That's it. We're outta here.
We're heading up to the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival -- a place where I won't be tempted to spend even a nanosecond in front of the tube, enduring Wolf Blitzer's blatherings over presidential candidate blunderings.
Anyway, we need to get away -- far away -- from all the gloom and doom: the faltering economy, the endless war, the endless replays of angry ministers delivering angry sermons.
Can you blame us for wanting to get away?
Even that's not easy, though.
It's not like the old days, when you could jump in the car and take off for parts unknown, so long as you had a few bucks in your pocket.
Used to be that five or 10 bucks would take you a pretty fair distance.
Remember "driving" vacations?
Dad would wash the car, fill up the tank and off we'd go -- careening down the interstate highway system in search of family-style adventure, like the time we trailed off to Canada for "Expo '67."
Today, a family has to refinance the house just to cover the cost of filling up.
And now, the days of "refi-vacationing" seem to be at an end -- especially in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, where foreclosures flourish like clumps of Bermuda grass in an unpaved alley.
Sure, I had to borrow money from some friendly predatory lenders -- "our
495 percent interest compounds every second" -- to finance our weekend getaway.
But isn't that the American way?
You know. Enjoy today and worry about paying for it tomorrow?
Hey, I'm just doing my bit to help stimulate the economy -- taking a page right out of President Bush's economic "playbook."
I figured I'd just get a head start on that $600 rebate check the president has promised me. Why wait until May or June or July or whenever?
After all, Bush said these tough times are nothing more than a "little rough patch" in the economy.
Besides, if America's mortgage crisis really does trigger a worldwide recession, maybe we'll be able to buy back all those worthless U.S. assets foreign investors are holding.
See, there's always a silver lining.
So, why not take a long weekend?
You know. Fire up the corporate jet or SUV, whichever is cheaper, and get out of Dodge.
Busting up the weed whacker was the deciding factor.
I was out in the alley behind the house, performing my civic duty by taking down the Bermuda grass and winter wheat, when it happened.
Spools of green plastic shot into the stratosphere.
Instinctively, I let go of the trigger. The old Black & Decker lurched to a halt -- its overheated electric motor threatening to melt the plastic housing.
The spools missed me and the neighbor's dog.
I'd much rather be sitting in the living room sipping a glass of wine. Here was my chance. The plastic cover that held the spools of line in place had distintegrated.
Without that cover, the weed whacker was useless.
I immediately went to Maggs, my crew boss, and explained the situation. She said nothing.
There was no need for words -- the "look" said it all.
An attempt was made to go online and order the part. It would have worked, too, except for a couple of things.
True, the replacement cover only cost a buck.
But we would have to pay a $9 shipping charge to have it delivered. Just another one of those little rough patches in the economy, I guess.
The part also was back-ordered and the company was unable to say when it might be available.
In the meantime, we could just go out and buy a new weed whacker while waiting for the replacement part to arrive.
Or we could use the money we would have spent on a new weed whacker to go for a six-hour drive ending in Eureka, where we'll find a weekend filled with jazz, unspoiled beaches and soft ocean breezes.
Like I said, we're outta here.
Mike Mooney's column appears every Friday in Local News. He can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2384.