We had a letter in the mail last week.
It looked official. It was a notice that a parking ticket had not been paid.
My lovely wife Darlene gave the letter little notice, as she had paid the parking ticket already. I got the ticket the day I stepped into a medical lab in early December to have some tests done for a physical. I wrote about this little experience in a story called "A Bad Phone Call From The Good Doctor". I neglected to add the part about the ticket to my story as I was embarrassed to have gotten the ticket in the first place.
You see, I thought I could just step in and step out before putting any money in the meter. But in the eight minutes I spent in that lab, I had gotten a forty five dollar ticket.
We paid the ticket long before it could become an issue. We paid it online.
So when the first notice came in the mail in late January, my lovely wife Darlene made a phone call to make sure the ticket was indeed taken care of. It was.
For my twenty years of IT experience, you would expect that I have more faith in online systems. But I don't. I guess it's because I know all the things that can go wrong.
So when this second letter arrived in the mail, my lovely wife Darlene was flustered.
"Did you get another parking ticket?", she questioned me as I sat with a drink and a smoke that evening after arriving home from work.
"Nope", I answered short and quick, not even looking up from the Sudoko puzzle in the paper.
I love Sudoko puzzles. They are great brain exercises. I have been known to waste hours on the five star super toughies – only to curse out loud at the end when one row has two sixes in it.
She held up the envelope and said, "then why are we getting another notice?". At least that's what I think she said, I was not really paying attention.
My lovely wife Darlene opened the envelope. She took out the document, and then she got mad at me.
"Yes you did! Whooo lives on Beaumont Crescent?" she said in her lovely wife accusing way. "Whooo were youuuu visiting?"
I took the letter from my now not so lovely wife's hands and inspected it.
"It's a ticket on the Jeep, darling. Youuuu drive the Jeeeeep, not me." I retorted – trying to conceal my enjoyment in the turning of the tables.
"Whooo were youuuu visiting?"
She tried to take the letter back, but I turned to avoid her attempt.
"It says here that the Jeep was in Toronto. Whooo do youuuu know in Toronto?" I asked.
Toronto is between a three to four hour drive up the 401 away. To my knowledge the Jeep has never been in Toronto. And I felt quite confident that my lovely wife Darlene was not driving to Toronto to have a rendezvous with some metro-sexual sharply dressed subway rider who roots for the Blue Jays.
It's just not my lovely wife Darlene's style.
But I was having too much fun now.
"Youuuu have been driving the Jeeeeep for the last three weeks. I have had your car. Whooo were youuuu visiting in Toronto?"
Darlene was not having the fun I was having. Her voice had a more serious tone.
I looked at the date of the Ticket. It was dated January 1, 2009.
"Oh, this is definitely some type of mistake", I said.
"So now it's a mistake, huh!" said my lovely wife – there was now a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
"No", I said, "this ticket is for new year's day".
"We went to my mum's on New Year's Day" stated my lovely wife. "We took your mum with us".
"Even I can't be in two places at once" I stated, puffing out my chest like a super-hero.
Darlene's parents live about ten minutes from our house. And my Mother was visiting from Pensacola. She flew in to and out of Detroit, not Toronto.
"This must be the work of a hung over meter maid", I concluded.
"It says that a warrant for your arrest has been issued". My lovely wife was reading the letter over my shoulder.
"I'll have a record", I joked. "How do I tell my cellmate I'm in for a parking ticket, and it's a bum rap!".
"Well, that's it. I can't take the Jeep across the border until we straighten this out", Said my lovely wife.
"They won't let me across in a vehicle that has a warrant out for the arrest of the owner." She was not kidding.
"So you're confiscating my vehicle?"
"The Jeep is in your name."
"So is the car!"
"The car is in both our names."
"Oh crap. Okay".
"What kind of car does the letter say the ticket was for?" I asked.
"Well, there ya go!" I said. "call them and prove to them that it can't be our car, that we have a Jeep. What're the chances that the car in question is a black 2003 Jeep Liberty? You can fax them the title and a copy of my driver's license as proof."
So for the last two weeks I have been driving my lovely wife Darlene's Jeep.
It should be explained that my lovely wife does not exactly keep a vehicle in pristine condition.
She keeps all kinds of paperwork in there. Papers and envelopes are shoved between the center console and the seats, tucked into the visors above the windshield, the glove compartment, and those little map-holder pockets on the sides of the doors. It is filed in no particular order, like the piles around me now in our little office in the basement. But she insists she knows where everything is.
And there are left over fast food bags, Tim Horton's coffee cups, and wrappers of gum and candy bars.
It's a mess.
As well, the heater is broken. You flip the dials and no heat comes out. The bottom of dash in the passenger seat removed – as several of her friends have tried to fix it for her. I am not allowed to fix it as I am described by my lovely wife to be mechanically incompetent. A label I have found advantageous until now.
Nor I am I allowed to clean up the mess. I might throw out or lose some of her important papers.
I followed up with my lovely wife Darlene on this matter with the Toronto Police this morning.
"Did you call them yet?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, they told me to fax my proof".
"Did you fax it?"
"Any word yet?"
I gave a deep sigh at that lovely wife of mine. There was no motivation for her to correct this problem. She has for the last several weeks been driving in the luxury of my new Chrysler 300.
So now I have to clear up this nonsense with the Toronto police. I have to explain their mistake of New Years Day. And I have to inform them that I am not paying a forty-five dollar ticket on a car that my wife drives … but not in Toronto.
Part of my professional duties is to ensure tasks are completed, that all the eyes are dotted and tees crossed. To ensure all stakeholders are in agreement and to close outstanding issues.
So I am certain this will not be a problem.
Not as difficult as motivating my lovely wife to complete a task that returns her to the discomforts of the Jeep.
And the problem will be solved.
Until another letter arrives in the mail from Toronto.