Way too much sun today. Hopefully it will turn out just fine.
The doorbell rang 3:30, 3:45ish.
My first impulse was to point apologetically at the no solicitors sign and he was leaving but something propelled me to open the door and call after the guy.
I’m sorry, could you say that again?
Are you interested in selling your minivan?
Okay, that van had been sitting dead in the driveway for two years now, the battery drained well away, with us wondering, should we try to sell, should we donate, should we let it sit and pretend someone’s home when we’re not but hey look at that thing, it’s not fooling anyone. The cobweb on the side handle is a dead giveaway if the dust isn’t and we weren’t about to use drought water on it.
It’s got a bad transmission and a bad axle, I warned them, and look at those (slightly sagging) tires. It’s a PNO. (Planned Non Operation status with the DMV.) I was in front of the driveway now, talking to what turned out to be a grampa and his son while the son’s wife managed the small children in Grampa’s truck.
The son’s family had just lost their apartment when the landlord had died. And they needed a car with carseat space.
Father and son jumpstarted the thing and with the dashboard alive now, Grampa got a look at the mileage, which if I remember right was 115k–not bad at all for an ’00. And it was an Lxi, a nice model, leather seats, heated in front. (The young wife did not look impressed on that last part, but even in this climate I know from experience that she will like it more than she knows yet.)
Grampa was doing the buying and he asked me for a price. I said $500 off the top of my head. Turns out the bluebook for poor condition was $1200, but you know? They would have a lot of work to do on that thing and we both knew it.
Grampa wanted to test drive it around the block and I warned him that if he pulled it out of the driveway it might not shift to go back in again; he was willing to take that risk. He pretty much had to to at least see for himself.
He came back a few minutes later with, Axle?
I reiterated it had one bad axle.
Richard just happened to be working from home today, a rare thing, and I was really glad he was there. His conference call ended and he joined us a moment and pointed out that there were disability plates on the thing and you cannot transfer a title with those on.
And thus began the mad scramble: Friday afternoon. It’s after 4:00. The closest DMV was two cities away across rush hour traffic. The son pulled out a screwdriver (do men carry these, like, everywhere? Like a woman’s bottomless purse? But then wait, Richard does too in our glove compartments. Okay) and he got the plates off the van for me. After saying for two years that we should, I was at long last going to the DMV to have them switch the handicapped plates to the Prius and then the other one would be free to go.
Of course there was an accident on the freeway. C’mon, quit rubbernecking, people….
I got there before five. I actually got in that door.
Her weekend was just about to start and the facility was nearly empty. The DMV lady smiled and handed me a form to sign and a fistful of screwdrivers to take the plates off the Prius, with a, “They BOUGHT that?!” after I described the minivan. I wondered about my hand strength and she wished but said they weren’t allowed to help me. Well that makes sense, okay.
So I got out there and swapped the plates and the dour security guard let me back in and I made it and it was even still before five.
Where are the other plates?
Ooooooh (facepalm)… I apologized for my poor hearing, went back out there with just one screwdriver of theirs this time–they have to let me back in with that, right?–unscrewed the handicapped plates again and the security guard opened the door again and even cracked a smile this time. I thanked him.
I would have gotten the car washed if I’d known. I would have at least washed the plates of the van if I’d known. A few small crumbles of dirt and old rubber from the frames fell repeatedly from the sets of plates, and of course my Prius fob picked today to die: taking it apart to enter with the tiny physical key embedded in it is a fingernail-breaking, long hard process when you’re watching every second on the clock and I simply carried the screws around in my hand rather than trying to put them down inside a cupholder. Because of course today is the day I wore a skirt with no pockets. For the first time, it’s new. With a silk blouse. I was dressed a tad frumpy yesterday and I’d tried to make up for it today. Grease and driveway oils come out, right?
I got out of there at 5:17, the security guard opening that door one last time. They can rush you really well without an appointment when nobody else in their right mind shows up near 5:00 on a Friday afternoon.
They did not give me the van plates back. It was a PNO.
The height of rush hour home: just set the car at coast and brake as needed. Past the bridge construction…
The family came back. The van had no plates. You can legally drive a PNO for one day at point of sale to pick up new plates and registration, and our transfer of title will protect them should they be pulled over for no plates that day, and so they left the car here and will pay for it Monday. Monday I will go to the DMV myself with my sale of title form on the pink slip.
Cleaning out the car, I found one of my kids’ high school class schedules tucked in a compartment in the back. That car’s had so many good memories. And now, with a grandpa watching the mechanics on that thing, a new family will grow up with it for as long as they need to.
Nice people. And it feels like they were who it’s been sitting there waiting for all this time. I expect Monday to go smoothly.
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