September 1992 – Sincerely Sire Newsletter
They say that opposites attract, and when it comes to Rosemarie (Roe) and
me, never have truer words been spoken. She likes romantic movies, I
like men-dealing-with-death movies. I wished I was during "Far and
Away," and I still am for making her sit through Clint's latest,
"Unforgiven." She likes expensive things that look pretty. I like cheap
things that last. She likes to spend money. I like to save it.
For the past several months she's been lobbying for new chrome wheels for
our old '84 Mercedes. I've been lobbying against them. "They're too much
money. We don't need them. Someone will just steal them. The brakes
will fail." etc. And then, just about the time I had her convinced not
to buy them, her good buddy, Ronna, from the office, told her she could
get her a "deal" on the wheels. Seems Ronna had a friend who
manufactured chrome wheels and could get them for her at cost. "Honey,
all four hubcaps (she keeps calling them hubcaps) will only cost $323.
This is a deal we just can't pass up!"
"OK," I said, "You win. Let's buy 'em."
Now, as is the case with everything Roe has ever bought during our nearly
18 years of marriage, it always cost me much more than I anticipate.
(Like the marriage itself.) She always suckers me in with the "low
introductory price offer." The wheel deal was no different. Turns out
our existing tires won't fit the new rims. So now I have to buy new
tires as well as the wheels . . . I start calling around to check on
prices. After giving the tire man the size of the wheels, he says, "Oh
you'll need special tires for those rims."
"Special, as in much-more-expensive special?" I asked.
"Oh yes!" the tire man replied gleefully. "Much more expensive."
At this point I jumped up from the desk and threw the phone into Roe's
lap. "You handle this. I can't stand it." I stomped out of the house
and got myself four chili-cheese-dogs with extra onions.
Roe takes the car down to get the new tires mounted on the chrome rims.
The tires, plus wheel alignment, cost $510. Undaunted, she brings the
car home and says, "Don't they look great?"
"Yeah, " I reply. "I guess so. Let me take it for a test drive." The
car pulls hard to the right, and as soon as I hit fifty miles an hour the
front end starts bouncing around like a covered wagon. I bounce back
home. "Roe, the tires are out of balance, and the car hasn't been
aligned properly. You've got to take it back."
She returns with the car several hours later and tells me that the wheels
are no good. They're out-of-round. "Great," I said. "Let's get our old
wheels back and get a refund on the new wheels."
"We can't, our old wheels are gone. Besides that, the new tires which
are now used tires wouldn't fit our old rims anyway."
The next day she calls the manufacturer of the new wheels and they tell
her that the tire shop used the wrong kind of lug nuts. She goes back to
the shop where they remount the wheels with special cone-shaped lug nuts.
"OK, the shop manager says, you're all set. Sorry about the problems."
She puts the car into reverse to back out, but the car won't budge. The
lug nuts are too long and are stuck on the brake pads. The shop owner
calls all over the county and finally locates some shorter, even more
special, cone-shaped lug nuts, at a cost to us of $3. each. Roe brings
the car home and relates the story of the lug nuts to me but tells me not
to worry, all has been fixed. I test drive the car again. It still
pulls to the right and still bounces violently at fifty miles an hour.
And that, as of the writing of this newsletter, is the status of our car,
if not our marriage. So next time you see an '84 Mercedes with pretty
chrome wheels come thumping down your street, veering uncontrollably
towards the curb, you'd better get off the sidewalk, because it's my
ex-wife (only kidding), Ramblin' Rose, just rolling along, enjoying her
new set of wheels.