Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nothing Worth Doing Will Ever Be Easy

After what was considered a bust on the Dodge situation, I continued my quest on Craigslist in search of a project car. I was pretty much open to any 2-door car made between 1967 - 1974 for $600 or less. The options were pretty slim. There were dozens of beat up trucks and Jeeps, and to be honest, I would totally take an old Jeep and make a kick-ass hunting/off road vehicle, but Jesse was against that idea. (There's a part of me that doesn't want to give up on hating Jeeps just because I had a bad experience owning one back in 2005.) Most of the other finds that fit that criteria were plagued with serious rust issues. Not little spots of rust here and there, but the kind that was common out on the east coast; so sever it would disintegrate in your fingers. It was depressing.

I had become distracted and accidentally closed the tab to Craigslist, but remembered what I was doing and pulled it back up again. I looked in Atlanta because they are close enough to Columbus, but large enough to provide a better selection. I put in my filters: project car, max price $1000. Open things up a bit.

Then I saw it: Plymouth Roadrunner/Satellite Project Car $750.

"JESSE! LOOK!" I sent him the link via a Facebook message. It was easier than to make him turn around to look at my laptop. "I WANT IT!"

He looked at it. "I'm gonna call the guy," I told him.

"It looks pretty good," he said.

I was already in the bedroom on my cell phone, my heart racing as the phone rang. It went to a voicemail. My heart was sinking at the thought he was on the phone with someone, making arrangements to sell. I left a very short and to the point message, "I'm VERY interested in your Plymouth. If you still have it, I'm not gonna lie, I'll show up on Saturday with cash. I live in Columbus, call me back."

My heart fluttered with excitement and anxiety. I don't know why I get so worked up over things, but I do. Some girls get those feelings when going on a first date, I get those feelings when going on job interviews or making major purchases. It probably has something to do with a lesson my dad taught me when I was 18: if you see something you want, buy it, otherwise it might not be there when you want it later. Granted, this is a good lesson and also a horrible one for a person like myself, who had to break myself of this habit due to bad financial decisions in my past, but, I have learned when it comes to major purchases, this is a very important lesson to follow.

The phone rang. It was him. He still had the car and told me about it. How it was stripped down and needed a lot of body work, he blasted off all the rust and primed it. He had other parts that he had taken off. He wanted to do a project but realized he took on more than he could deal with and was going to sell it for what he paid for it, but was open to reasonable offers.

After I spoke with him, I told him to talk to my husband since he was the more knowledgeable one on the issue. I handed the phone over and Jesse talked to the guy and turned around looking at me giving me two thumbs up. Jesse gave the phone back to me and I asked him if he would take $600 for it since we had to get a tow situation and drive 300 miles round trip to pick it up. He was OK with that. I texted him my contact info and he gave me the info of his cousin's shop where he kept the car.

The next day, I called his cousin to make the pick up arrangements. He informed me the seller had given him the bill of sale and title and we could come by on Sunday as he was going to be out of town on Saturday. We got to talking a little bit and I asked him about an engine we were looking at on eBay that was for sale in the same city. He informed me that was not him selling it and he actually wasn't a car person but worked in boat fabrication. I was fascinated and asked him if he'd mind if I took some photos for my Mechanical Marvels when I came out, explaining to him I tend to be a bit of a photo nerd, to which he replied enthusiastically, "Photo nerds are always welcome!"

I couldn't believe how everything was coming along! It was like fate. I was destined to get this '69 Satellite, who I have already named Sputnik Guster, despite not having him in my possession now. This was really happening!

Tuesday the temperatures start dropping below freezing. Then it rains. The roads become icy. I had been off work since noon as the mayor decided to send everyone home in fear of snow. Sure enough, it starts to snow around 4:00pm. Having lived in Reno, NV for four years before moving to Columbus in 2011, this wasn't a big deal. To the people who grew up in the south, it was. The south is not facilitated to handle such events. The best the city could do was send people home and tell them to stay there until conditions became safer.

The mayor up in Atlanta didn't act the way Columbus did. Interstates around the area became parking lots. There were serious accidents and fatalities. On Wednesday, conditions didn't look any better. The only difference was there was now more snow on the ground. It wasn't much, maybe 3" at the most, but it was 3" the south was not prepared for. There weren't snow plows or salt trucks. Residents didn't have snow tires or chains. Unless you had 4WD, you were screwed.

By the end of Wednesday, not much of the snow melted, but there was enough on the road and cold enough temperatures to ensure there would be some nasty black ice on Thursday. The mayor closed non-essential government services again for Thursday.

I was getting pretty worried about the situation of the roads and weather. It wasn't so much the fact the roads were at standstills; people were dying out there! If the weather didn't get better, there was no way we'd be going out to Cartersville on Sunday.

Granted, everything I do tends to never happen flawlessly. There are always major hiccups or difficulties to overcome and this is definitely one of them. So, until Saturday comes along, I'm not sure exactly what the game plan will be for Sunday. All I know is there is a 1969 Plymouth Satellite with my name on it 150 miles away north of me. Until then, I just need to be patient and hope for the best for the poor people stranded in Atlanta and the families of those who lost their loved ones due to this unfortunate weather.

Note: There are not many times I miss living in California, but during this snow debacle, I surely do miss the days of being a 22 year old recluse driving around in my '82 Chevy S-10 with the windows down and heater and radio blasting driving along PCH to the deserts and back to the valley on weekends. "West Coast" comes to my mind often, even though it didn't come out till some years later, it is one of those songs that makes me long for California.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cemeteries, Trains, and Rusty Thangs

Today is one of those days I feel like I've been up forever and half of forever has been spent driving. I know I easily put in around some five hours of road time today driving from Columbus to Atlanta to Winder and back. It was an adventure, for sure, worthy of no better partner in adventurous crime, Crystal.

Crystal showed up at our house around 7:00am. She was late because she almost forgot to let Otto out. That's how excited we were. We stayed up last night texting about how cold it was going to be but how excited we were to drive out to Atlanta to see the Oakland Historic Cemetery. One of our bonding traits is that we both share a same love of cemeteries and can easily devote a day or more to visiting random historic burial sites. They're awesome.

So, we get on the road and all is going well. We get to Oakland on time and it is just as beautiful as we imagined it could possibly be. Magnolias shading random graves, epic mausoleums, and all smack in the middle of the heart of downtown Altanta! The city developed around this site and there are a string of old masonry factories that surround the lot that have been converted to lofts! Across the street is a row of really awesome restaurants, a performance auto store, and a coffee house called OCTANE. Truly an eclectic mix.

We marveled at the splendors surrounding us for about as long as our fingers could function inside gloves. It was cold. Really cold. Like, despite wearing knee high socks, jeans, a tank top, long sleeve shirt, t-shirt, jacket, scarf, and hat, somehow my body was freezing and even my teeth were cold kinda cold. At that point, I said, "Screw it, we're touring the cemetery in the Focus." So we scurried back to the Focus and turned on the heater ASAP, driving past the lofts and talking about how it would somehow be our early-twenties college years dreams to have lived in the lofts in that neighborhood. It was so cool!

It was much more pleasant to drive through the cemetery now from the warmth of the Focus. We were more efficient in covering more ground quicker and all plans came to a slamming halt (literally) when I saw a train. I love trains. I don't know why, I just do. I went on an Amtrak once with my family as a kid and have been in love since. I stop the car and put on the parking brake, jump out the door, weave through tombstones and dodging graves only to hop onto a few different walls and marvel at the big steel beast. He was glorious! After taking some photos of my big distraction, we continued on our tour and decided to get some breakfast or lunch. It didn't matter, we were just hungry.

We stopped off at Six Feet Under, which is directly across from the cemetery. It was truly a hard call to make as there were a bunch of great looking places in the area, but alas, Six Feet Under prided itself as a pub and fish house and beer sounded like a great way to warm up. It reminded me very much of Moon River Brewing Co. in Savannah. It had that same vibe of edgy local kitsch combined with a pub-style menu, of course with their own spin predominantly focusing on seafood. Crystal got fried green tomatoes, the taco combo plate and an Angry Orchard, and I got a double order of mice toes paired with a Corona. She was stuffed and gave me the rest of her fried green tomatoes (which was actually the first time I ever had them and they're pretty awesome.) The jukebox in the place was probably the best feature. It was so unbelievably random playing artists like MC5, Elvis Costello, and Prince, to old Motown. I kept thinking about how my friend Katrina would have got a kick out of the place for the music alone. We talked with the staff as the pub hadn't got busy yet and seemed like it had just opened. It was a great place and definitely one I'll go back to.

On the way back to the Focus, we stopped in the Barnett Performance to look around. It was nothing like Summit. In fact, I think all those years we lived in Reno and we'd go out to Summit to get parts for the Galaxie and the Oldsmobile, well, let's just say that has spoiled me and pretty much ruined any performance retail stores from here out. Still, it was interesting to check out and I took a card in case Columbus doesn't have anything good to offer in that area. We walked back to the Focus and discussed what to do next. It wasn't even noon yet and we had already taken a few hundred photos of the cemetery, had food, drank beer, and had a whole day left.

"I'm gonna call Terry," I said, looking through my gmail for the response from a Craigslist post I inquired about on a 74 Charger. I emailed him about it a few days ago and told him I'd like to check it out but was going to be out of town this weekend. I think he assumed I was going to be a no-show and was surprised when I asked if he'd mind if I came out to check out the car.

And so the adventure continued...

We hit the road and no less than five minutes after we got on the highway, I had to pee. Somewhere between all the coffee, water, and beer, I was determined we had to stop. I pulled off the highway in search of the supposed Shell station that was .25 miles away. I saw it and lo and behold, it was on the left side of the road, behind a median. We spent what felt like an eternity waiting at the light a few go's until it was our turn to get the turn arrow. I hung a Louie and ran into the station looking for the restroom, relying on my 6th sense to find a bathroom anywhere to guide me in the right direction. The attendant said, "You looking for bathroom?" I nodded and he replied, "It's out of service." DAMMIT! "Where's the closest one?" I asked. "At Chick-fil-a."

I ran out of the store at my fastest sprint, cautious to avoid cars thinking, "I bet people probably think I just stole something with the way I bolted out of there." Often times, people ask me why I run and to which I can now say, "I run because one day, I will need to use a bathroom really bad and the closest one will be .25 miles away and I can have the option of running there in under 2 minutes, or getting in the car, buckling up, trying to get out of a busy street and hoping to find another one in under 10 minutes." Do the math, people! It was a total win. I got to Chick-fil-a, went pee, came back and all in less time it would have taken me to drive. I got back in the Focus and hopped back onto the highway.

We drove another 60 miles out to Winder to check out Terry's car. Despite GPS trying to get us lost by telling us to go left when it meant right and vise versa, we managed to find his place in the time frame we told him we'd show up around. Crystal wasn't certain if I was going the right way, but alas, I knew we were in the right place when I saw an assortment of old Dodges in the driveway. We got out of the car and walked up to his porch to ring the doorbell, only to find it wasn't quite functioning. Luckily, his cats knew we were there and were "acting funny" and he went to see what was going on outside and saw us.

He took us to the back of his property where there were even more old Dodges sitting amongst various fenders, glass, and parts. It was as if he had his own little Dodge junkyard in his backyard! He was super nice and let me take photos of the car in more detail to show Jesse so we could discuss whether or not we wanted to pick up the project. Sadly, the damage to the car was well beyond or scope of abilities to repair, which was a complete bummer since he only wanted $600 for the body! But it wasn't a complete waste of time going out there. While we didn't buy the 74 Charger, he was nice enough to let me take some photos of his collection of cars. I joked with him that I had spent $40k in an art school tuition and I wasn't going to let it go to waste. He showed us his only non-Dodge, his Roadrunner that was like the same one Daisy Duke drove in Duke's of Hazard and his beloved Super Bee, and another Dodge he had since he was 17 and has refused to part with. He keeps getting more cars, but doesn't have time to work on them all and has been trying to figure out which ones to part with and which ones to keep.

He seemed somewhat nostalgic and bittersweet when we parted, saying he hopes if we get the car we devote the time to it, but if he never heard from us again, he wouldn't be upset. I think he just wants what anyone wants and to see his car treated right. If we can't do it, someone else will, and if no one else does, he's going to hold on to it. A rather heartbreaking and poetic moment in something as mundane as shopping for a car.

As Crystal and I headed home, we were hellbent for some cheesecake. Crystal looked up some places and found a French Bakery not too far away that had 37 reviews and sounded promising. So we exited the highway again on our now 160 mile trip home. Having been awake since 5:30am with around 3 or 4 hours of sleep from the night before, sugar or caffeine sounded like a fine idea. We arrived, parked, and got out only to find it was closed. Crystal was disappointed as she was certain a place with 37 reviews had to be good. I asked, "Of those 37 reviews, did any of them mention it was closed Saturday? If not, I'll be reviewer 38..." We laughed at the situation more and decided to just go to Steak N Shake.

Once again, on our way to Steak N Shake, we were pressed with one of us, this time Crystal, having to pee badly and dealing with a left turn light and drivers that didn't know how to drive through a turn light. Fortunately, we got our turn, got in to Steak N Shake, Crystal peed, we had dinner, got shakes and really, it was uneventful, and we headed home.

By the time we got back to Columbus, it was almost 6:00pm. We had been out for some 11 hours driving for roughly 5 of those hours. All in all, it was a good day full of silly adventures, singing in the car, good food, good friends, good photo ops, and good fun.

Additional photos from this adventure can be seen on Facebook under the Cemeteries, Trains, and Rusty Thangs album.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


One of my favorite things in the world is to read books out loud. As a child, reading, both silent and out loud, was something that was easy and came natural to me. While I don't read as often as I do, when I do read, I like to try and read out loud.

Tonight, we had a very pre-television era night and I read parts of  A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It Or Not" Rippley to Jesse and Charlie while the fire was going. Jesse was in the chair by the fire, Charlie was curled up between me and Jinky, growing sleepy. I spent about an hour reading about the awkward phase of Rippley's career to where the Believe It or Not series became a regular posting. I don't know how many more times they will hear from this book, but I'm sure they'll hear in a few more months from whatever random book I'll be reading then.

Long story short, while TV, internet, phones, and digital devices connect us and entertain us, before those existed, people connected just by sharing moments together, even if they're just sitting around listening to stories. Even in our digital age, I still find pleasure in unplugging.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

DING DING DING! BONK! Predictions & Resolutions

As per my yearly predictions and resolution list, here’s the 2013 recap:
George Bush senior will die from pneumonia brought on by bronchitis.  – BONK!!! George Dubya Senior is still alive and well.

Commercial fishing will see a decrease in fish bagged (particularly the tuna industry). – Couldn’t find any results for this yet as it seems like reports are not out. So we’ll just say it’s a BONK!!!

A series of tornadoes will hit the south (particularly Alabama and Tennessee) causing cities to be without power for up to a week. – DING DING DING

There will be a direct correlation between the less ammo available for sale and the higher the gas prices will be. – BONK!!! Inconclusive.

Justin Bieber will be involved in a sex tape scandal. Local DJs will talk about it on morning shows and refer to it as the "Baby, Baby, Baby, O-Face Baby" tape. – While Bieber has claimed he is going to retire, then not, but actually he is totally serious about it, but not really, somehow a sex tape scandal has not happened… yet.

To-Do List
Red Nose Half Marathon - DONE
Columbus RoadRunners 5k - DONE
Super Bowl 10K – NOT DONE, did 5K instead
Furry 5K – DONE at the speed of pug!
Publix Marathon (half) Atlanta – NOT DONE, had bacterial infection in lungs that week
Turkey hunt – NOT DONE again
Camp over the summer – NOT DONE
Hog hunt – DONE, kinda. I went for deer and heard some hogs but never saw them.
Deer hunt - DONE
Lose 10 lbs and keep it off – NOT DONE. Did my first Whole 30 and lost 10 lbs but gained it all back
Take general ed classes - DONE
Try to get into CSU - DONE
Learn something new – DONE learned LOTS of things new!
Actually give up something for the duration of Lent and stick to it – DONE  I gave my time and effort by doing charity miles. Instead of doing something that would change me, I did something that would change others by giving time I would have used for other stuff to walk, run, bike, anything that would add up mileage for various charities. It was my most successful lent ever and I plan on doing it again.

Now for 2014 predictions and resolutions:
Southern California will be hit with another earthquake around the 20th anniversary of the Northridge Quake.
Scientists will finally capture images of a rare deep sea fish in action during breeding.

Run another ultra marathon
Run more trail races
Go to the gym more
Do WHOLE30 twice a year (January and again in June)
Make a painting for the living room
Get something done on the house (paint, tile, anything!)