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JOE BTFSPLK

5 January 2005

jbtfsplk.gif (17648 bytes)Ever hear of Joe Btfsplk? (It's pronounced like a Bronx cheer). He was a character long ago in the Little Abner cartoon. He was "the world's biggest jinx." He walked around with a rain cloud always hanging over his head. He is supposed to bring bad luck whenever he shows up.

At times yesterday, I felt that Joe somehow snuck into the house, perhaps along with the ants, and I want him gone.

First of all, he made sure I couldn't get any sleep. I fell asleep in the recliner at about 9:30 p.m.  I'm not sure of the time exactly, but we were watching "Cold Case Files" and I never did find out whodunnit.  It was about midnight when I woke up.

Wide awake.  Very wide awake.

Sheila had given up on me and had gone off to bed.  I decided to do what I usually do when I'm wide awake in the middle of the night--turn on some movie that kinda sorta holds my attention, but isn't gripping, so it puts me to sleep.

Only I didn't drift off to sleep.  3 hours later, I was still wide awake.  I decided that it was so close to morning I should just get up and get some work done, knowing that I'd be a zombie when the sun came up.

As I started to work, I discovered that I was actually starting to feel a little sleepy.  It was 5:15 and I should be up by 6, but 45 minutes is 45 minutes, right?  Next thing I knew, I heard Walt in the kitchen making coffee, and it was nearly 7 a.m. 

Walt took the car because (a) it was raining, and (b) he had a doctor's appointment at noon and needed to get from his office to Kaiser.  But that left me without a way to get to the store.  I had hoped to make turkey soup for dinner but had no vegetables.

I decided to see if Safeway's home delivery service was active here yet.  I was in luck.  It was!  Not only that, but for a first order of $50 or more, they would deliver free.   So I settled in to order $50 worth of food.  The web site was v-e-r-y slow and it took forever to get to about $25 worth of food (you don't build up an amount very fast when you're ordering carrots and mushrooms!).  At one point I decided to check on what I had and when it could be delivered.  That's when I discovered that it was too late to get any food delivered today anyway.  So scratch that idea.

By noon, I was really, really, really starting to droop.  I decided to fix myself a turkey sandwich.  I love turkey sandwiches and this was the very last of the sliced turkey.  My mouth was watering, ready to savor the last turkey sandwich of Christmas.  I got the sandwich all fixed and took the first bite and then spilled my glass of water onto the plate, the bread sopping up all the water.  Did I mention how much how much I was looking forward to eating this sandwich?  Do you know how water soaked into bread removes the taste?  Joe was working overtime here.

Olivia was due to fly into town from Boise and I expected her to call, so though I was sleepy, I didn't want to take a nap.  But just when I was thinking I might be able to get in half an hour, she called from the Sacramento airport with some information for me to track down, which woke me up again. 

Joe stood over my shoulder while I made the frustrating call.  I was unsuccessful in getting the information she needed, but it took nearly an hour, what with waiting in voice mail hell and then dealing with a very nice customer service rep who really went over backwards trying to be helpful, but whose hands were tied by the strengthened information act laws.

The purpose for the call was to save Olivia from having to drive in to Sacramento.  She was already on the road to Davis and her cell phone battery was dead from being put on hold for so long while she was trying to get the information herself.  I was thus not able to reach her.  She arrived here and I had to tell her we had to go back out again.  She was not happy.  

It looked like Joe had gotten out of the car when we arrived at the credit union she had been trying to get satisfaction from for two years and they handed her the papers she needed without any problem at all.

Next we had to get to the DMV to get proof of her ownership of the car she has owned free and clear for 13 years and has been trying for the past 2 years  to get proof of so she can finally register the car in Boise, where she has lived for a year and a half.

Unlike most DMV offices, where the wait is in the hours, the Davis office is actually pretty good and her number was called within 15 minutes.  At last!  We were just about home free.

Except that the customer service rep refused to accept the papers we had just driven to the far side of Sacramento to get.  The paper was notarized, but this guy said that he "had no way of knowing who this guy is" and refused to accept the notary stamp, which he would cover up with his hand every time Olivia tried to show him that it had been notorized.  I thought Olivia was going to explode.  She demanded to see his supervisor.  He laughed and said she could see the supervisor, but that the supervisor would tell her the same thing.

We had to wait a long time until the woman in charge came to the desk.  During that time we tried to get the credit union on the phone again (more voice mail hell).  I wasn't sure what they could do on the phone, but Olivia wanted to cover all her bases.  At one point she declared that she refused to leave the office until she had her clearance and they'd have to have her arrested if they couldn't help her.

Fortunately, the supervisor couldn't see anything wrong with Olivia's paperwork, that it certainly looked like a valid notary stamp to her, and  things went smoothly--so smoothly that she said unless Olivia was re-registering the car in California, she didn't have to pay her outstanding parking tickets.

Olivia was so pleased with the outcome that she offered to take us all out to dinner.  Jeri and her friend Phil had already gone to the theatre to pick up tickets for all of us to see Phantom of the Opera

We decided to go to Applebees and allowed an hour and a half for our dinner.   We had the slowest experience ever and my steak, which I ordered medium rare came medium well done, but it had taken so long to get there (and it was so late already) that I didn't bother to complain.  When dinner was finished and we finally flagged down a waiter to order the dessert that came with our meal, we explained that we were very rushed and had no time to eat at the restaurant, but could they please pack the desserts to go and to leave the ice cream off the brownies.

We waited.  And waited.   And waited.  Finally, since we were in two cars, I suggested Jeri, Phil and Walt go on to the movie and Olivia and I would wait for the bill.  The waiter finally showed up with the desserts.  On plates.  Topped with ice cream.  And then he seemed upset when we reminded him they were supposed to be packed to go and he threw some boxes at us to pack them up ourselves.

Fortunately we were able to get into the theatre before the movie started, but since it's a 3 hour movie which drags terribly, it wouldn't have been a big loss if we'd arrived a bit late.

I was able to stay awake through the movie, surprisingly, and when we got home, I rushed to the bathroom, since the need had been urgent since before we got to the theatre.  Don't ask me how, but I mis-fired and peed on the floor.

Finally around midnight everyone went off to bed, I was able to get back to sleep and I hope I kicked Joe Btfsplk out of the house. 


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