Then the phone rang.
“Hello?” It was The Yankee. “We have a problem,” he said matter-of-factly. “Great. Don’t tell me one of the mutts bit the dog sitter.” “No, worse,” he said in that tone that can be described by whatever word means the antithesis of comfort. “It’s the truck. I think she had a stroke.” Oh no. Not that. “What’s wrong with it?” I dared to ask. “I think the transmission is shot. It won’t go in reverse and third gear is history. I finally had all the dogs loaded up and the guy felt bad for me so he said I could just drive through the grass. I think we might owe them a load of sod.” My heart sank. Even though my Black Friday bargains cost less than $150, I was still trying to figure out if there was a way to get any money back. A new transmission for a truck is thousands of dollars … which was exactly a million more than we had to spare. It was already after 10:00 by the time he called me, so I was worried about our Chinese food I had ordered. I hurriedly called the restaurant and told them that we really did want it and they agreed to wait for us. I am now a loyal patron of the Hunan Panda.
Still slightly panicked, and sick of unloading the car, I set the table for dinner and waited for The Yankee and our canine pack to arrive. More unpacking ensues as each furry tail wags in excitement and kennels are transported to the laundry room, all the while our food is getting colder and colder. I finally sit down for a bit of well-deserved nourishment when I hear, “Where are my keys?”
“What do you mean you can’t find your keys? How did you get home?” He rolled his eyes with that look of exasperation that only dumb people can get and said, “I keep my truck keys on one ring and the rest of the keys on another.” Now was not the time to explain to him what a moronic idea that is. I looked in the yard, in the dog kennels, under the truck, and in his jacket pocket. He looked under the truck floor mats, in the mailbox, in the clothes hamper, and under the bed in the guest bedroom. I guess panicked people don’t think clearly. I finally determined that his keys were not going to be found this particular evening and my egg rolls were getting pastier by the moment. I left him sorting through Buttercup’s toy box and flopped my exhausted, weary body in a chair. As I ate my dinner, The Yankee paced through the house, getting more and more hysterical by the moment. Between bites of lo mein, I could hear, “Transmission’s dead! Can’t find my keys! Traffic sucked! I can’t use chopsticks!” You see, boys and girls, this is why Mrs. Bertha has to write about her life. Because otherwise, she would be a scary, crazy lady.
After a restless night of tossing and turning, we put Buttercup on the bus and headed to the car lot. After finagling a low-money-down, “is-that-the-interest-rate-or-your-phone-number” loan contract, we arrived home in a used vehicle. At least we would both have a way to get to work the next day … let the payments commence. (I’m sure you’re wondering … we picked up the lost keys the next day. They were in the dog-sitter’s yard.)
So, here I sit today, remembering my first Black Friday experience with my cutesy-poo cousin, Fran. I look out the window and see the “new” car and gaze lovingly at the Hunan Panda menu on my desk. The phone rings and I hear a canary-like voice on the other end of the line: “Are you going Black Friday shopping with me again?!!!” “What?!” I scream, “I’m going through a tunnel! Can’t hear you!!” Click.
Of course I’ll go, but I’m buying that girl a plastic tree.
© Bertha Grizzly 2011. All Rights Reserved. No duplication or distribution.