Sorry, Charley

Well, I was handling my car being stolen pretty well until the insurance adjuster came into the picture. Not that it’s his fault, but he dashed any and all hope of keeping my car.

I love you and will miss you, little car!

It was stolen but I got it back. I was convinced that meant everything was going to be fine. In fact, back to normal was what I was going for. Turns out, not the case. :(

Jeremy captured me cleaning out the front seats after a long day. It’s not flattering, but I think it pretty much captures how I’m feeling about the whole mess…

One ticked, drained greenhorn...

The little %!@#s not only stole and wrecked it causing moderate cosmetic damage on all four sides, but cracked two engine mounts and bent the frame making it dangerous to drive and very expensive, if even possible (aka worth) fixing.

I told my boss about the damage. He said to me, with a solemn face, “I’ve worked on a lot of cars. With frame and engine damage, that dude is headed for the squisher.”

It leaves me only one option: get a new one and let him go. So, I thought I’d do a little ode to my car, Charley, to help remember the good times.

Rather than this memory.

He was made in 2001. I bought him as my first car in 2004 in the middle of a hurricane, Hurricane Charley (hence his name :) ). My Mom helped me get a fantastic interest rate and I drove off the lot ecstatic. The first thing I did was pick up my little brother and go for a ride.

And then over seven years,

  • It drove me around college in Orlando.
  • It moved me between apartments.
  • It came with me to Jacksonville to finish college.
  • It visited Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
  • It shuttled countless friends and family.
  • It chauffeured Alaska.
  • It got me to work every day.
  • It drove all around Jacksonville looking for our first home.
  • It served as my getaway vehicle and emergency supply kit.

But, he was also starting to show his age. An oil leak here, and new catalytic converter there…stuff I knew would either mean ongoing repairs or a new car eventually. I didn’t remember until writing this post that making peace with Charley being replaced was on my list of 28 birthday goals for this year. Oh how funny (a term I use loosely), I had no idea how it would play out.

Speaking of funny things, I have to tell you that while I was cleaning out Charley so he could be towed away, I was able to really take notice of the inside damage and missing items. Among them, some pretty painful but humorous nuggets emerged:

  1. The car thieves stole 52 cents from the change compartment but left $100 that they must not have noticed. Of course, it was in the car to be taken to the bank the next day and luckily I was able to get it there. No more money AT ALL in my house or cars.
  2. They tried to steal my stereo. You can see the pry marks, scratched console and missing buttons as proof. But my stereo is a stock model from 2001, includes a cassette player and won’t play in anything but a VW. Why bother?
  3. In trying to steal the stereo, the cassette in the player (which I forgot was even in there) must have popped out because I found it lying in the car. Apparently they aren’t Broadway fans and so they left The Secret Garden tape behind.
  4. One of my favorite quotes is, “Despite seat belts, handrails and sensible shoes, each day is like doubling down on good hand and letting it ride.” To reflect this, I bought a plastic souvenir poker chip on my first trip to Vegas in 2006 and it has hung on my rear view mirror ever since. They stole it.
  5. I think the crowning achievement of these criminals was a plastic purple turtle clipped to the passenger visor that held a fragrance gel. Really? The purple turtle was what you wanted? I would’ve given it to you. Just, wow.

And, in the spirit of cruel but true, I have one final picture. While cleaning out my car, I went to get my parking pass for work:

Hanging right in front of the empty ribbon where my poker chip used to be, it reads, "PLEASE LOCK YOUR VEHICLE TO PREVENT THEFT." Thanks for the tip.

I’m sorry, Charley! I should have protected you. But I failed you and we were taken advantage of. So, this was the scene today:

I'm actually glad I wasn't home for this. Jeremy was there to document it for me.

Now, I guess I’m in the market for a car. I don’t want to be and I plan to be extremely picky and broody about it. I’m hoping I’ll find something that will spark some excitement and represent some forward progress.

Shopping for new things (even it will most likely be new-to-me, not new) should be fun and exciting, right? Why yes, kind salesman, I would like to test drive that Boxster. Sure, grab the Hummer keys while you are going over there!

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One response to “Sorry, Charley

  1. Pingback: Our 3rd Housiversary | Greenhorn Living

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