Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Expect the Best

This month I have a guest post. Vanessa had written a comment for last month's blog, but I thought it had the legs to warrant a special post. So hear you have it, the first guest post for the Erase Negativity blog from valued friend and blog reader, Vanessa Girardi.

Last Tue 4/26 on my way home after league, 11pm+, the squealing from under the hood of my car was louder than normal. Upon entering the highway it abruptly stopped and the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree.

The car still responded to the accelerator and brakes so I kept going, it got me home, although during the trip I learned what a difference power steering makes, because I now have none.

I wasn't overly concerned, in fact I was amused because I had already made an appointment to have my 20 year old Mazda in for "whatever it could possibly need" to last another 50K miles, and if you could do something about the squealing I'd been living with for many miles now, so much the better. So I was amused the car "knew" it was going to the mechanics the next day.

Friday 4/29 I had a neighbor swing me by the mechanics to touch base. Knowing I had given him carte' blanche, sometimes it's easier for them to show you what they're finding and decide together to keep going or skip over that or ????

Well the mechanic comes in. . hands me the Mazda key shaking his head "no". . it's not worth fixing. That wasn't simply the drivebelt that broke, but a pulley had broken off the engine and would require thousands of dollars in repair on a 20 year old car with 167K miles on it.

He didn't charge me a dime for his time or energy in getting to that realization. Me and neighbor limped the car home. . . with a push from the neighbor at the final turn which enabled me to coast it into it's final resting place.

Determined to find a $5000 wonder with less than 100K miles on it I hit the internet hard. Craigslist, AutoTrader, Edmonds . . . I ran the gammut.

Sunday afternoon I come across an ad for a 1999 Mazda Protege (the one that died was a 1992 Mazda Protege) with 36,000 ORIGINAL miles on it!!!! Mechanically speaking that's like a 3 year old car! For. . . . . $4850.

Made all the arrangements and headed out there today. Now this doesn't mean it will go without snags. . . the license plates on the 92 Mazda had to come off. . . I had put a "locking nut" on each plate which requires a special socket to remove. You think I could find that thing from ohhhhhh 7 years or more ago. . .NO!!!! So I had to cut the old plates off the 92 Mazda!

Neighbor hauls me out 20+miles to inspect this 99 Mazda. It looks clean. . . the rubber on the clutch, brake and gas pedal do not betray the odometer. The seat, same, no betrayal of the 36,000 miles on a 12 year old car.

The "story" behind ownership and how these people whose native language is Farsi, acquired the 99 Mazda and why they're selling it did not set squarely with me, but that was the people, not the car. The car DID seem like the gem I had set out to find. There were a couple of concerns, but nothing notably egregious. I offered them $4500, they accepted and the car is now at the mechanics getting "whatever it may need" to last another 50K miles trouble-free.

Through all this I consistently kept my eye on the blessings:

* The 92 Mazda got me home in the late hours of the night, when by all rights it should NOT have!

* I had (HAD) $5000 in savings to throw at this problem.
* I have a good job, which I should be doing at this very moment, but instead I'm writting this.
* I have a trustworthy mechanic I can rely on.
* I have a neighbor who, like me, works from home and can blow 4 hrs to run me out 20+ miles, to the mechanics and home.
* Ultimately I have my health.

The kicker, on that Friday when I got the news of the '92 Mazda. . . . crossed paths with a neighbor who was walking her dog. Just BS'ing. . .she's probably about 10 years older than me. . . she's discovered the cancer she thought she licked 10 years ago is back, and infiltrated two additional areas in her body.

I don't know HOW a person musters the strength to address something like THAT upon waking each day.

Mind you, this car fiasco, has taken it's toll. . . . it really does come down to a form of strength that is somewhat diminished after each "battle". I call it mettle fatigue, and I feel it. It's taken ALOT of strength to get where I am now, and just because I'm "here" and have had a chance to restore myself to some degree, it never fully comes back.
So, the flood in 2008 or my partner's cancer in 2009 and even having to unexpectedly replace my car here in 2011. . . . each of these out of the ordinary occurances take their toll.

When a person says they're tired, it's mettle fatigue.

Knowing that 98% of the people you encounter are dealing with "something" other than their daily obligations should enable each of us to be a little kinder, gentler and more patient with the person who cut you off or whatever. They may very well be doing the best they can. Life doesn't come with a pause button so you can take care of the out of the ordinary and then come back to the regular programing, you're expected to do it all whenever it hits.

Through it all though. . . it will always serve you to think, imagine and expect the best without attachment to the outcome because YOU"RE not in a position to know what's best.

When I left my mechanics on that fateful Friday I had muttered aloud, well lemme find another $5000 wonder with less than 100K miles on it. . . he laughed. He was like GOOD LUCK! So today. . . when I brought in my $4500 wonder with 36K miles on it. . . he was absolutely flabergasted.

All along I counted my blessings, continued to be generous of spirit. That Friday at the mechanics when he didn't charge me for the news/diagnosis. It was 11:30am. . . I got home, barely, and called in a couple of large pizza's to be delivered to his shop with sodas.

Who knows the mechanic may have a new customer in the person at Pizza Hut who heard the whole story.

If nothing else, you can be assured there is good in this world because you put it there yourself!

Think, imagine and expect the best and the good in life. While you're at, it put more good out there so you're assured there is indeed good in the world because you put it there yourself so you know it's there!

Vanessa Girardi

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