It’s been an interesting couple weeks around here.
Let’s start at the beginning, back in October. Yes, smart ass, I know that’s more than a couple weeks, but that’s how far back the beginning of this part goes. See, the inspection was up on our Corolla. The hood was also up because of a fender bender, and wouldn’t close. Since the car had over 240,000 miles on it, and would need brakes at least along with the body work, we decided to trade up. After going to a bunch of dealerships and a bank who wouldn’t give us any loans, we finally found a bad credit(not us)/no credit(ding! ding! ding! on to the bonus round!) place up the street. They had a 2002 Taurus with 120,000 miles on it. After negotiating out the loan, we got the car. Well, except for the heater not working and the brakes(!) occasionally not working in the cold, not too bad. We’ve had to have three alternators put on, but that’s because the car chain place who will remain unnamed but shares initials with peanut butter screwed it up the first two times. Two places checked the brakes, couldn’t find any problem. Checked the heater, couldn’t find anything wrong. A few months after this, Stace is driving to work and the brake dashboard light comes on. I walk up, get the car, take it to a DIFFERENT chain place that I’d dealt with on Greycar. They look at the car, ask me where I got it, and inform me that to come close to passing inspection, it’ll need over $4000 of work–including the leaking rear brake cylinder and a few tires. The mechanic then asks me if I got the car at the corner of two roads nearby, which is in fact where I got it. Mr. Mechanic tells me that the guy is known for that, and even though I bought it as is, it’s illegal in Pennsylvania to sell a car that won’t pass inspection. He tells me the government offices to get in touch with if the dealer won’t play nice. The dealer wasn’t going to play nice, so I filled out the paperwork and waited and watched the brake fluid level like a hawk. Six weeks go by. I hear less than someone with earplugs in a sensory deprivation tank at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. I call the office I sent the paperwork to, and I’m informed by the person handling my case that it was all approved and mailed out in June. This is now the middle of July. I’ve received nothing, so she sends it out again. Three more weeks pass, nothing. I call again, my contact says she’ll overnight it. One of the first two envelopes is in the mail that day. However, contrary to the approved part, dealerboy isn’t going to pay for the repairs and the only option is to take him to court. My contact says she never said anything was approved and she doesn’t even know what that would mean. In the midst of my seppuku preparations, we happen to mention to Brian’s She’s Not My Girlfriend’s parents that we need to get inspected. Turns out he works with a mechanic shop, we should take it there. We get the number, I call, drop off the Offending Vehicle, and walk to the park a few blocks away with my Complete Lovecraft book to pass the time and/or distract me.
Forty minutes or so pass. The phone rings. I hear the distant death knell of any hope or pride on distant hills.
“I have an estimate on the Ford,” the voice on the phone says.
My stomach is tied tighter than my sneakers.
“Break it to me gently,” I think I said.
“It’s going to be $305. Your rear master cylinder needs replacing. Other than that, it’s a very clean car, you must take good care of it. We test drove it, it rides really nice.”
“Three HUNDRED…..?” I say.
“Yeah, something something mutter mutter,” the mechanic says. Between the nervous blood pumping in my ears and the Angels From On High singing over me, he could’ve said they have to sacrifice thirteen hamsters over the brake cylinder first and I wouldn’t have known the difference.
I stammer for a minute, incredulous. Then I tell him I have to call him right back, I’m not THREE HUNDRED? sure which card we’ll have to THREE HUNDRED? use for this. I call Stace, tell her, she’s almost as incredulous, and tells me which one to use. I call the shop back, and tell him to go for it. I read the Doom that Came to Sarnath, the White Ship, a few other Lovecraft tales. People start to come into the park, looking for a miniature golf course. At first, I don’t remember where it is, but then it hits me that it’s a few blocks down. I pick up some plastic trash around the benches and put it in the cans. I start walking around.
There’s a train station a few blocks down. I like trains, so maybe I’ll watch for a while. The stairs lead up to the platform, where some benches are outside and some are in. On the inside, there’s someone sleeping who looks like his luck has run out. Right at the bottom of the stairs is a Wawa. (For anyone not from this area, Wawa’s are like uppity 7-11’s.) I go buy some fruit, a sandwich, and a drink, then leave it by the somnolent on the bench without waking him.
I walk around some more, and since we’re keeping the car, I go into Advance Auto Parts to see about replacing the antenna. There’s nothing to mount the mast too, so the guy has no idea what I’m talking about. I keep walking, and soon I’m back to the car with its new stickers.
A week and a half go by. Stace starts getting pain in her back and whenever she eats. She makes a doctor’s appointment, since she has insurance now, and Monday after I slept for a few hours after work, I take her over. Right next door is the hospital, where the doctor says she has to go to the emergency room.
We drive thirty feet over, I argue with people who claim they’re valets because I don’t want to give them our car, I just want to drop her off. The guy in charge, in a gruff voice, says that I’ll have to park in the garage then. Stace won’t get out of the car without me, so we go fifteen feet further into the garage, and then we start looking for the emergency room. We find it after wandering around for what seemed an interminable time to me. We wait in a large room with TV’s on whatever daytime talk shows were judged the most inane, and then she’s taken into a room. My hackles are up, my shoulders seem very broad, and I’m very looming whenever someone comes into the room. The ultrasound tech ran a scan, where all they saw were gall stones, but not her actual gall bladder.
It had to come out. I went home to tell Brian, who was still asleep, and then I went back to the ER. It’s now around 2:00 PM. I call work to tell my ever-cheerful boss what’s happening.
“So you’re not coming in?”
“She’s going into surgery, so she’ll be overnight, and someone needs to stay with Brian.”
“You’re calling me at 2:00, it doesn’t give me much time to take your shift.” I start at 10:00. PM. I literally looked at the phone for a minute and contemplated ripping several new orifices over the phone. I also contemplate telling him that it’s a shame emergency surgery doesn’t take into account overnight schedules. I get off the phone after being WAY more diplomatic than was deserved, and go tell Brian(who went back to sleep) and got some things, including the backpack with the laptop in it.
They are a little concerned because Stace’s blood clots veeeeeeeeeeeery slowly. Finally the doctor, an Asian guy with the last name of Vu, (“Don’t make deja joke, don’t make deja joke, don’t make deja joke….”) comes in, tell her and and my looming self that she’ll go in, and everything will take about an hour. I go to the waiting area with tall ceilings and skylights that remind me of the Denver airport. There are plasma screens on the wall, and every patient gets a number so the waiting can monitor their status. Stace was 622326, I think. She goes from Pre-Op to Surgery.
And stays there. For an hour and a half. I start to pace, then go back to the seat with the laptop. There’s a father and son, discussing investments and business opportunities and blah blah blah. 90 minutes go by. The woman at the desk calls me, says the doctor’s on the phone. I’m slightly nervous, but he says she’s done, and it was, this is an exact quote, “very icky.” About twenty minutes later, he actually comes out and tells me there were over 160+ gall stones and a VERY infected gall bladder, and they’ll be taking her up to her room soon. Half an hour and several texts sent later, they show me back to recovery, where they wheel my already- conscious wife in. We get wheeled up to her room, where thirty seconds after her low fat lower flavor lunch is delivered. Even though she’s awake, she’s in no condition to eat. I was, but they didn’t seem to have gotten my order. One of my sisters kept texting to make sure Stace was in good shape, and the other, since she worked forty six inches from the hospital, came to visit. They kinda kept me from freaking out, Finally I went home and had a really garbage night’s sleep without her. The Clone had taken everything in stride, although slightly nervous and he wanted nothing to do with going to the hospital. After another night in there, she came home.
So, what’s been happening with all of you?