable around me? Speak to me in simple, one-syllable words?

When I saw them a few weeks later, Norina and John greeted me with their customary hug and warmth, and told me all about their wonderful trip to Florida. Never, ever, did they bring up my bumbling comment or make me feel foolish.

It’s almost a year later, and sometimes I still think about my encounter with Norina and John at Kohls, especially when people say things to me that would be perfect for their own version of “Dizzy Blonde Chronicles.” And, if I don’t know these people well enough to engage in some friendly teasing and instead find myself tempted to roll my eyes or look at them as if they grew two heads, I remember the grace that Norina and John extended to me. And I try to do the same.

Come to think of it, I’ve never thanked Norina and John for their unconditional love or told them how much I value their example of how to act like Jesus.

Until now.



Chips for Sale

I wish I could blame all of my dizzy blonde moments on my inner ear disorder. Then, at least, I’d have an excuse…

Every fourth Monday of the month, we’re going to just take some time to laugh at, well, mostly me. And it’s okay, because I’ve learned to laugh at myself, too.

Let’s start with my daughter’s soccer meeting.

During high school, my daughter played soccer for the freshman, JV, and varsity teams. Each year, the coaches would call a meeting of all soccer players and their parents to go over the upcoming season. When she was a sophomore, I attended this soccer ballmeeting and listened to her coaches discuss the rules, expectations, schedule, and busing issues. Since most of this information was the same as last year, I also looked through paperwork and filled in emergency information as the coaches talked. But, when they announced an upcoming fundraising idea, I was instantly all ears.

Our high school has a “Pay to Participate” sports program. That means, if our children make a team, we parents must pay a fee in order for them to participate. Therefore, anything that would help defray the cost had my undivided attention.

Two girls from the varsity team presented the plan: selling chips at our local bowling alley. They explained that, if we could find enough volunteers to help out for a weekend, the soccer program could make thousands of dollars.

I imagined myself sitting behind a table, encouraging bowlers to purchase bags of Doritos, pretzels, and other assorted snacks. It didn’t seem like selling chips could potato-chips-448737_960_720raise so much money, but what did I know? The girls had given us examples of other organizations that had made a bundle, so the idea had to work. And maybe bowling made people hungrier than I thought.

So, after the meeting, I marched right over to the sign-up sheet and wrote down my name. Selling chips didn’t sound very hard, and it might actually be fun. And, of course, it was for a good cause—my daughter’s soccer team, and my bank account.

Later that week, I received an email from the woman who was organizing the soccer fundraiser. I began reading the information, and suddenly stopped and stared at the words. As it turned out, our team wasn’t selling potato chips.

They were selling poker chips.

“How did I miss that?” I asked my husband that night.

He bit his lip, trying not to laugh. “You really didn’t know our bowling alley has a poker room?”

“I never saw a poker room when we were bowling.”

Of course, I’m not the most observant person, as my husband will attest.

I folded my arms. “No way am I selling poker chips. I’m not sure I like the idea of our teenage girls making money from other people gambling.”

“Then call up the lady who’s running it and tell her you don’t want to help out anymore.”

“I can’t do that! I’ll die of embarrassment!” I told him.

The only thing worse than having a dizzy blonde moment is having to tell someone else about it.

“You don’t have to tell her why,” my husband assured me. “Just tell her you can’t do it anymore.”

But the woman who had sent the email was a soccer mom, like me. I’d seen her in church, and we’d bonded over the years watching our daughters battle and occasionally bleed during their travel soccer seasons. I knew, if I got on the phone with her, that I’d feel uncomfortable being evasive. So the next day, I swallowed my pride, dialed her number, and told her everything.

My friend either has remarkable self-control or a very handy mute button.

When I had finished, she cleared her throat. “That explains it. To be honest, I was kind of surprised when I saw your name on the sign-up sheet.”

That made me feel a little better. A little.

“Please, just cross me off the volunteer list. And, please, please don’t ever tell a living, breathing soul how ditzy I am.”

And, since the other soccer parents and coaches never started giggling in my presence, I don’t think she never did.

As it turned out, we never had the soccer fundraiser. Maybe the other parents were just too busy to volunteer. Or maybe the bowling alley backed out of the agreement. But I like to think that it fell through, because the other moms and dads thought they were selling potato chips too.

But probably not.