On Friday morning, I wasn’t feeling too hot. I sent a text to a much older friend of mine and asked if he wanted to have coffee. We agreed to meet at a local diner shortly after. When I got there, I told him what was going on and how financially, I’d just been pickled beyond belief. Ex #1 has been getting less pay at work with all that’s going on and could give me nothing for the next two weeks. Friday was his payday and the check was so small, he could spare not one penny or risk starvation for himself. Obviously, I said that was fine, don’t worry about it. We’ll manage.
That was before I met with my friend and all hell broke loose.
He and I talked, most especially about the upcoming lawsuit and all that it entails. I told him where I’d gotten to as far as the paperwork needed and what I was thinking about the rest. I got a little hot and eventually, even the waitress wouldn’t come over to refill our coffees. That’s one good thing about my friend; conversations might get intense but he does not take our disagreements personally and never holds it against me.
He eventually would say, “Come on. Let’s go. You’re riding with me.” He started taking me around town, assisting me in talking to people I needed to talk to and then took me to the local Catholic charity/thrift store and got me a box of food for my family. Yes, I went and received charity for food for my family. With the news that, as far as financially, things were going to take a huge nose-dive and fast, I had to do something. Since he was with me, it made it a lot easier to ask for help.
He took me back to Rendy and left to go home. He gave me instructions on a couple things I need to finish this weekend and he would pick me up on Tuesday to finish what needs doing.
I hugged and then waved to him as he left, feeling much better and more “pro-active” than before and was all smiles, hoping things kept going as smoothly as they had with him helping put focus to my thoughts. Climbing into Rendy, I stuck the key in the ignition and turned. Nothing happened. The key wouldn’t turn. My first thought is the same as y’alls – turn the steering wheel. Perhaps I locked it while getting out. No dice. Key still wouldn’t turn. I got into the glove box and pulled out the spare key and tried that one. Nope. Wouldn’t turn. The key would not turn or budge even a smidgeon.
Holding back screams of frustration, I grabbed my laptop and went back into the diner. I asked the waitress for a cup of coffee. I’m sure she saw it all over my face and asked me what was wrong. I let her have it. I couldn’t shut up. The whole kit-n-kaboodle and topped it off with telling her that now my car was broken – again. She sympathized and I apologized for not shutting up. I told her I was sorry, I just had to speak or I was going to explode. She said it was ok and wandered off to check her other patrons. Every now and again, she’d pop back by to ask how I was doing. I tried to keep it short and sweet, after that.
When it got to be 1 p.m., I called my insurance company and asked if they had any help for me. The best she could do was send a tow truck to take a look at things and go from there. I sat back and waited for the tow truck and sipped my coffee. I tried to work on things and just wasn’t feeling the urge to do so. My mind swirled with everything that was going on and I started spiraling down into a pit of despair, again. It just simply was not fair. I don’t need another mechanic bill on top of the one I’m still paying on right now. I wasn’t even sure my mechanic would let me owe him anymore.
My dad has constantly said that I should give up on the Rendezvous and try to save money for something else. Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible. After I finish paying it off – maybe. Right now? Not a chance. So, I have to keep it going.
The toy truck driver got there and, the first thing he said was, “I was told you need a jump start?”
My hackles went up instantly and completely and I responded, “No! I do not! Come here. Watch this.”
I showed him the key wouldn’t turn and showed him that it had nothing to do with the steering wheel locked or a bad key. I had used two keys in the thing and no go. He jumped in and, as a man, tried to turn the steering wheel and “unlock” it so the key would turn. I felt like saying, “Duh. What do you think I just told you?”
After deducing that I was right about what was wrong with my Rendy, he climbed out and asked me to jump into his truck so we could find where Rendy would be towed. We called one shop and, being Friday before a holiday, they had no one available. He called a second shop and was told to bring it right over. He handed the phone to me and I spoke to the owner. I told him there was no way I could pay him a penny right now and we’d have to work something out and he said that was fine, head on over.
And so, I watched the tow truck driver load Rendy. It was a complicated process. Since we couldn’t turn the key, it was stuck in park and, being stuck in park, it could easily strip the gears if it were dragged onto the flatbed.
To tell you the story takes some time, so bear with me.
First, he had to get the back wheels off the ground. To do so, he hooked up his cable to the butt end of Rendy. Then, he backed up and dropped the tail of his bed to the ground, right behind the wheels – leaving not a smidgeon of space. With the cable, he picked up Rendy an inch and moved the bed under the back wheels. Once he accomplished that, he slid the bed under Rendy to the front tires. When he was nearly there, I yelled for him to stop. He was about to crunch the front end of Rendy on the curb I had parked near.
He pulled Rendy back just a little bit, risking stripping some gears and then kept going. Just at the end, Rendy finally slid. The tires, that is. Until that moment, he hadn’t pulled it at all, merely moved the bed under Rendy.
If you look just in front of the front tire, you’ll see that it slid that last little bit. Until then, he did wonderfully!
From there, we drove to the shop that said they could fix the ignition switch on Rendy. It was a very fun ride in the tow truck on the way over. When we got there, I wasn’t quite sure how we’d get Rendy into the bay so they could work on it. No one really wanted to work on it outside, it had started snowing.
The tow truck driver backed up to the entrance of the bay and I do mean right up to the entrance. There wasn’t a hands-breath of space between the truck and the walls at the entrance of the bay.
He brought up the front end of the bed (the part closest to the driver) just a little bit and then slid the bed into the shop at an angle. I mean it. He slid the entire bed all the way into the bay of the shop! When he had it there, he lowered Rendy just a little bit and let it roll (slid slightly) to the floor. Once the front wheels were in place at the exact spot in the shop the mechanics needed them, he started sliding the bed out from under the car! If I hadn’t seen it, I would have never believed it.
Is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever seen? Or, rather, heard of?
I gave the mechanic both keys and told him what was going on. He got in Rendy, sat down and turned the key. Rendy fired right up. No sweat. No muss, no fuss. I cussed like a sailor that just got off the boat. I swore that Rendy wouldn’t start. He grinned, all the shop guys laughed and the mechanic turned off Rendy. I stood there, fuming, and he turned the key again.
The key wouldn’t turn.
He started tearing apart Rendy to figure out what was going on. From what I gathered, there was a broken tumbler. At first, they tried making a replacement key. That’s took a little time, only to find out that they were wrong on that score, as well. It wasn’t a worn out key, as I tried to tell them when I showed them the two keys I tried.
The owner told me that, if I carry a key chain with too many pieces on it, it can pull weight down on the ignition switch and break the pieces inside. I walked out to the car, asked the mechanic for my key ring and took it back to the owner. After I showed him that there are exactly two keys on the key ring and no key fob for locking/unlocking the vehicle, he shut up pretty quick.
That’s when he turned into a jerk. When I proved to him twice in a row that he was wrong and I knew just a little more about my vehicle than he understood. He appears to be one of those “old-school” mechanics that thinks all women are wrong, when speaking of vehicles. It’s not his fault. He doesn’t realize how very many brothers I grew up with and, while I don’t know a lot about cars, I’m not stupid. I listened. I learned. I saw. I learned. I’d call him a dumb ass but it’d be a waste of a really fun bad word!
After about 2 hours, the mechanic cracked open the steering column and removed the ignition switch – at least, I believe that is what it is called. They went searching all through town, trying to find a replacement part on Friday afternoon (right before a holiday, mind you). They couldn’t find one but were told of another ignition switch from another make of vehicle that would do the trick.
Yes. That is what it says it is. An ignition and keys for an H2 Hummer. Yes. They did install this in my Rendezvous.
One glitch. They couldn’t get a Buick dealership to program the security code into these new keys at such a late hour on Friday. Until Tuesday, I have to hold the original key as close to the H2 key as possible while attempting to start the car or the security would trip and Rendy wouldn’t start.
I was prepping to leave, nearly 4 hours after arriving and the owner wanted me to sign a piece of paper for the bill. He decided to be “polite” and only charge me one hours’ labor on the ignition switch. I was polite when I kept my mouth shut about him having his mechanic wasting at least, maybe more than an hour just trying to get a new key made and testing that, refusing to believe me that it had nothing to do with the key.
After “graciously” charging me only an hours’ labor, telling me the ignition switch and H2 keys were much more than the $50 he was going to charge me for them and then telling me that he would personally get it programmed on Monday and only charge me another $50 for it, he handed me the bill. It was $175. In his own handwriting, he added a caveat. If I didn’t pay the balance in two weeks’ time, I forfeit the vehicle to him as payment.
He can try. First, I park in a garage. Secondly, someone else holds the title.
However, my honor demands I try to pay as soon as possible. I just don’t know if I’ll be able. Prayer is good. Right?
This was all fine and good, I can deal with this glitch with the keys until Tuesday and stress the money later. No worries. I have to try and salvage my day as best I can. We had prepaid (a little over a week ago and with funds from a job I did) for a weekend in the mountain cabin so we could try to cut some more wood before November 30th. Rendy was working, we had some gas money and food. Time to go get more wood so we can use it all winter and potentially save a couple dollars on our heating costs. That’s the theory, anyway. The secondary reason is a “just in case” for whatever scenario comes down the line in the next few months.
I headed on home and we packed up to leave. First, the truck we were gonna borrow to go up with us called and said that it was unavailable and then a friend that I asked never got back to me. I think there was a problem with not wanting to say no. It’s all good. We packed the Toyota and Rendy and took off for our weekend.
But that’s the next story…