Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mayhem and mobiles

I've been a bit busy, what with stray cats and stolen cars and the husband's job that is no longer, it's been a busy year, yes it has. I won't dwell on the four little kitties that were left motherless and my time spent trying to rescue them. They have never had human contact so they hiss and spit when approached. I leave them milk and tuna. I call the shelter to rescue them. I'm still trying to get them help. The husband has been unemployed for 17 months now but we prepared for this years ago so we are just humming along living our usual low key life and my car was stolen.

Two months ago, tired and weary after a hectic day, I went to bed early. It was a Friday night. I remember what day of the week it was because that's the day of the week that the little thieves come creepin'. They creep through the neighborhood around 0200 hrs, (2AM for those of you not accustomed to using military time). They creep, they sneak up to vehicles parked in driveways and carports, The neighbors camera recorded them and also exposed the time of night (or early morning as was the case). They grasp the car's door handle and hope that the tired weary woman, after having a hectic day has neglected to lock up the car.

Saturday morning, I grabbed my bright blue market basket and swing open the door to the carport, one foot out the door and a hasty goodbye to the husband who was sitting on the sofa enjoying his first cup of coffee of the day, I was on my way.

My Grand Marquis was missing. Seventeen years ago I bought this vehicle. A few times in the last couple of years the husband has tried to talk me into getting rid of this car in favor of a newer model. My problem is, a newer model of this car is not possible as production stopped in 2011. I don't want a new car.

I sucked in a deep breath, stepped back  =from the door and turned to the husband "Someone has stolen the Marquis!" He looked away from the television news report, lowered coffee cup and said 'Oh, April probably came and borrowed it?"
This I knew was NOT a possibility. My daughter would never take my car without permission.
Dialing 911, I connected with the operator who was quick to send an officer.
In the chill of the morning, we stood in my driveway, while the female officer asked questions; I responded with the answers while wondering if I would ever see my car again. She asked about surveillance cameras. The neighbors! We headed to the neighbors house to rewind.

The video showed three young men but not clear enough to recognize their facial features. The time was verified.

"Would I ever see my car again?" I asked the officer. She said "Oh sure. It's probably on the north side of town somewhere."
Almost exactly 4 hrs. later I received a car from the officer to tell me my car was found and it was drive\able.

Black finger print dust decorated the door handles, the trunk and the door jams. The right front fender was crunched and the steering was askew. I knew right away that the steering was not "right". Seventeen years of driving this vehicle has imprinted on my brain the feel of this vehicle on the road.

Monday morning, the car was at the body shop. This was only the beginning of the mess that was my car. The body shop said the steering box needed replaced and I gave permission to replace it. When I went to pick my car up, the steering was worse then when I took it in. Three weeks later, after many mechanics and much haggling, the Marquis was back in my driveway but the air conditioning was no longer working. Apparently a plastic covering that went from the evaporator to the a/c fan was in pieces. Ordering a new part was impossible, as getting most parts for this car due to it's age.

My only hope was getting a part from a junk yard. I've spent the past two months calling junk yards around the country looking for this part. I've also spent months test driving new vehicles with air conditioning. I've also spent these month researching complaints about the vehicles I've been driving. The thought of paying 30,000.00 for a vehicle that has a record of bad transmissions, excessive oil consumption and
a multitude of other ailments has left me unwilling to get rid of my Marquis.
Yesterday I contacted another junk yard locally. YES! Locally, a junk dealer told me he could help. Arriving at the place of business, the part they pulled off an LTD was not going to work. Back to square one. The fellow working there assured me this was not the end of my search. He said he would go back and look again.
Late afternoon, my phone rings. A fellow on the line said he had seen my "for sale"  ad on the Marquis and wanted to know if I still had it. "Yes, I'm driving it now." I replied. He then asked if I still wanted to sell it to which I said "No, I've never wanted to sell it and I told him about my air conditioner problem.
His story was short and went something like this. He had a 1999 Mercury Marquis LS. His was hit and it was totaled. It had 93,000 miles on it and the insurance company was only willing to pay him 1500.00. He was outraged that his car with low mileage was gone and he couldn't replace it for 1500.00. He asked about the mileage on mine. He said if he could buy mine, he could also buy his back from the insurance company, get the part for the a/c on mine and have a Marquis to drive!
At this point, I'm wondering what salvage yard his insurance company would be sending his Marquis!

I've promised to call him back before Monday with my decision on selling mine. Meanwhile, the fellow at the junk yard called and said he had the part I needed and it had come off a 1999 Marquis!

Tomorrow I will make another trip to that junk yard and pick up the part I need. Hopefully, I will have my Marquis a/c fixed, I won't be spending 30,000.00 on a new car and I can call the man who lost his Marquis and tell him my car is not for sale. I'm sad for that fellow as I know how he feels about losing this car. It's the last of the big luxury cars. It's dependable and has a long life expectancy.

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