I Got Screwed! Seduced into Humming Complacency

Recently, my wonderful husband noticed that my tires needed air. I don’t mean that metaphorically, although the idea would certainly blog, but the tires we’re talking about are on my Subaru.

Why don’t I notice these sorts of things? I can tell when someone spilled milk on the kitchen floor, even after they attempt to clean it up. I notice when the smallest of our neighborhood’s 10-or-so feral cats fails to show up at the back door of the home behind us for the evening meal—I have no desire to take the cat in, mind you, but I’m rooting for him to make it through the winter. I even noticed that our toilet paper no longer fits snugly in the holder, but is now a “new and improved?” half-inch more narrow. (There’s another rant that will blog—and I know you’re thinking about going to check your own roll right now…trust me, it’s smaller.)

But for some reason, I can’t pick up on the fact that my tires are so low they pour more than ride along the road, or that I could practically hear the rubber folding as the wheels turned. However, I DID pick up on that look I received from Hubby when he noticed—incredulous annoyance, I believe it’s called.

Interestingly, the moment Hubby filled those tires I could tell the difference. They actually hummed against the pavement, and I felt as if I were riding higher than usual. Of course, I may have imagined that, but considering the flopping sound of the pre-aired tires, Subi must have been at least six inches taller.

Over the next few days, the humming tone improved. Remember that rich, satisfying growl you could create by flying down the hill on your bike with a baseball card flapping against the spokes? It was like that. The noise was most noticeable when I entered a wide curve. So of course, I drove into every curve as if it were Turn One at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Listen to that! Doesn’t it just sound like a race car?”

My son agreed, once I made him remove his headphones.

Hubby frowned. “It doesn’t sound natural, but I don’t think it’s the engine.” He tipped his head like a doctor. “Sounds like it’s coming from the back.”

“Well, I like it.” I gunned Subi through a sharp left (is there any other direction?) and said “Crank it up!”

NOTE: For the NASCAR-impaired, “Crank it up!” is an auspicious moment during every race when the announcer closes his mouth for a full minute. Simultaneously, every motorhead across the country turns the television volume to its highest setting, and settles back to listen to and appreciate the sweet, melodious rumbling of 42 LOUD, but perfectly tuned engines as the drivers soar past the camera. Then, once Joe Nemechek putters past, they turn the volume back down. I’ve often wondered if their collective din can be heard across the nation, but I’ve never pulled myself away from our own cranked up TV to check.

Anyway, I enjoyed my NASCAR growl for nearly three weeks. Then I noticed the screw in a rear tire.

Blast!

Screw in tire

Screwed.

It didn’t help that Hubby was there when I found it. I’m always amazed at how much dialogue he can put into a single raised eyebrow. Indirectly, I blame him; a floppy tire would have just poured over something like that.

So there I am, one replaced tire and $120 later (“It might not have been so damaged if you’d brought it in right away, Ma’am.”), driving my ordinary, quiet car home, and marveling that at my age I still can’t always tell the good from the bad. It makes no sense. When something’s wrong with the car, it should sound like I’m dragging 15 running chainsaws under the car, not like one of my favorite childhood memories.

But life is like that. Inside, we’re determined to stick to a budget, eat right, remain faithful, accomplish our goals, but we all too often give them up for temporary satisfaction because something just looks GOOD. More often than not, it’s just something bad wrapped up in beautiful, shiny, delightful packaging.  Then we ignore the voice that says, “I don’t know, it doesn’t sound natural” and listen to voices we shouldn’t even be entertaining (our own included).

  • “Go ahead, you deserve those shoes.”
  • “Pot-luck desserts have no calories.”
  • “But he treats you so much better than your husband does.”
  • “One week without exercise isn’t going to hurt you.”
  • “But I want it now.”

Bottom line is, I knew better. I know what my car sounds like when all is well, and I should keep her in good condition so that any time she sounds differently I’ll notice immediately and raise an eyebrow. I also know what my life looks like when all is well. I have the benefit of excellent counsel when I choose to seek it, and I have no excuse for not inquiring about the pretty packages and distractions that come into my life. If they’re good for me, He will let me know.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” — Colossians 2:8

Ask Not For Whom the Phone Rings…

I needed two quiet hours, that’s all.

An hour’s worth of un-transcribed audio notes from a recent phone interview sat on the table, screaming for my attention, but a litany of interruptions had been pulling me away all morning. So, when my awesome husband announced he’d be taking our teenager out for some father-son time, I was thrilled.

Even before they were out the door I started racing around to get settled. (That may sound oxymoronic, but ask any parent on the cusp of some quiet time—it’s a bona fide activity.)

Let’s see…Coffee? Check. Laptop plugged in? Check. Notebook? Check. Cell phone near so I don’t have to get up? Check. Cozy workin’ blanket? Check. Snack? Check.

Good to go.

I hit the button on the audio player and started typing. The sound quality was fantastic, for a change; our voices came through crystal clear (I could write a whole other blog on whisperers, bad connections, accents, and static-riddled conversations). I started typing like a madwoman.

I might just be able to pull this off before the boys get back.

Then the phone rang.

Not the cell phone, which, although annoying, I could have easily picked up. No, it was the house phone, ten whole feet away.

…Click off the tape, transfer the laptop onto the table, kick the cat off the blanket, pull off the blanket, race to the kitchen, and grab the phone.

Dial tone.

I can’t believe they hung up.

I brought the house phone over to the computer and settled back down. At least I’d be ready if it happened again.

I hit the audio button and resumed typing.

“Ring!”

Hah! I hit “pause” and grabbed the phone.

Nothing.

This happened about four more times, always one ring. I sent a text to the boys to see if they were trying to reach me. Perhaps they had a poor signal?

“Nope. Wasn’t us.”

I sent the same text to my best friend. Not her either.

Again it happened. And again.

Cat by broken phone

Careful everyone…she’s in a mood…

Yes, I considered the potential for a hidden camera, and even looked around with not a little paranoia before shaking my head. Hard.

Twice more I resumed my typing. Twice more the phone rang. The little girl in me was seriously ready to start crying.

Okay, I’m going to try to ignore it.

I started transcribing again, focusing on the voice on the tape with all I had. The phone rang once—you should know I have ADD and cannot ignore a ringing phone—twice—focus, focus, focus!—three times. If you can make it to four the machine will kick on.

Then I heard my voice on the tape saying, “Just ignore that, Sir; it will go to voicemail at four rings.”

I’d spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to answer a phone that wasn’t ringing.

Crystal clear audio. It’s not always your friend.

It made me wonder though…

How often, in my stubbornness, do I run on autopilot and not even notice that the one true voice has stopped talking? There are a lot of imitations out there…stay alert!

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24

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Christmas Year-Round assignment for February

Okay, you’ve had your baking break. It’s time to get the pans out again. This month, bake a batch of cookies for a neighbor…and not one you know well, either. No, you don’t have to decorate them, and yes, deliver them in person. Write to me about your new friend!