Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter, Everyone!

It's not quite the perfectly beautiful day we usually get down here for Easter. A bit cloudy, maybe a rain shower here and there. Sunny in between, like it does.

Yesterday it rained cats and dogs all afternoon. But! Lucky lucky! The morning was pretty and sunny and dry. This was a Very Good Thing.

At 9am I was outside getting the scooter carrier off the Saturn with neighbor Tall D from across the street. All spiffed up, I was, ready to go with my friend H to the bank. The blue boxers were upon me as usual, and a plain gray t-shirt, flipflops. I'd added a necklace and earrings in honor of the mission. (Not in honor of the bank itself, you understand. Never felt that way about banks.)

I'd told H I'd be ready at 9am, come any time, I'll go with you to get the cash. Walking around with large sums of green, you often feel better if you're not alone.

So when H drove up and walked up to me and said, --Sorry, couldn't do it-- I about had a heart attack.

He saw my face and quick quick, he laughed and hugged me and said, --No no, it's okay, I already went, it's all done!--

I about had a second heart attack at that. A happy one, now.

Regular D is Tall D's partner. He came up from across the street.
--Ready to go?-- Regular D said to Tall D. They had some errands planned.

--Hold on. Do you have 5 minutes?-- I said. --I wanna buy your car.--

--Okay. We know. That's good.--

--No, I mean right now. I'm ready. Got the money.--


The errands could wait. heh!

Yes indeed. Folks, I am mobile once again. The lovely guys across the street have the hassle of selling a used car off their plate. Walter and I have the worry of me being immobile off our plate.

And all this came about because of the extraordinary generosity of our friend H and his wife J.

Here's how it happened.

H drove me to Sam's on Thursday. It was the monthly Pain Meds Refill Thursday. It's a bit of a drive, so we had time to talk. I filled him in on the trials and tribulations I was having arranging to get the funds to buy the car, how we'd had another timing setback on Tuesday.

That setback got me depressed enough that I called Walter to cry on his shoulder. He calmly told me he was pretty sure it would work out okay, and maybe it was time to take an extra prozac and just hit the sack for a while. I took his advice and slept and slept, many hours, more than a day. Woke up around midnight Wednesday night, ready to do battle once again.

Feeling better about it was good. Sure. But nothing had changed. The neighbors still needed to sell their car, and I was still carefully, deliberately, suppressing my fears of being without a vehicle. For a person with serious health problems, ones that often require ER visits, being unable to get around at will is not good. My friends were helping me, wonderfully, but what if they just weren't home when something happened to me?

Telling H all this, he understood. We go way, way back, their family and Walter and I. We met them when we bought the house in December 1996, because they lived across the street, same house the Ds live in now.

Here and there, they all three used to work for our little shipping business, especially H. He was full time and on our official payroll.

We've helped each other out lots of different ways back and forth over the years. H and his son Danny were the ones who drove all the way to Indiana to pick up Walter at Deaconess after his triple bypass. And then, brought Walter and came up and rescued me when the Saturn died in Titusville after the Swamp Trip a couple weeks ago.

H has a double bypass of his own, acquired just before we moved here when H was all of 42 or so. When he worked for us, he did more than drive a truck. Delivering furniture is a very physical line of work. He started turning blue on us here and there. Finally I told him I was too worried about his heart to want him to keep working, and talked him into applying for Social Security Disability.

That's a hard thing on a proud, conscientious, responsible, hard-working man like that. Very. But it was the right thing to do. His heart was simply too sick for him to keep on working. Not his fault. Killing yourself working is not good for your family.

I kept H on payroll throughout the year it took for Social Security to come through, paying him nominal sums to keep him qualified to stay on the company's health insurance plan. Having the power to do that for him, for that good man? Priceless. Priceless, people. One of the happiest events of my life.

He'd seen me during some of my own bad health events. He visited me in the hospital when I was in there for Poor Mr. Foot. He'd seen me when I so sick with allergies I was unable to talk, my brain just too befuddled to make words and sentences and push them out of my mouth.

Driving me around on Thursday, he asked if I was scared, being without a car. Yup. You bet. I was trying not to think about it, just be patient and keep trying to resolve the funding. But I was scared for sure, and so was Walter.

Heading back toward home, in between Sam's and the next stop, Walmart, H said --I'm going to tell you something I think you're going to like, okay? I talked to my wife about this. We want to tell you we'll lend you the money if you like, until you get your other money stuff straightened out. You can just pay us back when that happens. That way you'll have a car right away, so you don't have to worry any more.--

I was stunned.

Went through minor crying bouts five or six times.

Wanted to be tough and independent and say --Thank you, but I can't do that.--

I called Walter instead. He told me: --Tell H they just saved me a huge amount of stress and worry, and I'll thank them in person as soon as I get back.--

So I said...--Yes. And thank you both, from the bottom of my heart.--

And there he was, bright and early Saturday morning, walking up with a grin on his face and a huge wad of cash in his hand.

Oh boy! Grins all around. Oh, it felt like Christmas out there on our driveway!

We signed papers and wrote in VINs and odometer readings and counted out $7,800.00. H and Reg D love autos, and happily went over the car's Important Stuff It Has On It. Tall D and I aren't car folks, we like paperwork. I'd already downloaded and printed the Florida forms we needed, application for a certificate of title, all that stuff. Called Geico. Cancel the Saturn, add the Izuzu Axiom, print out the new proof of insurance.

The car was officially mine, but I wanted it properly registered and tagged, and wanted it Now.

So I took the title docs and drove off to the title agency that was open on Saturday, two blocks down from Sam's. Paid some outrageous sales taxes and fees, got my new tag, got a replacement disabled parking placard since the old one had run off somewhere. Got the paperwork finished, 100%.

And then? I celebrated by running errands.

Just a few stores down from the title agency was a little bitty Walmart I hadn't known was out there. Sprite Zero on sale, only $1 a bottle, yay! I only had enough money left for nine of them. But oh, I was a happy camper. Cause there I was, driving my OWN SELF in my OWN CAR once again! Putting bottles of cheap Sprite Zero in it and EVERYTHING!!!

Next came Sam's, Whole Foods, Home Depot, writing checks. The bank had informed me my latest deposit will clear Monday night, so the checks were good.

But the very first thing I did at Sam's was this: I got membership cards for all three of that bunch. H, J, and Danny The Big Giant Kid.

H said he'd gotten J a chest freezer a year ago and there was still no nice cheap good meat in it. A Sam's card would fix that. We used to always get them the cards when the business was going, I can't remember why we stopped.

But if they want Sam's cards again? Oh, yes. They'll get them. Every year from now until the end of never.

Got their temporary membership cards sitting in front of me now, just waiting for the next time H stops by. They can take those in and get their permanent photo cards whenever they like. Meanwhile, the temp cards are sitting there smiling up at me. Little reminders of what truly good people are all about.


Jan said...

Wow, k...wonderful news!

I'm happy for you!

You have the greatest neighbors and friends, and I know that your heart is full on this day! :)

Jean said...

Good for you... what a relief!
Good people draw good people.

Nancy said...

Hooray for H and his wife, two very good people. You never know, sometimes, how a kindness for another will return to you ten-fold. But it often does, at the most needful of times.

k said...

I am so blessed in the friends and neighbors department that it strikes me speechless at times. And the best ones of all? They keep living in the same house across the street.

Jan, oh. My cup runneth over. It reminds me of the Scooter Rescue, I think I'm fine and then I start getting all mushy and crying again. I didn't realize how scared I really was, being without a car, until I got one again.

Jean, Nancy - I hope I've been good to others. I try, you know? I'm not always such a good person, not at all. And sometimes it seems to me that the best people I know? They draw bad people too, predators trying to get over on them. And in their living goodness, sometimes the target doesn't want to see that it's a wolf in sheep's clothing...

So I just try to accept that I've been deeply blessed by these truly fine people, and to do right by them and others. I keep trying to do my best.

You probably can tell I'm still absorbing all this.

Pretty Lady said...

I'm so thrilled you have a car! And even happier to know that you've got good friends right across the street, looking out for you.

Absorbing the love of good people acts like an immune system support, like a buffer around you, getting between you and the Bad Past.

k said...


When I let myself open up to it, I can actually feel a physical shift take place.

It's easy now. I look back, especially far back, and it's almost impossible to understand why it was so very hard to allow that in my life back then.

And it's very sad, too.

I see it in others all around me. I know that as much as they suffer, they themselves probably can't yet understand the depths of their own pain and fear. Until they've lived without that, they have no basis of comparison.

Sometimes they look back at me and it's like seeing the eyes of an animal caught in the headlights, frozen in fear, knowing it may well die in the next few seconds, and yet imploring for help from those same lights.

I can let them know I understand - look back at them, let empathy and love flow back their way from me. Most of the time I can do no more than that.

But I remember seeing people flash that message at me, way back when, and it mattered to me. It gave me strength.

So I know it's not done in vain.