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Can I Get a Brain With That?

It is Thursday, right? My Thursday? ‘Cuz I’ve been having trouble keeping track of stuff like that lately. Blame it on the kid starting preschool and the nasty head cold he brought back for homework. Catching up from the trip to Oregon. Trying to finish writing the Book that Will Not End. For whatever reason, the finer details of life have been escaping me.

For example—I got my oil changed this week. No, that’s not a euphemism. And I’m not going to admit how many hundreds of miles ago the little warning started popping up every time I turned on the ignition.

Oil change due.

Yeah, yeah. I’ll get right on that. This week. Promise. Except somehow Monday kept turning into Wednesday, and then into Friday, and I still hadn’t gotten around to making the call to schedule an appointment. This is one of those things you really miss when you move back to a small town—no more zipping into Quik Lube at lunch while wolfing down my gordita from Taco Bell. Because there is no Taco Bell, and there is no Quik Lube. There are only full-fledged auto repair shops, and they require appointments.

In other words, I have to Plan Ahead.

There is a gap in my genome where the Planning Gene is supposed to be. I believe it was passed down from my grandfather on my dad’s side, who lived a good part of his life literally by the seat of his pants, as a bronc rider, a horse breaker, occasionally as a rodeo stunt man who got paid a pittance to do things like ride a bucking horse while sitting in a metal washtub.

My dad missed out on the daredevil gene, but he got the planning gap in spades. Go ahead and try to make him decide whether he wants to take the cows out the east gate or the south gate before you get halfway across the pasture. I dare you. Even my sisters, who try really, really hard to be all organized and efficient, fall victim to the gap from time to time. If you don’t believe me, witness last fall’s family hike.

So back to the oil change.

The warning light had morphed into thinly veiled threats to dump my butt on the side of the highway if I didn’t give the poor Jeep a sip of fresh 10-W-30. As it happened, I had to get in touch with one of our clinic patients with a question about his medical insurance. A co-worker mentioned that he worked at the Chrysler shop. Perfect. I called him on his direct line in the service department, got the necessary information, then asked if I could go ahead and schedule my oil change while I had him on the line. He signed me up for nine a.m. on Friday.

I intended to drop the car off on the way to work, then walk the five blocks to my office. I did not intend to be running late. I had to go straight to the office, where I intended to check in, then run the car back to the dealership. I did not intend to get embroiled in a discussion of the best method for judging Homecoming floats. Next thing I knew it was quarter after nine.


I dashed out the door, zoomed down to the Chrysler dealership, and burst into the service department. “Sorry I’m late!”

Blank looks all around.

“For my oil change,” I added.

Blanker looks. “The guy who does oil changes is on vacation.”

“But…but…I scheduled it for nine o’clock. Today.”

Long look at the clock. Then at me. “With who?”


“Um, yeah.” The service department guy smirked. “He works at the Ford shop.”

Oh, hell.

Not only had I missed my appointment, I’d made the damn thing at the wrong shop. The Chrysler people refrained from laughing outright until I’d made a new appointment (“I’ve got ten or four on Monday,” he said) and gone out to explain the whole mess to my office mate, who had also dashed out to give me a lift back to work.

She did not refrain from laughing in my face.

Monday rolled around. I ferried the kid to preschool, then to lunch, then back to daycare for the afternoon because his dad was moving cows all day, then swung by the Chrysler shop to drop off the car, three hours early for the four o’clock appointment.

“Um, yeah,” the guy said. “Your appointment was at ten.”

Oh, double hell. Not again.

“But we still have that four o’clock slot,” he said, taking pity on the scheduling impaired.

Finally, at five o’clock, I went back to the shop, wrote out a check for the bill, signed four different forms for who knows what, and got my car.

When I turned on the key, it beeped. Oil change due.

I did not have the guts to go back inside and complain that they’d forgotten to reset the warning light. I just got my kid and went home. When I walked in the house, the light was flashing on my answering machine. It was the Chrysler shop.

“Um, yeah,” the guy said. “You left your wallet on our counter.”

Next time, I’ll just drive the two hours to the nearest large town and find a Quik Lube.


10 Responses

  1. ROFL

    I heart you. No, I mega-heart you!


    I can only imagine how those guys laughed after you left the wrong shop!

    My first husband lacked the mechanical gene. The “service now” light was on. He told me not to worry about it. There was something wrong with the light, like a short or something. Umm not so much. There was NO OIL AT ALL in that engine. Needless to say, the engine blew up. His lack of mechanical gene isn’t the only reason we divorced, but lets say, the current (and last ever!) husband has the mechanical gene IN SPADES! (Thank goodness)

  3. Don’t be too hard on yourself! This scheduling stuff is for the birds in my opinion! LOL And you remembered the most important thing in my book! Hug that little one tight! 🙂

  4. Love it. So glad Crystal sent me. I guess I didn’t realize you had a blog.

  5. I’m giggling into my coffee. I love it! So when you went back for your wallet, did you tell them about the oil light?

  6. Wow. I’m sorry you had such a bad time but am glad you finally were able to get your oil changed.

    I am the worlds worse about letting my oil change go longer than normal. I have a brand new car and they told me that i didn’t need to bring it in until around 5000 miles, I have a little over 5000 now. Got to get it to the shop soon!!!

  7. LOL! Really. Cause I got my oil changed today too. But I went to the Time It Lube. 10 minutes and a free car wash. I always make sure they reset my light. I hate when it says I need an oil change and I can’t see me mileage or the temperature on the litte screen.

    It took me about three weeks to work it in. I kept forgetting 🙂

    Glad you got it changed…and got your wallet back.

  8. OMG Can I please copy and paste this to my blog LOL I could and my family WOULD NOT KNOW IT WASN’T ME! My husband would just ask when I got the oil change and why I was calling our older kids cows. He might even inquire as to which daycare. But the whole rest of the story?


    I get dirty looks, and looks of pity from people. WIC, doctors, etc. WIC’s the pity looks and dirty looks come from doctrors and teachers. They equate it with not caring. *sigh. I TRY> I TRY I want to rant at everyone. WOW. I feel so much better knowing there is another intelligent human being with the gap in there gene pool where planning is supposed to go!

  9. LOL Nice karilynn!

    Mine’s been blinking at me for a couple weeks now. I’ll get around to it..one of these days. Luckily we have one of those quick shop places and if you go in the morning, there’s no one there. 6guys, one change.

    in and out baby.

  10. Ah. Home. Five hours of medical coding class and five hours drive home today. And I thought my brain was shot before.

    Crystal: I told you, I live to brighten your days.

    Cyndi: My husband is also very mechanical. Which is why there will be no links to this blog post for him to follow. Nor anyone else in my family.

    Melissa: Yeah, about remembering the kid….

    Travis: I can also make you feel much smarter and more organized than me over at http://www.montanaforreal.blogspot.com

    Shawna: They delivered my wallet to my office the next morning. I think we’d reached the point where I was frightening them.

    Heather and Liz and Melissa: I’m guessing I was about…um…3K over? Yikes.

    Leona: You might get some argument on the intelligent part.

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