I had the day off of work on Friday, so I planned some things to accomplish.
First: Take my car to get the timing belt fixed. Nothing like getting up at 7 a.m. on your day off. When I walked out to the parking lot, I wondered, "hmm, where did I park my car last night?" I didn't see it in the usual places. Then I remembered I parked it beside Neil's truck. Hmm, didn't see the truck, either. We'd been towed.
We have, till now, had temporary parking passes: him, because he wants to sell the truck, and me, because I was waiting to legally change my name and registration first. Well, the passes expired. And the ominous sign in the lot that reads "Between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., any car with expired or no parking pass will be towed," isn't joking.
Ugh. I wrote down the number on the sign for the towing company, and went back inside. Called them. Looked up how to get there by bus. Went outside and had a terrible time figuring out the bus routes (am I completely inept?). Got to the place.
Wow. I think all tow lots are the same. The last time I went to one was in Hawaii, and I swear, this one was identical: Chain-link fenced yard with a crappy trailer inside and frightened cars that just want to go home. Trailer smells like cigarette smoke. Plexiglass window with crude holes cut in it for speaking and passing $$$ through. Big, rough-looking dudes driving tow trucks.
Our cars look so sad. That's my Rav, middle left, and Neil's truck, middle right.
Nasty trailer and another satisfied customer: This guy and I waited for the tow-truck driver to whisk the other cars out of the way so we could get out.
Amazing: The driver came flying around the corner in reverse, backed up to the Mercedes and moved it, then backed up to the red truck and did the same. I'm not at all exaggerating when I said this all happened well within 90 seconds. Their precision and execution are frightening. Um, also the fact that they had JIMMIED THE LOCKS on our cars and removed our expired parking passes!!!! Yeah, Neil called the police to query that one. Doesn't seem AT ALL legal, though they insist it is. Forced entry and theft???
It cost $100 for EACH car. Yeah, I dropped 200 bones to move my car to the other side of a chain-link fence. All because of my stupidity in not getting our passes renewed. Just when I thought I was all growed up and a real adult! Nope, I'm dumb.
Meanwhile, I called the car fix-it people and rescheduled for 1 p.m.
The next planned errand was to get my state vehicle registration renewed (it expired in Feb.! I am an immature, irresponsible girl!), and to get my county vehicle registration. $$$. I ventured to the courthouse. The parking lot was metered, so I fed the meter and went inside.
The best news so far: No lines! I got my registrations and went back out to the lot -- where a ticket tucked under my windshield-wiper blade read EXPIRED TAGS -- $40.
Duh. Seriously, what kind of cop does that? WHY do you think I'm here, where you get your registration??
After going inside where I was assured the ticket would be voided if I filled out a form to contest it, I went back outside to see ANOTHER ticket, written by the SAME cop for EXPIRED METER -- $25.
Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? I scanned the lot for this practical joker, but didn't see any officers. Honestly, it's like he or she was hiding out, waiting to pounce on my car. Well, the meter was indeed expired, so I fed the meter before heading back inside to pay the fine.
I stuck a couple dimes and a nickel in, which left the time on the meter flashing :00. Huh? Looking closer, I read "METER ONLY ACCEPTS QUARTERS." Oh my gosh, this is really is a joke. I found two sticky quarters underneath all the crap in my console. I put them both in, for good measure. This funny, funny cop wasn't going to get me again!
The lady with the ticket-contesting forms advised me to add this ticket to the form I'd already filled out, and she thought they would grant that one, too, so that was cool. Honestly, what a ridiculous comedy of errors.
Finally, I got out to the car fix-it place, where they courteously fixed my timing belt for $430. This was one of the more expensive days of my life.
I actually met some interesting people during my 4-hr. wait, so it was fun:
- A guy from Sierra Leone who is studying to be a pastor. He has a wife, a 2-yr.-old girl and another on the way, and he advised me to have babies (thanks).
- A guy whose 20 and 29-year-old daughter and son belie his age (he looked 40, tops, but is actually 51) who works for Lockheed Martin from his laptop in Starbucks every day (I happened to venture into his "office" to get a snack, and I sat in the armchair beside his) who attends a sweat lodge ceremony once a month. He actually extended us an invite. That would make for interesting blogging material!
- What appeared to be an impromptu meeting of an Alzhiemer's support group at the Toyota Service Center: A group of middle-aged and elderly ladies who were talking about watching their fathers and husbands die of the disease. One of the elderly ladies told a story of someone she knew who visited a nursing home, where his mother no longer recognized him. He said, "Hello. Do you know who I am?" His mother replied, "No, but if you go to the front desk, they'll tell you." LOL! Having worked in nursing homes years ago, I've often found myself the one dispensing that information.