“No, no, no,” I said hitting the escape key. “This can’t be happening.”
Richard walked into the office. “What’s wrong?”
“Richard, this can’t be happening. It survived Y2K, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, but couldn’t make the leap to Windows 7.”
“What couldn’t make the leap?” Richard asked leaning over my shoulder looking at the monitor.
“This,” I said pointing to the screen which read Virtual File Size Error. “My trusty Quicken 8 for DOS. We’ve been together for 18 years,” I said biting my lip. “I ran a software emulation program to resurrect the file but in DOS speak it went into permanent PARK.”
“I didn’t know you were still using DOS,” Richard said shaking his head. “I didn’t even know a program could last that long.”
“It was like a Maytag, built to last,” I said laughing. “Okay maybe I coaxed it along a little bit extending its life unnaturally because I didn’t want to make the leap into the 21st century.”
“Well, I’m sure there’s an app for that,” he said winking
“Oh, bite your tongue,” I said smiling. “I’m in mourning.”
Richard laughed. The telephone rang.
“Fannie, honey, it’s Bunny,” she said with her refined Texas accent. “I’ve got the perfect training run for team Devon’s House of Pain.”
“I’ll bite, what is it,” I asked.
“There’s this cute little run over in Tacoma called Santa Runs Tacoma, they have a 5K which would be perfect training for our mini triathlon.”
“When is it?” I asked running my fingers through my short brown hair.
“December 15th, next Saturday. We can sign up the day of the race. Clarissa and Devon are already in,” Bunny said.
“Hang on, let me check with Richard,” I said putting my hand over the phone. Looking at Richard I asked, “Feel like a fun run on Saturday?”
“Sure,” he said.
“Count us in,” I said to Bunny.
“Great, we’ll car pool. Devon and Clarissa need to drop Zack off somewhere so they’ll meet us at the starting line. The gun goes off at 9. I figure we should be there at 8:30 to get registered. So be at our place at 8 a.m.”
Cringing cause she couldn’t see me, I said, “Sounds like a plan.”
Richard looked at me, “what was that all about.”
“They want to carpool to the race,” I said.
“So what’s the problem?” he asked putting his hands on my shoulders.
“Eight o’clock on a Saturday morning,” I said grimacing.
“You need to learn to embrace mornings,” Richard said laughing, squeezing my shoulders.
A thick fog rolled into the Puget Sound overnight. The reporter on the clock radio said, “it’s 32 degrees outside, the high will be 42, if you’re driving this morning watch for patches of black ice. . .”
“Fannie, get up, we’re going to be late,” said Richard shaking my shoulder.
“Just five more minutes,” I said pulling the blanket over my head.
“You’ve been saying that for the last half hour. It’s already 7:30, we’re going to be late.”
I jumped out of bed adrenaline pumped through my veins. I grabbed my clothing, and ran for the bathroom. Looking in the mirror I grimaced, the image of an over sized cotton ball stuck in an electrical outlet came to mind. I ran my fingers through my hair trying to smooth it down. Leaving the bathroom I grabbed my hat, running shoes and fanny pack. My eyes still swollen slits as I stumbled into my shoes on the way to the front door.
“Fannie, I’d swear you’re allergic to morning,” said Richard handing me a bagel and a water bottle.
“I’m only allergic to weekend mornings,” I said taking the offering.
Rolling his blue eyes Richard said, “I’m not convinced.”
“That’s because you’re a morning person.”
“What does that make you, a mid-day person?” Richard asked his tall lean frame shaking with suppressed laughter.
If my zombie avatar could have pulled it off, it would have stuck my tongue out at him.
George and Bunny Gutierrez stood at the end of their driveway talking.
“Good morning, you’re right on time,” Bunny said checking her watch. Her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail behind her head crowning her statuesque figure wearing a light blue running suit that matched her eyes.
“Good morning,” Richard said with the enthusiasm of a morning person.
Mustering the stamina to speak, I asked, “George, are you running or walking this morning?”
“Darling, I’m leading the walking group,” George said with his soft spoken Texas accent a contrast to the bass voice emanating from his lineman’s frame and wearing a matching black jogging suit, “Bunny is leading the runners.”
We piled into George’s vintage 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300. With all the room in the back seat Richard stretched his legs out and sat upright without bending his neck. I got lost in the seat.
Richard leaned over to me and whispered, “I could really get used to this.”
The directions from the race website did not match the actual traffic conditions and the police re-routed us all over downtown Tacoma until we found a place to park.
We arrived at packet pickup at 8:40. After registering, one of the volunteers handed me a race number, then pulled it back, “I’m sorry I can’t give this to you. Do you want another number?”
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked leaning over the table trying to see the number.
Blushing she held up the number “666”.
“Give me the number,” I said laughing, “who knows, it might even be good luck.”
About 10 minutes before the race started, a harried Devon and Clarissa arrived at the start line without the time to register for the race. The lines to the Port-o-potties took us right up to the gun and away we went.
Bunny, Richard and Devon ran on ahead. George, Clarissa and I walked.
At the halfway point of the race one of the volunteers yelled out to us, “Awesome job, lousy number!”
Whenever the devil gets into me, I walk around the house with my race bib as a warning.
In the words of comedian, Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign”.