Recently my granddaughter was taught a rather painful life lesson. Out on her own these days living in Phoenix, she purchased her first car. “It was exactly as I imagined it, Nana” she wrote. Reading on I would learn the object of her affection was a lime green VW convertible advertised as “used but in excellent condition”. Pictures were shared via phone and email showing the glistening paint and the clean interior. Her parents suggested she take the car to a mechanic to see if it was mechanically sound. Being young, she asked a friend to take a look at it instead. Apparently he professed to have some knowledge of cars, most probably limited to where the gas nozzle is inserted. After pulling at this and poking at that the want-to-be mechanic declared the engine looked “tight”. By tight I do not believe he was referring to the engine being too large for the space it was occupying, rather that it looked pretty good. Are people under twenty-five still speaking English in this country? I’m sure someone else desperate to understand what the hell these kids are speaking has written a dictionary of common words and phrases. If not, I’ll have to look into it.
For the first month or so the car worked fine. Perfect for the arid Arizona climate, at least until the hot blast of summer heat moves in, the convertible top stayed mostly in the down position. This allowed for the desired hair blowing in the wind effect, while adding a layer or two of golden color to her already tan torso. Please no comments about tanning. No one has beaten the drum on this subject more than I have. In the end, once they’ve flown the coop the best you can hope for is they’ll pick up a brain cell or two along the way and figure things out for themselves. Then the knocking began. I’m still not clear as to what the knocking led to as far as a diagnosis, but in the end the cure was to run $4,500 and change on a car she took out a $7,000 loan for. Sigh. It is an extremely harsh lesson to have to continue paying for something you cannot use, but life has a way of teaching of us even if we are resistant to the lesson being taught.
It brought to mind a VW bug I sold when my kids were in elementary school. The car served me well, but it was time for a larger family car. Problems, some fixed and others needing to be fixed, existed with the aging engine and so I placed an ad in the local paper for a low amount adding “sold as is”. Bugs were extremely popular back then and quickly responses came in. The first on the scene was a kid still dealing with acne accompanied by his two friends. I referred to them as Larry, Moe and Curly Joe. The largest of the three, not the buyer, knew everything there was to know about the combustion engine. At least he believed he did. Since what I know would fit in a thimble with ample space left over for a family of five, I wasn’t going to argue with him. Back then the car was probably “bitchin'” rather than tight, but whatever they called it after a short deliberation the prospective buyer handed me some bills and the pink slip was exchanged.
Before he left he had trouble starting it. At that point I reiterated the car had problems and if he wanted his money back this would be the time to say so. Nodding his head no, the engine turned over. The die was cast. Watching them tooting off down the street like a cabbage eating elephant, I wondered if I’d seen the last of them. It turned out I had not.
For the rest of the weekend I fielded calls about the car, thankful when Monday rolled around and the ad ceased its run. Three weeks or so later Curly Joe gave me a ring. Nyck, nyck, nyck. The car, it seemed was dead and deader. I apologized. More, apparently, was expected. The $100 or so dollars he’d given me was well spent at that juncture. As badly as I felt about his situation, having turned away so many other potential buyers I didn’t feel obliged to return his money. Fair is fair. Trying to offer some assistance, I suggested he contact junk yards. VW’s part out well and if it was that serious of a problem perhaps he could part it out for far more than he paid for it. I couldn’t see him nodding his head no, but had a feeling he was.
Again, I apologized and wished him luck. I couldn’t see him making hand gestures, but had a feeling he was. The day after the phone call was a warm and breezy summer Saturday. I was looking forward to working in the yard and adding the new plants I’d purchased to the ones already blooming in the large bed around the palm tree out front. Pulling on my short overalls and a hat, I went out to the garage and opened the door. There in the middle of my planter on top of my beautiful irises and lovely daffodils was the VW. Really?
The keys were in the ignition. Amazingly it turned over and I drove back over my lovely garden deciding never to watch another episode of the Three Stooges. An easy decision as I never watched them before I made it. I placed another ad the following week. A neighbor stopped by to look at the car. Relating the story as it happened he looked under the hood and immediately made me an offer. The problem it turned out wasn’t as hard a fix as Moe had thought it was. New paint was added, and new interior. For several years until we moved I would see him head off to work in the old car. She was looking good. Too bad Curly hadn’t had more patience.
There is nothing sneaky or deceptive about “as is”. If you don’t choose to investigate thoroughly before handing over your money to any stranger placing an ad, then in the end it is your bad. Tough lessons life dishes out, and I’m still learning them daily. I wish you could pick your children and theirs up every time they fall. Sometimes, however, they must do it themselves, dusting themselves off and getting a Band-aid from the drawer. Life is full of potholes. The easiest deterrent to learning to avoid them, is to fall into one.
Summer is sneaking up on us. I love egg salad sandwiches as well as tuna on a hot night when cooking seems like a chore. Combining the two, doubly good.
Egg Salad and Tuna Sandwiches with Tomato and Avocado Relish
4 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
2 12 oz. cans solid white tuna, drained
1 tsp. Meyer lemon infused olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. pepper
Dash garlic salt
4 Tbsp. chopped dill pickles
2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
8 slices bread
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10-12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop finely.
In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, olive oil, mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir in chopped egg, dill weed, pepper, garlic salt, dill pickles, sweet pickle relish, and red onion. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Tomato and Avocado Relish
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. Ranch dressing
2 Tbsp. red wine vinaigrette
Salt and pepper
Mix together in small bowl. Serve on top of tuna on sandwich.
Lightly spread one side of each slice of bread with mayonnaise. Top that side with tuna/egg mixture. Place tomato avocado relish on top and finish with lettuce and second slice of bread.