Author of Breasts Don't Lie

Posts tagged ‘Fiat’

Bad Hair Days

young-woman-trying-to-check-and-repair-her-broken-car-picjumbo-com (1)

I’ve had a two-year run of bad luck. Not horrific big bad luck but the kind of luck that wears away at you. I am the pebble in the middle of the roaring river eroding away into a mass of crankiness.

First there is my damnable car. Never ever buy a Fiat. Italian design does not make up for bad wiring and Hendricks Service Center. These people are incompetent. While the car does not meet the legal definition for a lemon, it makes my mouth pucker. I am on first name basis with a representative of Fiat who must regularly scour the FaceBook pages of all things Fiat for my posts.

“Emily, it’s me again.”

“Uh what’s the car doing?”

“Well, the engine shut off and I had it towed to Hendricks Fiat.”

An hour later, Emily called back. “They can’t find your car at Hendricks.”

She’s a nice young thing. I can hear her cringe over the phone when we talk. I don’t curse or yell but I am ready to drive the thing, I refuse to call it a car – that’s giving it too much credit, over a cliff.

Second, I have had a series of painful operations and medical procedures for the last eighteen months. I am not a ‘nice’ patient being the type who does extensive research beforehand. When I don’t understand something about my care, I ask for an explanation, throwing doctors’ schedules off. I will go and cry in a doctor’s waiting room alarming other patients if they ignore me. More effectively, I will write the NC Medical Board and call the insurance company when I receive substandard care. Probably wouldn’t want me as a patient either.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back, my back, was last week when my hair started falling out from all the stress. Really folks, I have chunks of hair saying ‘bye-bye’ to my scalp to clog my sink. I have learned to use a plumber’s snake. Fudsicles or other words. I’ve never had great hair except for 1998 and the first four months of this year. And today I am getting it cut off. Again.Whine, whine, whine.

This is sucky. I am in the pits except … I have friends. Wonderful crazy ass friends who commiserate and then don’t.

Friends who take me to the Angus Barn when I have two black eyes and a beard of bruises on my face. Parents covered their children’s faces as I approached. A 40ish man fell off his bar stool after one look at me. Not my problem.  I asked the waitress, “Do you have anything soft to eat?” It’s a steak and ribs place. “Can I have a straw for my Chardonnay?” My friends kept talking between my slurps of mashed potatoes and sips of wine. I guess he made it back on the bar stool. I felt Medusa powerful.

Friends who love me no matter how silly and self-indulgent I am, for a little while. Friends who care take.

“Take your painkillers.”

“No I can tough it out.”

“Take them now you’re being a pain in the ass.”

I have the ability to work, not as much or as thoughtfully as I would like but still work. I found a voice, my medicated voice sort of like Freud or Sherlock Holmes. Ergo, a 430-page manuscript full of sex and violence written last year titled “50 Shades of Meow” meets “The Mummy.”

I have a sister who talks to me. Really. Lots of families don’t talk. We don’t agree on a lot but we are connected to each other.

I have a body that I am sure somehow, someday, will become pain-free and mobile again. Soon. Maybe not in the way or to the degree I wanted but good enough.

I had the opportunity to love something, dancing tango, for years with an obsession that was quite obsessive. Did you want to know about my collection of matching satin shoes and handbags for each of my tango dresses? No I didn’t think so. I learned there is an arc for loves, things, and events in this life. I am learning to let go.

Bad luck. I wouldn’t wish it on you but if you have a streak of it, you’ll reach deep down to find a way through and that I wouldn’t give up for all the good luck in the world. Bad luck taught me to know myself.  Count the blessings of friends. Laugh at myself. Stand up for myself. Love myself in all my crankiness. I don’t wish it for you but give me a call if it happens to you. I’ll listen to you whine then kick your ass into gear.

Off to get a really short haircut.

Express to Crazyland

angry-woman

Two weekends ago, the red oil pressure light flashed on in my Fiat, a Barbie Doll of a car. Trying to get the car off a major avenue swarming with traffic before it stopped. The car said, “Arrivederci.” Too late. Ugh. I rolled to a stop fighting the urge to push the car into an intersection putting everyone out of their misery but good sense prevailed. I had “my miserable dung heap of metal” towed to the only dealership for miles around.

Thinking that I would call the next day, I walked to my office to have a friend pick me up. Not a hardship but not exactly love in the afternoon with my limp. Double ugh.

Thinking maybe some kind soul would have sent me a funny email to divert my mind from what I was calling “a cluster of magnificent proportions,” I opened up my inbox. My sister had sent me a message. Her email was short and pointed. She had tested positive for BRCA1. Crap. She told me to get tested STAT. Double crap.

Unable to get up with my sister, I searched the internet for information trying to avoid the doom and gloom predominant on the web.

My Russian Peasant Fatalism, first step to HuffyPuffyCrankyPerson, took over my being. If I am positive for the gene mutation, my chance of developing breast cancer by the age of 70 goes from the national 12% to 55-65%. Fuck. BRCA1 increases my chance of ovarian and peritoneal cancer too. I do need to get tested. Double Fuck.

How do you tell people about this? Did my sister sit on this for a while before telling me? No she sent the email after she found out that morning. Spunky gal.

I didn’t have that kind of fortitude. I sat on the secret for a week until I had tied my intestines into such knots that they went on strike. No intestinal movement until I told my doctor and my friends.

The doc’s return note said, “Make an appointment this week.”

In the mean time, I was dealing the Fiat fiasco. Renting a car in a snow storm. Calling the service department and getting nowhere. I wondered if their silence meant they had lost my car. I left a message asking if they had lost the car. No return phone calls except for a vague message of your car needs a “major engine overhaul.” How can a car need a major engine overhaul with only three years and 36,000 miles on it? Were they covering up losing a big appliance with the silence and vague message? Now, HuffyPuffyCrankyPerson was driving down the expressway to Crazyland.

Last weekend, I bit the bullet and told a friend about my sister’s note and the doc’s terse command. We worked through the possibilities to come to the conclusion – I get to decide what and when to do tests and procedures. I am driving the car in Medical Decision Land.

With my mojo back, I focused on having fun with the MIA Fiat. I covered all Fiat FaceBook pages and a couple of car internet forums with an ode to my car, Todd Rungren’s:

“Hello, it’s me

I’ve thought about us for a long, long time

Maybe I think too much but something’s wrong

There’s something here that doesn’t last too long

Maybe I shouldn’t think of you as mine … “

Before 9am on Monday, I had messages from a SOCIAL CARE SPECIALIST (what’s that?) at Fiat USA and a call from the service department. I like the SC Specialist and will use her as a go-between with the Fiat service department. Parts are ordered. I am driving a rental car from Surreal Customer Service Land.

I am working on the “gracious” indignation. Good grief. It has not been easy. But it is empowering.

On issues of cars, computers, and health, I feel like my only choices are HuffyPuffyCrankyPerson or caving in to other people’s opinions. “Gracious indignation” flies out the window. I forget who is driving the car or calling the shots.

Gotta go …

 

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