Sunday, August 24, 2008

Debbie: Part VI

More Vignettes:
  • The second year that we went back to New England for Christmas, Debbie was tapped for the role of sainthood, which she filled admirably. My mother had spent some time in the hospital after a fall, and Billy drove up from Maryland to pick her up on release. She got into the car and found that they were headed back to Maryland, which would be her new home. This left all her belongings, except for a few things Billy had picked up, at her apartment, and Debbie and I were to empty her place and finish our Christmas vacation by driving to Maryland for a visit and to deliver Mom's items.

    We started in the morning and Debbie was a dynamo, selecting, packing, and discarding things. I was wounded by a time bomb my brother had left - I reached up for a paper bag on a closet shelf, lifted it, and felt my back go out. It contained a three ton film projector. For the rest of the morniing I was not a whole lot of help to Debbie, and as chance would have it I had to leave her there and go into Boston to meet Dee Dee for lunch. Driving was OK, but I actually had to lean on Dee Dee to walk.

    When I got back we somehow got everything down to the car or into the trash, and left the apartment behind. Debbie didn't say much, but we both knew that I owed her big time.

    Now it was Debbie that I had to lean on to walk. I made light of it and she was clearly more worried than I was. She also had some understandable resentment about the way the day had gone.

    We stayed at a motel in Hampton, New Hampshire. When we got into bed she rolled over so that her back was to me. We both read for a while, then she rolled over, faced me, and said "Don't look at me."

  • Due to the pigs being at the trough I quit my job and incorporated myself (second time for that). Having no regular income, I naturally decided that the thing to do was to buy a new Cadillac. Debbie shopped with me and we settled on a 1989 Sedan de Ville, dark blue with gold trim. The floor model had a special set of wheels on it which I would not have given a dime for, but Debbie liked them. I was going to pass on them, but Debbie really liked them. $4,000.00. Sigh.

    Jumping ahead a bit, a couple of years later I wanted to leave Illinois and head west, tentatively Seattle. Debbie thought we should move to the other coast, where we would at least be within driving distance of our families. We did that, and a few months later we split and she moved back to New Hampshire.

    The suspension on this Cadillac was giving me fits. Any time I put anyone in the back seat the wheel wells rubbed against the back tires. I took it to a Cadillac dealer in Falls Church. Well, you know how some of these dealerships are. I reported the problem to the representative who checked the car in, showed him the abrasions on the rear tires, and told him "All I want is to fix this problem. I do not want a list of other things I "should" have done to the car."

    That afternoon he called me with a list of other things I should have done to the car. When he was done I said "I didn't hear anything about the suspension, the problem for which I gave you the car."

    Service Rep: "Oh we checked that. There's nothing wrong."

    Donnie: "Did I show you the abrasions on the rear tires?"


    Donnie: "Well?"

    Service rep: "Yes."

    Donnie: "Did I pay extra for that when I bought the car or is that standard with Cadillac?"


    Donnie: "Look. Put a couple guys in the back seat and drive the car around your lot. You'll feel the problem."

    It turned out that the wheels were too wide for the damn car. So . . . there I was, alone in Virginia, three thousand miles away from where I had intended to be. Debbie was in New Hampshire and I had $4,000 worth of problem wheels that she had really liked.

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