Once upon a time, a lady and man decided they needed one more child to complete their family. They kissed, and 9 months later, in the spring of 1969, a bouncing baby boy was born. They named him Tom. Being typical parents, they had dreams for their child. They envisioned him reaching adulthood and settling into a comfortable life with a beautiful wife who would cook gourmet meals for him. They anticipated the day when this lovely couple would produce grandchildren and carry on the proud family name.
Their wishes were met. Kinda. The son did indeed marry, and he assures his wife often that she is beautiful. The baby puke on the faded sweatshirt doesn't detract from her smiling face. He is grateful for the lukewarm hotdogs and mushy french fries she points out to him when he drags himself home from his 14 hour work day. The children this couple created prove that the lineage hasn't disintegrated.
What the parents didn't have knowledge of is how thoroughly entertaining their daughter-in-law would find their son. Or how specifically he would learn to pray to God for needs in his life. Or how their son would grow up to be a man who truly, absolutely, without a doubt, honest-to-goodness, 100% could not care less what people think of him. Or how those three things would intertwine to present themselves available for this post.
About 4 years ago, gas prices began to increase. Tom's day job is only 6 miles away from home, but the extra jobs are a much greater distance. He was looking for a vehicle that would get better gas mileage. His prayer was for "a car that gets at least 40 miles to a gallon, and isn't more than $300".
Meet LC. Short for Little Car, she's a Tri-tone Ford Festiva. She gets about 44 miles to a gallon, and she was purchased with $300.
She came to us with exhaust needs, chipped paint and rust spots, misapplied primer, numerous scratches and dents, a glittered Jesus window decal, and a KILLER stereo system.
He threw in the pose for free.
A consultation with the local repair shop informed him that the proper requirements for the exhaust system would run roughly $300. Tom invested in some metal ductwork straps, a tomato soup can, a $30 part from Auto Zone, a few coat hangers, and an afternoon lying in the muddy front yard with his new purchase propped up on blocks.
For the record, yes I do think this is a sexy man.
He talked about painting the car. We warned him that he might come home from work one day and find himself a victim of a homemade version of Pimp My Ride, except I can't stand that phrase, so we'd have to call it something else.
But wait, you say. It's impossible to take a 4 passenger Festiva and convert it into a 52 passenger school bus. You would be correct in that assumption, as far as I know. This school bus created some problems for the good citizens of our town - and specifically our home - one sunny summer day in 2006.
Tom walked outside to collect Gabe from the school bus following his summer day program, and when he didn't return after several minutes I went to look for him. Imagine my surprise when I opened the front door and was greeted with Tom's legs - hanging out the passenger side door, car rolling backwards down the street. Attached to the driver's side...the school bus.
Apparently, after letting Gabe out of the bus, the driver was attempting to back up in the street as there was a vehicle too close to the front of the bus. He unknowingly locked on to the front left side of Tom's car. Upon realizing what was happening, Tom tried to reach in his car and put it in neutral, but the bus driver didn't wait for him, so the car, and Tom, were being dragged backward. Since the door was open when the car started moving, and Tom's weight was on the curb side, the door caught in the grass, and bent the door back. This was the point where I exited the house. This was the point where I panicked. This was the point where Tom managed to get out of the car in one piece and commence to speaking a wee bit forcefully to the driver. Which was the point I disappeared into the house to see if the kids were located within, or out of, earshot. Which was the point I began stiffling my laughter.
A few more dings and dents, but the door was still in working order.
What's a little bumper damage when you already have the license plate wired on with a coat hanger? And the window duct taped to keep out the snow? And the headlight shrouded in clear plastic to keep the rain from pelting the bulb so hard it needs to be replaced after every storm?
For 3 winters, the heater hasn't worked well enough to even defrost the windshield, let alone keep Tom warm. He finally decided to shell out the $91 dollars and get the blower fixed so now he won't freeze to death driving in the winter.
There was a new bus driver the next day. We think it might have something to do with the fact that we pointed out to his superiors that the offending driver was wearing big, black sunglasses - the kind that the eye doctor gives you after your eyes have been dilated. The kind that Stevie Wonder wears. The kind that might have drawn the attention of the police that day.
For two hours, the bus sat in front of our house while the police gathered the information they needed. A second school bus had to be summoned to finish delivering the remaining students. Our street was front and center in our quaint little town.
As for the car...well, she's still puttering around just fine. She's racked up a quarter million miles. She leaks oil. She has a fresh set of 12 inch tires waiting for her in the basement if she needs them. She even faithfully sports Ron Paul messages. She is a trooper.
And my husband...give him duct tape, xray film separators, wire and tin snips and he's a happy man. Throw in his Jimmy Buffett CDs to crank on the amazing stereo, and he's ecstatic. And he's aaaaaalllllllllllll mine.