Week of August 17, 2003
We got an early start to St. Louis, Missouri in hopes to avoid much of the oppressive heat and to be able to spend a good portion of a Sunday with my friend, Dave Perry. Well, as the tire gods would have it, our schedule was slightly detoured.
In coming over the Mississippi River bridge from Illinois to St. Louis, Cindy lost her slipper and we had our first "glitch" by means of a flat tire. We had been monitoring a slow leak in the same tire so we were not too surprised. Unfortunately, the shredding of the tire had to happen on asphalt, at noon, on a swelteringly hot and humid day. Ok, we are wimps in that kind of heat and we had to whine a bit.
We changed the tire and found that the last three service places that we took Cindy had obviously not checked the spare tire (as we requested) because it was rather flat. So, a quick call to AAA and we filled our spare and had no problems getting to Dave's house where the air conditioning was beckoning to us.
Dave and I have known each other through work for over ten years and we have joint custody of a cat named Stormi. I used to travel with Stormi until Dave catnapped her and she and Dave have been living happily ever after. Stormi is a cat with an attitude the size of her girth and has not changed in her 11 years.
Because we had already planned on replacing the tires, we felt this was a good time. If anything could go wrong with this thinking, it did. Here's the story:
Once upon a time, there was a good, yet somewhat weathered vehicle named Cinderella (Cindy for short). One day, Cindy lost her slipper and had to replace all four slippers so that they would match. Cindy was taken to a slipper replacement vendor wherein the men eagerly stated that they had the correct slippers that would fit Cindy's delicately huge feet.
We requested only the best footwear be placed on Cindy and that included 10 ply, radial slippers. Also, because Cindy's previous shoes were in such good shape, we asked them to please install one as a spare and provide another as a second spare.
When one of the charming men looked into the crystal computer, he exclaimed "where did those slippers go" for the slippers had disappeared from sight. After a mild panic and loud exclamations, the slippers were indeed located and Cindy was left in the men's capable hands.
Upon return to Cindy, she was proudly sitting upon her new footwear. The cobblers were paid and we made to exit; however, our being somewhat particular, we wanted to get the specifications for the new slippers. We dashed back inside and requested the necessary information. Standing within the group was an older gentleman that questioned why we would ask for a "light truck" slipper and not a "recreational vehicle" slipper. Upon review of our parchment, the gentleman found that the wrong slippers had been installed.
Within the time for our jaws to hit the floor, the vendor agreed to install the correct footwear, but we would have to leave Cindy overnight. We agreed and decided to inspect Cindy with Sir J, one of the vendor's managers. As we walked around her girth, we found the vendor had installed the correct spare except that it contained a rather noticeable bulge that mirrored several splices on the other side. Needless to say, this slipper was not acceptable for Cindy and we requested they replace this spare with the last of the three good slippers.
We returned the next morning to see Cindy slipperless and awaiting her new shoes. Within a short time, it was announced that Cindy was yet again ready to dance. We found the correct slippers were installed, but we also noticed that the damaged spare had not been replaced. So, again we trudged inside to wait for the final product.
Shortly thereafter, we were told the spare was replaced and we trotted out to inspect Cindy. What we found was the vendor had replaced the spare, but had done so with the original spare that had very little rubber on its sole. So, again, we trudged inside to wait while the men located Cindy's last good slipper and replaced the spare correctly. After many minutes of being told the last slipper had disappeared and our reaction of "it would be best for you if that slipper showed itself", the slipper was found in the pile of footwear that gets resold because they are in good condition.
Again, we were told Cindy was ready to dance and again, we inspected her footwear. Finally, all the slippers were correctly installed, the spare was correctly installed and undamaged, the second spare was placed inside Cindy, and....wait a minute, not so fast....they forgot to install the valve caps. So, without leaving Cindy's sight, we made certain that all the valve caps were installed and that the air pressure in each slipper, including the spare, was checked and correct under our inspection.
Needless to say, we ran out of there as fast as we could and have been traveling happily ever after.
Other than a big-footed Brazilian stepping on the computer data line and having to have the computer repaired, not much exciting while in St. Louis. We did go downtown for a few hours but our time here was most enjoyable visiting with Dave and his girlfriend, Laurie, and just fixing a few things.