KARL: I love the invention of fast food. And color TV.
Yes, I should have saved this for the "Kid Quote of the Day" but frankly, it was just too perfect of an opener for what will prove to be another one of those stories of vehicle disaster that keep my checkbook perpetually empty but my blog rich with content.
Which reminds me of the time the financial planner who manages my IRA called to suggest that I take advantage of some unprecedented bond rates. He was new to the company, which, after reading this exchange, really goes without saying. People who have BEEN with the company don't have me on their list of potential investors. They also don't park their cars near me.
MR. BEAVER: (Name changed to reflect the eagerness) . . . and we really haven't seen rates this high in years, so we encourage you to invest!
ME: Well how much money are we talking about?
BEAV: Well, that depends on how much income you'd like to make off the investment. If you'd like to make $6,000 a year, you'd need to invest $100,000. But if you're comfortable with just $3,000 a year, you could invest $50,000.
ME: Uh, yeah. I think I'd just be happy if I had $50,000.
I'd also be happy if I wasn't driving a vile rental car, but that goes without saying as well.
We were supposed to go to Nebraska for a celebration of my great-aunt and uncle's 60-year wedding anniversary last weekend. It was a chance to see a lot of relatives that I haven't seen in years (decades, really.) I had backed the van halfway into my parents' garage with the liftgate open for loading. We got everything loaded and were cheerfully discussing a stop at Starbucks as I put the van in gear and pulled out of the garage.
Well . . . mostly out of the garage, which really isn't the same thing at all.
Because I didn't close the liftgate. (Nobody else did, either) There's a BUTTON to close the liftgate. It really isn't HARD to close the liftgate. There really ought to be an ALARM that WARNS you that your liftgate is OPEN, Mrs. Dumas. YOU'RE IN THE GARAGE, MRS. DUMAS!!!!!!
The back window shattered when the liftgate hit the top of the garage door opening. A board fell off the garage. About a gallon of tears fell out of my eyes.
And so my parents went to Nebraska without us while we swept up glass and drove dejectedly (and with much wind and fumes) back home to deal with our broken crippled van.
It ended up being more than just the glass. I found this out at 5:05 pm last evening, when the glass guy showed up, remarkably unable to meet his window of 8 am to 5 pm. I would have thought a 9-hour window easy to meet, especially when windows are their thing (see what I did there?) but apparently I was wrong. I'm wrong a lot.
I was wrong, for instance, about it being only glass. The wiper was messed up as well, and Windowless Window Man (see what I did there?) told me that I'd have to get the wiper repaired before the glass could be replaced. Which meant I had to re-open the insurance claim that I'd opened on Saturday (when I was looking at the destruction through teary eyes and was convinced that the van was surely totaled) and closed on Monday (when the tears had all been cried and we decided it was really just the glass that HAD to be fixed, not the minor scratch/dent and garage paint streaks).
The first body shop we called said they weren't scheduling repairs until August 13th. Uh oh.
The second shop said they could get to it "soon" and that seemed hopeful enough for me to take the van out of the garage for the first time in 4 days and suffer the humiliation of driving it over there.
Because people look at you when you have no back window in your van.
They pull up beside you at stoplights and gaze at you like you're a trained driving monkey who may or may not realize that the window is missing and should they say something to you?
YES I KNOW MY WINDOW IS MISSING!!! STOP STARING AT ME!!!
I could have covered the window-opening with plastic, but I was only going 3 miles.
Three miles is a long way to drive when you feel like a gauntlet-running naked driving monkey with a booger hanging out of her nose. (That last part wasn't figurative - I just didn't notice)
The good news is that the body shop people were AWESOME! Lee said he'd get the parts on order, work on it TODAY and have it ready by 4pm tomorrow. AND I heard him ordering new little "Town & Country" emblems to replace the ones with garage paint all over them. The lovely thing about insurance claims, after you pay the enormous deductible and inform your financial planner that your spare $50,000 will now go towards your higher insurance premiums, is that they fix every little thing that got damaged.
Lee also called Enterprise (they pick you up) and arranged for them to pick me up. They picked us up.
But that's where the day started its downward spiral. Because they didn't have many cars. Apparently they didn't have ANY cars because after signing my contract I was told to wait for "just a sec" because my car was being used to pick someone up. (They pick you up - did I mention that?)
An hour later, after rooting through my van-contents-tote-bag and purse for any sign of sustenance, I decided to assert myself.
ME: Excuse me? I have two starving kids here. Is there any reason that we have to wait on the particular car you chose for me? Don't you have, you know, other cars?!
DUDE: Well apparently the person needed a ride home to (insert remote country area that's a 45-minute drive away) and so it's taking much longer than we expected. I called our other location and we can drive you over there to get a vehicle.
ME: Wait. I thought you just "picked up". I didn't know you "took home". It really probably should say that on the commercials: Enterprise. We pick you up. We take you home. Even if it inconveniences our other customers and they have to eat their arms.
OK, I didn't say that last thing. I just accepted the ride to the alternate location where my vile rental car was waiting.
It's a Chevy Cobalt. Want to guess what color it is?
You thought blue, didn't you? (See what I did there?)
The nice lady who drove us over there was apologizing even before we arrived, saying that they'd trade me out for something better when it became available. I said it didn't matter because we were only keeping it for a day and I could survive anything for a day.
That was before I met Red Cobalt. (Let's call him RC for short)
On the outside RC really isn't that bad. He's kind of cute, actually. But inside he's been pretty well trashed. As we drove off the lot, making a beeline towards McDonalds, the kids summed up their feelings about RC:
KARL: I liked the car that we rode in to get here better than this one because that car had automatic windows.
ME: Holy cow! You're right - I didn't know they still MADE crank windows, or at least you don't usually find them in rental cars.
Before anyone accuses me of being a window snob, it should be noted that John's car has crank windows, which is why the kids even knew what they are, but his car is pretty old. Actually, RC might be pretty old. That could explain a lot.
EMMA: There are rips in the seats, Mom, but we won't make them worse, OK?
ME: That would be nice.
EMMA: Mom! Karl's door is unlocked!
ME: To lock it you have to push that little thing down. You'll have to do that to unlock them, too. They aren't automatic.
And so, by the time we made it to McDonalds, Karl was proclaiming his love for the invention of fast food (and color TV) and I was expending my last little bit of energy to CRANK the window down to get our food.
Kristi called me later and asked if I had to listen to FM radio, like animals. I told her that RC only had AM and that I couldn't talk because my feet were sore from propelling the car Flintstones-style.
I think a day with RC will, perhaps, teach me to treat T&C a lot better. With TLC, actually. (See what I did there?)
RKQOTD (Karl: Hey Dad - want to hear my made-up joke? John: Sure. Karl: What did the judge say after lunch? John: I don't know. Karl: "Order in the food court!")