Friday, December 11, 2009

Stuck in Sarasota with the Atlanta Blues Again


Written 11 December, 2009

Stuck in Sarasota with the Atlanta Blues Again

Whoever said when it rains it pours was not frigging lying.

Back on the home front, things continued to deteriorate. I realized, a day or so after the gas was turned on, that the hot water was just not getting hot.

A check revealed the gas flame going full bore and water pouring onto the ground outside from the pressure relief valve.

Which means both the gas and water bills are going to be out of sight. I turned off the intake to the water heater and shut off the gas.

Sweetie said, "It's a good thing the gas company put in that new meter back in October, or else your gas bill would have been off the chain."

She's right. But dammit!

My refigerator is in pieces in the middle of the floor. Best guess from my amateur refrigerator repairman is a slow coolant leak. I made a trip to the Sears scratch and dent store near me; looking like I can replace it for about $450 (my criteria: top freezer, icemaker, glass shelves, door racks that will hold a gallon jug of milk).

My washing machine seems, after all, to be all right. I'm still running it through cycles to clear out the gunk that was deposited in the tub, and a pump is making a suspicous noise, but it seems to work.

When I took the car cover off my beautiful Miata, I discovered it had grown a healthy crop of mold. I had to wait a day for the rain to stop, and then took the Simple Green and Lysol to it and cleaned it up (fortunately, no discoloration). Then I started it and turned on the air conditioner to dry it out.

It overheated. Fortunately, I checked on it and I think I turned it off before any damage was done. But it's inoperable until I solve the overheating problem.

Yesterday I decided to escape the misery that has become my home. I made a ridiculous bid on a motorcycle on eBay, won it, packed an overnight bag, and took off down I-75 toward Sarasota Florida in my little 1993 Isuzu pickup.

I almost made it.

When I was about 30 minutes from my destination I phoned the seller to tell him I was nearly there. Just as he answered there was a noise under the hood and all the lights on the instrument panel came on.

Uh-oh.

I coasted the truck to a stop, phoned AAA, and stood, freezing, in the grass beside the truck as traffic whizzed by at seventy miles an hour. No way was I going to sit in the truck; not with that traffic!

The wrecker came within 15 minutes. Thirty minuteslater, I arrived in stately grace at my destination. The son of the seller looked at the truck with me and we determined the cam wasn't turning. We both assumed it was a broken came chain-- until he took off the valve cover and saw the camshaft had broken, ruining the head.

The repair would cost more than my truck is worth, so I decided I would just pull out the stereo gear and abandon it. He expressed an interest in it for his son, so I just gave it to him.

The seller was most nice. After we finished our business he found a nearby hotel and drove me there.

Then the real fun began.

I thought I might rent a pickup or van one-way and drive back to Atlanta. The price was reasonable and the van was available, but there was a problem. I have a debit card rather than a credit card.

"We don't accept credit cards."

I asked if they would accept Sweetie's credit card (I had checked with her and she said it was okay.)

"Sure, if she presents it at the counter."

That was a problem, I said, as she was 1400 miles away in New York.

No dice, they said.

Grrr.

I was on the internet late last night and again at six this morning, exploring my options. They're not pretty.

I can fly home tomorrow (no cheap flights today), rent a car in Atlanta, drive eight hours to Sarasoa (again) on Monday and go back home on Tuesday.

I can rent a van here in Florida, drive to Atlanta, drive back to Sarasota, and take a flight home.

I can fly home and have the motorcycle shipped at a cost of maybe $400.

I can take the motorcycle apart today (it' s a small one), ship it to Atlanta via UPS, and fly home tomorrow.

I can panic-buy a vehicle here in Sarasota.

Or I can spent 16 happy hour riding home on a Greyhound bus.

Yeah, I know, the last two options don't make much sense.

But neither does the no debit card rule.

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