Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Great Pumpkin

(Warning: Long post, but hilariously funny if you ask me. Worth the time to read it.)

We got a truck this past weekend. Not just any truck, a nice, beater Great Pumpkin truck. I know you are jealous. But just gets better. You need to hear the story of how the Great Pumpkin came to be.

We decided to build a garden this year and fix up the backyard a bit (blog posts to follow later re: these projects). After borrowing my stepmother's truck to haul literally 1400 pounds of dirt Ange decided we needed to invest in our own truck. My stepmom has a truck, my brother-in-law has a truck, my stepdad has a truck, her dad has a truck, clearly it's an Indiana thing to have a truck and since we hate bothering people with requests to borrow their trucks we decided we needed one of our very own. And by "we" I mostly mean Ange. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm fine with the whole thing, it wasn't like she forced me into an agreement about this or anything but really it was her idea and she was dying to get a truck so I thought "meh, what the hay?" I'm sure she is going to disagree with my assessment, but trust me, this is how it happened. To further prove my point I set a limit of $750 for any truck purchases, but was looking more for a $500 purchase. She was literally ready to trade in her car and get a $3-5,000 truck. I thought it was a better idea to hold on to her car and get a crappy truck so if something went wrong we wouldn't be out a ton of money and she'd still have a car to drive. This will be an important point later.

Now one thing you have to know about Ange is that she tends to be both an obsessively focused person as well as a slightly impulse buyer. Once I agreed that we could get a truck she was OBSESSED with finding a truck. I'm talking stalking Craigslist like nobody's business. I don't like obsessing over anything so this behavior tends to get on my nerves after about 3 hours. I sat through 3 days of this business before I was like "Please dear God find this girl a truck!" Now Ange will probably say I was just as excited about looking at trucks but this is because I am a wonderful partner and I pretend to always share her enthusiasm but in reality I just wanted to stop talking about finding a truck and just get one so we could move on with our lives.

So on Sunday while she was working (but still stalking trucks between patients and texting me non-stop about truck related things) I had finally had enough. I saw one that looked decent and told her to call about it. I told her to call because I know that I would not ask enough good questions about the truck that she may want to know. My conversation would be "Hi, do you still have your truck that's listed and does it work and will you take less money for it?" She would want more info than that. So she called back to say it sounded like a great truck and I should go take a look at it. I swear I heard her say "Mooresville" and didn't really pay attention when she gave me the directions. I was wrong on both accounts, which I'll get in to in a moment. Now we had two issues at hand. One, since it was the weekend we couldn't waltz into the bank and withdraw $750. And like dummies we hadn't thought that far ahead so we were now stuck with the fact that the ATM will only let you take out $400 a day. Boo. Number 2, both Ange and I know that I'm not really qualified to go look at a truck by myself AND I can't drive my car and a truck at the same time so I would need someone to go with me. I decided to call my lovely brother-in-law who lives in Camby, which is conveniently close to Mooresville. I told him the situtation and he said he would take $350 out of the bank to cover the cost of the truck (I would write him a check) and he'd run on down to Mooresville with me to check it out. So I hopped in the shower and took off.

Leslie decided she'd ride along with us since it wasn't going to take much time and then her and Clint were going to go down to IUPUI so she could run an errand. She brought her GPS with her and was trying to input the address to the guy's house and was having some issues. She then looked at the directions I wrote down and said "Uh, this says (State Road) 37 not (State Road) 67." Oh oops. I always get those two confused. They run basically parallel to each other but one heads through Martinsville to Bloomington and the other one runs through Camby and Mooresville. Ruh-oh was all I had to say. She then says "Did Ange say Mooresville or Martinsville?" Um, I thought Mooresville but maybe I'm wrong. That's been known to happen. So she calls the guy who confirms that he is indeed in Martinsville. Whoops. That means our little 15 minute jaunt just turned into an at least 30 minute drive to Martinsville not to mention looking at the truck and driving back. Sorry sis & BIL!

Now Clint mentioned that he needed to stop at the bank when we left the house which I noted and then promptly forgot. He CLAIMS he told me "about 5 times," but neither my sister or I agree with that statement. I think he said it only that one time, Leslie thinks he may have said it another time, but since we're both loud mouths and talk a lot we can't really remember. Regardless, we are bumping along this winding twisting road and Clint says "We never went to the bank." Leslie and I both look at him and say "NOW you remind us?" How about when we were actually on the main road you nit-wit? That's when he claims he did, but apparently we weren't listening. So Leslie types in "Find the nearest Chase Bank" into the GPS and we turn around. After bumping along so more, I find out that Clint gets carsick really easily. Grrrrreat. Because we are in the middle of the hills of Martinsville and the road does not appear to be getting flat and straight any time soon. So I'm going back and forth between driving fast as hell so we can get the trip over with and driving slow so as not to jar Clint too much. I couldn't decide which was better, or in this case, really, worse. I don't think it really mattered, he just really wanted to up-chuck everywhere.

The GPS tells us we are only a mile from our destination (Chase Bank) but we are still in the middle of NOWHERE so we're like WTF? Then the next turn says "Peatree Road." The man's house who has the truck is 295 Peatree Road. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BANK SIS? Ooops, looks like she thought she'd re-routed us but didn't. Great, now we can go look at the truck but will have to drive back out of the hills to go to the bank and then back into the hills to pick up the truck. This is really turning into a stellar trip. I said I'll try and convince them to take a check for the remainder, but I am doubtful that will happen.

So we pull up to the house, which by the way was up this giant gravel driveway about half a mile and I really think we're driving to Deliverance. We'd already been cracking jokes about breaking down and all the scary movies associated with that, so it looked like our worst nightmares might come true. Super.

The man selling the truck, who sidenote is named Kim--so funny, comes out and he really looks like he belongs in ZZ Top. Big full long yellow-y beard. Ick. So Ange had already warned me he was a chatty fellow so I was trying to let Clint be all "ah shucks" with him while I checked out the truck. Oh, I also forgot to mention that in Ange's conversation with the guy she said that she was buying the truck for her 16 year old son and that her brother and sister-in-law were going to pick it up. So I guess Clint was the brother and I was the sister-in-law and Leslie was the strange person who didn't get out of the car the entire day. Really, not once. I should have said she was our mentally handicapped sister who liked to ride in cars. Anyway, I'm not sure why Ange came up with the elaborate story...forgot to ask...but I'm guessing it was a combination sympathy story (16 year old boy wants a shit-kicker to call his own) and gay panic story (Martinsville is one of the most racist redneck areas of the state so she might have thought he wouldn't be willing to negotiate with 2 lovely lesbians). So he keeps going on and on about what a great fixer upper it is for a teen boy and Clint played along nicely. So I was inside the truck checking it out and had the engine humming along for a while when I looked up and didn't see Clint or ZZ. I start looking around and realize they are standing over by a well looking down in it. WTF? Clint later told me that the guy wanted to show him that the original well from 1815 or something was still there and working. Great.

Did I also mention that in the Craigslist ad the truck looked red? Yeah, so not red. In fact, it's a sublime bright orange like a pumpkin. Or as someone else said, a construction vehicle. We may never know its sordid past, but we do know that now it is nicknamed "The Great Pumpkin." Oh yes we went there.

Anywhoodles, Clint and I decide to take it for a little spin. I proceed to kill it about 5 times in a row (it is a manual transmission) because it has the most sensitive clutch I've ever run into. Literally if you get a cramp in your big toe it will die. So ZZ is cracking up at this dumb female driver (I didn't want to break it to him that Clint can't drive a stick shift for crap) and we finally get it moving and take it for a spin. It runs well and doesn't seem to have any major issues so we decided it's well worth the $750 we negotiated (originally listed for $1,000). Then I explain the "miscommunication" about the money and wonder if he'd take a check for the $350. He said he needed to ask his "old lady" because she was "the boss" and goes inside to find her. The battleax said no so that meant a trip back to town. Grr.

On our twisty turny drive to town to find Chase my gas light comes on thus giving us more hopes of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere and being attacked by sub-humans. So we finally roll into Martinsville proper and the first stop is the gas station. As I get out of the car to pump Clint gets out because he's dying of thirst and wants to get out of the great car-sickness mobile for a bit. In the meantime apparently a lady had pulled up and her car had died and she decides we look friendly enough so can we give her a jump because she thinks it's the battery. Clint says sure because he's always willing to be Mr. Nice Guy and I said we'd have to wait til after the gas tank is filled up and go inside to get us some beverages. Leslie still has not gotten out of the car by the way.

So Clint tries unsuccessfully to jump the lady's car but nothing is happening with that business. In the meantime I have the passenger side door open and am chatting with Leslie when some redneck a-hole pulls up and blasts his horn at me to move out of the way (and I freely admit I was blocking the way to one of the pumps) and that made Clint really mad. Leslie and I just thought he was dumb but Clint wanted to beat him up or something, thanks for defending my honor bro. Then Clint is all "Is there anything else we can do to help you?" to the weird lady and her surly teenage child (who the entire time the jumping was going on was whining loudly about WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT THE CAR WAS. Pleasant child, really.) And Leslie and I are like "oh no he didn't!" Why did she have to marry such a chivalrous dude? We were ready to get the heck out of dodge since our 30 minute excursion was approaching 2 hours at this point. Luckily she said no and we were ready to get on our merry way.

Before we got in the car I asked another patron at the pump next to us where the Chase Bank was. He said "There's no Chase in Martinsville." K I L L I N G me. I was so fed up at this point I said "Screw it, I'll pay whatever ATM fees you incur, we just need to get the damn money and finish this business up." So we drive down the street and hit up some random bank and get the cash. We then turn around and drive back through the twisty roads. ZZ's wife comes out with the title, they hand over the keys, and I jump in the truck ready to head home. Leslie (who climbed over the seats to get into the driver's seat lest she actually need to get out of the car) said that she wanted to bring Clint home first (you know, so he could actually ENJOY his day off and all) and would meet me at my house so I could take her home after dropping off the truck.

We twisted our way out of the hills and were zipping up 37. At this point, most of the headaches were over, or so I thought, so I was actually starting to have fun with 'ol Pumpkin. I got it up to 70 a few times to test it out and all was going well. Leslie and Clint were a few cars ahead but she was hanging back just in case. We pulled up to a light just around Greenwood and when the light turned green I started to take off.

Then the car died.

Hmm, methinks, maybe I let my foot up off the very sensitive clutch. Try to start it again. Nothing. Hmm...lots of cars behind me are getting antsy. I try again. Dead. Again. Dead. Panic starts to set in. The engine isn't making much noise. It's trying but not much. Shit. Shit. Shit. I call Leslie so she can turn around. Shoot Ange a quick text. Cars start going around me. Now I'm worried because I'm sitting in the middle of the highway and I'm afraid someone isn't going to be paying attention and will cream me. I'm frantically looking for the hazard lights, but alas since I've owned this car for about 20 minutes I have no idea where they are! Shit, shit shit! Finally found the hazards but I'm not positive they are working. The light turns red again, which is good because at least people will see that. All of sudden I see some cherries and berries flashing behind me. Super, now the cops are here. They come mosy-ing up to the truck. I open the door.

Mean Police Man #1: You having some trouble?
Me: (Thinking "No, I randomly like to stop in the middle of a busy highway") Um, yeah, I just bought this truck and it died at the light and it won't restart.
MPM1: You realize you don't have a plate right?
Me: (Thinking "No shit Sherlock") Yes, I just bought it.
Mean Police Man #2: Well let's get it out of the middle of the road. We'll push, you steer.
Me: Ok

(We push the truck to the side of the road) Finally Clint and Leslie pull up and Clint jumps out of the car. We pop the hood and he starts tinkering around as I try and start the truck and chat with the police.

MPM2: So you don't have a plate?
Me: No, I just bought this truck like 20 minutes ago.
MPM2: Well, you do know that's illegal?
Me: (Thinking Clearly I didn't think it was a great idea to be driving around without a plate, but didn't imagine it would die in the middle of the road and I would be getting questioned by police) Well I just bought it and just wanted to get it home.
MPM2: Do you have any paperwork?
Me: Yes, I have the title. (Hand over title)
MPM2: (Looks at the title) You haven't signed it.

Now I must interject at this point to let you know something else. It's been RAINING ALL DAY. Yeah, all that mess above? In the rain. So when the lady handed me the title I didn't want to be standing in the rain filling it out. Also, Leslie and Clint were quick to take off so I didn't want to delay them more than the 3 hours of their time they'd already given up. So NO I hadn't signed the title. I was planning on doing it when I got home and not realizing I was going to be broke down in the middle of the road.

Me: Uh, no. It was raining so I just grabbed it and threw it in the car.
MPM2: (Big Sigh) Well basically what we have here is an "open title situation." Someone has signed it over, but you haven't signed it so technically I don't know if you really own this truck.
Me: (REALLY wanting to scream "DO YOU REALLY THINK I'D STEAL THIS BRIGHT ORANGE PIECE OF SHIT TRUCK???") (But instead I just stare at him)
MPM2: Do you have your license?
Me: (Finally a question I can answer in the affirmative) Yes. (Hand over the license)
MPM2: We're going to run this. Just hold on.

In the meantime, another cop car pulls up. He comes over and we go through the same routine. Ange is texting me but I'm ignoring her. I don't want to piss off the cops more. Apparently she texts Leslie to ask if I'm getting hauled off to jail. She says she doesn't know, since she still, yes you guessed it, hasn't gotten out of the car. Ange proceeds to think my sister is useless.

Cop #3 goes back to talk to the other 2. He comes back with my license and title. The other 2 take off. Thank God.

Cop #3: Ok, here is your license. Please fill out the title right now so we can just move along with this part.
Me: Absolutely (Start filling it out)
C3: Do you have a preferred tow truck company or would you just like to get one here as soon as possible?
Me: (Thinking A. Why would I have a preferred tow truck company? Like I break down regularly? and B. Let's just play nice and do whatever is going to get me the hell out of dodge.) Oh, whatever can get me out of here fastest would be great!
C3: I'll call the company we usually use and they'll get here fast. Just sit tight out of the rain.
Me: Do you think my brother-in-law needs to stay or can I ride with the driver?
C3: (Calls over the radio) They said you can ride along.

So I let Clint and Leslie go and I update Ange on what's going on. Finally after about 10 minutes a tow truck pulls up. He already is towing another car behind the truck so he moves the other car up to the flat bed and hooks the Great Pumpkin up to the tow behind. We take off and thankfully that's the last of the police interaction for the day.

So now I need to take a moment to talk about the tow truck driver who showed up. First, he's a huge dude. Huge like 400 lbs. I climbed into the cab and I see the entire front seat is littered with 20 oz. bottles of Sprite and bags of Cheetos. Great, I'm hanging out with Britney Spears. He also has a carton of cigarettes on the seat. I'm so judging him. He hops in the truck and starts talking to me and literally he has shit for teeth. Like someone took a crap in his mouth and formed little tooths out of poop. So gross. He lights up a cigarette and I think "Great, on top of it all I'm also going to get lung cancer."

Now get this. Tow truck man tells me that he's really not supposed to leave Greenwood, especially since he has another car on the truck. W T F ? So he's called his buddy and he's going to meet us at the Big O Tire parking lot. You've got to be kidding me. So TTM#1 starts chatting my face off about trucks and Craigslist and a whole bunch of other mess I really don't give a shit about. But I'm trying to be pleasant since he did come and tow me out of the road. He also tells me that driving without a plate and an unsigned title is basically a dumb shit move. Thanks, I hadn't realized that. He said Johnnie O (apparently Copper #3) is usually a bad ass and impounds cars in my particular situation, but since it was raining and he got off at 5:30 (it was 5 at this point) he probably didn't want to mess with me. Well thank God for that.

He continues to chain smoke and talk and talk and talk until Tow Truck Man #2 shows up. They switch the truck to the other tow truck and I walk over to the other truck. TTM#2 tells me the tow is going to be $95 and is that okay? Um, it's already hooked up and really, what other choice do I have? But here's the kicker, that price is cash only. Since I just spent $750 on this P.O.S. truck I don't have cash. So that's another $9.95 fee. Killlll me. We get the payment taken care of and then we're off. Oh, and guess what? TTM#2 is also a chain smoker. Seriously.

Luckily, TTM#2 is not a chatty Cathy and we ride mostly in silence. As I'm sitting there I notice his hands are strangely clean looking and feminine. It then hits me that his hands are also small and they remind me of the recent Burger King commercials where the guys with the freakishly small hands won't eat the new dollar menu burger because it's so big it will make their hands look even smaller. This mildly amuses me.

We finally pull in, he unloads the truck and I go in and wait for Leslie. She gets there and I take her home. In the meantime, Ange gets home from work and wants to check out the car. I forgot I had left the keys in the ignition. She calls me up.

Ange: Um, you left the keys in the truck.
Me: Oops, sorry.
Ange: I thought I'd see what it sounded like when you tried to start it.
Me: Ok
Ange: It started right up.
Me: WHAT????
Ange: Yeah, it's totally working now.
Me: Dude! Clint and I tried to start it like 80 skamillion times!
Ange: Maybe there was just a loose wire and the tow just jiggled it back into place.
Me: Kill me for the 80th time today.

So yeah, not sure what happened but Great Pumpkin works now. Who knows? We still need to get it looked at so it doesn't randomly break down again, but at least we know it's not trashed. The funny thing about it all is that I wasn't really all that upset over the situation. I mean, it was mostly annoying and exasperating but really, it was a $750 truck. We know lots of people who can fix cars. Whatever.

Now to finish up the story, my piece de resistance is this:

Later that night Ange is looking at the title and she says "Uhhh, you put the title in your name! You should have put it in my name!" REALLY??? REALLY??? Through all of this mess and while signing the title IN FRONT OF THE POLICEMAN I should have forged it into YOUR NAME? Seriously, I love that crazy girl. She just kills me all the time.

Oh, and this:

Ta-da! The Great Pumpkin!


ange said...

That is the most hilarious post ever! I can't even argue with it cause it's so funny!

kris said...

Oh my god.

Yes, a long post. But that was a long and extraordinary story you had to tell. Wow.

Love that you finished with a photo of the truck!


In the end, all that nonsense was worth it!

Because how adorable is that silly orange truck?


Lindsay Briggs said...

Thanks for coming and reading Kris! Glad you enjoyed the epic story of ridiculousness! Great Pumpkin will always have a fond yet frustrating place in our hearts.