Sunday, September 01, 2002

Saturday was a rather laid back day for us. We woke up late, had some pancakes with our Kona coffee, and then just hung around the house doing odds and ends. In the afternoon I made a Costco run, picked up a few bottles at Wine Club, and then dropped by Whole Foods for dinner fixin's. I grilled some boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the small gas grill, then sliced them up and put them on top of a caesar salad. We always add tomatoes to our caesar salads and today we used a couple that had ripened from our garden. In addition to the salad, I prepared some Italian pasta and topped it with sprinkles of olive oil and grated Romano cheese. I opened a bottle of Vouvray and we dined on the table in the backyard. Very relaxing.

Friday afternoon was not relaxing at all. I finished up at work early, and left the office around 2:00pm. My car was in the shop (air conditioner), and I was driving the VW Super Beetle. My intention was to drive to Mountain View, stop at the used book store, then pick up my car at Dinan Engineering. I was going to leave the Bug at Dinan, and have my wife drive me back there in the evening.

The drive started off fine. It was a nice day. I had the convertible top down, and I was speeding up 101 in light traffic. As I cut over to highway 237, I downshifted to negotiate the off-ramp, powered through the curve and then up-shifted as I entered the feeder lane. As I pressed the accelerator it went straight to the floor and flopped there like a dead fish. I was able to safely coast to the side of the road, pull over onto a large expanse of dirt, and examine my gas pedal.

The accelerator cable had snapped. Don't let people tell you that you can fix an old VW easily on the side of the road. You can't. You have to do what I did - call a tow truck. Forty-five minutes, the man said. I've done this before. I knew it would be longer than that. I stood around watching traffic, watching the golfers on the other side of the fence, and gazing at all the junk on the side of the road. In addition to paper and cans, there's an amazing amount of weird stuff on the side of your average highway. A shirt, a hanger, some furry thing that I don't think was roadkill. I ended up finding a pretty shell and two golf balls. I put them in the car.

Almost an hour later my tow truck arrived. He towed me to All VW in Santa Clara, the guys who restored my 1979 Super Beetle. David got on the phone immediately and ordered the cable. Don't worry, he told me, the parts warehouse had one more scheduled delivery. The part would arrive in 20 minutes and it would only take 5 minutes to fix the car.

Of course 20 minutes turned into an hour and a quarter, and 5 minutes dragged on for another half. It was 6pm before I finally made it home. I still needed to pick up my car, so we went out to dinner at Chevy's and then swung by Mountain View. When we finally returned home with all of our vehicles it was 8 at night, 6 hours after I left my office for a relaxing afternoon.

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