Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lookie What We Did or How a Clogged Sewer Line = a New Car

This is a story; a story about fate. Gather 'round and enjoy:

My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew all came up from North Carolina on Friday night for a visit. They also had to attend a First Holy Communion party for 2 of my brother-in-law's nephews. They stayed with me in Delaware. Saturday comes and my sister et. al. all go to said Communion festivities and Todd and I headed over to Jan and Marsha's to celebrate Sylvia's (their daughter) 2nd birthday. A good time was had by all and a great cake was eaten by all (thanks, Jan)!

Saturday night, when we got back home from Jan and Marsha's, I started to do some tidying in the kitchen. I loaded the dishwasher and fed the beasts. Todd went down to the basement to scoop up the cat boxes. Precisely 28 seconds after Todd went into the basement I hear him freaking out because there, apparently, was water in the basement again. Not tons, but puddles here and there.

Why again? Well...this is "a whole nother" story (as they say in Philly). But, in short, we had about 4-5 days of solid, very heavy rain a couple of weeks ago. On the last day of rain, we discovered about 1/2 inch of water in our basement. Not everywhere; it wasn't entirely flooded. But mostly on the left side and towards the wall on the garage side.

Anyway, I wondered for a minute or two if it would be better to stay in the kitchen where I was safe from Todd's fury or to go down to the basement and attempt to calm him down and figure out where this mystery water was coming from. Finally I heard him call up to me, "Can you come down here and try to help me figure this out?" He was still angry, but not as livid as when he first went down there. Todd will willingly admit that he has "his father's temper." This isn't necessarily entirely true. In my experience, there isn't much that sets Todd off, really. He's pretty mellow. But I think I can now pinpoint what does: confusion, frustration, and God of War. In this case, it was both confusion & frustration.

So I got down there and the walls are dry; it doesn't seem musty or damp down there either. I checked the washer; it's totally dry underneath. We stood around for a couple of minutes literally scratching our heads (well, I was anyway) and still couldn't figure it out. Suddenly, I heard this trickling sound. I looked over to the utility sink and see water running out of the trap underneath. This is the very same trap that we required that the seller replace because it was broken. I mean, it's obvious that it was new pipework, but they did a swell job installing it, didn't they?

Well, Todd just about goes ape shit. He starts, "WE'RE CALLING STEVE RIGHT NOW!" Steve was our realtor in Delaware. Like WTF is Steve going to do? "CAN WE SUE? THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS!" No, probably not. He's absolutely infuriated. The cats are terrified and scrambling up the steps and through the kitchen to get away from his yelling. I always imagine what's going on in their heads, "AGH! LOUD NOISES! LOUD NOISES! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!"

So I left him to his ire and went upstairs to call the plumber. Luckily we found a very nice plumber in Delaware. Remember, this is Saturday night about 7:30-8:00. His phone was busy for a while. In the meantime, my sister and company had returned from Communion-o-rama. I explained the situation to them and my brother-in-law went to have a look to see if it was something easily fixable. He came back up and said, "Yeah, um, call the plumber." So I finally got through to the plumber. He asks, "Well how is the water coming out?" I'm like, "Hen?" He says, "This is what I need you to do and call me back: run everything in the house for a few minutes: every sink, flush all the toilets like 5 times, run the showers, etc., then look at the trap and tell me what you see."

So we did. Lo and behold, the trap was indeed broken but also, and more importantly, our sewer line was blocked! So the water was coming UP from the sewer line and out of the broken trap! I called the plumber back and he says, "I'll be there tomorrow morning, tell me when." I said we had guests that were staying with us so to come late morning, around 11:00.

Sunday arrives. I see off my sister and family after breakfast at the "Vogon Diner," as Todd has named it. I'll explain later.... So the plumber comes exactly at 11:00 and goes to work. And what dirty, thankless work it was. Apparently, the freakin' IDIOTS that lived there before us and/or the workers who fixed-up the house jammed everything under the sun down the toilets. Then...there were the roots. OY. We have 3 very nice trees in front of our house. Two pines with a red maple in the middle. The plumber thinks that the maple's roots are the ones reaming through our sewer line. But we might have to get rid of all 3 of the trees out front. Which would be very sad, as they are nice trees. We will have to call a tree expert to come and tell us which tree is the culprit and hopefully we won't have to get rid of all of them.

Anyway, the plumber was at my house for like 3 hours. He fixed the trap too. He even cleaned up the horrible mess in the basement. I mean we are talking about the nastiest of stuff from the sewer. So as he's leaving, he happens to pass the passenger side of our car. And he goes, "Oh, wow, look at your tire! You guys need to have that looked at. That's going to blow." I look down and see that our front passenger-side tire has a BUBBLE in the rubber about the size of a golf ball near the inside rim. I have never seen anything like it.

I was like WTF? Where in the world did THAT come from? So, of course, Saturn's service department isn't open on Sunday. And pretty much no emergency mechanic exists in the state of Delaware. Monday morning, we call Saturn of Philly and they say, "Hmm...yeah...well we can't see you until this afternoon...uh...just don't hit anything."

Excuse me? WHAT? I-95 is like Satan's orgy of potholes through the city of Chester and Delaware County in general. I wanted to go kill them. All the rest of the morning I was mumbling and cursing under my breath, "'Just don't hit anything,' hmph, MY ASS. Fucktards. Why I oughtta...!" So Todd called Saturn of Newark. He explained the issue to them. "Come right now," they said. We went. I was nearly out of my mind in hysterics on the way over there from worrying about that tire blowing out while we were driving.

So we get there, hand them the keys and then go sit the waiting room at Saturn of Newark. About 10 minutes later the mechanic comes over and says, "We have to replace the tire, as you probably figured, but we need to replace both tires in the front because otherwise your car will be severely mal-aligned. Your tires in the front are at the end of their life anyway." What choice did I have? I trust the people at Newark. Philly, well, the less said about them, the better. So that was $335. And then we settled in to wait.

We're waiting. About 15 minutes goes by and Todd, who can't stand to watch the crapulence of Good Morning, America anymore, gets up and starts looking at the cars in the showroom. There's a sparkly, deep-blue Vue SUV there. Todd beckons me over and we look at it. It's nice. Not too huge. About 3 minutes later, a sales guy comes over. Nice man, named Roy, originally from Texas. I tell him about my ION and how I hate it. He laughs. I had a Saturn SL2, which I LOVED, before the retarded ION. And I mention that we were probably in the market for a new car very soon, which is true. If you will recall my Hobo Orgy post, I wanted to get a different car way back in August of last year!

So, Todd gets in the car and sits down and is like, "Oh man...this is bad...." He likes it. A lot. Todd's always wanted an SUV. Like WAY before they ever became THE car to drive here in the US. Roy talks about the features of the Vue and such then says, "Oh yes, we have a spring special going on until June, too. $3000 off all Vues, Relays, and Outlooks." Todd and I exchange looks.

So, I say, "Well, actually, I want a hybrid Vue." I mean gas is ridiculous and I get shitty-ass gas mileage in the ION. And I mean SHITTY-ASS. Something like 14 city and 20 highway, which is really unacceptable for a small-ish sedan. So we sit down with Roy and he asks us what features we want in the car, what our time-frame is; price-range, etc. I'm easy to please. It has to be automatic and have air-conditioning. That's really all I care about. Then he goes, "What about color?" "Well," I said, "I've always wanted a red car. RED. Not that yucky chianti, burgundy or whatever color--- oh and NO WHITE and I'm not too fond of black either---" At this point Todd got pouty, "But I think the black looks cool!" "Ok, black is fine," I said, "But really, no white, everything else is ok."

So Roy writes that down and everything else that we had said about what we liked and were looking for. Then he said, "Well, I have 2 hybrids here, want to drive one?" Todd and I exchanged looks again, then he went to check on how much longer we had to wait for the tire repairs. "Twenty minutes," Todd says. Roy says, "Ok, be right back!" And goes to get a hybrid for us to drive. While he's away, I remembered that I got a coupon in the mail from Saturn of Newark for $1000 over Kelley Blue Book value for any trade-in. This means that whatever the cost of the car is, I will get it for $4000 less ($3000 from the special and $1000 extra for the trade-in).

Roy comes back in. I get up and head for the door. I look outside. It's a red one. A totally, f'n sweet, fire-engine, red one. \m/ (Gina throws up the horns.) Roy says, "Remember I told you I had 2 hybrids here? Well here's one," he says, pointing to the gorgeous, red hybrid parked outside, "and the other one is white." We all laughed. (I later confirmed this by checking their web inventory. They have a gray one in a sister location at West Chester and they have a deep-blue one, but it was over the price range that I told him. So he wasn't lying!)

So we drive it; first me, then Todd. Awesome, smooth, comfortable, quiet, easy, lovely ride.
The car was $24,700 and it has everything in it that I could ever possibly want. Now I want this car. Like big-time want this car. So Todd says to Roy, "So, how long will you be here today?" and laughs. Alas, only until 4:00. So Roy says, "No pressure, but, if you are able, how about you put a deposit on it? That way you can think about it and take your time because you know it's reserved for you. If you decide you really don't want it, just call and we'll completely refund you. It's no problem whatsoever."

Now, I've dealt with Saturn before, specifically Saturn of Newark. These are nice people to associate with. So I put $500 on it to hold it. Ok. The ION was done. Well, as soon as we got back in the newly-repaired ION, I immediately thought, "yuck." I KNEW I wanted that Vue! We went back and got it last night after work. This car comes with one year free On-Star service as well as 3 months free of XM satellite radio. Plus, it has a place for an MP3 player! DROOL.

So I thought about the new car like this: If we never had a backed up sewer line, and if the plumber never came, and then told me about the tire, I might not have ever noticed the dumb tire and where would I be now? And it is RED. And Wednesday is my birthday (yes, today). How's that as a rationalization for fate!?

Todd has taken to calling it "Bella Rossa:"

So it has free XM for 90 days. There are like 200 stations. Talk about option paralysis! One of them is all 80s! Drool x2! In fact, there is a channel for each decade, starting with the 40s! We happened to stop on the 50s at one point this morning.

Let me tell you, there is something so utterly sublime in listening to Dean Martin sing That's Amoré on the way to work. I still haven't wiped the silly ear-to-ear grin off my face.


Beth said...

What a great story and fire-engine red hybrid Vue! Happy Birthday to you! What's that other red thing I see in the photo behind the Vue?

Gina said...

That would be my neighbor's old-ass clunker. LOL

Thanks for the b-day wishes! :-)

elan said...

I love the 80's station of course I lived throught them. & it's so much fun to find them music you want & not have to deal with stuff you don't & you can even get it in the old car I drive. Love the colour!

Marsha Brofka-Berends said...

This is the very best part of the whole story: "Satan's orgy of potholes." Heh.

Congratulations on the new car!

Katie J said...

Great post, great car. Happy belated birthday. Thanks for the tour of your car Thursday night, too!

And a very special "bbnokubu" to you.