Oh well--like my Alter Ego says:
First was the death of my friends 55 year old son, on his birthday.
Then the car that made an illegal U-turn on the expressway and killed my friend's 48 year old son-in-law, on the motorcycle.
On Sunday, I learned of the suicide of a 19 year old son of younger friends. Very well known family in Byron. Hopefully, this will be the end of the vicious 3-cycle.
One bright spot, the suicide's older brother and his wife had a baby boy born this morning.
john has become a huge annoyance today. When he dropped me off at home this early morning, he said, "Do you want me to take you back to pick up your car?"
I said, "Oh, please don't worry about that. I have no idea how long it will take. You just go about your business and if, when they call me, I will let you know or if you are busy, Merle will take me, or even Dar. She's home today."
"Well, I haven't anything to do today, so...when they call you for pick-up, you call me first."
One hour later---"Have you heard from them yet?"
"You mean they aren't done with a simple brake job by now?"
"They are checking the car...all over to see if there are any major problems, BEFORE they do the brakes. They told me it might be three or four hours."
"What kind of place is that? Have you always taken your car there?"
<okay, to me he is inferring I don't know anything, or at least that is the way I took it>
"It's a perfectly fine place. I have taken my car there for twelve years. They know my car. They know me."
"Well, I can think of three other places that would have had the job done by now!"
"I will call you, when they call me, and let you know."
Thirty minutes later, the service guy called me.
"Hi Judy, this is Kevin. You were right, you need new front brakes. We checked the car all over and there are a few more problems."
"I was afraid of that."
"Most importantly, you have no coolant in the tank, so there must be a leak somewhere. We need to fill the tank and then do a pressure check, to find the leak. That is effecting your air conditioning and will effect your heater this winter."
"Gosh, I haven't seen any coolant on my driveway. Maybe the tank is just empty? I haven't had it filled since last November."
"Okay, we will check that out. But...are you ready?"
"Oh, Dear God...I guess so."
<and my hands started shaking>
"You have no rear brakes, they are just rust and dust. Your rear ball joints are failing, as well as the wheel cylinders on the rear. I know you had the front ball joints and tie rods replaced in 2013, but not the rear ones. Your rear suspension system is shot. That's about fourteen hundred dollars. Both serpentine belts are shot. You know what happens if they go?"
A shaky, "Yesss. The motor stops and the car dies."
"Yes...you definitely need to get those replaced before winter--if they even last that long. With parts and labor, that's one hundred fifty dollars."
"Then you have three hoses that need replacing before winter. That's about....hmmm...parts and labor, another one-fifty."
"So...you're talking close to two grand to fix everything? Kevin...you know, I only have two hundred and twenty dollars to my name...."
"I understand that."
"I doubt you do and I hope you never have to be in my position. Anyway, what can you fix today for that amount?"
"I can put on lower grade brakes, turn the rotors and clean them up and fill the coolant tank and check for the leak. And fix the driver side door hinge. I know you don't drive very many miles a year. The brakes are going to give you some noise, but at least they will stop the car."
"Okay, go ahead with that. Thanks, Kevin."
I am just about ready to cry, but I call John instead.
"Kevin just called. They have spent all this time checking out the entire car. It needs a lot of work done on it, but they are just going to do the brakes and check for a pressure leak in the hoses for the coolant."
"Okay, well how long will that take?"
"It will take as long as it takes."
<trying to keep my voice level and not shout at him "HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW?">
"I will call you when I hear from them."
He calls back in 30 minutes. "I'm just going out to mow the grass. I just wanted to let you know in case you called."
"John! It's okay. Do whatever you want to do. I don't have to get the car immediately. I can get it anytime after they are finished. I will call you, when they call me."
3:00--John calls. "I'm done with the lawn and going to take a shower. Did they call you yet?"
"Nope. Haven't heard a word."
4:30--John calls. "Have you heard from them?"
"Nope. They must still be working on it."
"Well, you better call them and find out when it's going to be done. Be firm with them. They close at six and...I want to start fixing supper."
"John! I told you...just go about your business. I always tell them, they can have my car for as long as they want. They have emergencies that come in and they have my permission to stop work on my car and tend to the emergencies. People that work who need their cars fixed right away. I don't need my car today--I don't need it tomorrow, or the next day...or even the next day. I don't want you sitting around and waiting for me and my car. Don't worry about me!"
"I'm not worried. I just want to know what's going on."
"Okay. I'll call them and find out."
"Hi Kevin, this is Judy. Can you give me an estimate of when my car will be done?"
"The brakes are almost done, I've got another guy who's going to do the pressure test on the coolant line. He had to step away to fix another car. A lady had a problem with her EMC sensor and had her car towed in. She needs it to get back to work tomorrow."
"That's fine, Kev. I don't want to push you or rush you. How's about, you let my car go and finish it up tomorrow. I don't need the car and I can get it sometime tomorrow."
"Oh. Thanks! That would help. Does it need a pillow and blanket to stay overnight?" (Meaning does it need to be stored inside.)
"Nope. It's lived outside all its life. Just park it and hopefully someone will steal it and I can get a newer one. HAH."
"Hi John. I just called. They are almost done, but had an emergency come in. I told Kevin to just keep my car over night and finish it up tomorrow."
"Are they going to charge you for that? Storing it overnight? I know some places that do that sort of thing."
"No. they aren't going to charge me."
"Will it be safe? Are they going to park it inside?"
"No. I told them to just park it outside. My car isn't used to being inside and it probably couldn't breathe and would probably die!"
"Well, what if someone vandalizes it, or steals it?"
<oh dear lord--save me from this neurotic man!>
"I'm sure it will be safe. No one wants to steal a seventeen year old rust bucket! And, the garage has insurance, so it would be taken care of."
"Okay. Well, let me know if you need a ride tomorrow."
"Okay. Thanks John."
Tomorrow or whenever I see John again...I am going to have to remind him that for over a year, I worked in a dealership service garage. I KNOW about cars. I KNOW the cost of parts AND labor costs. I am not some little, blonde woman who is all DUH when it comes to this sort of thing.
AND--I DO NOT men who are condescending to me!!
Now--where I am going to get the money to fix my car, is another thing. Two grand, with cheap parts, will bring it up to a safe car, for at least a few more years. Maybe I will die before I need that amount of work done on it again AND it is still much cheaper than having a car payment--which I can't afford anyway.