Adrift

Where do I even start. Those who follow me on twitter have seen most of everything that has happened since last Friday as it unfolded. There is so much… I don’t even know what that has go on that I wanted to sit down and write the whole thing up, start to, well, present. Cause honey, this ain’t over.

Today is June 6. I had told my landlord we would be out of our house on June 5. The plan was for us (note the emphasis) to be together in Wisconsin last night. But the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. Hang on because this is the story of the weekend that just would not end.

Friday, June 3
At 9:30 I sat down with a list of people to call. I needed to arrange for our utilities to be cut off and/or switched over to the landlord. First and foremost on the list was to confirm my moving truck reservation, which should be done 24 hours in advance per the instructions I had received. Since my pick up time was 11:30 on Saturday I was ahead of the 24 hour deadline. I made the call, was told that everything was in order and that I would be contacted should anything come up. Thought that was a strange caveat to throw in there considering that it would be extremely late to do something if my truck wasn’t available. But I said OK and continued to move on through the rest of my considerable to-do list.

My mom and I did a few more packing things and visited my cousin, with whom I sort of joked about the whole “we’ll call you later if there are problems” thing because really? Who is going to have problems that close to moving. LITTLE DID I KNOW that possibly while we were having that exact conversation, the moving company was leaving a voicemail on my phone to say that my truck had broken down while being delivered and there was no replacement. I didn’t listen to the message until I had walked into city hall to have our water service stopped but my face just fell. I don’t know what the poor clerk thought when she saw me but I know I felt devastated.

I immediately called the company back and found out that they were going to rent us a 24′ truck at the same rate as the 16′ truck I had reserved. Since I wasn’t the one actually driving the truck (hah!) I had to confirm with the people who were that an increase in size wouldn’t be an issue. Everyone involved was rather leery but what were we going to do?? I called back and agreed to the larger truck.

At 2:30 my mom and I drove my car to get some lunch and pick up my new glasses and a few other items. Or so we thought. While eating we got a call from my dad, who informed me that when I visited the previous weekend my car had leaked something that killed a substantial patch of grass in the yard. This necessitated an immediate visit to a mechanic to have the water pump checked out. Since I don’t work on cars I took his advice. So it was back to my house to pick up my mom’s car and to the garage. The only local garage I had ever heard recommended to me to have anything checked out at. By the time we got there it was closing on 3:30. On a Friday, remember? They said they might not even be able to LOOK at it before they closed at 2PM on Saturday but that no other garages around are even open on Saturdays, much less would any of them be able to fit me in that late on a Friday afternoon. With pretty much no other option I left my car there on the chance they could look at and possibly repair my car by the next day. My mom left later that evening and I tried to get things ready to be loaded on the TWENTY-FOUR foot truck.

Saturday, June 4
A little before 7:00 AM my moving crew from Wisconsin arrived. They all crashed pretty quick to get a couple of hours of sleep before going to pick up the truck and getting things loaded. At 9:00 I was woken up from a dead sleep by a phone call. (You know how when you are SO asleep that your mouth just hangs open and, well, drool happens? That sort of sleep.) It was the truck rental company. The woman I had spoken to the day previous said “I have good news and bad news.” At that point I was just like TELL ME. The bad news? The replacement 24′ truck had never shown up at the pickup location. The good news? There was a rental place in the next town over that might have a truck for me that they would try to rent to me at as close to the same rate I would have paid. The problem? My original reservation was with Company B. This other place? Company P. They would be under no obligation to give me the same rate at all.

Again, what could I do? This was only two and a half hours before my truck was scheduled to be picked up! And both of these places would close at noon that day. So I hauled myself out of bed to look up this other business and to go outside to talk because of everyone else that was trying to sleep. I will say that Company P was on top of things. They called me before I had a chance to call them. They were going to get a 24′ truck for me but it was going to be much more than the rate I had agreed to with the other company. I explained why I was getting a 24′ truck and that I really only needed the 16′ truck, especially since the rates on the smaller trucks are generally less. Company P agrees to try to find me a smaller truck.

While waiting to hear back about whether or not I would actually have a truck to accomplish this move I called my mom to update her on the entire mess since she knew about the events of the previous day. Instead, my dad answered her phone and said they were at the hospital because she had continued to have chest pains after leaving my house! This was mega scary because her side of the family has a history of early heart disease and death from heart attacks.

After talking to my sisters and letting them know about mom! in the hospital! and having a bee crawl on my arm (I am not allergic but have an irrational fear) I got the call that yes! A 16′ truck was available and the rental fee was going to be almost dollar for dollar what Company B had supposedly confirmed for me. The truck was being delivered from Lexington so the plan was for the driver to call me when she was about equal distance from the pickup location as I was.

We waited. And waited some more. And the call didn’t come. We decided to head to this town to get some lunch and hope that the truck would be there by the time we arrived. But when we were about to head into the restaurant to sit down and order I got the call that the truck was nearly there! And the pickup place closed in 20 minutes! Back into the car. Down the road and to a… feed store? Found out it was the wrong feed store and that the paperwork was actually handled at the birdseed store across the street. A little more waiting, signed the papers, copied driver’s licenses, yadda yadda yadda, we had the truck! Found out that it was only due to someone canceling their move that we got a truck at all. Lucky, lucky us.

At some point in the day I found out that my mom was out the of hospital with a diagnosis of severely aggravated allergies. No heart problems, just that her breathing was so thrown off that her lungs were making her whole chest hurt. She was given some predisone and instructions to get an inhaler.

Then it was off to get some lunch. I think it was 12:30 before we finally sat down to eat and I realized I hadn’t received any news about my car. And the garage would be closing at 2PM. So after we got our food and ate I called the garage at 1:15. They apologized for not calling me sooner and said that it appeared to be a blown head gasket and not the water pump as originally thought. If that was indeed the case my car was in no condition to be driven. Anywhere. And it would take longer and more money to repair so it certainly wouldn’t be fixed by 2:00 that day.

FANTASTIC. I called my dad to try to figure what on earth to do next. My dad agrees, no driving the car if it has a blown head gasket. I head off to the garage anyway to drive it the 3 miles to my house. Got there and let my dad speak to the mechanic, at which point my dad says don’t drive it at all, I will drive the 140 miles to come pick it up for you and we’ll work on it in Virginia. I listened to the conversation but I don’t “speak” car. I grasp some of the basics but when specifics are mentioned I have a hard time following well enough to repeat it in an understandable manner. The main point I caught was that an internal system was reading 30 pound of pressure when it should have under 15 pound. Meaning something was in big trouble.

Major panic. That gave me about three hours to help everyone get the rest of the house packed up, get ish ON the truck, and get my bags packed for an undetermined amount of time away. Why did I need to pack a bag? This car was going to have to get to Wisconsin somehow and my staying behind to drive it was the most economical way to do it. My moving help needed to be back to Wisconsin by Sunday night to be able to go to work Monday so they couldn’t stay any longer to help me get it figured out. There was also no way I could drive both my car AND the truck so we decided for all of them, husband included, to stay and head out the next morning while I went back with my dad.

7:00 PM we got my car loaded on the tow dolly and were headed back towards my parents’ house when my dad started to feel very, very sick. After a really rough patch he decided to stop in Really Tiny Town, KY and go to the ER. My dad doesn’t go to the doctor for silly stuff so I knew this was Serious Business. After getting the initial registration papers done and they got him in triage I called my mom, who started trying to find someone who could come with her to drive the truck back.

Then we sat in the waiting room. And waited. And waited. Saw the girl who had an injured foot get up and walk out without being treated because she had waited so long. Waited some more. Saw a couple with a young child walk out without being treated because they had waited so long. Waited some more. Learned that the only other person left in the waiting room had cut his leg with a chainsaw and needed treatment but hadn’t been taken back yet. Waited a little more. Finally my dad felt much better and decided to leave because during all this time they had not ran one single diagnostic test on him other than check his blood pressure and temperature while we were in triage. He thinks he was suffering from heat exhaustion and possibly a near heat stroke because he had worked in the heat the day before, had driven 3 hours without air conditioning that day to come get me, loaded my car in the heat, and then started driving back without taking time to cool off.

We met up with my mom and a cousin who could take over for my dad but he insisted on driving back himself. We didn’t make it home until after 1AM.

Sunday, June 5
After sleeping like the dead my dad and I took my car out to my cousin’s garage for him to look it over. If it was indeed the water pump, like he believed it to be, we gave the go ahead to have that fixed. If it was the head gasket we would make that call later.

Later on that night I got a call from my aunt, who relayed the message that my cousin had worked on the car for nearly two hours and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it other than a busted radiator cap or hose of some sort.

What.

Everyone has been trying to convince me that the garage I took it to first was just trying to cheat me or drum up more business for themselves. I honestly have no idea. I really don’t think that the people who recommended the garage to me would have done so if that is the sort of business it is. I really have no way of telling but it was majorly disappointing to hear that the only thing my cousin could find, someone who has absolutely no reason to lie to me or cheat me, was a busted radiator cap.

Around 11:00 I talked to my husband to make sure they had made the trip all right. At the time they were about 2/3 finished unloading the truck and would have everything wrapped up soon. Minda was a little pissed about everything but Poe was OK.

Monday, June 6
That would be today, though I’m having an extremely hard time keeping up anymore. We’ve been going back and forth over what to do with my car. If there really isn’t anything majorly wrong with it that would require hundreds of dollars worth of work it seems like this is the best time for me to try to sell it. It really isn’t much of a cold weather car and I will find many more buyers for it here in the South than I will in Wisconsin. If we can get what my cousin thinks we can for it then I’m definitely selling now.

Which puts me in the market for a vehicle. There are just the small obstacles of finding one I like, that is affordable, that is reliable, and the teeny tiny matter of securing a loan. If this had happened a few months ago I don’t think it would have been an issue because I had stable employment and we hadn’t just moved across the country. I’m afraid lenders are going to look at me and decide that my situation is just too unstable for them to grant me a loan. But we’ll see.

For the time being, I’m staying with my parents in Virginia while Michael is back up in Wisconsin in the new apartment (that I’ve still never been in) without me. And at some point I’ll be making the 750 mile drive by myself, which I’m not exactly looking forward to.

These are the events of roughly the past 84 hours. Which is just 3.5 calendar days.