PAINTING ONESELF INTO A CORNER

It is not good blog protocol (I suspect) to write stories about the same thing so close together. However, I have another automobile experience to share.

Those few readers who know me really well know that I’m…uh, frugal when it comes to cars and trucks. Having wasted untold dollars trading cars every couple of years, I now tend to run the wheels off of everything that I purchase. Many years ago, my friend John Weeks, shared a story about the principal at his high school saying that a Caddy is really a poor man’s car because they were so well built that the cost of ownership-over time was extremely low. I’ve proved this concept to be true with several Ford trucks and vans as well.

Please don’t tell Carl Edwards or any other of my Fanatic Ford Friends, but my current work van is a Chevy. She’s 23 and has almost 230,000 miles on her. But, bless her heart,still gets up every day and goes where ever I go. She has a little rust and her paint is fading. But, she still goes with me. She needs touching in difficult places to reach sometimes. Most recently inside her gas tank. But, she still goes with me. She loves gas stations and craves oil and water sometimes. But she still goes with me. Her middle seats are in another state. She is burdened with tools of my trade and beach essentials. I often forget to unload things that she should not be carrying. I used to let her sit in my parking lot in Kentucky, covered in snow and ice, for weeks at a time. Then jump in to drive a thousand miles to work. She happily went.

Over time, her power windows stopped working and stayed that way until it became too inconvenient (translated HOT) for me to bear. As things happen, I was lamenting the heat and wishing that the windows worked when I passed one of those orange cars on US 1 that advertise window repairs. I called. Agreed to $175 each window for new motors and the labor to install. He came the same day and did the work.

Fast forward to less than a week later and the passenger window rolls down and not back up. I was busy that week. It rained much that week. My old girl was very embarassed honkin’ down the road with a plastic trash bag on one of her wings like she belonged to Jethro Bodeen or the Joad family. It rained the next week and the next.

The repairman had warned me of some rusty pieces that could cause the window to stop working. Thinking that this was the issue and he had done what he promised, I operated on my girl and, to my surprise found a well-worn and old window motor still in her wing. It was at this point that I knew that I had wasted some or all of the $360 I’d spent and that I’d been taken advantage of.

Angry and frustrated, I fixed her window in the up position and put her back together. During this process, I lost the clip that holds the door handle on. So, each time the door is shut, the handle falls off. I also broke the electric thingie that operates the window. So, the hole where it was is covered with tape. Dammit!

Not one to walk away from a fight, I called the repairman. His response was to call me “bone lip” and hang up. I must admit that I’ve been called many things worse than “bone lip”, and that “bone lip” was funny until I thought it must be a reference to being gay-which I ain’t.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Giving the devil his due, the repairman did call back, apologize and ask to make a repair. Unfortunately, at that point I was in a prudent business be damned, this guy has taken advantage of me and disparaged me (I think) with the bone lip thing, hung up the phone on me, and I don’t want him anywhere near my sweetie mode and told him to go you-know-what himself.

Over time, I’ll fix the handle and get a new switch cover. I can live with just one window rolling up and down. Meanwhile, my unnamed sweetie will still get up and go with me where ever I go.

Over time, the repairman will still take advantage of people, call them bad names, and live with the bad karma he’s putting out into the world.

I sorta wish that my make up was such that would have allowed me to let the guy fix his mistake. But, then again, that person would be someone else…not me!

The lesson in service? Don’t trust a guy that comes to your house to work on your vehicle and asks you to drive up on the sidewalk under the shade of a tree. I guess.

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