Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If it weren't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments

Hey, kids!  Still busy, and back in Ohio this week.  And sadly, I feel that you deserve far more than a cursory 'slice of life review' here at CDS Enterprises. 

Prepare to be disappointed, because 'slice of life' is all I've got today.  Nothing new to share, nothing witty, urbane, or uber-nerdified.  Just a few things to share with you this morning, brighten your day, keep the ol' NFG in your frontal lobes.

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that until recently my job called for lots of travel.  As such, you've been blessed (or subjected as the case may be) with my ever-popular rental car reviews.  This era is coming to an end, nearly has, as this week's rental car will be the last rental car I drive for some time, if I have anything to say about it.

Enterprise has always been quite kind to me.  Usually when I swing a free upgrade, or an upgrade to an upgrade, I'm quite happy with the result.  Over the years, I've driven SUV's and sub-compacts and may things in between.  However, this week's 'upgrade' is great only in that I know I dodged a bullet.

Those of you who've known me the longest know that I have a thing for landyachts.  Grampa cars.  Tanks.  Some of you may remember as far back as the big blue Impala I named 'Baby' back in 1992.  Most recently, the car was a modest Buick Regal, that I loved and took for granted for nine years, and it repaid me the way few cars do, by starting every day and running like a champ.  A few months ago, I got the itch to get something different, and after facing grave disappointment at the hands of a base-level Chrysler 300, I drove a Grand Marquis.  Once I got past the overwhelming grandmaroma, it was a powerful car, much nicer than the 300.  V8 power.  Bells and whistles.  Low miles and a low price.  I was crushed when it sold before I could get back to give it another look.

Last week, I actually bought a car.  But when I hesitated, balked at spending more than $5 in one fell swoop, the salesman offered me a Grand Marquis as a comparison drive.  I was underwhelmed, Lori was seasick.  Obviously, I did not buy the Mercury.

Which brings me to Sunday's adventure at the Akron airport (slogan: we now have a second baggage carousel!).  Out of mid-sized and intermediates, they 'upgraded' me into a shiny black Grand Marquis.

I feel like I need dark sunglasses and a black suit.  Perhaps an earpiece with a little coiled wire trailing into my collar.  Perhaps a Glock.

It is, in fact, a very nice-looking car.  Very regal.  Very conservative, imperial, and big-brother-y.  I want to like it.  I want to adore it, with its eight-body trunk, its 7 MPG, its bench seat.  It should, in theory, be everything I like about a car.

But I don't like it.  It's squishy.  If I had to describe the ride quality, I could only compare it to lying on a waterbed as toddlers jump up and down all around you.  If I adjust the seat so I can reach the gas, the brake pedal is way too close.  Back up so the brake is the right distance, the gas is unattainable.  The V8 seems doggy, like I'm fighting up any hill I face.  I have to lean halfway across the car to change the radio station or turn the volume down, since it seems to get louder as I drive.  And everything is plastic, aside from the leather seats.  Cheap.  I shouldn't have to open the arm on the cupholder by hand, once I pull the combination lighter/ashtray/cupholder from it's unwieldy spot under the dash.  I shouldn't be worried that I'm going to smack my knee on it every time I step on the gas.  Oh, Enterprise, I'm left wondering what might have been.  And I still have four more days of driving it!  At best, I can only give it a 'C', and that's based in part on my desire to see it do well rather than on true merit. 

And, as long as we're on the subject of disappointment, let's talk about Monday's dinner.

Last time I was up, the owner took me to this great little tavern, where I had an awesome burger.  Real beef, real rare, with bacon and cheddar and onions, oh my.  I went back tonight, and since their sign proudly boasts their ribs before their burgers, I figured, hey: signs don't lie, right?

Wrong.  Again, such high hopes.  They smelled wonderful.  Looked beautiful, glistening under their sweet sauce, promises of slow, day-long cooking taunting me as I fought to get the steak knife through the first slab.  Tough, undercooked (for ribs), and clinging to the bones for dear life.  They really need another few hours in a slow cooker.  Some things just shouldn't be rushed.  I couldn't see abandoning half of my meal, so I brought them back to the room with me.  I may, from the privacy of my own hotel room, with wet washcloths and a roll of paper towels at hand, be able to work my way through them.

The Lyonnaise potatoes, though?  Heaven.  Slightly oniony, very buttery, and golden brown.  The potatoes of dreams.

There you have it, dear reader.  Disappointment all around.  I'll try better next time, promise.


Daisy said...

I'm sorry to hear things haven't been living up to your hopes and expectations lately. I guess it takes a few disappointments now and again to make us better appreciate it when things are going well. Hope things are on the upswing for you again soon.

MtnMama said...

Love the rental car review. When I worked in Weehawken, NJ, I'd get picked up at the airport in cars that looked similar. Made me feel like I was being ferried by the secret service.

Nothing worse than a bad restaurant meal. There's no excuse for not cooking something properly.

Sarah J. Bradley said...

Should I be disturbed that I can picture you in a black suit with an ear thingy and a glock? :)

EmcogNEATO! said...

LOL! 7 MPG. My friend has a Crown Vic, and until you said this:

"It's squishy. If I had to describe the ride quality, I could only compare it to lying on a waterbed as toddlers jump up and down all around you."

...I couldn't quite explain how I felt about it.

Nej said...

Don't forget the potatoes! Those marvelous potatoes! Not all is bad in the world. :-)

Elliott said...

Daisy, thanks. I needed that one today.

MM, there's no way to feel like one blends when one is in a large black sedan. And I agree, no excuse for that at a restaurant.

Sarah - disturbed? No. But be afraid. Be very afraid.

Em, it seemed the most apt description I could find. The word 'wibbly' comes to mind.

Nej, I'd go back for the potatoes alone.

dogimo said...

I can't remember the last time I had good luck with ribs, except at Cole's World Famous BBQ. At Cole's, you know what you're getting.

It's just stupid that a "nice restaurant" puts ribs on the menu and can't do it up RIGHT.

Be nice and share!

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