On Wednesday, J called to confirm that we were still shipping our Toyota on Friday (i.e. today…) to HI. The woman at the car shipping office said yes, and to be sure we brought 5 copies of his orders, 5 copies of the registration, and 5 copies of our marriage certificate (since the car is in my name), as well as a letter from the lien holder. First time we’d heard of that. So we got a little panicked, but started digging up paperwork and called the lien holder, which is a credit union in Atlanta. They’d never heard of such a request before and wanted more details (after I’d been transferred around a few times, of course), so I called back to the car shipping place to ask for the exact wording desired in the letter. I got a different woman on the phone and had the following conversation:
Me: Hi, I’m calling because I was told that I needed a letter from my lien holder to ship my car. The lien holder wants to know the exact wording you guys want.
Woman on phone: Where are you getting shipped again?
Woman on phone: ….Oh, that’s a state! Well, you don’t need a letter to ship it to another state!
I hung up the phone.
Anyway, with that straightened out (sort of…), J and I made plans to ship the car on Friday. He took the car to a Midas in Virginia Beach (we had a coupon for a free oil change) and was going to get the car detailed and dropped off at the shipping place while I went to the grocery and then could go pick him up at the base. As I got on the highway my engine starting whining and my RPMs went up to 4.5 on the meter, even though I was only going about 40 mph as I merged onto the highway… so I exited immediately. It was a bad part of town, so I called J and kept driving (with my flashes on and going slowly) and as I played with it, I realized my car wasn’t shifting into 4th gear…
Well, I was upset and pulled into a Starbucks parking lot to get myself some warm comfort (yay for chai) and when I came back out to my car, it wouldn’t start. Lucky for me (kind of), the Starbucks was beside a Firestone garage, so I went in and asked if they could look at it. They told me to leave it there for a diagnostic… which took all day and cost $95. After getting a friend to come get me and take me to J (who was stuck waiting on the other car), we finished our errands and started getting ready for the Mathom party. The garage called back around 4:30 with their estimate to fix it.
Oh, yes. On top of the $95 they already wanted just to tell me what was wrong, which included a laundry list of parts and 6 hours of labor at $90/hr. I was devastated. We don’t have that much solvent cash to drop into a repair– the money exists, mostly, but is to cover moving expenses, such as importing cats to HI. We told them to hold off on repairs and that we’d contact them in the morning.
The party went off very well. We had a lot of people come, including people we’d never met, but who liked our stuff enough to take it (which was the whole point), I made empanadas and meatballs and cookies and pie and brownies and all sorts of things that were very popular as well and we drank a few bottles of the wine and things felt a little better. Then the friend who picked me up earlier in the day asked to see the list of repairs… and informed us that he could probably fix the car for the cost of the parts.
Yesterday was SO much better. We got the tire fixed (oh, I’d also picked up a screw in the back tire, just to add insult to injury) then had it towed to his house and he and J spent the rest of the day and evening fixing the car. Total cost? $66.00 for the parts. That was IT. And Firestone wanted $1200. How stupid.
Moral of the story? Buy the parts manual for your car and get a mechanically inclined friend to help you play with it.
We took our friends to dinner to thank them and are headed over to pick up the car now. Maybe the other car will get shipped tomorrow, because it didn’t go on Friday for obvious reasons. At least both of them are in good working order now.