Flashback: Car Troubles

Since I've got a bit of free time, I thought I would blog some previous happenings from when I was a bit too busy to post.

First off: Charlie. Everyone here in Milwaukee has been commenting - "oh Charlie, you're a nice car, I don't know why she doesn't like you" - well here's the thing... I bought the car with the assumption that I would have the plates and title in a couple weeks (like you tend to assume when you buy a car off a lot). First to go wrong was that I got towed (which you already heard about, including the spitting gypsy session). I couldn't get my car back right away because I didn't have the title.
Then I got pulled over because the registration was about to expire. The cops wanted to make sure that it wasn't stolen. Fair enough.
The weekend that Nick and Jason visited was the last straw, though. I got pulled over on the way to get new tires (yeah, Charlie had dry-rotted tires that had to be filled daily). The cop threatened to have me arrested and my car impounded because I was technically driving an illegal vehicle. I explained to him the situation and that I was waiting on the people that sold me the car to get me the title and send the registration in. I had called numerous times to get a new temp plate. So I end up with a $95 ticket and a new urgency to get the car situated.
I got the tires ($400 later), and the news that two of the studs were broken and they couldn't put the tires back on without them. Well, since I had been driving on the broken studs since getting the car, I figured another couple days wouldn't hurt. In the meantime, I was able to catch a glimpse of the undercarriage of my newly purchased vehicle. It's rusted to shit. I was sold a car that's already half fallen apart. The muffler is rusted straight through (which makes it sound like a race car - which Aimee likes), the rotors and calipers are rusted as well as the front end suspension. It's a mess. Then I got a real look at the rust in the body. Charlie was recently painted. The rust was not taken care of properly. The guy that was doing the tires started shaking his head at what a bad deal I got. On top of all that, I have still not managed to average more than 25 mpg on a CIVIC! It should at least get 30. There is seriously something wrong.

So anyway, to sum things up: I still haven't got the title to my car or my plates. I've had the car for almost 4 months. Apparently there is a lien on the title in New York. Either way, I have to have it taken care of by the 27th or they can put me in jail - for something that's completely out of my control! WTF.
It was my cousin's brother-in-law that sold me the car. I'm really disappointed in the whole situation and especially in getting a hold of anyone since. I mean, I don't feel I'm in the wrong by persistently contacting him to get it taken care of when I could go to jail at at moment. Fuck.
So keep your fingers crossed for my trip back to Florida next week. I don't want to end up a jailbird!


My Teeth Suck

Just before I left for Wisconsin, I noticed that I had a sore bump developing on the gum surrounding one of my failed root canals. I had lost the crown a couple years ago, and haven't been able to come up with the money to replace it. The tooth itself felt a little funny. I mean, I didn't actually feel anything in the tooth because there are no nerves, but my gums felts different. On the road trip, the bump quickly formed into an abscess. I got to Wisconsin and had a scolding from Shana and my mom about taking care of it (because the infection can spread to your brain and kill you). After freaking out for a bit, I went to the Walgreens on Brady because it now has a walk-in clinic. They gave me antibiotics and told me to get it taken care of immediately.
I don't have insurance. I don't have a dentist, and my family doctor quit about 6 months ago. I became quite worried about how I was going to fix this. I called a couple people that know good dentists or work for them. Within an hour Elise called me back to tell me that her dentist offered to pull the tooth for no charge. Done.
Now here's where I start to really feel shitty. All my life I've had horrible teeth. I brush them way more than most people I know. I carry floss and toothpicks around with me. I'm the dork that goes to the bathroom to floss my teeth after I finish a meal at a restaurant. Then why, dear god, does my mouth look like that of a 65 year old?? One dentist told me that it was because my saliva doesn't produce the antibodies that naturally fight the bacteria in our mouths. Hmm. This sounds like genetics to me. Five minutes later he told me I wouldn't have such bad teeth if I came to the dentist more often. Sorry if I missed 2 years of cleanings because I had no insurance and made minimum freaking wage!
So I've had a great deal of shame surrounding my teeth. I've been shamed by professionals. Shamed by friends and family (this might be in my head). One of my greatest fears has been losing a tooth. This would prove to everyone that I was in fact a failure - I failed to be able to take care of my mouth. I can just see my last dentist rubbing it in my face "I told you so! If you didn't get that crown replaced you would lose the tooth." How awful.
Anyway, I went to Elise's dentist today and he said I had the option of having a re-treatment done on the root canal but that would run me about $1000, or he would extract it right there for free. I weighed the options. I don't even have $1000 left on my credit card. Extraction it is. After taking what seemed like forever to get my mouth numb, he began digging. I'm not going to go into detail, but I can tell you it was the most traumatic mouth experience I've ever had. I once woke up in the middle of having my wisdom teeth surgically removed - the dentist was standing with a leg up on the chair and crunching bits of teeth out of my mouth. It was only a second that I was aware, and then went back under. This was like that, only it lasted a full five minutes. The tooth didn't want to come out.
When the ordeal was over, he said that I had made a good decision. The tooth had been cracked vertically down the root. This was the reason it was so difficult to extract the tooth. He said no amount of money could have saved it. No re-treatment would have made the tooth better. I saved myself $1000 by having it pulled. I now need to formulate a plan to save up a ton of money to have either an implant or bridge. grrrrr
Unfortunately, as I sit here I have to keep taking breaks to cry. The anesthetic is wearing off and I'm in a buttload of pain. He had prescribed me viccodin and ibuprofen 800, but I didn't fill the viccodin. I've never used narcotics for pain reasons, and I don't want to start now. However, I know why they prescribe them! All I can think of is how I want the pain to stop. It's like tooth pain - and when a tooth hurts so badly all you want is for it to be out of your mouth. Well, it's out of my mouth and now painful (I had no pain before pulling it)... I hope this doesn't last long. At least for the time being I've got Sean's PS2 and Guitar Hero to keep me occupied while resting.


Driving is Fun

The second half of my trip took a ridiculous amount of time for some reason. I arrived in Milwaukee at 9:30 last night. I had been driving since 7:30am EST. 15 hours is a long drive. That is definitely a personal record for me.

Anyway, it's a good thing I spotted that lucky mullet yesterday morning. I think he put me in a fantabulous mood to begin the day (not to mention the beautiful weather, and equally beautiful drive through the mountains). I was truckin' along in Tennessee just the other side of the mountains when I came over a hill and saw a state trooper. There were two of us driving exactly the same speed. We both pulled into the slower lane behind a semi and I watched the squad in my rear view mirror pull out onto the freeway. The semi was going 60, so I decided to move around him, knowing full well that this would make me the one to get stopped. Sure enough, he flipped on his cherries as soon as I was in the left lane.

I pulled to the side of the road, grabbed my license and insurance card, and the little piece of paper that says I've applied for my plates (since I STILL don't have the title to my car or registration). He walked up to my window and stated point blank that I was going 82 in a 70. I handed him my stuff and he looked confused at the lack of registration. I told him the person that sold me the car hadn't cleared up the title yet and I was waiting on it. He then assumed the temp tag was the other person's, and I said no it was mine. He then looked at my license and asked if I still lived at the address in Tampa. I said, yes, I just moved there. He then asked me where I was headed - and I said I was going back home to Wisconsin to get the rest of my stuff from home. He glanced into the back of my car and asked if I was picking up a trailer, to which I replied no. He chuckled and asked why I was bringing so much back with me, and I told him I was going for 3 weeks. He laughed again and said he didn't think I could fit anything in there to bring back with me. I told him I was coming to get my bass and bass amp, and my pet rats - all things that I couldn't fly back with me. He nodded and said he would be right back.

I thought for sure I was going to have to pay bail immediately and I was wondering how much was available on my credit card as I slathered sunscreen on my shoulders to keep from toasting in the sun. He returned fairly quickly and handed my stuff back to me, along with a small piece of paper that he explained as a warning ticket. He then told me that everyone he pulls over, he walks his dog round to check for 4 substances and said this was my one and only chance to admit to anything before he did so. I said to go ahead and then watched this adorable black lab sniff around my car. He came around the driver's side and just said "have a nice trip back" as he headed back to his squad. HOW CRAZY IS THAT???

I've NEVER got out of a ticket that I completely deserved. He didn't even give me the "slow down" speech that most cops hand out along with their fines. I just couldn't believe it. So thank you, random Tennessee state patrolman for being ultra human and letting me off (even though I didn't do anything to deserve such a break). For the record, I did slow down until I got to Chicago. Then I drove like everyone else.

I was on the phone with Amy when I crossed into Wisconsin. It was a weird feeling. Driving through Chicago was a weird feeling too. Driving in general from Florida to Wisconsin makes me realize how far I actually live from everyone here. Seriously. So I called my brother when I got close to Milwaukee to find out where he was at so I could pick up his gas mask (hey - I really want to play Guitar Hero and go to the Milwaukee Group, but the smoke is just too much for me!). He told me to meet him at my grandparent's new place. So I went to The Regency on College Ave to see where my grandparent's now reside with other seniors. The apartment is huge, and very clean. My grandpa joked about how he was the oldest person living in the complex since the 92 year old woman died a couple weeks ago. I reminded him that even a couple weeks ago he was the oldest person there, because he's 94. Silly head.

My brother and aunt both said I looked tan as soon as I saw them. I still don't think so. I have a base tan. That's about it. But I don't look like a Florida beach bunny or anything. At least not yet. Give me this weekend and I will - camping at Green Lake.

Troy of course forgot the gas mask, so I had to stop by his house next. That was really bizarre. He recently purchased my grandparent's house (I know, my LITTLE BROTHER owns a freaking house). It's a complete mess in there. He's got such a HUGE project on his hands. I keep telling him to talk to Katherine or David or Debbie since they have all flipped houses (and with a relatively small budget) but he said "I want it done right" - that stubborn little shit. He doesn't believe you can do things right for cheap. I offered. Oh well.

Apparently there were all sorts of needles and shit all over the house from when my cousin lived with them. He said he found Pat's rig and Lynn found a stash of his heroin. There were blood and puke stains on the floor and walls. When he washed the walls in the back bedroom, the water came out black. That house needs to be gutted and rebuilt. The floors need to be retiled and carpeted. The woodwork is destroyed. The window frames are all rotted. It's a nightmare. But knowing my crazy brother, he will obsess and run himself completely ragged until it's finished and exactly the way he likes it. So if anyone in the Milwaukee area has some free time and wants to lend a hand, get a hold of me and I'll give you Troy's number! LOL

That's about all for now. I am getting ready to see my babies and give James his belated birthday present. I can't wait to cuddle with Poopy and Gir! :)


God Bless the South

I'm back on the road. I'm currently stealing some internet service from a Holiday Inn Express somewhere in Tennessee. I'm such a geek - I've got my laptop plugged into my lighter with my car running because otherwise my computer would be dead - but this is just too good to wait to post!

So I tried to sleep in Charlie last night (the new car). It was miserable!! Stupid Civic. Man I miss Smurfette. If only I had the freaking title to this car I would be driving my dad's Escort back to Florida. But no. No title. Still. It's been 3 months. Seriously.

Anyway, so I woke up at 7ish after a brief nap and surveyed my surroundings. One of the first things I saw (I shit you not) was almost like a caricature of a stereotypical southern redneck. This trucker, and he was the epitome of truckers, had the sweetest mullet ever - a gray shirt with an American flag screen printed on the front and the arms cut off (you know the kind: where the arm holes are way too big because you know the shirt wasn't meant to be a tank). Not only that, but he had CUT OFF JEAN SHORTS that were just a little too short. To top it all off, the guy was sporting a handlebar mustache. I seriously was laughing hysterically in my car. This guy parked a couple spots down from me was watching me and scratching his head. I nearly peed myself laughing. It was the BEST thing to wake up to - a full bellied hearty laugh.

It's beautiful right now. I was cold last night. I haven't felt 70 in over 3 months. It's probably around 75 right now and it feels amazing! I'm so surprised at how quickly I got used to the Florida heat, and started to think that 83 felt comfortable. Oh well.
The drive through the mountain pass was awesome. Charlie does handle the climb better than Smurfette did. That still doesn't make me proud of him. He's totally like that unwanted step-brother. Something I didn't ask for, but I got anyway - and have to try to love. BOOO!!!

Okay, I have to get back on the road if I want to make it to Wisconsin tonight still. I won't be updating until I get there - just so I focus on driving. :)

PS People in the south need to go back to school and learn grammar ("A Antique Mall")


I Tried to Do the Right Thing

Today I put in my written letter of resignation at Vinyl Fever. I have been offered more freelance work, and I'm not about to turn down that kind of money.
Plus, I am REALLY sick of working retail. I'm tired of working hard and stressing myself out needlessly for a job that I will go nowhere in. It was great that things worked out so perfectly when I arrived here, but I think I was given the exact same situation as I had in Milwaukee to solidify my feelings toward retail work. I needed reminding that there's something better out there for me. I didn't go to college to work for a little bit above minimum wage. I may not know what I want to be doing with my life, but I am aware that this is NOT where I'd like to stay.
Anyway, I have been talking with various people about the situation over the past few days (weeks?) and was given the suggestion to write a kind letter and setting a firm date for my last shift. I did so.
I thanked my boss for the job opportunity. I extended my gratitude for how he willingly tried to work with my schedule. I apologized for my indecisive behavior and admitted that it was an inconvenience and trouble to him. I offered to continue lending my web mastering services to him. I put this all down on paper, handwritten for sincerity, and left the envelope on his desk when I get to work.
I then began the waiting game. I was fending off anxiety because I didn't know what his reaction would be. There was nothing. He came out of the office to do a buyback and didn't say a word to me. This made me nervous. I thought of how uncomfortable it would be to spend two weeks at a job where your boss goes out of his way to ignore. eek.
When it was time for my lunch break, I headed to the back room and was cornered by my boss. He asked to speak to me. The second we got into the back, he said "you know, I think it would be best if we just ended this now. I'd like your keys back." My jaw must have dropped. He then asked for the things I was selling on eBay. We had an arrangement that I would get a turntable if I sold a few items for him. I already had them listed, so he asked if I could take the auctions down and just bring the stuff in. He then said he would keep me on the clock until I got back with the items and the turntable. DAMN!
There was no fucking around! I went home to collect the things, as well as the DVDs I had borrowed from the used section, and headed back to Vinyl Fever. Jesse came to let me in the back door and asked me what happened. I told him that I was let go after handing in my two weeks notice; that Lee just wanted me to leave. He said it was odd that I walked out of the store without saying anything, and then Lee asked him to stay until 8.
So that was that. I tried to do the right thing by actually giving notice, and making sure I was kind and as helpful as one can be in leaving a place of employment, but got fired anyway. I don't even know if that means I was fired?? I mean, I did hand in my notice - so that means I quit, right? I don't understand how that works. Whatever. I don't work there anymore. And I'm totally okay with that.

As far as other things go, it's a good thing he sent me home right away, because I found out Green Lake Round Up is actually the 15th-17th. I had thought it was the 22nd-24th. So I would have shown up there a week late with none of my friends. Now I can actually make it. I will be leaving for Wisconsin next week some time. This will be my first adventure with Charlie. I need to get the studs fixed before I go (oh yeah, you guys don't know the Charlie troubles yet because I haven't blogged them. Don't worry, you will)...
I'm thinking of driving a bit west first, just so I can go to Louisiana and mark off the last of the continental US states on my list. We shall see.