I figured out the hard way recently how you can blow $639 and have nothing to show for it. All you have to do is buy a new car (well, it was new last Christmas Eve, and I’m still paying for it; so I consider it new).
Then, and this is the important part, you have to park it inside your garage where it is guarded nightly by a very aggressive dog that channels her inner Cujo anytime there’s a stranger or pest about. Just ask the many possums who have succumbed to Sally’s ire.
Anyway, I get in my car a week or so back and hit the button. That’s right, cars don’t use keys anymore to start.
However, instead of firing to life, my engine sputters, and the engine light comes on.
“You got to be kidding,” I slapped the steering wheel as I drove it around the neighborhood, hoping it’s just something in the fuel line. But it continued to sputter so I parked it in my driveway and called roadside assistance.
Oh, here’s something I didn’t know about roadside assistance – they are no assistance if you need a tow in a hurry.
Thankfully, I wasn’t on the side of the road as it took three days to get a tow truck to take my car to the dealership.
Since the car is under warranty, I figured they’d take care of the problem and everything would be fine. WRONG.
“You have significant rodent damage under your hood,” the service manager announced concerning the status of my Hyundai.
“Rats?” I replied, stunned by the news.
“Yes, sir. That’s what rodents are,” he quipped. “And they did some pretty major damage.”
“But how could that be?” I said, still stunned by the news. “I park my car in a garage with a watchdog.”
“Well, that’s where rats live. That, and obviously, under the hood of yer car,” he said.
I just shook my head in disgust. I’ve had a lifetime of hatred for those furry little monsters, having grown up constantly combatting their invasions in my childhood home and then trying to rid my mother’s home of one particularly hard-to-kill rat that I suspect died of old age rather than anything I did to terminate it.
“I suppose my warranty…” I began.
“No chance,” he replied, noting I might turn it in on my insurance.
However, I had recently filed a claim for hail damage which happened while that same car was sitting on their lot awaiting service for a mechanical issue. I’m not going to tempt fate with higher premiums by filing for rodent damage.
“But I drive my car every day. I’ve never even seen a rat in my garage,” I protested. “That stuff just happens to folks who park cars for a long time and don’t drive them, right?”
“I see it at least one a month,” the serviceman said. “Sometimes it’s in the thousands of dollars when we have to fix complete wiring harnesses. In your case, we can fix yours, but it’s not cheap.”
Seeing that I had to eat crow and borrow a car from my ex-wife, I had no choice but to pay the man his money so I could get her vehicle back to her without a scratch. Had I put a scratch on her car, well, $639 would have been a drop in the bucket to the grief I would have gotten.
With my account being lighter to get my car fixed and given the fact I had to grovel for a loner vehicle from the ex, well, that meant war with all things rodent.
The first thing I did was give Sally a good talking to. “You call yourself a guard dog?” I said as she cocked her head and then ran to get her ball to play fetch.
So I went into the garage and stood around silently with my repaired car sitting as far away in the driveway as I could get from the garage. I heard nothing. However, as I began to move boxes, I soon found the tell-tale signs of rat droppings. Isn’t it enough you tear up my stuff? Do you have to poop on it too?
Anyway, about the time I get some traps set, a friend pulls up with some stuff I have to carry into my house. I’m telling her the issue as I walk toward the house with my hands full.
“I haven’t seen a thing,” I said just as her eyes got wide.
“You mean like that!” she pointed in horror as a huge gopher rat, tail as long as Godzilla’s, ran deeper into the garage.
“Hold this!” I yelled as I bolted in pursuit, grabbing a hoe. I commenced swinging like a maniac, yelling words not to be repeated here. And then – crack.
“I broke my hoe!” I screamed as the head came flying off. “It breaks my car and then it breaks my hoe? I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE!”
I would later find out the rat or rats were hanging out in the attic of the garage, staying high up so Sally couldn’t have a midnight snack of Ratatouille.
Of course, all my cursing, hoe swinging and promises of vengeance were laughed at by the rats as their beady eyes looked down at me from above.
“We’ll get your rats,” the pest control guy swore this week while telling me horror stories about what he’s seen in his line of work.
Okay, I’ll take him at his word. Maybe I can’t get vengeance personally but if once you do not succeed, don’t try, try again.
Just call the man, Aunt Bee. Hire a rodent hitman.