For those of you who bet on “February, 2006″…

… you’ve won the bet.

For those of you who didn’t have any money on it, mark your calendars, because today is indeed a day to remember.

You see, my friends, today is the day when I finally completed the journey from “middle class chex mix suburbian wife” to “poor white trash”. (Insert theme from Hee-haw here). I still have my teeth, but I also have a tire rim and a car seat on my front porch. As if that weren’t enough, I also have a rusted out car in my driveway. It has a car seat on the hood.

I have autombile grease under my fingernails and I smell like a eau de naval jelly mixed with sweat and rust (yes, rust has a smell).

What the hell was I thinking getting this car?

The best laid plans…

I started my day full of energy, ready to get a cost on shipping for some lucky eBayers who bought some of my extra Thing stuff. All I had to do (how many times must I say those words before I learn?) was get the heater out of the car and bring both parcels to UPS for shipping costs, e-mail them both the total amount due, and wait for PayPal to work its magic. Then I could deal with my own Thing issues (I think I need a new voltage regulator).

One would think, anyway.

So I get up at 8 and am outside, tools at the ready, by 9. I struggle about as much as I expected with the heater and wires, and by 11:30 (yes, 2 1/2 hours) have everything off the car. Giddy because for once something with the car didn’t go worse than I expected, I start to look at the seats in my car. They’re in pretty bad shape, really- white with those little dimples in them, except the little dimples are black with dirt. They’re ripped, the backs of the back cushions are in shreds, but I had wanted to keep them because I suspect this car was an Acapulco model and I have (had) naive dreams of restoring it to its original splendor. But as I look at the seats, they just look trashy. The project car came with a set of really nice black seats, and on a whim I figure, what the hell, I’ve got the tools out and I have to deal with the generator/voltage meter anyway, I’ll just switch them out.

The back three go great, but I cannot figure out why I can’t get the front two out. I start to look on the net for “how to remove VW 181 Thing front seats”, a search that proved totally and completely worthless. I finally realize that it’s simply a matter of strength; they’re jammed with grease and god knows what and I just need someone stronger than me to get them out. I cll Tom who, with much huffing and puffing and prying, gets them out (see, that’s where you guys have it pretty bad- you could never call up a friend and say, “come help me, I’m weak and need someone stronger than me to do something”.)

And I look down on the most godawful rusted out floor I could imagine.

The guy I bought this from claimed to have replaced the floor pans, and he seemed like a nice doddering old guy when I bought the car, so I believed him (stupid, stupid me). I knew that I would need to fix the areas around the pans, but I figured that as long as the floor itself was in decent shape I could get someone to replace some of the side metal and weld it to the pans.

What I now see that I have is a floor with eight inch rust cracks under where the seats were and a fine line of rust all around the bottom of the car. I fear that money is not the issue here; what the hell would a body shop weld the new floor pans to? Rusted metal to rusted metal isn’t easy to remedy.

I opted to leave the passenger seat out so I can show a welding shop what I need tomorrow, and after degreasing, sanding, and oiling the tracks for the driver’s seat, I can’t get the damn thing on the track. So, I cracked a beer and decided to head back to the same friend’s house where there’s at least outside lighting. Driving over there should be a hoot; pray that I don’t need to hit the brakes.

I had planned on giving the standard “no” when asked the package contained anything hazardous, but Tom pointed out that the gas heater could look a bit like a bomb (wires everywhere, big metal pieces, etc) should it go through any x-ray machine. If they check my front porch, which, right now, looks no different than a member of any militia’s would look, they’ll throw me in federal prison first and ask questions later.

From what I understand, battery acid is the main reason VW have rusted out floors. When I was little my parents had a bug that actually had the floors give way while my dad and his brother were driving down the parkway. To think they got rid of that car just because of that and I’m just hoping someone will fix my crappy floors, no matter the price. That’s not true, all my work is freelance and I have no money, so it does matter, but I need transportation more than I need a savings account, right?

Do they sell Naval Jelly by the gallon?

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.