Friday, February 26, 2010


If you read yesterday’s post, then you know I am winding up to tell you what foolish thing I did this last weekend. It is always at times like this… when I have money in my pocket and the opportunity to use it unwisely that I fall down. Impulse and the ability to ignore what I know I should not do play a major role. Desperation was the hook here and I was caught like a hungry bass on Sunday morning. The bait… a car when I had none and craved to have one again.

Bullwinkle that I am, I met Boris on Craig’s List. He had a car at a price I had in my pocket. The photos looked good. Our conversation seemed sincere and honest. He set the hook when he offered to drive it to me. You can see how nice that would be since I had no way to get to the car. Perfect! We made our agreement and I did as I always do when I meet a stranger here… I directed him to a local restaurant that has many people coming and going at all times. Yes, I do this to my dates, DH being the only exception.
My son cooks here. I know all the employees by first name and even some of the Native Americans selling their fish in the parking lot. It is a very public and safe place.

On top of that I had Rocket J. Squirrel with me and Max. What could possibly go wrong? There was the car. No Borris. But it was the right car. I opened it up and checked out the insides. It was in good shape, but did have a set of laughable hooks… as in I Know What You Did Last Summer… instead of traditional door handles. This appealed to my personal sense of humor. I was undaunted by the crack in the windshield. Up here this time of year everyone has dings and cracks in their windshields from the winter freeway treatments.

Rocky got busy doing the right things… checking under the hood and making sure the frame was straight. Meanwhile the Bullwinkle went inside to find Boris. I passed him in the foyer, but after a quick look around inside stopped to ask if he was Boris. He said he had been waiting quite awhile and they had a plane to catch. (Yes… I know you are saying ut-oh over that comment.) They were on their way to be in a wedding and simply could not be late… so we had to hurry. His nice wife was waiting in their other car. I waved and her and yes, did have enough brains to put their license plate number firmly in my head as I waved in her direction.

Rocky was shutting the hood as we walked up and he said that it looked okay but we needed to listen to it. The guy jumped in the car, turned it on and it sounded wonderful.
Rocky nodded at me and was about to say something when the wife yelled to hurry up… they had to go. I exchanged the money and got the title part done. He jogged over to his car and they zoomed off.

There was a bit of trouble with shifting the car out of park. It took me a few minutes to figure out that there is a release button at the base of the shifter. Rocky, back in his own car by now, waved and drove off. I put it into gear and heard the most awful noise as we began to creep toward the exit. Well crap! I was alone with Max who was more than concerned and swearing. Meanwhile the car continued to sound like a giant garbage disposal as I turned onto the street and headed for the motel down the block where X is remodeling. I did not have to announce us. The car did that. X looked up and walked over, as I sat, now quietly idling. He quickly established that I was the idiot who had just this moment purchased the broken car.

When he stopped laughing uproariously at me… and yes, he was delighted… he got down on his hands and knees and did a remarkable thing for someone who had just laughed at me and who I had so recently divorced. He stuck his head under my tires and told me to pull forward. I was musing over the idea of cranking the wheel at laughing man when he directed me to now pull slowly back. Again I was entertained by the idea of being able to say “Ooops! Offficer… I swear it was an accident! It made the most gratifying… I mean… horrible popping sound.” But I took too long with that fantasy and opportunity passed by as he stood back up.

“Well you’ve got bad CV joints. I’m not sure you can even make it home.” He shook his head and continued to laugh until I gave him my best death ray look. He says with a more sober face “Well, it’s not a total loss. That’s an easy fix and not very expensive. But you’ll be lucky if you make it a block.” He began walking back to his job, shaking his head and cackling.

“Hey! Maybe you should look at it again!” I shouted after him, but he was onto me.

I put the darned humiliation into gear and headed out onto the street. This time after a block… at least it was after a block… so the X wasn’t completely right… it got even louder. Fortunately for me, I passed Just who turned and watched me drive past with an open mouth. I had not an hour before run into Just and his minion and worked out a deal to fix the Aspire the following month when I could afford it better. My automotive display softened his heart toward me. When I called after the big, big noise that soon followed and it was clear that I needed to park the piece of wrecking yard fodder, Just jumped right in to help. He promised to have my Aspire fixed by Tuesday… and kept his word. He also promised and followed through on towing my new lawn ornament to my home.

But I am ahead of myself. The big, big noise happened and the engine made it clear that there was too much revving and too little moving to keep up with it. So I pulled to the curb… immediately in front of the school where I work and parked it. When I looked up, a blue pick up truck was stopping. There he was… N, the mechanic from the place that had rooked me last. Talk about ambulance chasers! But, I am being unfair. He said the same thing that X had said, did not try to get me to give my car to his shop, and then drove us home. That was very kind.

I called Rocky as soon as I got inside. Better to eat humble pie as fast as possible. He was not only sympathetic, he felt that he was responsible. “I had a bad feeling about how fast he wanted to get away. I should have insisted that he go for a drive in it.” Then he agreed to drive me to the market and to school and pick me up the next day.

So I fell. Splat! But like Bullwinkle, I hopped back up and there was no serious damage. Just is repairing both cars. The Aspire now shifts beautifully. We even managed to work out a trade so that I did not have to pull anymore money out of my pocket for the parts and labor. All things considered. I am lucky. I can always sell the new car once it is repaired and recover my money that way.

As for Boris… well in Oregon we have a serious lemon law and lawyers who specialize in it. 

Of course the lawyer will want a cut, so the question there is how much is vengeance worth? 

I sure wish I had a Way-Back Machine.


  1. oh gees, ananda...i don't even know what to say to this...i just hope it all works out in the end.

  2. Oh, dear... well, if the car is fit and saleable with the new CVs and you can break even or better, I wouldn't bother with lawyers. When I do something dumb like that, if I lose out, I call it "the stupid tax." It's the real life version of Go Back Three Spaces or Lose A Turn .

    The way I see it, I just paid for three more credits at the School of Hard Knocks. I'm working on my doctorate, currently. ;-)

  3. I know it's a pain for you, but it's damned funny for US :-) Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  4. limw-- It will. And you know I sort of have the attitude that things happen for a reason. If it had worked properly, the Aspire would not be fixed now.

  5. Cricket-- Hahaha... guess I'm going for one of those too. I have never sued anyone in my life. But my daughter is mad and she wanted me to look into it. I agree that the lawyer would suck up the money. We will see how it goes.

  6. Fear not, Ananda. Just like the old Fractured Fairy Tales with Aesop's announcer proclaiming now for a story, here comes one that may redeem you in your eyes:
    I was looking out our front door one day a few years ago and saw a car parked next door. Strange. I knew that our neighbor had just passed away. Never saw anyone visit him but there was a beautiful car parked in front of his house. Who owned that car? A relative, perhaps? While surveying the premises, I noted to my husband that there was a very, very pretty car outside of Pants Dropper's home (another story for another day). Quick as the proverbial whip, my husband walked outside and up to the neighbor's door. As it turns out, Pants Dropper had a daughter who was "cleaning up" her father's effects. My husband asked about the car. The very, very pretty car. Lo and behold, the car was mysteriously for sale!! O the humanity!
    Long story short, my husband went off to the bank, came home, walked next door and handed this daughter of Pants Dropper cash and purchased the car. Virtually sight unseen. Certainly without even popping the hood or giving it a test drive. When I was presented with theses facts and screamed a hearty WTF, he told me that I had said it was pretty.
    That car lasted exactly 2 months before the engine blew. Forever.
    So, Moose and Squirrel fever is not exclusive to you.
    Things turned out well for us and I know they did for you, too.
    And as long as I have my husband, rest assured that you will never be alone in your Adventures of Bullwinkle and Rocket J. Squirrel.

  7. Suldog-- Thank you! I'm so glad that someone else is laughing. I am. There really isn't anything else that sort of experience is worth if not a good laugh after. You are welcome. I'm glad that I shared it with you.

    Oh btw... would you take a look under my car?
    (hee hee)

  8. Bummer. You have had way more than your share of car woes.

  9. I swear, I just don't know about you. Never - ever - buy a car without a good test drive, I don't care how much of a 'hurry' the seller is in.

    You should just hoof it for a while and put the money you have in the Aspire until you have a great car again. It's stupid to keep buying other used cars, they all have problems. Stick the money into just one car.

    Or you could have had new U joints put in the Ranger for not that much money being as you already own it and then you have a backup for when the Aspire is being worked on.

    I swear, I just don't know about you. It could have been worse than CV joints but even that repair will be a few hundred dollars, done properly.

    Times and cars have changed, it's damn hard to find a 500 dollar car anymore that doesn't have a hidden problem that will cost plenty to fix it. I can find them but but I'll look at ten of them before finding one worth buying.

    Again, put your money in the Aspire.....

    Lets see, it's Friday now.

    44.4* and may rain some off and on today. Not bad at all compared to the storm on the East side of the country.

    Maybe I'll start a spring cleaning project, maybe I should rent a backhoe and dump truck.

  10. I mean, cars are more complex now, and more expensive to repair. It's not like the days when we could buy a hundred dollar car that was a lot more simple and be easily fixed and driven for a few more years. It's therefore wise to just keep one car in decent shape instead of playing musical cars.

  11. I'm sorry. That sucks. At least it was something fixable and not TOO expensive. I can't imagine swindling someone, but I know other people do it without blinking an eye. I can only hope that karma catches up with them sooner rather than later.

  12. Not always, but most old T-Birds and and Ford Taruas's (sp) from the 80's and 90's seem to hold up pretty well and keep chugging along so I consider them a good choice for a cheap used car.

    The car I owned before I got the truck was an 86 Merc. Sable station wagon I got for five hundred bucks and I drove it for five years and sold it for five hundred bucks.

    There is one down side to them, if the heater core starts leaking it's a major repair, the whole damn dash has to be removed from them and it costs about five hundred bucks.

    But when mine started leaking I just bought a new heater core for a Chev truck and put it in a housing under the dash with a cheap fan and cut holes in the firewall and ran the heater hoses to it. Worked for me, I had a heater and it cost me less than fifty bucks to do it.

    Any used car that has an automatic transmission needs to be checked and test driven carefully.

    Pull out the dip stick and if the fluid is even a bit brownish move on. If it is red let some drip on a piece of paper towel and let it spread out, it should all remain red, if there is a brownish spot in the middle, move on.

    Mutter, mutter....

  13. I won't sell a rig to a sucker if I know it has a problem, I fix it first or I send it to the wrecking yard.

  14. I sold that station wagon about five years ago, it's still running around town, that's pretty damn good service for a cheap car.

    In Cuba they are still driving American made cars made in the 50's and 60's. At least you can keep piecing them together and keep them going. Hard to do that with these modern cars.

  15. sounds like a good case for judge judy.

    wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a new hyundai accent?

  16. Oh my goodness, Ananda :-) Well, lesson learned. I'm sure we've all made hasty purchases that we soon regreted. I know I have.
    As for the sellers, I am a total fan of the 'what goes around, comes around' school of thought. They'll get theirs.

  17. Peggy-- LOL I love your D! God bless him, he has a trusting heart. And that he bought it just because you said it was pretty. What a guy. As long as there are Borises, there will be Bullwinkles waiting to fall.

  18. Peggy-- I'm afraid that I truly need to hear the story of Pants Dropper. I may not sleep tonight.

  19. secret agent woman-- Well, I am mixing my characters here, but sometimes I am a bear of very little brain. But most of it comes from a lack of money. Billy B. is right... you cant get good cheap cars anymore.

  20. Billy B.-- I know all that. The point here was that sometimes knowing does not seem to keep me from doing dumb things.

    I sold the truck. I will sell this new one too. The money will either go into the Aspire or be used to trade the Aspire for a better and newer used car. I will wait to choose until DH can test it out and let me know the best course.

  21. Churlita-- And he looked like such a nice young man. Ha. Oh well, all is good now.

  22. billy pilgrim-- I dont know. I'll have to look them up. I was thinking along the lines of a nice little Chev Aveo that was only a year or two old. Good on gas and great steering.

  23. laura b.-- I also believe that. How does that thing go... revenge is a dish best served cold. I may never get to see it happen to this Boris, but I can smile and think and somewhere down the road it will get him.

  24. billy pilgrim-- Judge Judy scares me. I talk too much, I'd get onto her bad side.

  25. I have faith in the fact that you'll stumble through all this somehow and get a newer used car that will also be a piece of crap, ha ha ha ha

    But you sure are entertaining, ha ha ha ha

  26. Billy B--Well at least you have some kind of faith in me.

    Hey, this time I'm going to ask DH to find me a good car. At least he knows what he is doing. :-)

  27. Holy cow! I wish I could send good car vibes your way.