Saturday morning I left for Clearlake (again). I'd been getting weird vibes and feeling nervous all morning, like there was something "wrong", but I couldn't put my finger on anything. I got onto the freeway, and was doing 70mph through San Leandro (about 10 minutes out from home), when a loud "PING" somewhere in or under the engine got my attention. At first I thought it was just a rock, but then I started having problems maintaining speed. She'd been rather sluggish and jerky when I accelerated onto the freeway, but this was different... suddenly I felt that something was not connected right to the gas pedal. I pulled off the freeway, called Triple-A from a gas station, and got a tow home. I HAD to get to Clearlake that day, as I had people coming to finish clearing out Grandma's house on Sunday. Fortunately, my son and his girlfriend were coming up later in the day, so I got a ride with them. I had to come home Sunday night instead of Monday, but that was okay. Whew.
When we got to Grandma's house Sunday morning, we found the back door and screen wide open and the outside doorknob missing. Someone had obviously broken in, but it couldn't be seen from the street so the police driveby hadn't noticed it (assuming they DID drive by as requested). Fortunately, the valuables that had been in obvious places were already removed, so whoever broke in probably didn't get anything. This was confirmed when we found various hidden valuables during the cleaning process, including the silverware (real silver), and a piece of folded tinfoil stuck into a bunch of cards on the kitchen table that concealed almost $400 in cash! I'd have missed that, but the two people I hired to help are VERY honest, and while Jim could easily have concealed it, he quickly brought it to my attention. We also found my grandfather's Bronze Star, another box of letters he wrote to Grandma while he was at Camp Roberts and then in Italy during WWII, and several small things my mom wanted. The only thing we didn't find was Grandma's "good" jewelry, and that might be in the safe deposit box, or she might have given it away or sold it. She had several jewelry boxes full of stuff, but I took that out for safekeeping before she died, and most was only costume anyway. We're not going to worry about it.
When I told my mom about the money, she told me to keep it, and use it for repairing the van. She is the executor of Grandma's estate, so she could do that. She said that I'd been busting my behind doing all the work for both her and Grandma (which is true), and that I should be compensated for the wear and tear on the van. Thank you!!
So Monday I took the van in to have her repaired. She'd been running very rough for a few weeks (yes, it started during all this running around to Clearlake), we had leaking coolant, and I figured she needed a tuneup, but we didn't have the cash. I did give her an oil change earlier this month AND bought a new battery last week, but neither solved the problem. Now, between the money from Grandma's house and Stuart paying his April rent (finally!), I actually didn't have to worry about the cost too much. Turned out the sparkplugs and ignition coil were almost dead, so they did the tuneup and replaced everything, to the tune of $500. When we went to pick her up, we found out that he hadn't known about the leaking coolant hose when he called but the guys fixed it along with everything else. Since he'd already given us the estimate and it had been approved, he couldn't charge us for the coolant hose replacement, which would have been another $50-55, so we got that for free! I'd have felt bad except that the diagnostic alone was $95, which is rather high, so I didn't feel they got ripped off.
Now the van is running beautifully (knock on wood!), I'm DONE with Grandma's house and almost done with the rest of her business, and when I go up again in two weeks (on Mother's Day weekend), I should be able to relax a bit more and spend more time with my mom. She is doing extremely well, and the doctor has expressed cautious agreement that she might be able to go home by the end of May. woo-HOO!!!
I'm feeling extremely blessed now. I didn't have an accident when the van conked; I was able to get to Clearlake on schedule and meet my obligations; we found everything we wanted and/or needed to find in Grandma's house, which is now OUT OF MY HAIR; I got the money to fix the van and the work has been done; AND I got to spend time with Stuart and Kori. I feel like I've lost 40 pounds!!! :-)
Thanks to all, living and otherwise, who made this possible!! And thanks to all of you who have been sending prayers, energy, and general good juju to me and my family.
A blessed Beltaine/May Day to all!
And just to make this a slightly gothy post, I give you this pic I made on some random site awhile back. The funny thing is that last year I bought a black strapless sundress with pinky/purple skulls-and-crossbones on it! This would totally be me, if only I was drawn that way... ;-)