29 April 2008

God Said "HA!"

The Little America Tour is coming soon — just five or six weeks away. And, boy, am I looking forward to it. An escape from my adult life and stresses. Me, the Beetle, the iPod, the road. Friends at every stop, bloggers at every cocktail bar. And R.E.M. to curl my toes at night. Yep, it’s a dream come true.

But methinks He doesn’t want me to go.

A couple of weeks ago, I did the unthinkable (well, the unthinkable in MY world). While balancing my checkbook, I found I was way ahead cashwise, so I transferred $650 from my check account into my savings account, earmarked for the tour. I paid off my credit cards about 18 months ago, and so far have kept the balances to nil — a balance I want to keep in anticipation of upcoming (and intentionally cryptic) life decisions.

Got up for work the next morning … pop into the previously mentioned Beetle … and nothing happened when I turn the key. The damn car is as dead as Abe Vigoda was once rumored to be. I had wisely reupped with AAA last month, so I called. The heroes showed up in less than thirty. It wasn’t a battery issue as I’d prayed to the God mocking me above. Oh, no. It looked to be the fuel pump. And so my silver Beetle hopped on the back of a tow truck while I hopped in the cab, and we headed to my friendly neighborhood mechanic.

Cost to replace the fuel pump? $661. My vacation savings, just twelve hours old, went back into my checking account.

But my mechanic is a class act. He detailed my car before I picked it up — at no charge.

God Laughs Again

Two days later. I had a fun, jam-packed [continue inserting clichés here] Saturday planned. Favorite Boy was in town, caring for his post-op mama. We went to high school together, so I’d arranged for us to hang with some of our favorites: Janice, my CHS BFF during the day, then dinner with Holly and Randy that night. We were going to spend the day in our old school ‘hood since it’s seen a major revitalization and none of us live there anymore.

Well, so much for plans well made. Hop in the car … turn the key … the same nothing. I quickly called Janice to make alternate plans in my little corner of the world, while the Beetle sat in the drive, mocking me with its disabilities.

The day was great, however. Many mojitas and a martini later, I was relaxed, laughing, enjoying the day, my friends, my man. I have so many great people in my life.

But Monday morning brought another tow-de-force for me. The AAA wrecker met me after breakfast and carted my car back to my mechanic. The wallet got a reprieve; it appeared to be a bad fuel pump. They replaced it at no charge and sent me on my merry way.

Readers wonder: Just how many trite phrases can she squeeze in one blog post?

And so I spent the next several days saying silent prayers as I turned the key. Made it to work … to Nick Lowe … to Tapes ‘n’ Tapes ... to dinner with Favorite Boy. A good week after all.

Okay, Yahweh, It’s No Longer Funny

Turn the calendar to this past Saturday. I’m watching the news and eating lunch before meeting Swirly Girl at an arts festival. The weekend anchor mentions that the Dubya rebates will be direct-deposited in the coming days. I think, “I can transfer that cash into my vaca-savings account, and my balance will be where it was last week.”

One hour later, I’m dressed and ready to fill my pockets with new baubles and unnecessary plastic objects. Pop in the car … turn the key … nothing happens. A-f*cking-gain. The Lord obviously heard my vacation savings plan, and continued his toying. Is this Groundhog Day: The Musical?

I slam the car door … call Favorite Boy to whine and snivel … and walked to the nearest MARTA station. Swirly Girl knew how to turn that frown into a smile, taking me out for post-baubling swirls. Nothing like tequila and sangria to relax a carless girl.

So, we’re duplicating Monday. I really am beginning to feel like Bill Murray. Mechanic David apologizes and promises to install a cross. I wait, gnawing nails and calculating just how much I can afford to pay to have my car’s internal organs rebuilt. (I come up with $57.28.) The MD calls late in the afternoon to let me know they can’t figure out what’s burning up fuel pumps. They’re going to take apart my fuel system to see if there’s something wrong in my tank.

“Is there anyone who hates you enough to put sugar in your tank?” he asks.

Sugar in my bowl, yes. My tank? No.

And so they keep my car overnight, while I spend the evening saying shiva to my vacation plans. I start tentatively canceling the week’s dinner plans … fill Favorite Boy’s text message inbox with car lamentations … and gnaw on the few remaining nails.

I get The Call at 2 p.m. this afternoon. Volkswagen has finally ‘fessed up that there’s a bad lot of fuel pumps out there; several VWs have landed again and again at the dealer in the last several days.

New fuel pump is installed. Car is running.

But I’m still saying prayers. And wondering what else He has planned to f*ck with my Little America Tour.

* * * * * *

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At 4/29/2008 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Earl Cootie said...

Yikes! I hope the new fuel pump's a good one. We had a run of bad car luck a couple of cars ago. In the shop over and over for the same problem. Unfortunately, it turned out that it was due to bum mechanics, not bum parts. No recall on those, I'm sorry to say.

At 4/29/2008 11:06:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

The karma police were just messing with your head because they love doing shit like that. Don't worry, they are done with you now and have moved onto somebody else. Not even the karma police would get between a girl and her R.E.M. tour.

At 4/29/2008 11:43:00 PM, Anonymous Sticky Fingers said...

Me thinks you might want to trade your Favorite Boy in for a Favorite Mechanic

At 4/29/2008 11:56:00 PM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

Well it could've been worse. You could have taken it in for an oil change and have the dealer mess up your engine and have to replace everything. I did get a completely new engine and basically new everything under the hood. I was sweating bullets for a whole week. Fortunately good ju ju hit and the dealer paid for everything. But I swear it just doesn't run the same anymore.

At 4/30/2008 12:15:00 AM, Anonymous Favorite Boy said...

Me thinks Sticky Fingers should go Fahrfegnugen himself

At 4/30/2008 01:47:00 AM, Blogger Moxie said...

I love Favorite Boy's comments! He is one funny guy.

Saw something today about the New Orleans Voodoo Tour thingy and your boys playing with NIN and STP. Sounds like an awesome show! You going?

At 4/30/2008 11:01:00 AM, Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Look on the bright side - at least you'll use up all your bad karma before you hit the road.

So it should be smooth sailing ahead!

Unless..........well, unless you've got more bad karma on the way!

At 4/30/2008 11:51:00 AM, Blogger landru said...

Wow. Bad luck makes great blogs. Not a good trade for you, I guess. That was quite a story. Hopefully VW have sorted out their trouble.

At 4/30/2008 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

EARL COOTIE: I pray every time I crank the key. I’m lucky to have found a great mechanic. AAA recommended that I go to cartalk.com, put in my zip code, and pick one — and I picked well. If you have a bum mechanic, I recommend checking out the site.

BARBARA BRUEDERLIN: Your subtle Radiohead references always warm this über-R.E.M.ers heart. I gotta hope that the negative karma is trying to get itself out before I hit the road. One more mechanical failure, and I may scrap my tour plans. Schwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

STICKY FINGERS: No way. Favorite Boy knows how to keep my personal engine running and humming.

ARTFUL DODGER: You’re right; my experience was NOTHING like yours. I hate it when they start messing with the engine, because it never seems the same again.

At 4/30/2008 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

FAVORITE BOY: You tell him, babe!

MOXIE: He is very funny … and you just made his day. I’ll probably drive over for the New Orleans Voodoo Tour Thingie (I think that’s the full name they’re using on the tickets). Gonna come down?

KEITH KENNEDY: I’m hoping so, Keith. I gotta quit cussing at old people and stealing kids’ candy … at least until I return.

LANDRU: As a writer, I subscribe to the theory that as long as the story’s good after the fact, it’s not a bad thing. And this story was rather funny.

At 4/30/2008 12:50:00 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


...did they play "I Got You Babe" while you waited?

Remember Beth, "don't drive angry."

At 4/30/2008 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Pagan Sphinx said...

I'm so jealous of your chase after REM! I don't know if I have the energy for big arenas anymore. But I'm glad you do and hopefully you will give us a report. I saw REM only twice: once in Boston and once for only one or two songs in Hyde Park, London, at a LIVE8 concert. Both times I what I got to see of them was on a giant monitor.

Very entertaining writing. Thanks.
And I've added you to my blog list.

At 4/30/2008 01:54:00 PM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

Clearly, it's not God who's screwing up your plans: it's the Germans, and their intense hatred for other people's joy.

I'll slay a fatted calf to Zeus for you, since these other Gods don't seem to be helping out much.

At 4/30/2008 04:00:00 PM, Blogger dguzman said...

Third time's a charm, Beth. Turn that key with confidence and enjoy your REM.

At 4/30/2008 09:42:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

Beth, my sympathies. I had one of those weeks a couple back, except the VW was my cat and your road trip was my trip to NYC.

Cat had a rotten tooth. $500.
Oops! Look again. Cat has second rotten tooth $1000
Oh my, if it isn't a third rotten tooth. $1500.
I saved it up a little each week put aside. And Boom! The cat gets rotten teeth and gum disease.

At 4/30/2008 10:52:00 PM, Blogger Jewgirl said...

child, that is the funniest post I have read in ages. I am so sorry to hear about the auto mishigas. I am glad that you made the best of such shituations.

for the vacay, I think you should post a ChipIn widget and ask everyone to donate a few bucks. Why not?! I'd ChipIn.

At 5/01/2008 12:16:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

Okay, I can't get past the "saving money" and "paying off credit cards" part of this post. How does one do that??

At 5/01/2008 06:45:00 AM, Blogger DaBich said...

Ha! Third time's the charm. Your water pump is the good one...
Enjoy the tour after all this friggin excitement.

At 5/01/2008 08:10:00 AM, Blogger FranIAm said...

Holy crap. I also think that 3 is a charm, let this shite be over with and N-O-W now!!!

And let the tour begin!

BTW, our resident Jewgirl is so very right. It is widget time, don't be proud baby, just do it. Feel the love. You can't truly give if you can't receive.

I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayin'.

At 5/01/2008 09:33:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

WRITE PROCRASTINATOR: My mechanic is good people; in fact, I’m taking his shop a plate of cookies today because they spent a lot of uncompensated time on my car. Now, VW is the bastard for not admitting to the bad batch of fuel pumps.

PAGAN SPHINX: I hit the big arenas only for the very favorites. I’m in the pit for the Atlanta show, and I’m planning on grass tix for the out-of-town shows. I just want to dance and sing, and it’s easier (and less irritating for those around me) on the lawn.

PISTOLS AT DAWN: Those f*cking Germans! Send piccies of the calf-slaying.

DGUZMAN: I’m praying for that cliché to be true. I’m not yet confident of the key turn.

GIFTED TYPIST: Oh, my! I’ve had one of those emergency medical bills for a cat. But you made it to NYC, right?

At 5/01/2008 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

JEWGIRL: If you can get a good story out of it, it’s not all that bad, y’know? I may just widget my pleas. I really want to go …………….

BECKEYE: It’s called Hitting Your Late Forties and Worrying About Carrying Debt Until You Die. The only mature thing I’ve done in seven or eight years.

DABICH: I will dance my ample ass off!

FRANIAM: I need this tour. I need to feel nineteen again. Watch for the widget.

At 5/01/2008 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Oh man, what a tale . . . Are you sure you don't live in Detroit?

O! But you have MARTA and we have nothing ;)

Thank God for AAA. This post reminds me of an Anne Lamott memoir! Good luck with the Big Payback from the Feds!

At 5/01/2008 02:08:00 PM, Blogger Doc said...

Damn! Sorry to hear about your troubles. Perhaps it isn't true what they say about German Engineering. Have a couple of cold beers and send me the bill for them.


At 5/01/2008 06:35:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

i confess. i didn't put sugar in your tank--just a combination of saccharin and msg.

At 5/02/2008 12:18:00 AM, Blogger jasonfred said...

glad to see that the car drama seems to have found its end and didn't hinder your road trip. I posted up a new entry on my biggest loser challenge. Guess who didn't have a good week?...this guy :-( How's the WW treating you?

At 5/02/2008 03:58:00 PM, Blogger Red said...

See, I think the fact that you "found" exactly the amount of money you needed is God blessing the Little America tour.

At 5/02/2008 10:35:00 PM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

Alas, no New York for me which is a shame because I really would have liked to stalk down BeckEye and Chelene for a meet up

At 5/05/2008 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Why does Jesus hate you Beth? What did you do?

At 5/05/2008 08:10:00 PM, Anonymous m said...

does jesus really hate beth? or does he hate that bass player from the previous post and confused the two? (no pun intended~see previous post photo)

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