Someone should invent a catchy saying for that notion.

Today was one of those days. Nay, I say it was two of those days. I had a marathon past two weeks, not getting anything that resembled a full night’s sleep in anything that resembled my bed with anything that resembled my girlfriend (or fiancée, for that matter). I awoke with a start at about four o’clock this morning, realizing that I have not had much chance to keep up with my pathetic bank account, and was thus probably overdrawn to the point that I would have to change my political affiliation.

I checked on line, and found that I was okay. I then noticed that this month’s rent check had not cleared, and I had not nearly enough money to cover it. I needed $500 cash by the time the bank opened. I began laying my brain map for the day. It involved the following –

1. Go get money from anyone who owes me money
2. Convert said money to cash and deposit it so it posts immediately
3. Go fly an airplane to Nashville and pick up a passenger and bring her to Atlanta by 8 pm

I checked my phone to make sure I still had the number of the guy who owed me money, and noticed that the battery was close to dead. Now, where is my charger…?

4. Go to Radio Slack or something and get a charger, because I have been in 42 locations in the past week and have no idea where I left that damned charger. This should be more interesting with no money.

Chances are, I will get the money in the form of a check, and this check will come from Smacky’s Bank. I need to find the nearest location so I can get it cashed and take it to my bank. My GPS was sitting right there, so I consulted…what? Battery is dying on that one, too. The charger for that has been screwed up for a while, so I added

5. Go find whatever retarded miniature ceramic bullshit fuse Garmin decided to use in the charger and then fire it out of a rifle at the asshole who decided to use the world’s most unusual fuse in the design of that charger.

My day was starting to stack up

I left the house at 8 am and got my check without incident. Now I just had to find the bank it came from. Garmin was almost dead, so I decided to call them. Phone was now flashing the “LOW BATT” signal, and I thought to myself “Isn’t it scary how completely my life is falling apart at the hands of my two most valued electronic gadgets?” Think about it. How in the hell did we used to get anywhere or do anything? I don’t remember either.

Luckily I vaguely remembered a Smacky’s Bank branch on Piedmont. It was still there and they only charged me $5 to cash a check since I didn’t have an account there. I now agree that there is something of a conspiracy to keep poor people poor, and I secretly hoped that this bank would go the way of WAMU and all the others.

My bank happily accepted my deposit, and with the major fire now out, I decided I could go look for chargers and fuses and stuff. I started my car and noticed that the console display that shows all of the stereo information and climate control stuff had crapped out. I checked the fuses and did the normal troubleshooting stuff, and finally gave up and did that thing you do when a little too much shit is awry at one time – I put my hand out palms up, looked skyward and sarcastically said “really?” to a god that clearly does not exist.

6. Take car in to see what can be done about the stereo situation
7. While I’m there, see about some new rear tires, as the driver’s side tire had recently been punctured and was running with a full can of Fix-A-Flat inside it

As long as I was right next door to a Radio Slack, I went in to get a phone charger and possibly a new fuse for my Garmin charger. Phone charger worked like a charm, and at $15.00 was a bargain at twice the price. I had also found a fuse that was the same size and rating as the one that came out of it. After finally installing the new fuse in my Garmin charger, I plugged it in expecting to see the happy green light. No such luck. It refused to be fixed. I took it apart three more times expecting to see the problem staring me in the face.

I won’t go into how childish I acted in response to its refusal to cooperate, but if anyone is looking for a slightly used Garmin car charger, it can be found in the Ansley Mall parking lot outside the Radio Shack. It has been run over twice, but may still be salvaged for parts.

Now it was time to focus on getting the car fixed. The radio seems like a part that the dealership would know about, so I’ll go there. The dealership had bad news and good news. The bad news was that the part I needed would cost $1300.00 to replace. The good news is that it was covered by warranty.

Sweet.

So I’m leaving the Honda Place feeling pretty good, tooling down Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when I hear the unmistakable sound of a blown tire. I moved the side view mirror to see flappy bits of rubber coming off my rear tire.

Now is the part where my hands involuntarily become fists and I want nothing more than to beat them on the steering wheel and scream “fuck” over and over.

Life is a series of challenges. How you choose to deal with these challenges determines your worth as a human being. That is my #1 mantra, and I refused to allow myself a loss of control. As if in answer to my choice, I looked up and saw a big burly sign that said “Kaufmann Tire” on it. I had just enough speed to coast to a stop right in front of their front door. I silently thanked the god that I previously denied the existence of for a) putting my blowout right in front of a tire store, and b) not letting it happen at 70 miles per hour while I was drunk with a bunch of coke and dead hookers in the trunk.

The part that sucked is that 17” tires cost a billion more dollars each than 16” tires. Especially when they see you drive up on a rim. $318.00 later I had two new tires. Now I had to hustle to the airport to get this whole flying thing going.

Did I really want to fly considering the way my day had gone so far? Turns out I didn’t.

The plane had just come out of maintenance, so we did a very thorough preflight and run up. We ran the engine up and studied the instruments for anything sucky. We did this for a full minute longer than we needed to.

“789 Marco Polo (that isn’t the real tail number, so don’t try to look it up), cleared for departure Runway 9.” Ground control chirped.

“Cleared for departure blah blah blah” I responed in kind.

We rolled out, lifted off, and at about 400 feet, I noticed the oil pressure was at 28 psi, rather than its usual 40-45, and fluctuating as low as 2 psi. At this point I had had enough. I made fists and began beating them on the instrument panel, screaming “fuck” over and over into the radio.

Kidding. Brian (the guy I was flying with) saw the problem at the same time I did, and since he has much more experience in this plane than I do, I said “Your airplane. I have the radios” and called the airport.

“So-and-so tower, this is 789 marco polo. We have a low oil pressure indication and need to land on 27.”

“789 marco polo, clear to land 27. Let us know if we can help.”(the controllers are very accommodating when they think something is wrong with your airplane)

The engine was still making lots of noise and we were still in control, so I felt no need to fill the cockpit with liquid feces. We just made a tight turn and landed where we came from. We taxied to the maintenance hangar and told them what happened. Much like trying to tell a computer engineer what is wrong with your computer, and airplane will not behave the same in the presence of a qualified mechanic as it will when you are flying it. Still not sure they believe us.

I gave up on today. The good thing about a particularly bad day is the knowledge that the following day, even if it is slightly below average, will seem wicked awesome by comparison. Just now, I looked in the refrigerator and found a forgotten beer in the veggie drawer. It has been in there for about nine months, because the expiration date is today.

Things are looking better already.

20 Responses to “When it Rains, Sometimes it rains really hard and that sucks.”

  1. on 14 Oct 2008 at 6:35 pm bryan

    you win.

    yea 1st!

  2. on 14 Oct 2008 at 6:51 pm davejase

    Ah the life of a CFI/ well engaged human… Keep yer head up and hire a collection agency, Dusty… Rock on, Amigo…

  3. on 14 Oct 2008 at 6:56 pm Claire

    Here is my mantra:
    Life is funny stuff; it’s just a lot funnier from a distance.

    But think how many people would have FAILED at steps one and two or just lacked the ability to put them in a meaningful order to avoid catastrophe. Clearly you should be feeling like it was a gigantic PASS.

    Cheers to being completely competent (my highest compliment and a quality that caused me to marry my husband).

  4. on 14 Oct 2008 at 7:35 pm RainHole

    At the very least, days like these make for good stories/writing. Stack enough of ’em together and you get a book even.

    Or a shooting spree.

  5. on 14 Oct 2008 at 8:20 pm Nightmare

    Since my wedding in Apr. everyday has been like that. Get to the back of the bus! Plus I have to go to Saudi Arabia Saturday for 3.5 weeks for work…That will be fun huh?

  6. on 14 Oct 2008 at 8:34 pm Glen Wilkins

    I admire your ability to keep it together. I too have had a spate of crummy days that feature swearing, apostasy and sore hands from punching inanimate objects. Good thing I’m not a pilot.

    Chin up; it’s always darkest before… uh, you know, just before that sunrise thingy.

  7. on 15 Oct 2008 at 12:16 am Pedro

    Man, i really love the way you write… keep the posts rolling, my rss feed shines a brighter light when it lists a salami tsunami entry!

    Cheers!

  8. on 15 Oct 2008 at 2:46 am Damian

    Congrats on not hitting the steering wheel and shouting “FUCK!”, I would have failed that test horribly…

    And now because I haven’t been reading here in the last few months (forever) I’m glad to see you’re flying for a living! With 3 more exams which I’ll be writting next week and 60 hours to fly and THEN an instructors rating to do I hope to be doing likewise by March.

    On being a poor white, yeah it blows dead bears BUT we fly planes and that just beats the heck out of everything! Even when your transponder fails flying into Johannesburg airspace 🙂

  9. on 15 Oct 2008 at 7:16 am Jess

    Wow…that was an awesomely bad day! Glad you made it through! Almost expired beer is just as good going down…!

  10. on 15 Oct 2008 at 7:34 am Aaron

    Kudos for not taking a life. A lesser man may have taken a life.

  11. on 15 Oct 2008 at 7:44 am warcrygirl

    Life is a series of challenges. How you choose to deal with these challenges determines your worth as a human being.

    I must have a worthless human being this weekend, especially after I had to pitch the same damn tent three times in about an hour. I also wanted to punch the chirpy park ranger who told me I couldn’t camp out in the field even though THEY DID IT LAST YEAR. Gah, I get tense just thinking about it.

  12. on 15 Oct 2008 at 8:03 am Stefany

    I’m so happy to hear you remain among the living after such a craptacular morning. Godspeed, Dusty!!

  13. on 15 Oct 2008 at 8:42 am Ryan

    Rough day! At least you know the sun will come up tomorrow… unless you live in Seattle… or Greenland… well, at least there’s flashlights.

  14. on 15 Oct 2008 at 9:55 am Mary Ellison

    There are darknesses in this world
    and there are lights

    You are one of the lights…

  15. on 15 Oct 2008 at 11:10 am Brandi

    I was going to write some cheery, mindless little “Things will look up” message, but I read the post above this one (by Mary Ellison). How can I possibly post after that?

    So, um, what she said up there.

    (And feel better ‘n stuff).

  16. on 15 Oct 2008 at 4:56 pm Connor

    I love finding that ‘hidden’ beer in the fridge!…
    Congrats on the engagement..

  17. on 15 Oct 2008 at 6:15 pm fourthstooge

    Rock on Dusty. love ya, mean it.

  18. on 16 Oct 2008 at 12:02 pm Nathan G

    Oh come on Dustbowl, so where’s the part where you get hurt in some asinine way? “I slipped in the shower and jammed my eyeball into the shower drain which happened to be occupied by that spider I thought I killed in there a couple of years ago…..”

  19. on 16 Oct 2008 at 5:48 pm Brent

    Oh sure now you give that wonderful piece of advise about hitting the steering wheel and yelling Fuck over and over….where were you the day I had to drive the 8 miles to the dealership with a stuck horn? Huh?

  20. on 17 Oct 2008 at 5:19 pm Justin

    I’m going to run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but your writing is perfexcellent! I agree and identify with 99% of what you talk about. Indeed, you are one of the lights.