The Nightmare Before Christmas

Santa Jack
It never fails... the Holly-Jolly, Jingle-Belling, MostWonderfulTimeOfTheYear Holiday Season approaches and it happens.

Something major fails, malfunctions, or sputters to a complete, unforseen and utter halt.

Years ago it was our one and only TV.

Another year the dryer died.

A few years back the furnace gave up the ghost.

Last year it was daughter's and hubby's cars.

This year like clockwork, I was totally surprised (NOT) that it happened yet again. Karma KNEW I had just drained my bank account buying a few rather largish Christmas presents early Saturday morning. I had felt soooo good! "Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la...." smugly performing the "I have most of my Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop" dance as I stroked a whole scad of items off my lengthy shopping list.

Then Monday morning my stomach turned at the metal-on-metal grinding that emanated from beneath my van with each press of the brake pedal. Yep there was no doubt; my brakes were screwed. And so was I.

Dammit!

So once again I found myself laying out the big bucks at the worst possible moment.

You'd think that was the recurring Nightmare. Frankly, I have come to expect the unexpected in December. But believe it or not, that wasn't what made me shiver in fear.

The worst part of the whole experience was the uberfrail 500-or-so year old wisp of a man in front of me at Canadian Tire's Auto Service Desk. Not only did he fail to comprehend what the mechanic was patiently and repeatedly trying to explain to him in a very loud voice, he shook so badly he couldn't get his key back onto his keyring. Then he tried to pay in Australian dollars even after the cashier pointed out his error. After numerous offers of different denominations of the foreign currency, he finally found his Canadian cash stuffed in amongst the thick wad of Aussie bills. Even after he was rung through, he stood at the counter for what seemed like oh, eternity, fiddling with his wallet, keys and paperwork, oblivious to the long line queueing up behind him. Eventually he slowly shuffled off in search of his car in the parking lot.

Yes, it's a Nightmare to have a major unexpected expense at Christmas.

But the thought of someone like that still driving will haunt my dreams forever.

33 People would rather be commenting:

choochoo said...

they say suicides peak during the holidays. I guess that's true for appliances and such, too. Poor things.

The Green Stone Woman said...

I would worry very much about someone like that being on the road still. He could be a hit and run driver without even knowing it.

Sharyn said...

Reluctant as I am to try to top your tale of woe, I have to relate this story:

The woman who cuts my hair told me that her family no longer celebrates Thanksgiving. Why? Several year ago, a very old relative (grandfather maybe?) died at the dinner table. The following year another relative died at dinner.

The following year they decided to have Thanksgiving at a restaurant, where a woman at the next table had a heart attack and died.

Twain12 said...

Oh Boy and here i thought i was having a bad day.

Margaret said...

Ya I agree with you. Why do family's let people that are that old drive. In my family we don't let them.

Bruce said...

Yet, another fine example of why I am greatful that I have the luxury of being able to walk to work.

ReformingGeek said...

I'm sorry about your brakes. Let's hope the poor man ahead of you at least has a working vehicle. It's bad enough he is driving. It's bad enough that my mother-in-law is still driving and she is barely over 70. That doesn't sound old anymore.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

I got hit as a teenager while riding my bike by someone unstable physically like that. I wasn't hurt, but I sure left my mark on his car. Scary who drives out there!

Kevin said...

Perhaps your brakes were squealing with delight? That's what I usually tell myself.

Maureen said...

Choochoo: Ha! Well, you may just be right!

The Green Stone Woman: I know... more a danger to others than themselves.... grrrr.

Sharyn: Okay. Two words:

HOLY. CRAP.

That would "kill" future Thanksgivings for me forever.

Twain12: Glad I could make you feel better! ;)

Margaret: I don't know... it amazes me they renew licences so easily.

Bruce: You lucky dog you. How I wish I could walk to work! (Er, if I worked at home -- it's nearly -40C this morning.... brrr! I am not walking anywhere!)

Reforming Geek: I am sure he owns a huge boat of a car. Seems to be the pattern with old men drivers; huge car they can't handle. Oh, and he was also wearing the obligatory HAT too.

Holy crow Perpetual Chocoholic! I am glad you weren't hurt! He probably thought YOU were at fault; they figure because they are older they know better. Not always true...

Hahahaha Kevin! Poor thing; it sounded (and felt) horrible! And it was so sudden. Mechanic said it was metal on metal; 100% worn. Crap. Well, at least I still HAD brakes. I had visions of flying down the street careening out of control.... yikes. Feels much safer now ;)

Janet said...

I can totally relate! Last year, I got a new roof for Christmas. This year, I got new house paint. :-) That's it! lol

JoJo said...

We seem to have our share of car troubles in December too, come to think of it. Hopefully it won't happen this year!! The one good thing about Brian being out of work since August 2008 is that he hasn't driven anywhere, so *fingers crossed* his truck won't require anything expensive!

As for that anciently old man, I have ZERO patience as it is. If that man had been in front of me, I have a feeling, "Hey! Old Coot! The line is a mile long! If you can't function like a normal human, maybe you shouldn't be driving!" would have spewed forth from my big Sagittarian-Year-of-the-Dragon mouth.

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

It must be the season, since my car is at the dealer's right now and I'm nervously awaiting their phone call to tell me how bad it is. AND DH says, "yeah, my brakes sound screwed up too."

Ho. Ho. Ho.

And like yourself, I did a HEAP of shopping this past weekend.

Kathy said...

I shelled out probably $750 last month for my car repairs. Does that help any? I'm at that point where I have to decide whether it makes more sense to buy a new one. Until then, I keep feeding it bills because that's all it seems to want.

Merry Christmas?

Maureen said...

Janet: Ah yes, nothing says Merry Christmas like shingles. ;)

Note to Self: Always, always, always let Jo-Jo cut in line ahead of you.

Eeeek Curly Glamour Girly! What is this; like a car virus or something????

Ha Kathy! Mine ended up a tad over $1000.... and daughter was pissed I didn't just go out and buy a new one. Kids. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

What amusing topic

nonamedufus said...

You know how they have bicycle lanes on the side of the road? I think they should have seniors' lanes. Of course the lanes would have to be pretty wide because the seniors drive the biggest cars on the road.

VE said...

Breaks are for the weak!

SWUBIRD said...

Maureen:

Incredible. I have never had that kind of an experience---someone trying to pay with foreign currency. But my washing machine just conked out. Dead'ern a doornail. Should I blame you?

Happy trails.

Babs-beetle said...

We had a neighbour a bit like that where we used to live. I think he had hit every car in that street at least once, trying to park! Thankfully not ours, by some miracle. I think there is a rule now where you have to take another driving test at 70, though I'm not sure about that. It could be wishful thinking :)

Babs-beetle said...

P.S. Oops! I forgot..... Two years running our cooker broke down the day before Christmas eve! Both times we had to pay over the top for a repair man to come out Christmas eve, so we could cook our turkey! We were very concerned the following year, but it didn't happen again.

DJ Kirkby said...

Ooooh such bad luck. And, how is that man still driving, don't people have to do retests over a certain age in Canada anymore? x

Lady Banana said...

I hate it when things like that happen :(

Jeff said...

Maybe you should celebrate Christmas in November... or July. That should throw your Karma off.

So what kind of car was that guy driving btw... a Ford Fogie?

Maureen said...

Why thank you Anon!

Ahahaha Nonamedufus! Yes, unfortunately the lanes would have to be bus-sized, but then they would never stay IN them unfortunately.

VE: Breaks as in coffee breaks? Because I really NEED those. The other brakes aren't quite so important.

Oh crap, Swu, you probably should. I am amazed of all the stories I've been reading lately of things breaking. Must be an epidemic like the flu at Christmastime.

Holy crow Babs! You were lucky then. Yes, I do believe in mandatory re-testing after a certain age. There is no way in heck this fellow would have passed.

Oh Yikes Babs! That happended to my mother one Christmas. The very worst thing that can happen when you are trying to cook a turkey!

I wish, DJ, I WISH!

Me too, Lady Banana. Oh well I don't sweat the stuff I can't change.

Now that's brilliant Jeff. Just think, no crowds to fight over Christmas purchases, I can put up the lights when it is really warm, and I'd probably save a whole ton of money on gifts. And yes, I do believe he WAS driving a Ford Fogie. Good guess! Ha!

Vegas Princess said...

I think I was behind that guy today.

jay said...

Oh, crikey ... you know, if he was that bad, I think I might have shopped him. He sounds like an accident waiting to happen, and also, the elderly often don't notice themselves getting worse until someone points it out to them. Sounds like he needs a medical check-up ASAP.

Sorry to hear about the van and the unexpected expense. My car's in the garage (for repair tomorrow) right now. I hear ya.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Funny choochoo!

And that old people driving is a tough thing - nobody wants to give up their independence. :-(

Alicia said...

I don't always agree with the chosen blog for Blog of Note, but I must agree...yours is a blog of note and I'm signing up as a blogger. You're very funny and your blog is very cute.

Maureen said...

Vegas Princess: Ha Ha! Sorry, I really shouldn't laugh...

Oh Jay, sorry to hear my car virus is spreading. Hope your bill wasn't too bad.

Yeah Jill, but some of those indepedant elders need to start taking cabs...

Oh Alicia, you are too kind! Thank you and welcome! I am so glad you stopped by and commented.

Elle Sev said...

I love the Nightmare Before Christmas! I used to watch this movie all the time when I was five or six!

Quincy likes it too, and Jack as well.

Maureen said...

Yep Elle Sev, it is a classic alright!

Jaime D Buckley said...

LOL! Well I have to say that it's pretty mild when it comes to nightmares. For some horrible reason, my family and I (I'm the father of 10, soon to be 11 BTW) always seemed to be in a nasty car accident the night before Christmas.

That happened consistently for 5 years in a row, until we finally made the solemn vow NEVER to go out on Christmas Eve again.

Still holding to it, and the medical bills have dropped off to nothing...

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