How Not to Go Christmas Shopping

I had a pretty good plan going into Saturday. I was supposed to go Christmas shopping but that went out the window with the tie rod thingies. Let me explain.

The day began with a trip to a garage to have my son’s car inspected. This usually takes 1/2 hour. The car failed the inspection because the tie rod thingies on the right front wheel were failing. (The thingies are called “ends” which isn’t terribly descriptive. The tie rod is a metal rod with threads on either end that are screwed into the thingies. The whole thing attaches the wheel to the steering mechanism. The bad thingies made the right front wheel wobble. If the thingies fail, the steering fails. If the steering fails, you blame a bicyclists for getting in the way.

So I walked 1 1/2 miles home.

Then I pulled The Mule out of the shed and rode it to my local bike store. Last week, the mechanics there had installed a new cassette (the gears in the back) and a new chain. The chain was skipping all week. A mechanic adjusted the cable tension and turned a screw and the skip was gone.

I rode onward to Old Town Alexandria where they were having the annual Scottish Walk. This is a parade that wanders over a route the shape of the letter “P”.  The parade is an interesting mix of Brownies, rescue dogs, business people, bagpipe marching bands, and drunken men in kilts. The crowds were enormous. This was not good because I needed to get to my bank which was inside the P. Alexandria law enforcement people told me to ride around the route and come at it from the far side, where the parade had yet to reach. This worked like a charm but left me with the prospect of being trapped. I made an effort to watch the parade from behind the crowds lining the street, but gave up, and headed home. I escaped the P by riding to the start of the parade and finding where the staging areas ended.

Once at home I pulled out the lawn mower to drain the gas in the tank. This was done by, clever me, mowing the lawn until the mower conked out. I thought this would take 10 minutes. Somehow gas lasts longer in the winter and I ended up mowing the lawn 1 1/2 times. (Our lawn looks pretty darn OCD right now.)

While mowing, the garage called. My car was ready. I pulled Deets out of the shed and rode to fetch the car. The car was indeed ready except the steering wheel now pointed to 10 o’clock. So I drove back to the garage and they  made three attempts to fix this. It is now permanently 11:15 aboard the flight deck of the Millenium Falcon. Note to self: never use a mechanic on US 1 in Fairfax County.

Back to home I went where I pulled a ladder out to check the gutters for leaves. The gutters are usually jammed with leaves but this time they were clear.

Back inside I scoured my laptop, Facebook, and Flickr pages for pictures of my family and me for the infamous Rootchopper family Christmas mass mailing. We send Christmas cards to over 100 people. Many of the cards contain a photo montage and the annual two-sided FOMO Christmas letter. (Which is not to be confused with this blog’s annual top ten list and top ten photos posts which are well underway.)

Once the pictures were acquired, I managed to track down addresses for three local friends.

Then I did the Crossword puzzles from the newspaper, ate dinner, and drank some wine.

Very little of the day went according to plan but I just went with the flow and I have to admit I am surprised that I enjoyed the day despite all its ups and downs.

In a few minutes I am heading out to do some Christmas shopping. Just goin’ with the flow to the Home Depot.


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