I did this little lighthouse painting last year or maybe even the year before. It came out okay, so I thought I'd include it today. It has nothing to do with the subject of this post, but I don't think I've used it in a blog before, so here it is.
Sometimes it seems like people all over the globe are trying to rip me off in some way or another. There are a lot of shady characters in the world, and I expect them around every corner.
That's what I was expecting this week.
Last week my ex, Tammie (our kids call her mom), had a car problem. It turns out it wasn't a big car problem, but we didn't know that at the time. Tammie was at the vet picking up flea medicine for the little bundle of joy we call Peanut. His friends call him Nutter. He thinks he's king of the world. Probably rightly so.
She walked out to her car and nuttin', no spin, no whine, no click, nuttin'.
I'm in England, so I can't very well run to the rescue. Tammie got the car towed, and I got a call.
"Scott, I've had the car towed. It wouldn't start. Can you call Dan and find out what the problem is?"
Me, "Sure, no problem."
What's going through my mind is, "This sounds bad, this sounds like money, this sounds like Uggggh..."
So, I called Dan. Dan's been dealing with our cars for many years.
"Hi, old friend, how are you. Yes, Tammie did call. Yes, the car is here. We probably can't get to it till tomorrow, but we'll look at it."
Dan's just midwest friendly. I call him maybe once a year, and he recognizes me every time before I even say who it is. (I've been calling him for 30 years.)
"Thanks, Dan, give me a ring when you find out what's wrong."
"No problem, Scott. Take care, friend."
Dan called me up later to let me know what's going on. He said, "Well, I've got some good news and some not so good news. First, the car is up and running, so that's good. The problem has to do with the starter wiring harness. It's the pig-tail to the wiring harness. They don't sell those things separately. We could order the whole wiring harness, but that would cost about five hundred dollars plus a couple of hours service charge to do. The thing is, we don't have the expertise here to do that repair."
Dan pointed me to a Chrylser dealer in Lebanon. When I heard that I had to have it taken to a dealer, my heart sunk. How many thousands of dollars would it take to get a dealer to do that kind of repair?
I appreciated Dan's candor, and we made arrangements to take the car to the Chrysler dealer in Lebanon. It was the same outfit I bought my Jeep from 20 years ago.
I got a call from Kevin. I suppose he was the service manager. I tried to tell him what Dan said was wrong with the car, but my explanation was woefully inadequate. I suggested that Dan give him a call to explain the situation. Kevin let me know there was a $125 diagnostic fee. He'd let me know what repairs might be needed.
All I heard was, "ChaChing!!!!
Dan and Kevin got together and talked mechanic-talk. They probably said, in three words, what I had attempted to say in about a ten-minute monologue.
Then everything went silent. Crickets.
Several hours later, when I was on my way to bed, I got a call from Tammie. She said, "Can you call the guy at the Chrysler dealer? I think the car's ready."
I thought, "Oh crap, they said they would call before they did anything. I want to know the cost before authorizing the work." I saw money rolling out the door and not very slowly.
So, I gritted my teeth, straightened my back, and I called Dennis. I was ready for it.
Dennis got on the phone. Before I could ask what had happened? Before I could ask why he hadn't called to get authorization, he started with, "Hi Scott, I think we've got some good news.
"First, we tried to order the part and found out they don't make it anymore."
Him, "But my mechanic happened to find a similar part from a newer car in the shop. We fitted it to your car, and voila, it worked just fine."
"That sounds good."
Dennis, "Sure, since we couldn't get the exact part, we're just going to charge you for the part and the diagnostic fee. That's $147."
I thanked him profusely, pulled out my credit card, and paid immediately - before he had a chance to change his mind.
It is such a pleasure when you run across folks that want to help. I am grateful that I occasionally run into them to restore my faith in humanity.
Kudos to the collaborative car guys.
Until next week, I wish you peace.