Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Moving Saga

After the moving van left our house in Grass Valley on Thursday, we did a final look around the place and got into the car. Roger had loaded it with stuff we needed to take with us on the road. He had lowered all the car windows while he was packing because it was already hot. We got into the car, waved good-bye to our old life and headed down the road to our new one. Roger clicked the button to raise the car windows. The rear ones went up, and so did mine on the passenger side. The driver side window did not budge. Uh-oh. We tried everything we could think of, and nothing made that window go up. Uh-oh. We had a three-hundred mile drive ahead of us in 90+ degree weather, the thought of doing that with a window all the way down was daunting, to say the least.

So, we drove to our local car repair shop, The Volz Brothers. We have been using them for the four years we were in Grass Valley. We drove in like crazy people, went up to the front desk and said with utter desperation and panic, 'PLEASE HELP US. WE JUST SOLD OUR HOUSE. WE'RE MOVING OUT OF TOWN. OUR WINDOW WON'T GO UP, AND WE HAVE LONG DRIVE AHEAD OF US. PLEASE HELP US."

They took pity on us. The took our car right away into one of the repair bays. They told us that it was probably a master switch, and they would fix it. We waited. We watched through the window as they took the door apart. First one mechanic worked on it, then two, then three. Time ticked on. We waited. The window did not come up. The owner of the shop looked concerned. All we could think about was a windy hot and crazy loud drive, and no way to lock the car. We had just sold our house. All of our worldly possessions were on a truck heading north. We were sitting in a mechanic's waiting room, dreading the future.

The mechanics worked and worked, and still the window did not come up. The owner came into the waiting room and told us that it wasn't the master switch but the motor, and it was shot. OMG. He said, "I could try to put something in the window to make it easier for you to travel, but it would take several hours, and it would look like crap. I'm sorry." We were devastated.

We tried to come up with a plan right away. We thought we'd drive to the hardware store and buy a piece of plastic. We were heading to Roger's sister's house to spend the night, and we thought we'd fashion some kind of repair there before we hit the road the next day. We were sick by the thought of it.

We waited while they put the door back together, anticipating the grim future, when suddenly the owner came into the room literally BEAMING and said, "It's UP. THE WINDOW IS UP! I asked the mechanic to try that up switch once more after he put the door back together. It worked. If you touch that switch (he said to Roger), I'll hit you." We had a good laugh. We asked how much we owed them for all that hard work. They said NOTHING. We were blown away by their generosity.

The weight of the world was lifted off our shoulders, and we have been flying ever since. Hah!

We will write more about life here in Arcata soon. Moving is hard, but at least unpacking is easier than packing.

That's the news for now.


  1. What a gift! The generosity of the men at the repair shop. I had just been reading a book about that kind of gift and the power of that kind of gift.

    Great to know that you are home safe in Arcata.

  2. Nothing helps us on our way like the kindness of strangers. Hope that you find more people like it at your new home.

  3. I'm glad you had a happy ending to this little part of your saga. We had a similar problem on our car. None of the windows would go down. It turned out to be the child-proof lock Libby had accidentally pressed.

  4. It's always something, eh? Argh~ but what wonderful friends and mechanics. Good karma all the way around, me thinks.

    Looking forward to your Arcata stories, my friends. Glad you made it safe and sound. Thinking of you often, especially as Steve and I are packing up his house. It goes on the market today! Ack!

  5. Glad that all's well that ends well. I had a problem with the passenger side window on my van during the trip home from Az two years ago. My jerry-rigged fix was to push the glass up and then stick a bunch of thse rubber sunction cup holders along the bottom so that they stopped the glass from going down. Made it the rest of the way home! Nice that you had such great mechanics. Amazing how often I have found kindness along the road. Far outweighs the bad stuff

  6. People can be amazingly's just too rare.

  7. Wow wow and double WOW! They are amazing people, particularly since they didn't to that in order to get your business in the future. They knew you were leaving for good.
    I love stories about the goodness in the world. Wouldn't it be nice if acts of kindness were routinely above-the-fold front page news.
    Safe and happy travels, bums!

  8. Awesome! Being in the auto repair business, I can appreciate a repair shop with good customer service and a big heart. Too often you hear about the bad. Thanks for posting the good.

  9. good people like your mechanics are such a rare blessing in today's world, it seems. glad you are there and safe and hope you will soon be settled in and enjoying the coastal life again as you search for your permanent home. i've been thinking about you guys and sending good wishes during your journey. <3

  10. am-- That auto shop blew our minds in the best way possible. It was great. We are settling in now. Ah.

    john-- Yes, the kindness of strangers. We couldn't believe how much our spirits were lifted by their hard work and their generosity.

    Pablo-- We couldn't figure out what was going on. It just seemed so strange for it to stop working like that. We were so tired from all the work getting the house ready for the move, to have that happen was a bleak moment. The repair made all the difference in the world.

    Tara-- Getting a house ready to sell is quite a challenge. We had a 24-hour notice on our listing. We sometimes let an agent in without notice, and that's actually how the house was sold. But I think it's important to keep good boundaries. Good luck with it.

    Bev-- We would have tried your solution, but I don't think it would have worked. Subaru Forester doesn't have a full frame around the windows, so we would have had to shape a piece of plastic to fit, and then the driver would have to enter and exit the car on the passenger side. We were not looking at an easy or pretty drive. The window would not come up at all.

    John-- We loved that act of kindness. We also must have looked like people at the end of their rope. They seriously took pity on us.

    CCorax-- Yes, that kind of story should be on the news everyday. It is so good to be reminded of the goodness in the world. We were lucky, and we knew it.

    Dave-- I'm glad we had such a good story to tell. I almost didn't write about it, but we were so touched by their hard work and generosity, we couldn't let it go without an acknowledgement.

    Sky-- Thank you for your good thoughts and wishes. We appreciate it so much. We are already enjoying the cool night temperatures. Next week when the high here is going to be 70, it's going to be 100 in Grass Valley. We are grateful to be back at the coast.

  11. It's nice to see good people getting all the good returned to them! We have had window issues...I no longer roll my windows all the way down...just in

  12. Isn't it interesting that a situation that starts out bad ends up producing something so good?

  13. NCmountainwoman-- We were definitely grateful for the outcome.

    Garden State Kate-- Roger lowered the window without thinking about it the next day. We held our breath until that window slid right back up. Still, we don't plan to ope the window even if we get to a toll booth. It's going to be door opening for everything.

    Mark P-- Yes, we were pretty delighted with the way things turned out, considering how utterly bummed out we were when we pulled into that car repair shop.

  14. I love this post. I wish I lived close enough to that repair shop to steer business their way. What a great thing they did for you.

  15. Pat-- We were blown away by their generosity and their work ethic. They were kind and diligent. Really good people.