Monday on a Saturday

gas pump.png

I got called into work on Saturday. I was pulling out ingredients to make “the best chocolate cake ever” when I saw I had missed a call. My coworker, John (not his real name) also left me a message.

“Susan, can you call me when you get this? Fuel pump number 2 is locked out. The cops need to get gas and I don’t know how to get into your computer. I need your password to get to the fuel system.”

You should probably know I spent five hours – count ’em – fighting with the fuel management system on Friday on creating driver cards. See, there’s no manual. Only a couple of cryptic, handwritten instructions to work with a DOS-based program. The five hours consisted of trial and error and observation. I prayed a lot. I also considered defenestration, as I have a large observation window. Or possibly a small bomb. Either-or.


I called John back.

“My passoword is redvines, all one word.”

Hey, when you can’t eat sweets, you gotta do something.

It didn’t work. He tried it again. No dice. I realized I would need to make a personal visit. The fuel system, ProComm, lives in my profile. I had to reenable the pump somehow. When I got John’s call, my heart sank. I didn’t want to go back in. I wanted to make a rockin’ chocolate cake. But I couldn’t let him suffer.

I drove the 1/3 mile to the shop. I came upstairs and sat at the computer.

“I’m so sorry you had to come in,” John said. He looked sheepish.

“No worries,” I said. “How many times have you helped me?”

I typed in redvines. Then again. Then I remembered I had changed my password, at the computer’s request, on Friday afternoon. Awesome.

I logged in to the system. John found the instructions. Type c, enter, c, enter, then 2. Then enter. Then…6 more questions I had no answers to. So, I did it different ways. John would go down to the pump and insert his personal identification card. The pump did nothing. He’d trot back up the stairs to tell me. I’d hit enter all the way through the questions. He’d job down to the bleepity pump and again and try his luck. Nothing. We did this several times. Then I got the brilliant idea of unplugging the Petrovend brain from the printer. Which made it stop working entirely. I couldn’t go anywhere in the program and the lights were out on the brain.


“At this point, I’m reminding myself of the scripture ‘rejoice, for the steps of a righteous person are ordered of God,” I told my Christian coworker.

John, under the printer and looking at the unresponsible cable, said, “I’m thinking of Philippians 4:13:  ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.”

“And ‘all things work together for good’,” I finished with.

We kept on. We got nowhere.I tried to get service online from a specialist named Todd, who referred me to an 800 number that didn’t work on weekends. That episode earned him a 2-star rating. We made a call to a live service person who didn’t know what to tell us. John even took the back of the pump apart, something I never would have considered. Hitting the reset button garnered no change. Eventually, we realized the pump had probably died. Given up the ghost. Cacked. Gone to the gas station in the sky. In its defense, it’s middle-aged. Not that all middle-aged things are worthy of death, of course, but machines don’t last forever.

Neither do working Saturdays. After speaking to our boss, John locked out and tagged the pump. The police got a credit card and went to regular gas stations to meet their fueling needs.

Between Friday which bled into Saturday, I had to trust that God was ordering my steps. Nothing went the way I planned. I don’t like plans blowing up. But I’m not in control. And really, that’s how it should be.




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