Friday, April 24, 2009

Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break My Stride...

The mantra of my life lately has been "Git' 'Er Done". It actually has been for a long time, but there have been a lot of things to 'git done' as of late. Moving stuff, looking for a better job, setting up the new digs, etc.. I'm more motivated than ever to get my life out of park and into drive.

I've had a number of 'speed bumps' along the way, of course. Pay cut at work, totaling my car, passive-aggressive lack of cooperation from various angles, but conversely, I've had a lot of support and encouragement from friends and family. My dad and grandfather came through with some loans to help me get a new car and root canal, my uncle is sending me a few shirts he's outgrown, my cousin Linda has been a huge source of comfort and encouragement, my friend Jason and his wife Jen have given me some social outlet that I've been lacking and some much-needed laughing by inviting me to dinner, and that's just a few! Most of all, my sister has been all kinds of awesome by not only providing me with her house as she preps for her move to LA, but most all of the furniture I'll need, some leftover groceries in the fridge, a few odd & end necessities, and playing chauffeur when my car was a hulking heap in the junk yard. Beyond that, she's been a great sounding board and source of moral support. My...sister...ROCKS!

There's a long road ahead, make no mistake. This will be a difficult, bumpy trek into uncharted territory. Best part is, I not only have a great team of friends and family ready to prop me up when I stumble and cheer me on along the way...

...but I seem to have an angel watching over me the whole time.

"Truckin, like the do-dah man once told me you've got to play your hand
Sometimes your cards ain't worth a damn, if you don't lay 'em down..."

Friday, April 10, 2009

...In My Brand New (old) Automobile!

Okay, the barbershoppers got that, anyway...

Well, here I sit, in my favorite morning spot once again - the Biggby Coffee in Madison Heights. I haven't been here in over a month and as soon as I walk in, I'm greeted by Paul & Travis like a long-lost friend. I feel like Norm at Cheers here. It's the only place where I can just say, "the usual". I like that. I've been skipping my morning coffee due to time and budget constraints the past month or so. I''ll probably start coming back here a bit more often, but probably just once a week...and skip the muffin.

But now to the point... My car is on the road and ready to go!! I spent a couple hours Wednesday day hitting my insurance agent and the Secretary of State getting her legal. As I ran the errands, I noticed a throbbing sound in the front driver's wheel. I didn't think too much of it, figuring it was a bald spot on the tire or something, but when I hit the freeway that evening on the way to quartet rehearsal, it got insistent. Figuring it a prudent measure to have the new ride scoped out by a knowledgeable and trusted source, I took my 98 Chevy Cavalier to my favorite mechanic, Tony at B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Parts). I dropped it before work yesterday and bussed the rest of the way.

Sure enough, it needed some work. Having only paid $1300 for it, I assumed as much. A while later, Tony calls me with a short list of necessities. I give the okay, he agrees to grab the parts himself to save time (as I was working till 6), and after $228 and a promise to do the brake pads, I'm back on the road the same day!

So, ladies and gentleman, I present my new ride.



Suggestions of a name for her? Monikers my former modes of transportation have gone by include the Blue Bomber, 'Lil' Red, the Teal Tornado, Moose, and of course, the Shitmobile (which - knock wood - will nnot apply here).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On The Road Again!

Okay, it's been a while since I posted anything about what's going on with me, specifically. This one's not getting much into the big picture for various reasons, but is action packed; filled with car crashes, excitement, police, humility, defeat, and eventual triumph!

I love how I can make a simple car accident on I-94 sound like a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

Anyway, a week ago Sunday, I was traveling I-94 on the way back from visiting a friend. I was due to visit my friends Jason & Jenn at their place at 8pm and was running right on time, give or take 5 minutes. The weather was snowy (in late March? WTF!?), the traffic heavy, and I was taking all due caution, going about 5 MPH under the speed limit. Rather than take I-75 to I-696 and up Schoenherr, I figured it might shave a couple minutes off to just take I-94 to I-696.

I chose...poorly.

Just as I pass Gratiot, a red Jeep Cherokee comes barreling STRAIGHT ACROSS the freeway and hits my back passenger quarter panel. He was far enough back when the subsequent skidding was over that I couldn't see his plate in the dark, snowy weather. Traffic was REAL heavy for a Sunday night, and between the slick road, heavy traffic, bad weather, and the skinny left shoulder I was on, I was not about to risk getting outside my steel cocoon to talk to the guy.

I call 911, make my report, and wait...for the MI state police...on Detroit...on a bad weather. Yea, right. I call Jason & Jenn and explain I may not make our Wii date, then call my Superheroine Sister to see if she can some to save the day, once again. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on the skinny left shoulder right against the berm in a busted car that had no heat anyway with 2 busted windows, my heart racing with every passing truck that shakes my car as it passes at 60+ MPH, missing me by millimeters, it seemed.

Shortly before the State Police show up 30 MINUTES LATER, the offending driver limps his hulking red ass away! I see him moving and start to spout a stream of expletives. The state police show up 5 minutes later aand take care of another accident just behind me on the off-ramp, then completely disappear! Thankfully, a tow truck driver spots me, turn his lights on to make others aware of my existence, and waits for a safe time to haul my shattered Fortress of Solitude onto his flatbed. Another tow truck comes by 10 minutes later to block the lane and secure the perimeter, and just as it's all loaded up, THEN the cops decide to show up.

We pull off the freeway and I give the cops all the info. Hit & Run - not much they can do. Yay. I get the info necessary to just give my shattered means of conveyance to the junk yard, my sister picks me up, and we head to Detroit Metro to pick up Paulie B.. From there I decide to just crash at Val's place to be sure I can get to work, as the public transportation system in Bloomfield Hills is basically nonexistent.

The next week was spent dealing with my incapacitated car (chaufeured by my awesome sister) and browsing CraigsList for a new set of wheels. My best bud, Lou, helped me try and get to see some, but all the posters neglected to get back to me. I managed to get to work via considerate local coworkers, my sister, and the bus. I did, through all that, manage to discover that if you walk 2.5 miles at a brisk pack while conducting Madison Scouts '92, you get a REAL good full body workout!

I had to swallow some pride and ask my grandfather for a loan to get the car. I was keeping my searched under $2k, expecting to just get a reliable beater. I would have needed him to co-sign to get a loan from the bank and didn't want to damage his credit, being that my paychecks have been miserable lately and aren't apt to get better real soon. I figure once I get the money flowing again, I'll talke out a bank loan to pay him back. Thankfully, some of the car searching for said beater panned out yesterday and I looked at a few cars, again through the kindness of my non-pedestrian sister. The last one I looked at had a couple issues, but the seller was a mechanic and fixed them on the spot. It's a 96 Cavalier, 90's Teal, virtually no body damage, VERY little rust, and runs great. It's no Mazzarati and a bit smallish, but for the price, it's pure awesome. Best of all, it has no exhaust problems, a great working radio/cassette player, and (get this) WORKING HEAT!!!

I''ll post a pic of the new one soon in this blog entry.. In the meantime, here's one of the remains of my former Fortress of Solitude:


Total bad car, get a better one for even cheapper. Karma's great that way. :)

So once again, I am mobile. I'm taking thhe morning to grab a cup of coffee att the Caribou and blog, then it's off to my insurance agent, the Secretary of State, MicroCenter for another FM transmitter for my MP3 player, and off to work. Tonight, I have the first rehearsal with my quuartet in over a month, and *I'M* picking Lou up for a change, now that I have working heat!!

Yay me!!