Raoul’s Two Cents: December 24, 2021
An Ordinary Day
It was supposed to be an ordinary day but it wasn’t.
I woke up humming a song that lingered all night long. I had my day planned: do a little web stuff, call up some people, buy a couple of frames for some pictures for Christmas, get into a zoom meeting with people on the other side of the world, cook a yummy dinner, and prepare this TGIF email. I was set for an ordinary relaxful day. I turned on my computer and was doing a little rift on my guitar to flex my finger muscles when my wife, all dressed up for work, barged into my office asking for help. “My car doesn’t want to start.”
Her 2 year old Toyota Corolla went “tick, tick, tick” when I turned on the ignition. “It’s the battery!” I said, “I need to get my jumper cable.” My wife was impressed. I was quite proud of myself because even though I had never worked on any of the newer car models, I was confident the procedures for fixing an old car would still be basically the same. Growing up my Dad would have me assist him whenever our Blue Chevy station wagon would break down. And it broke down often. Together we fixed flat tires, brakes, starters, radiators, radios, air filters, carburetors, air conditioners, alternators, timing belts, and some wiring. I used to complain why I had to help him all the time when all of my other siblings got to play but, as I took out the jumper cables, I realized those were invaluable lessons that served me well all throughout my life. So reviving an old battery should not be a problem.
I popped the hood open. But I couldn’t get it to open all the way. I had to read the car manual and look up where the latch was located. Times have changed since that old Chevy. I hoped there were no more surprises.
As I was connecting the jumper cable from my car to my wife’s car, the wire snapped and detached from the cable clip. I stared at it in disbelief. That’s odd. That never ever happens. That was when I suspected there was someone trying to sabotage my day. I had entered the Twilight Zone. I spent the next half hour reconnecting the clip to the jumper cable wire. I started my car and began to charge my wife’s car. But after charging for 30 minutes — nothing! “Okay, maybe it’s not the battery.” But to make sure the battery was OK, I decided to test the voltage with my brand new digital, top-of-the-line multimeter. I flipped on the switch of that marvelous engineering gadget and — nothing! Again, I couldn’t believe it. How could this expensive multimeter need new batteries? I had just used it a week ago. I looked around. “I know what you’re trying to do,” I said (staring into space). “you want me to lose my temper … but I won’t!” Even then, it took 2 attempts to get a 10 volt boxy battery that worked. “You’re really pushing my buttons, aren’t you?” I accused that invisible pest.
I tested the battery and all the fuses, watched a few more DIY videos but I decided that the problem wasn’t one of the “usual suspects.” I did my best but it was time to give up and send this to a professional auto electrician.
The Corolla was still under warranty so the only thing I needed to do was tow the car to the car dealer. I was about to commit to a $200 towing service but something told me to call Abbot (one of my clients) who happened to work with cars. Abbot was a genius because the first thing he asked was if I was a member of AAA (Automobile Association of America). He said AAA will tow it for free. What?!? I didn’t know that. I thought you had to be on the road to avail of Roadside Assistance. Problem solved! Unbeknownst to me, as I was chatting with Abbot, my wife was also contracting a Tow Truck service and was literally closing a $195 deal. Just in time, I told her to hang up because we could have it towed for free. Thank you Professor Abbot!
Everything went smoothly after that — as if the “enemy” decided to pester someone else. The tow truck came, I was able to do the other chores except my website project (but there is no rush and I could do this tomorrow). Looking back, I’d like to think that some nasty spirit pressed my anger buttons but God protected me somehow by keeping my composure and helped me make good decisions. What a difference a day makes when God is on your side.
I think of how God protected Joseph and Mary (heavy with child) traveling to faraway Bethlehem. Mary complaining: “Are we there yet?” Joseph, cool, patient and determined … realizing the great responsibility on his shoulders … leading the couple onward to Bethlehem before nightfall. Tired, sleepy, hungry, stinky, they arrive but there are no rooms available. “Didn’t you make any Airbnb reservations like I asked you to?” nagged the woman pressing yet another button. Joseph, a graduate of the Carpentry School of Nazareth, potty trained by boy scouts, makes an executive decision to pitch their tent among the animals of burden. “It’s coming!” screams Mary! “The baby’s coming!” Into the hard wooden manger comes the Saviour of the world. Time stops. Silent night. Oh Holy night. All is calm. All is bright. For yonder virgin is now a mother with child. Holy infant so tender … hiding his true might. Sleep now in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.
It was supposed to be an ordinary day.
Thank God it wasn’t.
Thank God for Fridays like this!
Don’t fall for the trap! The little inconveniences need not spoil your day.
Joke of the Week
Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA
Since it’s Christmas Eve, I decided to send all these jokes before they lose their flavor! Ho! Ho! Ho!
Thanks to Rodney of Manitoba. B.C. for these shots.
Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA
Thanks to Peter Paul of S Pasadena