Not a Total Loss

You ever have that car?  That car with all the bodily fluid stories?!? 

Ewww…that’s grody!  Why would you even bring that up??  And no, the term “grody” never goes out of style.  And no, don’t even look at ME like that.  You’re the one who brought up the whole bodily fluids thing.

I?  I was simply gonna mention about that car…the car that’s your very first brand spankin’ new car.  The one you still remember fondly.  The car that got you through thick and thin and was like a member of the family.  You ever have one of those?  I did.  I still do.  It’s going on thirteen years old now and was recently declared a total loss by the insurance company as a result of hail storm damage. 

When I got the news, my heart squeezed up.  My car?  A total LOSS?!?  But this car is FILLED to the brim with memories; It can’t be a TOTAL loss!  Admittedly, it’s no longer brand new and sure as heck isn’t spankin’ anything these days, but this was the car we brought a new baby home from the hospital in and then it subsequently held all of the different types of car seats for growing bodies the world has ever seen – until we got beyond car seats and those once-tiny bodies now sit in the front seat and fiddle with the radio. 

My daughter said her first sentence in this car!  (“Doo dees, doo dees,” all while waving her hand reverse-style like the Queen of England in the general direction of the drop-down video screen.  Turns out she was saying, “Do this.  Do this.” while trying to get us to put in a Baby Einstein video for the car ride to daycare.  We just couldn’t figure it out for a full two weeks because of her Latvian accent.) 

All the lost teeth that car has seen!  All the bloody noses.  All the triumphant sports replays discussed with teammates over Slurpees in the back seat.  Until the red Slurpees got spilled everywhere and certain people banned Slurpees in the back seat. 

It even kept us warm and dry during that weird have-to-pee-in-a-bottle-every-time-we’re-in-the-car phase some folks in the family went through. 

And speaking of warm and dry…there were all those rainstorms, even that one tornado, tons of snowstorms that we came safely through because of this car.  In fact, I remember one time driving home in a snowstorm from the Colorado Mountains; the visibility was about as far as my windshield wipers.  As a result I ended up driving down the middle of two lanes because I couldn’t see the lane markers or anything else.  I was also hyperventilating because I don’t usually drive in the mountains in the snow because it makes me hyperventilate.  Hubby had come up separately in his car from a business trip, so he was driving his car home while I was driving my car.  And hyperventilating.  (Did I already mention about the hyperventilating?  Seems like I did.  But it’s important to mention.)

I had a sorority sister visiting and she was co-pilot.  Sonny and Sissy were in the back seat.  Sonny had spent the whole glamorous Mountain Week-end puking ON Sissy.  So it came as no surprise that during this night ride home in the snowstorm when the death plummet off the side of the mountain was a very real thing, Sissy developed the throwing up sickness.  To which I say: thank the Good Lord for sorority sisters willing to man airsick bags which look remarkably like Ziploc freezer bags, gallon-sized.  And thank the Good Lord as well, for cars that keep these very same bags in stock for just such an occasion.

It was a good car.  It was also a good bag – one my sorority sister even tried to hold on to, filled with upchuck and zipped up tight, the whole time reiterating its “good bag” status and how we should “keep it” in case we needed it again.  NO!!  GET RID OF IT!!!  Which she eventually did, flinging it out the window where it was promptly caught by an updraft and spun off into the night.

With all that in mind, you can understand why I experienced such great relief when I found out that if I was willing to take a slightly smaller Total Loss check from the insurance company, I could KEEP the car.  (Which is what I ended up doing because A. I had no other car to drive and B. I of course wanted all those fun memories to live on – that Ziploc Puke Frisbee story is a total gas, isn’t it?!)

Yay!  Nuthin’ embarrassing about a car full of memories, a big red “Totaled” stamp on your title and money in the bank. 

Huh.  But now that I think about it, you know what’s weird about all those car memories?!  They DO involve an awful lot of bodily fluids, after all. 

Hey, Honda!  This has got “commercial” written all over it, don’t you think?!?  There appears to be a market for bodily fluid stories pertaining to your Odyssey minivan line.  So call me.  We need to talk. 

Ziploc, you too. 

Sucktown, U.S.A.

My car has this nifty feature that I wanted to tell you about.

To activate it, first you must go shopping at Walmart for a few groceries.  And then, since you’re quickly running out of time before you need to pick the kids up at tennis practice, cave and buy all of the icecream-the-kids-have-been-begging-for-all-summer long.  Think to yourself: won’t I win allllllll of the nice mom points when I come skidding up to the tennis court in my twelve-year-old Honda Odyssey minivan, loaded down with frosty treats?!?

Next, place your temperature-sensitive purchases into the passenger side of your car because that’s the side in the shade and the temperature is 90 degrees.  Oh, and don’t forget to place your purse, your phone and your keys into the front seat while you’re at it.  We’ll call that the “secret sauce” of nifty feature activation.

It’s right about the time you’re playing Good Citizen and walking your cart to the cart corral that the nifty feature ACTIVATES! 

Lock.  Lock, lock, lock.  LOCK!!!

There.  All of the doors of the car are now locked.  It’s a “timeout” lock.  If the car has been unlocked – but the driver’s side hasn’t been accessed after a certain period of time – the car locks itself up again.


Welllllllcome to Sucktown, U.S.A. 

Population?  One.  Me.

What.  The.  HellamIsupposedtodonow?!??  I could call someone if my PHONE WASN’T LOCKED IN THE CAR!  I could unlock the car to get my phone IF MY KEYS WEREN’T LOCKED IN THE CAR!  I could ignore the whole mess and go shopping some more IF MY PURSE WASN’T LOCKED IN THE CAR!!!!


So I hot foot it back into Walmart and up to the Customer Service Counter.  I did originally consider begging a cellphone off of someone in the parking lot.  But that seemed weird.  I seemed weird.  Also, there’s always the possibility of getting cold sores with that approach.

Once I was at the counter, I had to explain what happened.  And ask if I could use their phone to call my husband.  But first, could I use their internet and a computer because I’m a total a$$ and have NO IDEA what my husband’s cell or work number is since it’s programmed into my phone…but I could look up his work website and get the phone number that way.  I’m smart like that.  And no, no kids or pets in the hot, locked car.  Just a bunch of melty ice-cream.  But thanks for asking. 

Problem Numero Uno with that approach was that they didn’t have a public computer or internet access available.  Problem Number Dos was that the public access phone was already being used by a customer who was trying to get someone on the horn who habla’d Español.  It seemed like it was gonna take a while. 

So the lovely, lovely customer service rep I had been speaking with let me borrow her personal cell phone to do my research and make my call.


And when I finally got Hubby on the line, I started to explain the whole mess and realized that the ice-cream was melting even faster as I did that.  So I closed with speedtalking, “I’m at the Walmart by home.The kids need to be picked up from tennis.The ice-cream is melting.I’m locked out of the car.JUST COME GET ME COME GET ME NOW!!!!”

I thanked the lovely Walmart Customer service rep again as I handed back her phone.  Then I walked out of the store and realized I hadn’t given Hubby a triangulation point. 


Knowing hoping Hubby is as clever as I am and would know to check outside the front entrance of the store for me, I settled down on a pallet of Miracle Gro potting soil to wait.

While I won’t go into further detail here, lemme just say that there is some crazy s**t that goes down in a Walmart parking lot.

Also?  I gotta get a job at Walmart because the 20-items-or-less cashier I always see there in the morning drove away from her shift in a LEXUS!  WTF??? 

By the time Hubby FINALLY pulled up (he said ten minutes on the phone; it was actually TWENTY! not clever enough, I’m afraid) I had convinced myself that people thought I was the saddest, most cut-rate ho EVER; Havin’ to hook her wares from “home base” on a pallet of potting soil.

So when I saw his car come ‘round the corner, I hiked up my shorts, crooked my leg and got into character.  The whole scene actually gave off more of a “gotta hinkle off to the bathroom now” rather than an “I’m lookin’ for my next John” vibe.  But now’s not the time to critique my acting ability. 

I said nothing, just hopped in as he slowed down.  I pointed at a lane in the parking lot and he drove me to my car and unlocked it using his set of keys.  Then drove away shouting, “Fuggedaboutit!  Don’t even mention it.  YOU’RE WELCOME!”

Isn’t he funny?!  He’s sooooooo funny!

But you know what’s NOT funny?  Sucktown, U.S.A. 

It SUCKS!  Don’t go there.  So beware of nifty locking features on your car.  BEWARE!