There’s nothing special to report, just the fact that I’m hemorrhaging currency out of every orifice in my financial body (aka, the usual).
This ***)))SPECIAL REPORT(((*** was told to me by my sister-in-law’s brother’s 2nd wife. She’s a very reliable source, except when she’s pissed. Then things get blown all out of proportion. I’m certain that
some most of this is true.
It’s not like her financial body was much to begin with, but jeez! How can the well pump, both cars and the washer from hell all decide to die at the same time?
Here is the story as told to me in her own words.
The well was fixed, the washer found another use, and I thought the car problem was solved.
Murphy’s Law had other plans.
My husband has a friend who is brilliant with fixing vehicles. Born and raised in the back woods, I’ve never seen him without a beer and his chewing tobacco. And I have never, the entire time I’ve known him, witnessed clean clothing on the man, the streaks of oil and dirt always covering his bare arms, embedded in his hands, shirt, pants and many times lodged in his chest-long beard.
They speak the same language which I’ll call “car.” That’s because they’ll throw around names like ignition, engine, cylinder, brakes, transmission, axle and radiator as if everyone knows exactly the make, model, and how it fits into any of 10,000 types of cars. I, on the other hand, know where the brake, gas and steering wheel are located. On a good day, I might be able to tell you what type of tires are on the car. If they’re not flat, that’s all I need to know. If they’re flat, I call AAA and have the car towed home.
We have 2 Chevy Cavaliers and a Suzuki GZ250 motorcycle. The station wagon, our main car, has over 290,000 miles on it. The other one is a 2-door coupe that’s sort of red (no 2 splotches are the exact same color) that my husband bought from a junkyard for $100 circa 2001. It’s our spare when the station wagon is down and we’re afraid to leave it anywhere for more than an hour. It might be towed away as abandoned. On the bright side, no one wants to steal it, either.
If the definition of a good friend is a person who helps you bury the body without asking how it came into your possession, that sort-of describes my husband’s friend. He saw our need for reliable transportation, and he wanted to fill it.
“I got a truck I’ll fix up for you,” his friend said.
If you can remember the last time you saw a car and asked, “How do they keep that piece of junk on the road?!” you know what our red car looks like. What’s in his friend’s junkyard isn’t much better.
My husband is polite enough not to spring a surprise like that on me, so he managed to get the red car sputtering down the road toward his friend’s metal morgue to look at the truck. Not only was it my favorite color, but it was in good condition and it’s a small pick-up with the same engine as both the cars we have to replace.
For my husband, this was a veritable redneck Christmas!
I was impressed with the fact that it looked almost good enough to steal.
His friend said to my husband, “We can put it in your name tomorrow.”
My husband said, “No. Put it in the wife’s name.”
That was just the beginning of our problem. First there was a rainstorm. We took shelter in his friend’s workshop. It has a ceiling full of holes. Don’t ask….I have no idea why, either.
Imagine a wet cat.
Imagine a wet cat staring at you like you’re going to be lunch.
When I’m wet in July, I’m cold and I shiver–and I’m pissed. I’m from Florida, that’s what native Floridian’s do. Usually, I take a sweater with me everywhere I go. I didn’t expect to be at the junkyard more than a few minutes and certainly not in a rainstorm, so I wore shorts and a thin t-shirt.
Cold, wet, and getting increasingly annoyed with questions like, “You want some chew?” and “You sure you don’t want some Everclear?” I just wanted to get home.
After the rain stopped, I tromped over the million crushed beer cans in the driveway to sit inside the car listening to “Bliss” on an mp3 player until, finally, we were able to get away.
My husband and I weren’t home yet when his friend called. He wanted to bring the truck over so we could get the title transferred. We thought he’d be at our house in the morning. My husband called around 1:00pm. Apparently, there were a few problems with the truck he had to fix. At the top of the problem list was the fact that he couldn’t find the title.
He drove the truck, without a license plate, to the house with a six-pack of beer and 1 can of it in a football-style holder. He proceeded to show us a stack of titles he went through trying to find the one to the truck and continued talking as we stood in the yard, even though the county offices were going to close in 45 minutes.
I retrieved my purse, mentioned there wasn’t a lot of time, and thought that was all there was to it. He’d go home and we’d go to the DMV. But noooooo….he wanted to come with us. He sat in the back seat of the 2-door coupe with the remainder of his case of beer. Then, I heard the clinkling whish of another can being opened.
We proceeded down the dirt road to the main highway, listening to his friend spouting bravado. Since my husband is the one who knows how to speak “car” and this was his friend, I said nothing until the 1/2 mile mark on our 3 mile journey.
It was then I asked, “Do you have a bill of sale?”
“It’s a barter,” his friend said. “Your husband is going to till a garden for me in the fall.”
“I’ve never heard of the DMV accepting barter,” I said.
I insisted on paying for it.
My husband insisted on a bill of sale.
His friend wouldn’t hear of it. He insisted on barter saying, “No f#$@ing way. I’ve done this a lot.” (translation: “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”)
He assured me that it was perfectly legal and, knowing that he was perfectly drunk I left it to my car-expert husband to talk it over with him. A mile from the house, his friend asked, “Did you get the title from the truck?”
“No,” my husband said. “That was your job.”
All right. I want you to say it. You know what I mean…..”Could things get any worse?”
We took care of that problem and were on the road again. I had the title and the tag from my now deceased station wagon. I had my driver’s license and my insurance card. The owner of the truck was with us.
Things should go a lot smoother now. Right?
I waited for my husband’s friend to get out of the car. And waited.
“You go on in. I’m going to enjoy my beer,” He said.
We walked into a nearly empty government office. The next person available to help us was an entity I’d encountered before. I think that in his last life he must’ve been a member of the German Gestapo. The hairs on the back of my neck were screaming “RUN!” with their little high-pitched mouths. As the song says, “It’s too late to turn back now.” My husband was with me. He always knows what to do. How bad could it be?
“This isn’t filled out properly,” Mr. Gestapo said, unamused eyes peering past the top of his glasses. “The owner has to fill it out.”
“I’ll go get him,” My husband said, quickly retreating out the door.
Mr. Gestapo looked at the title, looked at me and asked, “Did he say ‘he’?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“The name on the title is Lilly White. I’m going to need a bill of sale.”
I’d just found myself in a…
You could’ve knocked me over with a snowflake! Then, when my husband’s friend walked in with his football holder and a fresh can of beer, you could’ve knocked me over with an errant cat hair!! There are things that friends don’t do to friends. Walking into a government office with a beer in your hand is one of them.
And the more he talked, the worse things got.
The clerk yellow-highlighted a piece of paper, wrote all over the title with a red pen and said, “Take this to the former owner to sign.”
“I don’t know where she is. I own a junkyard. She left it there. It’s mine now.”
That, of course, beget another form desecrated with yellow highlighter.
Finally, that ordeal over, we piled into the car, started out of the parking lot, and 50 feet from the main road the red car…simply…stopped…and wouldn’t start again.
It was a blissful 95 degrees. No self-respecting Floridian wastes that kind of joy. I got out of the car to walk around in a vacant lot, stopping to stand in an area shaded by clouds.
After a few minutes my feet started stinging. I bent down to find a city full of red ants swarming over anything south of my knees–obviously unhappy that I was standing on top of their home. I brushed them off but, as red ants will do, they zeroed in on my position. They followed me as I walked, coming after me even when I escaped into the road.
At least it gave me something to do.
I could ponder over important questions like…
Meanwhile, my husband was trying to get the car started. A woman from the nearby hardware store walked over and started giving advice. The useless drunk in the back seat got out at that point, and the 3 car experts hunched over a beat up red coupe trying to solve the problem(s), while I was playing hide-and-seek with a bunch of red ants until they decided they’d dispensed enough punishment.
What was the culprit? The ignition. I have no clue why the ignition was being a dick-head, but that was the problem and it took all 3 people doing 3 different things at once to get it started.
That was last week.
Who knows when (or if) we’ll hear from his friend again. If some friendships are just weird, this one is fractalling weird with a side of turkey bacon.
After 2 days of searching out problems, repairing and oiling, the red car is back on the road again. For that, I was thankful (believing it to be a whole lot better than riding to and from work on a motorcycle in the rain).
Or so I thought.
After it spent 2 days baking in the sun with the windows closed, I opened the car to a blast of reek I’d rather not experience again.
“What the hell?” I shouted.
“Rat pee,” My husband said calmly. “There were a few living in the car.”
I’ll wash the clothes that had touched the seat–just as soon as my new washer arrives in the middle of August.