Kelvin had been suspended for three days. He was so angry about it that he decided to quit that job and started another one in town, only five minutes away. This was a parts painting plant. Instead of making sewer lids and septic tanks he was now painting parts for plants such as Snorkel. Gas prices rose over 4.00 a gallon; in the long run we decided this job would be more economical. The pay was less and Child Support Division started taking more out of his check for Vallie when he had been in jail the first time before we met and his first wife, Diane, had been getting Welfare, Vallie was only 5 at the time. He also was continuing paying Child Support for Shelby at the same time. Student Loan started taking over 300.00 a month out of his pay check too. There wasn’t much left after that. He got paid every week instead of twice a week. I had to try and hold down the fort with my check alone. It wasn’t long before I got behind on everything, had to settle a couple of the credit cards, let the rest go. I tried to keep up the payments on his truck but by December of 2006 a tow truck driver came and took the truck back. Kelvin was beside himself with grief. He had always blamed me for everything that went wrong in his life including this downward economical slope. His buddy Lyle from the car lot offered him a blue 1995 Mercury Sable. He had been working for Lyle, washing cars and doing detail work at the garage when he got off work at 3:30 in the afternoons. He paid a small down payment and worked the rest off. It was a far cry from the new truck, the only new truck he had ever owned, which he had detailed with flame decals and embarrassing large silver “truck nuts” as they were called. He was so very proud of his truck. It was red, had an extension cab in the back where Dakota rode whenever we went anywhere as a family which wasn’t often. He took the guys he worked with to work and back and they helped with the gas when he worked in Gower. I on the other hand still drove the red 1992 Chevrolet Convertible which needed the top replaced. It had a tear on both sides at the base of the back window that tore a little more when the top was put down and then back up again. Even so it was a good car that got me where I needed to go.
While I was living on 20th street before Kelvin came home I had taken it to a car wash in town that was a full service car wash, fully automatic, washed, and waxed, dried the car. I was in line along with many other people as it was December and the weather had let up some and the sun was shining. Everyone pick that cold day to go to the car wash. As I was waiting in line the guy that worked there started to tell me something, then thought better of it as there was no place for me to go. There were cars in front of me and cars lined up behind me. When it was our turn to go through the open doors of the garage, I paid the money to the man and slowly proceeded through. The car rocked and rolled. The wind for drying was strong as a hurricane. Dakota was in the back seat with his Chief’s jacket on when he started crying and complaining he was getting wet. I looked and the back windshield had blown out, water was pouring in but you couldn’t go until the green light for “go” came on. He was a “drowned rat” I was wet and the wintry air came through with a vengeance.
I left and immediately sought a garage to find out where I could go to get the window replaced. I found a garage off Pacific, close to the Belt Highway. 320.00 Later I had a new window. Two days after that someone had sliced the top above the new window and tarp I had just paid to have repaired. I had to go back and have it sewn together. Other than that the top had no leaks and as long as I didn’t put the top down too much in the Summer time it was good to go.
December 2007 the ice storm hit. In order to keep the tree limbs from the tree I always parked my car under from falling on my car Kelvin, doing a good deed, moved the car across the street under two smaller trees that seemed less threatening which in turn both fell on the car, tearing massive holes in the top and tearing off the side mirror on the driver’s side. I patched these with masking tape, the large tree I had parked it under to begin with showed no extensive damage except for a few twigs and leaves in the space where the car had been.
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