Monday, November 17, 2014

In Your Place An Empty Space

This weekend was the end of a tragic love story. Just like all tragedies, it was flawed from the start. This love story is full of terrible clichés like “if you love something set it free” and “it’s not you, it’s me”. It actually goes back to the summer of 2013. I was in a manic spell, adamant about doing Run Across Georgia. Jesse was on board, but when training was taking up too much of my time, he put his foot down on it and said he would let me finish the races I registered for (The North Face 50K at the end of September and the Savannah Marathon over Veteran’s Day weekend), but after that, no Run Across Georgia. Period.

It’s fine. I wound up with a knee injury after Savannah anyway which set me into a bit of a depression and we were trying to find things to do to get me out of this bind. Jesse wanted to do a project car and I was behind this as well. I also had the money to buy one and found the Satellite. I was back into manic mode and made him drive me out almost 3 hours away to buy a car I hadn’t even seen. I bought him, named him, loved him and had such great plans for him.

Sadly, he needed a lot of work. More work than we could do on our own; work that would break our budget to do. He needed a lot of parts that cost a lot. My project was becoming a financial nightmare. I was starting to have to budget work to do on him and when to do it. I tried to take care of his body, but the summer was particularly rainy. We didn’t have a car port or a garage, so anticipating rain was a daily occurrence. So he sat, most of the summer. He started to develop surface rust. The more he sat the more work he needed.

There were some other factors that had gone into what I call the “money pit” that steals from any funds to do the car which included saving up to go out to California in June for a wedding that got canceled as well as my continuing to work on my degree in Graphic Information Technology, changing over to Arizona State University which costs more.

Meanwhile, my knee injury healed and I was back running again so I wasn’t too sad about him not getting worked on. I ran a trail race over the summer in which the alleged 24 miles was looking more like 25 miles. It was only a set of three eight mile loops, but still, with the promise of free BBQ sandwiches, ice cold Coke, and a car show around noon when I still had 8 miles left, I quit. I was too distracted by awesome goodies and didn’t even finish. It was my first DNF in a race ever and when I saw the results and learned I would have got the first place award for females, I felt really bad. Still, the summer allowed for more trail racing and I wound up placing third for my age group in a local trail race, then I knew I injured something in the double pump 5K/10K trail race. I knew I would need some recovery time. I just didn’t know how long.

Again, I was not running. And still, neither was the Satellite. Both of us were sitting, wasting away. He was rusting, I was losing muscle tone, my breathing was going back to becoming difficult, and I was gaining weight.

At some point in the summer, my sister and her boyfriend of forever got engaged, which meant we would need to budget for another trip to California for 2015. I had got to the point after the last wedding out in California I had the mentality of, “I don’t care who you are, I’m not paying to go out to your wedding,” especially since we have spent enough money going back home every time someone gets married since we moved out of California 7 years ago. Still, if there’s one person I’ll break that rule for, it’s my sister because the obvious and because her and her now fiancé have been together long enough they might as well be married. Plus, my sister knows how to run the hell out of an event and I know their wedding is going to be the event of the century. If it’s anything like her 30th birthday, it will not be an event to miss.

In August, my dad passed away. In the late summer/early fall, things at work started to become extremely stressful and there was just a lot of chaos among the city with internal changes and elected officials suing the city and just one bad headline after another. I had reached a point in my life where it felt like nothing was going right.

Now, I write in an actual hard bound journal almost daily. I know it is a dying process. Most people blog or just go to counseling. Still, I have thoughts too private for blogs, but that need to be let out, so I write. I had gone back and reread some of the things and from April to the last page (sometime in September), there was nothing but negativity. Some thoughts were general grumbling, others were downright depressing. I decided that there were some major changes that needed to be done in my life to restore a sense of balance.

First thing on the agenda was work on running again. So I did. I had the support of my husband this time, who ran his first half marathon on Veteran’s Day weekend with me at the Soldier Half Marathon. This was (I want to say) my seventh half marathon and his first. I also played V.I.P. “Very Important Pacer” for not only him, but a coworker. I saw to it they both crossed the finish line. We ran the race in honor of my dad as they give Fallen Hero bibs to add to your race bibs. Jesse said he would have never done a half, but because it was in my dad’s honor, he did it and he said it wasn’t that bad.

The next thing to do was difficult. In a time I was still dealing with premature loss, I had to deal with another. We decided it was best to sell the Satellite. That being said, “It’s not you, Satellite, it’s me…”

*******

I posted the Satellite on Craigslist. I listed a price that would have me breaking even for everything I paid for him all in all. A friend told me I could make more if I parted him out, but it wasn’t about money. It was about finding the right owner.

I got several inquiries within a day of posting him. One person said they’d come out that day and pick it up and I told them to check it out first. They came out and low balled me at an insultingly low number. I was straight up and told them I had seen completely cancerous rusted vehicles selling for more than what they were offering. They were acting like it was a piece of junk and liked the body style, but I could just imagine what they would do to him and I did not want to sell him to them.

The next day I got more inquiries and one email tugged a little at my heart. It read:

“I have $1,500.00 saved. Could you take that for the car? I would love to finish the restoration on him. I have a 30x40 shop to keep him in. Can come with cash Saturday from Tennessee for him if you can!!!”

This was the right person. Someone willing to travel hours for a car they had never seen; someone who was calling my car a “him” because I made my car male and this person would keep him a male. I knew this guy would be a good fit. I contacted him and told him I would send him more pictures so I don’t waste his time in case he didn’t like the quality of the car and so I sent him more photos and he said he would see me on Saturday and would, “send [me] progress pictures after [he gets] started on him.”

Saturday morning, Jesse and I ran a 5K and when we returned, he took Charlie to a Cub Scout outing while I waited for the Satellite’s new owner to come. I took the heads, oil pan, and transmission out of the shed and did some yard work in the meantime. I was almost done trimming a hedge when they showed up.

I guided them up the driveway to line up with the car. It was the guy, a former Marine, and his wife. They struck me as a very sweet couple. I was so worried he would be disappointed with the Satellite when I took the cover off, but he was completely enamored. He was so excited about what great condition it was in and was showing me pictures of his other Satellite on his phone. I was so happy he loved the car.

In a rush to get down, they forgot some important things, like the winch. He had a hand winch and we had to use that to the best of our abilities. He and his wife took turns using hand winched while I pushed. Then the three of us pushed and she ran up to winch. He then ran up to winch and I nearly got crushed by 2,500 lbs of car plus everything inside of it. It was a little terrifying at that point.

Eventually we got him onto the ramp, but he was slightly blocking the left brake light. When Jesse got back home from Charlie’s Cub Scout outing, he helped correct this as well as get the engine, transmission, and other parts into his flatbed.

After all the heavy work was done, it was time to square away formalities with signing of papers, transferring the title, and paying. They loved Jinky, the cats, and the outside neighborhood cats. And of course, the new owner, having been a Marine, was fascinated with Jesse’s military surplus rifle collection, although, in all honesty, most people tend to be.

A good three hours after they arrived, they were back on the road to Tennessee. I look forward to seeing pictures of my car and I know he’s in a better place. So, to end with another cliché, “If you love something, set it free…” You’re free, Satellite. Free from hiding under a cover, free from rusting, free from the elements, free to become the glorious vehicle you’re meant to be.