Red Van, Purple Truck

Flashback to Spring of ’06 – TCTV- I was on freelance assignment for a gig at the St. Martin’s Worthington Center when we discovered we needed a completely different power pack for a camera, so they sent me back to the station, but the best the station could offer was a battery.

In the midst of the hub bub I saw an old colleauge, SC. She said that she needed a PA.

I was momentarily confused by the term. She did not mean Public Address system but Production Assistant.

I had worked with her before, and I knew she had her own video production company. We started an e-mail and phone conversation about the details. I found out that her greatest challenge was lack of good business sense.

For instance, she asked me what I charged.

Since I am not a professional PA I had to think it over, and I used a formula that doubled my resentment rate ( the amt below which I’d resent working) and gave me a healthy dose of self-esteem AND THAT equaled my pleasure-t0-do-business-with-you rate or $20 an hour.

I quickly learned that SC was in over her head. She had about fifty websites for various projects none of which generated any income for her. She had two bosses that needed web content; her son and daughter-in-law made jewelry; her long-time family friend was building a podcasting empire.

I helped get the jewelry pictures and text and buttons and shopping cart going and then we discovered the bad news

– Yahoo Merchant Services is incompatible with the Bank of America!

I also helped her get buttons and text and MP3 podcasts up, but that boss kept painting her castles in the air. It sounded like this, “Big things are just around the corner… We’re getting ready for our launch… We’re going to rent a space and get you all new computers, etc.”

At first SC offered her husband as my chauffeur. He could pick me & Orion up, take Orion to daycare, bring me to their home office and reverse it five hours later. Sometimes I could drop Trish and Orion off and have the car. Sometimes Trish would be the chauffeur.

Then Trish started commuting to the Sol Duc hot springs for long weekends. I asked aobut the Red Voyager parked out front. It was redundant, a hand-me-down from a previous PA, and it was available for my use. I got the keys and took it. I’ve already blogged about it a little.

It didn’t have a working odometer or gas gauge, so I found myself walking on more than one occasion.

I’ve already mentioned the idea that Your Car is Your Way. Even though SC wasn’t using that Voyager -her mindset was a little ‘Broken-Gas-Gaugey’. I found that out when one of my paychecks bounced. Eventually we both realized that she couldn’t afford me, and we parted ways. She let me have the Red Van on indefinite loan.

I kept the Voyager until right after the big windstorm when it died. It died because I killed it by not adding any oil probably because I knew that it was not my way.

I had enjoyed my ability to haul my clown bike [Oh, yeah, a clown is supposed to be writing this blog], and to commute twice a day down Yelm Hwy to my horrific job.

To haul the bike I’d removed the rear row of seats. We had that row of seats in our carport for almost a year – until a few weeks ago when it left in the back of our currently borrowed jalopy truck!

Let’s not skip the actual death scene, though.

I was out of work again. Luke was visiting because his power had been out for a week. I got the message that I really ought to go down to LABOR READY again. I didn’t leave as early as would be prudent to expect work. It was probably 7:30 AM. I fully intended to resume blog-composition-mode in the lobby.

Right at the exit to Labor Ready the Red Van gave up the ghost with enough inertia for me to get off the FWY and coast through a roundabout and into a the parking lot of Goodwill.

Luke came to rescue me. His assessment was “Serious issues: cracked head gasket or seized pistons.” I called SC and told them. They said, to the effect of, “Oh, well.”

We waited at Labor Ready for a while and went home and dinked with the new computer Oma had brought the day before.

Along came Spring break and an offer of freelance landscaping for RM, a friend of a friend. I met the original friend, JG, working at the Capital Mall Food Court. She was a custodian. Her friend, RM, is some kind of software tester. She wanted her place cleaned up to sell. She’s building another house. “She pays good,” said JG.

Okay. On Easter we checked it out. A Double-wide mobile home on an acre. Going wild. I gave her a rate of $100 per DAY. This turned out to be a problem later on. This was the same rate I had charged OMA though. It’s a rate that’s supposed to reflect the scale of the project and the speed of the worker. I may get there very early. I may take a long lunch. I may stay late or leave early. I have to work smart, vary my activities, and compensate for weather and family duties.

If you give someone power tools and leave them in your yard, you’d better trust them. RM decided to trust me with more than power tools. In order to spare Trish the job of chauffeuring me we agreed that I could borrow her spare car, a Kia (“the Purple Truck” ~ Orion). She primarily used it to haul hay for her sheep and llamas. It smelled like a barn in there. On of my first discoveries was a dead mouse.

We had to jump start it, but I drove it away and made my second discovery: the speedometer didn’t work. Well, go with the flow of traffic, I thought. Then I got pulled over.

She had assured me it was insured, but there was no paperwork. Also the tabs had expired. I got off with a warning, and she met me at Ralph’s the next morning to get current tabs. She also had to spring for new plates, but she reassured me that she’d talk to her insurance company. I never did get any paperwork from her that week or the week I worked for her that sandwiched the reunion.

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