Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And then, this happened

Friday Doug was out in Buffalo NY at a conference. He took the Subaru, which was running perfectly and beautifully. But it decided to die in the middle of an intersection in Amherst NY as he was on his way to LensCrafters to get his glasses fixed at the end of the conference.

He got the car towed to a local shop, it was about 4pm and the guy was closing at 5 but gave the car a careful look over. He tried a few things that didn't work, and then told Doug that he was gonna have to look at it on Monday.

Doug called me and told me to look at some options for travel home. One way plane ticket, one way bus ticket. Bus was cheap but he had just missed the only one that day, the next one was at 12:30am the following day. Air was prohibitively expensive on such short notice. He sighed heavily and then the mechanic came over to talk to him.

"You from Massachusetts?" he asked in a thick Eastern European accent. Doug told him yes. "I am going to Ludlow tonight. Do you want a ride? We leave in an hour."

"Yes." replied Doug.

"Can you pick me up in Ludlow at about midnight?" he asked me.


"Sure." I answered. I had thought maybe our friends in Amherst, MA could grab him at midnight and I could get him the next morning, but I knew how I would feel in his shoes. Get me the motherfuck home.

"I'll see about borrowing C's car since I'm worried about the Volvo going long distances, and I'll pick you up in Ludlow around midnight."

C loaned me her car, I headed out to get to the rendezvous point and when I arrived there were four adults outside the car, two children sleeping inside. The mechanic and his girlfriend hugged me. I said hi to a man named Peter from Poland, visiting on vacation. Doug had his suitcase and a bag of stuff from inside the car all packed up with him. We loaded up into C's car and the mechanic said he'd be home Monday afternoon and would give us a call on what is going on with the car.

I thanked them for giving him a ride this far and the mechanic said "You're good people and we're good people so we take care of each other. It was no problem. We were coming here anyway."

Goodbyes exchanged, Doug and I drive back to the Masspike, and he tells me that for the last six hours he was in a car listening to Gypsy Polka music, surrounded by discussions in Polish, lots of laughter and snacks and happiness.   The mechanic had a lead foot and a penchant for the dramatic when talking about the Mafia State Troopers along the corridor who extort money from travelers and who are crooked as the mountain roads they were passing at a high rate of speed.

Doug and I had a good laugh, and I was happy to get him home at 2am, and we waited to hear about the car.

The engine is shot, gone, kaput. Just like that. The mechanic tried his best to fix it, and then started sourcing used motors for replacement. He found one at about 105k miles for 3k price. That wouldn't include the labor of replacing it. We'd be looking at around 4,500 bucks for the repair. Doug has opted to junk it. I'm bummed because we'll get about 400 bucks for the car, and I think the Dog Gate in the back of the car is worth that. I forget what we paid for it but it was a good amount.

I'm sad at a level I cannot even express or comprehend today about this. I loved that car. For as bummed as I am about losing the house, I am taking this car thing really hard. I am especially bummed out about losing the BNL bumper sticker on the back fender, because they don't even make those anymore.  I'm going to mourn the car far harder and more loudly than I will the house I think. I have a place to move to, I don't have a good car to drive my dogs around in now. And I'm fucking pissed and sad like I haven't been in forever.

Our 1999 volvo started making HORRIBLE noises on the way home from work yesterday, the back left wheel is screeching so I have a call into our local mechanic for him to take a look at it tomorrow.

I would laugh if I thought it would get me anywhere. I'd cry too, if I thought that could help.


  1. I can't practice the "ministry of presence" from here, and I'm pretty sure that words aren't going to help right now. So I'll just tell you that I prayed for you.

  2. Any chance you can thoroughly describe the BNL sticker? I've found some really obscure things online before and would love to give it a try. Sorry to hear about such an epically sucky time.

  3. the band used to sell them at shows for a dollar. the last time I was looking for them, there weren't any online.

    cafepress has them


    the font has to be just right - has to be the same as the euro logos that people get on their cars for GB and D and S and stuff. so there is one there, which matches, for $4.50 so...

    also, the blue one matches the Create a Cook stickers that we give away at the cooking school so maybe i'll end up with that one. okay i feel a little better.

    about the sticker, not my car.

    1. Ah, well $2.50 is only 150% more... blah. I see that "S" sticker for Sweden on all the old cars here and it's weird to see them in their real use for once (used to be required for all cars in Europe traveling internationally before the standardized EU license plates came about -- still required for countries not in the EU). It's weird because I identified with that part of your post so much because I was a bit devestated when I upgraded my first laptop which had the three stickers on it from my 2007 Europe trip that I loved so much, seen here. I tried to order more online, but they never seemed quite as good as the ones I'd actually bought in each country.

    2. it is funny what you get attached to isn't it?

  4. actually, it is $2.49 so. that's even better.

  5. it's funny how you get attached to little things...

  6. oy. that's all I can say. where do you stand car-wise now? what do you have?

  7. we have a 1999 volvo. doug bought it at the car auction a couple weeks back. it has a leaky head gasket, but he's staying on top of it with checking the levels and what not. just had to have the back brakes replaced, 300 bucks. right now we're a one car family. we'll make it work.

    he's on "vacation" all week next week as we're moving. i'm working monday and friday.