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July 14th, 2010

I Brake for Donuts!

Well no. not really.

But I do. Sometimes. Today.

Cryptic much?

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Had a nice brunchy type meal with phoenixisrisen. After which she asked if I would help her jump her truck’s battery.

Didn’t have any concrete plans today. Just some vague notion to get some work on the Saturn done. And maybe a haircut.

While we were putting life back into her truck I called the shop out in the hinterlands (where I used to live) to ask about brakes and a clutch. Said they could do the brakes today, but the clutch was pretty much an all day job. Okaaaaaaaay! Let’s do the brakes then.

I’ll be there shortly, I told him and hung up. The shop is about 40 minutes from Lil’s house. Got to the shop. They had a look at the brakes. I needed front rotors and pads. The rear are still about 50%. This was good news. Cost me about half of what I thought it would.

The last time I was there, (remember the AC replacement?) the manager was telling me they had a 98 Saturn coupe sitting on the property that the owner hadn’t wanted to pay for. Needed a new engine. So he had just brought them the title. Hmmmmmmmm.

So I told the manager about my spare tire issues. And discretely asked if that other derelict Saturn still had a donut spare?

We went out and took a look. The tire and wheel were the same as in my car. “Dude, you can have it if you want.”

Music to my ears!

So I yanked it out of the trunk and set it next to my car. It was still on the hydraulic lift. Asked the tech to put it in the trunk. He said he would.

This spare had never seen any use. It still had the little nubbins that new tires have. Presume they come from the mold or whatever.

They finished my brake job in short order. I took the old donut out of the well in my trunk and tied up the replacement. And baled. Damned car stops on a dime now! Great! Just like it should! Oh and the kid sort of fixed my Emergency brake as well too. SORT OF...

Brakes and a new spare for under three bills.

SWEET!

Was gonna cruise by the Black Eyed Pea and get some dinner from my friendly neighborhood bartender...

Before I did that though, (it was a little early) I decided to cruise down my old street...

Dinner and Drinks? No...

I decided to cruise down my old street...

One of my neighbors, Doug, had just pulled into his driveway, so I pulled in behind him. Got out of the car and said, “Don’t I know you, fella?”

“Tom!” He rushed over and gave me a big ol’ bear hug. I didn’t expect that, but okay.

We talked in the front yard for a while, (10-15 minutes or so) then the wife came out and ushered us into the house because it was hot and we were both sort of drenched with sweat. Glass of ice water in hand we sat down in the living room and continued. They have had a hard last year financially, I can definitely empathize. Got foundation problems a the house, had a nice water leak. Doug has been doing something for a company that re-arranges store fronts and shelves. Doesn’t pay much but it keeps him busy. The wife is gonna go and get herself a job too.

Doug was an IT guy for Exxon, and was laid off at 55. He’s over 60 now. Their household income went from over $100K with his last year at Exxon to under $36K in 2009. Looks to be even less for this year. He stretched everything as far as he could.

They invited me to stay for dinner, but as they are suffering financially, I respectfully declined. Told him about my need for a clutch in the Saturn Express, and he looked up on the web to see if it was adjustable (it isn’t) and offered to adjust it for me if it was. Ah well. Extremely nice fellow, he is.

As I was trying to edge down the driveway to get in my car, the gal we sold the house to came out to water her plants. I hadn’t realized what a looker she was at closing, but I sure as hell noticed now. *grins*

Doug told me about all the changes she (Amy) has made (or is making) to the house. All sounded good.

I bid Doug a good day and let him go to his dinner. I had just got in the car when my (ex) next door neighbor realized it was me. Another hug, and we talked for a while about (un)employment, and severance packs, etc. I was about to get in my car when Amy walked out of her garage, “Are you TOM?

“Heh, indeed I am! I’ve been talking to your neighbors, they’ve been telling me about all the work you’ve been doing!”

“You wanna see?”

“Sure”

Walked in the (NEW!) front door. The entire interior has been repainted. (Again... Guess I wasted my money on that particular piece of business. I thought so at the time. Oh well) The color combinations through out were very complimentary. She had ripped out all the carpet and flooring through out the house and was replacing it all with wood or tile. The upstairs floors were pretty much finished. All looked good.

House had developed or redeveloped some water issues and we talked about those and how best to combat them and some other stuff. She also had all the pine trees (there were six) on the lot removed and the oaks trimmed. Never liked those pine trees, but they created a lot of shade in the back yard. So good on her.

As I was getting ready to make my exit, she said, “Well, I hope this hasn’t upset you. Sometimes former owners of a home would be at odds with the changes new owners made.”

I assured her this was not the case, “Hon, I have no issues with what you’ve done with your home. It is YOUR home.”

She smiled shyly at that.

“This house had ceased to be a home for Herself and myself years ago. It was just the place where our stuff was. There was very little love left here. I have no attachment to this place.”

“That last day I was here, and the house was empty, I did wander around and re-enforce the good and some of the bad (can’t help that) memories, that Herself and I and our kids had made here. I was also making sure everything was locked up.

I admit I sat down at the foot of the stairs and had a nice little boo hoo over mistakes I had made. After that I washed my face and hands in the downstairs bathroom and stepped out the front door and locked it for the last time. The next day we closed and I gave you my keys. It is yours. Make it yours. You are well on the way all ready.”

Told her it seems I am out this way every couple of months, I have a storage room out here. I sometimes cruise the street on those days. Talk to the neighbors. She told me to feel free to stop by. Told her I just might.

I didn’t tell her this, but I probably won’t. I sometimes see that place as a part of one of my failings. Once the air had been let out of my marriage, I just pretty much gave up on all of it. The house included.

I let her walk me out to my car, that was parked in her neighbor’s drive way, said, “Thanks for the tour and it was nice to meet you again.” I shook her cool hand, watched her walk back to her yard and got in my car and left. It was damned near 9:30 by that time. I didn't get my dinner. Or drinks.

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