Trapped in Toronto: The Conclusion

Oh, Please Let This Nightmare Be Over!

In my previous article (Trapped in Toronto), I detailed the misadventures my wife and I went through, trying to get home from Toronto after a two-week vacation in Hawaii. In our sad attempt to bring my poor car back home, we had no idea what lay ahead of us. After finally having the Edge towed to Dixie Ford in Mississauga, I thought we would be able to pick it up on my next day off. Oh, no-ho-ho-ho! As it turned out, a driveshaft for a Ford Edge is about as easy to find as a selfie of Bigfoot at the beach! It’s the one Ford part that’s nearly impossible to locate in Canada or the USA. My brief article about this experience soon began to turn into a Russian Novel.

To make a very long story short, after piling up over a month of rental car charges with Thrifty, a driveshaft was eventually found and delivered to Dixie Ford. My car was finally ready for pick up! My wife and I made the trip back to Toronto in my trusty rented Hyundai Elantra. After arriving at Dixie Ford and having a new battery installed (which we had brought with us), we were ready to hit the road. Yeah, right. My first mistake was to let my wife drive the car out of the Toronto area. Since she had never driven the Edge before, she didn’t notice it was very hard to steer at low speeds. When I hopped behind the wheel, I felt it right away. Diagnosis: Power Steering Pump. As my friend Dawn likes to say, “Shoot me now!”

Since the car was still drivable, I spent a week turning my forearms into replicas of a certain spinach-loving, one-eyed sailor. Then, I took my car into Suburban Ford for the power steering repair. Thankfully, they were able to complete the repair in only one day. However, the next day I discovered that the steering wheel was slightly crooked. So, I am heading back to the dealer again today. Hopefully, for a quick fix. It’s really sad after two months, when your new car has spent more time at the dealership than in your garage! It’s also never a good thing when you’re on a first-name basis with your service manager.

Now that the Edge is back on the road (mostly), the real battle begins. Trying to recover the balance of my associated costs, not reimbursed by Ford of Canada. As well as somehow regaining trust that my car won’t breakdown, and leave me stranded in rural Kentucky, or some other garden spot. It’s now up to Suburban Ford to make that happen. I’ll keep you updated!

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Independence Day

Going It Alone

No, I am not referring to hot dogs and fireworks, or an alien invasion movie. A couple of days ago, I saw those two words posted on my calendar and the meaning hit me right between the eyes. On February 24th, 2014, I was let go from my previous job with a Detroit law firm. Just the year before, I had celebrated twenty-five years with the company. Unfortunately, on that dreadful day, I joined eighteen other unsuspecting victims who were also given the ax. I have that date highlighted in my calendar as a yearly reminder of where I was then, and how far I have come since. Has it really been five years? Amazing.

Let me be clear. I don’t miss my old job one bit. After twenty-three years of managing Data Backup and Recovery, I was unceremoniously tossed onto the Help Desk. A victim of a political power play. Since a first-grader had a better command of Microsoft Office than I did, the transition was brutal. I hated every minute of it, and when I was fired it was almost a relief. I do miss the folks I used to work with though. My fellow Help Desk co-sufferers, Steve, Dawn, and Jeanne. Plus, my old boss Denise, who would listen patiently as I poured out my frustrations with repagination and other document surgery. As well as most of the staff members, who were so patient with me as I tried to puzzle out their computer problems.

The other day, my old work buddy Larry sent me a picture of some guy who was chatting with him at his desk. Since it was a side shot, I had no idea who it was. Turns out it was me! Many years ago and fifty pounds heavier. This startled me a bit. How is it that I didn’t even recognize myself in that photo? That’s easy. I’m not the same person I used to be. The past five years have done a number on me, in a good way. Where before I had avoided trying new things and taking chances, they are now part of my everyday life. From time to time, I still meet Steve for lunch. We reminisce about the old days and he fills me in on the latest office gossip. As I drive home after lunch, I thank God that I am no longer working in that toxic, stress-filled environment. I look forward to seeing what the next five years will bring.

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Losing Your Peace of Mind

Once Lost, It’s Hard To Get Back

A couple of months ago, my locker was broken into at the local community center gym where I workout. Thankfully, the perp didn’t take my wallet or phone, but he did get two credit cards and a debit card. This robbery introduced me to the mechanism of the justice system as it pertains to these sort of crimes. After filling out an incident report at the community center and a police report, I began the process of trying to shut down my cards before the crooks could use them. Since they had about an hour head start, it was a lost cause.

After notifying the credit card companies and the bank, I started contacting my other financial institutions as well. Although only three cards were stolen, I still had to get replacement cards for anything else that was in my wallet. Just in case they were compromised. Needless to say, it was a big pain in the butt. Thankfully, I wasn’t out any money because of my quick response to those businesses, but I lost something more important than money. My peace of mind. Ask anyone who has had this sort of thing happen to them. The feeling of not being safe lingers.

When I write these articles, it’s usually very early in the morning. During the summer, I like to open all of the doors to let in a nice cross breeze. While it’s still dark, I type away in my recliner, with the front door wide open and unlocked. I never gave it a second thought. The morning after the break-in, I was writing as usual, when a creepy feeling came over me. I got up and locked the screen door. I know from a safety perspective it just makes sense. However, from my standpoint, they didn’t just steal money from me. They stole my peace of mind, and that’s much harder to get back. But I’m working on it. Live your life, but be alert. As that great philosopher, Benny Hill once said, “Be Alert! We need all the Lerts we can get!” Thanks, Benny. I needed a that!

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