I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Van-0, Job-1

One week to the day I bought it, the van broke down.

I am driving into Vancouver on the #1 Highway, on my way to a job interview, and I am thinking about how the windshield wipers aren't moving across the windshield very fast. And it's pelting down rain. If the wiper motor is about to die, this is not a good time for it to happen. I pull into the fast lane to pass a truck and when I put my foot down, nothing happens. Then the van starts to slow down. I manage to make it to a pull-out where there's construction going on in the wide strip between the east and west lanes. The van sputters to a stop and the red light shaped like a battery comes on. I burst into tears.

I am not one to burst into tears for something like this. I am a pretty strong woman. At least, that is what all of my friends tell me. Up until recently, I could probably count on one hand the times I have cried for myself. Cry in a movie...all the time; cry at Hallmark commercials...sure, I'll admit to that. But for me? Hardly. But lately, I find myself fighting back tears quite a bit. I am overwhelmed. I wake up in the morning too early and for a few brief seconds, I feel normal. Then, as if someone flipped a switch on, I feel the current of stress, fear and panic start to course through my body. I am so stressed out that I have constant chest pain. Yes I have been to the doctors, I was just there last week for an annual check-up and mentioned the chest pains so now have a requisition for an EKG.

There have been a few times in my life where I have wondered where my breaking point is. You know, the point where you don't care anymore and just fall to the floor wherever you may be, and let the men in white jackets cart you off. I remember thinking that very thought one day many years ago while I was walking through the mall with one or all of my children in tow. I don't recall what was going on in my life, why I was feeling so on edge, but I remember coming to the conclusion that it was simply pride that was keeping me upright. I didn't want to look like an idiot in a public place. I am not sure what it is keeping me upright this time. I fell in the mall in June, slipped on a puddle of water in my flip flops, and it wasn't all that embarrassing. So now I've broken down that barrier, I could do it again without much thought.

Anyhow, I digress.

So I sit here in the car, crying. I get a grip and call my son. As soon as I hear his voice, I blubber again. I explain the problem and ask him to call me a tow truck. He does and then calls back to tell me they're on their way and to ask if I'm ok. I lie and tell him I am ok. But when I hang up, all I can think about is how I can't afford this. I am pretty sure it's the alternator and I know from past experience that this is not going to come in much under $400. That plus the tow, which I will pay full price for because I hadn't gone and gotten BCAA yet, will pretty much clean me right out. I call the place I had an interview and tell them I won't be able to make it. As I wait in the van, it starts to get cold. I was playing with some buttons on the console two days ago, that said 'vent'. But when I pushed them, I couldn't figure out what they did. I kept pushing them and, finally, realized they opened and closed the side windows at the very back of the van. Then one wouldn't close. The buttons, both of them, quit working. So now cold, wet air is coming in on the passenger side. As the minutes tick away and thousands of cars blast by me, I am getting colder and colder. By the time I've been here an hour, I am freezing. My son texts me to ask if they've come yet and I text back 'no'.

I finally dial 411 and get the number for the tow truck company. When I ask how long it will be, she tells me they haven't sent one yet because my son said I didn't have a credit card and they were waiting confirmation of where I was getting it towed to see if it was somewhere they could bill through. Great. He didn't tell me that. So I tell them where I want it towed and they tell me they will put me into the system. I am anticipating another hour-long wait but about 15 minutes later, a tow truck goes slowly by on the right-hand shoulder, then keeps going. I figure he is going to have to take the exit up ahead and double back to me. He couldn't make it over to the left shoulder because of traffic. A few minutes go by and then he pulls up in front of me and I get to climb into the cab of his truck where there is hot air blasting out of the vents. Heaven. Pure heaven.

We drop the van off at the mechanics and then he takes me to a bank machine where I pull out a hundred and give him almost all of it. My son calls me to say he is going to bring me his car. Bless his little heart. I wait for him at a coffee shop and soon he pulls in in his Jeep and is girlfriend is right behind him in his Jetta. They are moving in together today, into an apartment in Yale Town. This is out of their way and inconvenient; I am so very grateful. We hug and I get the keys and then they leave in a hurry to get downtown. I get into the Jetta and decide to continue my trip downtown. I am too late for the interview, but I also planned to drop in on a temp agency that is hiring for the Olympics.

By the end of the day, I know my van is going to cost $413 to fix, and that I have a job starting sometime in January at the Olympics. I will be supervising a team of people who will be posted, one to a hotel, to make sure that Olympians are being transported to their venues on time. WOOT! I can't wait. Now I just need some temp work in December. OR, you can contribute to keeping me from living out of my van by using the 'donate' button above. I got that idea from a starving actor friend. :)
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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