Posts Tagged ‘rental car’

Way Below Zero

January 8, 2014

Monday January 6th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

If I ever have a chance to meet Al Gore in person, there better be an extra set of Secret Service agents on duty because I want a piece of that halfwit. I want to ball up both fists and make it rain bolo punches on his skull until one of us drops from exhaustion. Global warming me frozen arse.

These are the winters I remember so well growing up in Milwaukee. Walking to school when it hurts to breathe is a memory no kid should have. I thought I was exaggerating how cold it was all those years, but I knew as soon as I stepped out the door this morning I had remembered it right.

I had to take my rental car back today, and the engine barely turned over. I had to try five or six times, but it eventually started. It took about twenty minutes for the heater to get up to speed, so I waited inside until I saw the solid sheet of ice melt from the windshield. This is as cold as it gets.

What made it worse was that I had to do it all over again with my car when I got to Enterprise. I also had to clean a foot of snow off the top, so that kept me warm and busy as I waited for their guy to inspect my rental to make sure I hadn’t been using it to transport cocaine or nuclear waste.

The world was a giant Popsicle all day as people left their cars running in hopes they wouldn’t have to use their AAA. I would hate to be a tow truck driver today on one hand, but on the other it would be raining money day and night. This is the kind of weather that makes people relocate.

The last few winters have been downright balmy compared to this one, and it’s only barely into January. This could hang on until April, and it just might. And to think I was in Tucson just days ago where people were actually bellyaching at night because it had gotten down to – gasp – 55!

Personally, I don’t mind the cold if I don’t have to be out in it. I took care of my car issues and went straight home to work on putting together an email newsletter to hopefully be sent out next Monday January 13th. I haven’t had one in several years, and it’s high time I get it started again.

I think it’s a great idea to touch people with a newsletter, but there’s a fine line between doing good business and being a human mosquito. I never want to annoy people, but I don’t think once a month is out of line. It’s a great way to keep my name out there with bookers, friends and fans.

I’ve been studying a lot of newsletters of late, and there are some very good ones. I don’t know how long it will take me to get to their level, but if I don’t start I’ll never have the chance. I need to just get something OUT, and I like the idea of making the 13th of the month my personal day.

Most people send one on the 1st, and that gets cluttered. I subscribe to several myself, and it’s a chore trying to read them all at once. Hopefully mine will slide under the radar and stand out. I’d also like it to stand out because of quality content, and that’s another thing I’ve been working on.

I sketched out an outline for the entire year. I intend to write a short humor article every month and also a ‘how to’ article for my students. I also will include any actual news that happened for the month, and a complete schedule of where I’ll be in the near future. This is exactly what to do to start the year right, and my pit crew Eric Feinendegen and I intend to have it out by Monday.

Hey Genius, it was -14 in Chicago today. I can think of a MUCH better place for you to put that thumb.

Hey O brilliant genius, it was -14 in Chicago today. I can think of a MUCH better place for you to put that thumb.

Door Jammed

January 9, 2013

Wednesday January 9th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Comedians as a rule will tend to use our most painful and/or stressful life situations to craft our comedy material. It’s what we do. I can say first hand from all too much bitter experience there’s absolutely NOTHING more unfunny or torturous than having to live one of those bits in reverse.

This ‘free’ car I have is becoming a total nightmare. It’s been one ridiculously outrageous high cost problem after the next, and I stopped laughing a long time ago. It’s becoming a major hassle as I’m so deep into it financially I don’t know what to do. It’s a swift kick right in my ball joints.

Today I received the delightful news my driver’s door latch malfunction will only set me back a paltry $350 to fix – and that doesn’t come with any guarantees it will work as long as I keep the car. The body shop manager’s head snapped back as I laughed out loud heartily when he shot me the final number. “I didn’t expect that reaction,” he said. “I didn’t expect that price,” I countered.

He was actually a very nice guy and went on to explain how difficult it was to even find a latch for my particular door. He only found five in the entire country, and it would take several days to have one shipped in before they could even fix it. I don’t think the guy was lying, and he took the time to show me where all five of the latches were located and what work all needed to be done.

There’s no way I want to throw another $350 into this unending money sucking nightmare, but what else am I supposed to do? I already have way more than I ever wanted to stick into this ugly mess as it is, and it’s not anything I can ever get back out. I’m in a tight spot here, and it rots ass.

What I told them to try was to secure the latch somehow so the door can lock and not pop open in traffic. I don’t care if they have to weld it shut, I can’t see wasting another $350 on top of all I already spent. As inconvenient as it will be, I’ll crawl over from the passenger side and slide into the driver’s seat for the rest of the time I own the car – which I don’t expect to be for long now.

It kills me to have to eat such a heaping pile of manure, but I’m going to have to cut my losses and move on. I threw everything into this car, thinking it would last at least a year. Unfortunately the engine and transmission probably would have easily done that and more. It’s the other ton of glitches that are absolutely killing me. $825 for an exhaust system? Brakes? That money is shot.

The timing of this whole fiasco is what hurts the most. There have been times in my life when I could have weathered this kind of storm financially and laughed it off. Right now I am struggling harder than I ever have, and I really need that car to last the rest of the year. I was counting on it.

We’ll see how many times I can squeeze my fanny over the gear shift knob before I flip all the way out and set it on fire, but right now I can’t think of a better alternative. I have a rental car for the rest of this week, but next Monday I’m going to have to deal with this every day of my life.

I’m sure I can take it to other places and get other estimates, but the bottom line is I’m stuck in a horribly inconvenient situation I never planned for. On stage, it’s hilarious. In real life, it hurts.