vendredi 8 octobre 2010

Murphy's Law


19th breakdown


At least the countryside is lovely here, just outside Gilles, but, as the saying goes, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, and today was one of those days when at least the breeder and I should just not have gotten out of bed.

Oh, and the pregnant woman at Truffaut who cut her foot open with God knows what putting her shopping cart away and wound up with a shoe full of blood.

The best was when I told the employee who thought first aid amounted to standing next to her with her hand on the woman's shoulder that she really should be lying down with her feet elevated above her head, and the employee turned to glare at me and said, "I called the rescue squad. She doesn't want to lie down, what do you want me to do? Throw her on the floor?"

My, that was defensive and uncalled for now, wasn't it? It is also, I thought rather sadly, fairly French. Perhaps those of you reading over in the States will tell me that, even sadder, it is this way everywhere now that stupid and uneducated is in.

I suggested that she was responsible for providing proper first aid care and assuming the consequences, not the pregnant woman standing there bleeding all over the store's linoleum flooring saying she's fine, really. She wasn't fine, really. You treat for shock, débile. Alright, so I didn't say she was "débile", but I hoped she understood it, and I left. I had a puppy to pick up. I had stopped at Truffaut for puppy food and a toy for the car ride home, since the order for her holistic, non-grain, super-duper premium, this-has-better-not-give-her-cancer dog food hasn't arrived yet, and I was on my way to go get her. The sun was shining, the fields were glowing, I had escaped the heavy Friday afternoon traffic for the country roads, and I was still playing over and over in my head what I ought to have said to that unpleasant woman.

No, you oughtn't have, my better self told me. I obviously wasn't listening because the sentences I could have pronounced in return kept running through my head. I was even saying them in an undertone.

"Stop," I told myself, not my best self, but the other one who does go on. "You left. It's over."

The sentences I did not utter continued to repeat for a few more minutes, and then, mercifully, I found that I had listened. I had actually seen a horrendously ugly and out of place wood house that looked like a cross between a log cabin, a chalet and a contemporary developer house, and my mind had a new bone to chew.

That's what happens when they tell you wood houses like in the US are in, and you refuse to design them. That's what you get. See? Myself was at it again. If my husband feels he is an unfair recipient of this editorializing, well, what about me?

I drove on through the villages, Menerville, Perdreauville, Bréval and Neauphlette, and then --

What was that? asked myself, alarmed.

I listened. There was a clanking noise, like something metallic was bouncing and banging along on the pavement under the car. The window was down and I leaned my head toward the outside to see if it were perhaps coming from the field or the railroad track to my left. It sounded like it was coming from under the car. I slowed. I listened. It slowed. I passed under the railroad trestle and the noise grew louder. I slowed to a stop and opened the door, leaning out to look under the car, and that's when I saw the steam and cut off the engine. The heat gage did not appear to be elevated, but there was definitely steam or smoke whistling out from under the hood of the car, and radiator fluid spreading into a thick green puddle under the front end.

"Tu l'as peut-être foutu," said my husband, reassuringly, when I got him tracked down at the hospital, while waiting for the tow truck I'd called. The dealership was expecting us.

"Je ne pense pourtant pas," I said. I know when you have to pull over and how not to blow the head gasket, merci beaucoup. "Et Monsieur Lecorre ne le pense pas non plus. Il sait qu'elle a fait ce bruit, et il pense que c'est plutôt la pompe à eau."

So there. And then, my cell phone battery went dead.

I had been on the phone with the breeder, who told me that when she thought that all the remaining puppies were out of the woods, a black female had died, one of the two that were chosen before I got there and reserved the remaining one. She had called the new owners and announced the sad news, offering them the remaining little chocolate female, at no additional cost, but her losses were mounting fast for one day. Strangely, my little girl had been the smallest of the three black females, and she hadn't been chosen, but now, the breeder told me, she is one of the biggest and strongest, growing fast and one of the ones to escape all misfortune.

"Oui, c'est nous qui sommes en train de vivre tous ses malheurs à sa place!"

Anyway, it just goes to show you how little you can tell at 4 weeks. Perhaps this one is blessed, if Baccarat was not.

But, as far as the car goes, we had just had the radiator replaced in May, but not the water pump, and when I finally opened the hood, preferring not to scald my hands, since this had been such a banner day already, I saw the ventilator blades at a rogue angle. The guy from the tow truck looked at it when he arrived.

"Et oui, c'est bien probablement la pompe à eau. Voyez comment c'est de travers?" Yes, I nodded, I had seen how it was crooked, and I felt very much relieved and vindicated. "Elle démarre?" he asked.

I looked through the window of the car and considered how best to reply. I had not actually tried to start the car again, since I hadn't seen any earthly purpose and several risks in doing that.

"Je pense, oui, je veux dire, pourquoi pas?" He nodded and turned the key, and she started right up, clanging away like an old jalopy. He put her in reverse and drove it back to the truck bed and then hit the accelerator to take it back up the 10% slope, if it weren't more, radiator fluid flowing freely from the front end and more steam starting to waft up past the radiator grill.

"He has to know what he's doing," I told myself, and myself nodded weakly, feeling a little bit not so good.

We drove back the exact route I had come, Truffaut being practically next to the BMW dealership, where the arrival of our old wagon on the tow truck certainly made a "tache" compared to all those newer vehicles the owners of which were actually able to drive into the parking lot. I reflected on the likelihood that we would never be able to afford anything in the used car building they had recently completed, especially if I keep on buying dogs, hoping we would not be in any great need any too soon.

Monsieur Lecorre greated me, warmly as usual, despite the fact that we have not made a recent purchase of a newer car, and I asked him to call me a taxi.

"Bien sur, je le ferai tout de suite, comme ça, vous perdrez un minimum de temps." But I was thinking of Frédéric, who I had seen putting the motorcycles away next door and getting ready to close up shop and head home, to Moosesucks.

"Savez, je me demande si je ne ferais pas mieux de demander à Fred s'il ne pourrait pas me ramener à la maison," I said.

"Mais bien sur,"said Monsieur Lecorre.

"Mais bien sur!"said Fred.

And 3 hours after leaving the house, I was home. Tomorrow, I will get Fia in the Fiat.

"Ha!" laughed the breeder, "the Fiat. C'est plutôt parfait ça!"

"Et oui," I laughed with her, "sauf que c'est beaucoup moins adapté sans arrière."

"Oh, vous la mettrez aux pieds du passager, et quand elle essayera de bouger, vous lui direz 'non', et elle va finir par comprendre et s'endormir."

I'm not so certain, but who knows. She's survived the weaning crisis, and she's growing faster than the others, maybe she'll be a quick study, too.

Sam's got the PSG soccer ball all ready.
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