I have had two days off in the whole month of April so far, which means I am behind on like EVERYTHING. One of these things was getting my oil changed. The light had come on about 1,000 miles ago and I’m like, next week. OK, next week. OK, the week after.
Things have finally settled down a little, and I was off today. I had a $7 off coupon at Valvoline that was going to expire at the end of the month, so I was like, OK, TODAY. Today I will get my oil changed. So I drive down the street to the Valvoline and settle in the waiting room with my book. It’s my little car’s first oil change, so I’m thinking this is going to be the easiest, breeziest trip to Valvoline ever. “It’ll be like 15 minutes,” the guy tells me. Noooo problem.
Well, no sooner do I wave at the little girl in the waiting room, sit down and open my book does the guy come back in. “I need you to come look at something,” he says. In my head, I’m like, you’ve GOT to be kidding me. I KNOW I don’t need a new air filter, I KNOW I don’t need a fuel cleanse, just change the oil and let’s go already. But I get up and walk over, and as he’s holding the door for me, he shakes his head and goes, “I’m taking a picture of this.” And I’m thinking, Okaaaaaay, Mr. Over the Top, I know the economy’s bad and you need to make money but I’m not an idiot! The air filter can’t possibly look THAT bad!
So we go outside and there are like three people gathered around my car and HOLY FREAK FREAK FREAK. There is a NEST under the hood of my car. A FREAKING NEST. A nest put together BY AN ANIMAL under the HOOD OF MY CAR.
No one wants to touch it, no one even wants to get near it, because, I mean, HELLO! It’s a NEST THE SIZE OF MY FREAKING ENGINE!!! There could be a whole family of raccoons in there!
“Do you live in the woods?” they ask.
“I live RIGHT DOWN THE STREET!” I tell them. “AND I park in a garage!”
“When was the last time you popped the hood?” they ask.
Uh, like, NEVER, I think, but then I remember—I helped a woman jump her car in the Walmart parking lot like six weeks ago. A MONTH AND A HALF. In the last month and a half, some LIVING CREATURE has snuck into my garage, into my car, and built itself a little McMansion.
“What do you think it is?” I ask.
The guy thinks about it. “I’d say a rat,” he said, “except it has to be something pretty big to carry this much stuff in there.”
Ewwww. They send me back into the waiting room to freak out in there instead, but a couple of minutes later they call me back. “See that?” they say, pointing under the hood. “It’s been chewing on your wires. This thing’s a fire hazard. You better get it to the dealer, like, ASAP.”
I’m like, OK, now you’ve REALLY got to be kidding me. MY BRAND-NEW CAR has been gnawed to pieces from the inside by some crazed animal and could now blow up into a BALL OF FLAMES as I drive down the street. “Can I wait until next week?” I said. “No way,” they replied. “ASAP. Like today. It could catch on fire any second.”
So I leave and immediately drive back home to Google directions to the closest dealer, the whole way calling everyone I know so I can COMPLETELY SPAZ OUT over the phone.
Me, to my mom: You will LOSE YOUR SHIT when you see this picture. I am not even kidding.
Mom (slightly more concerned about the “shit” than she is about the fact that her daughter is driving around in Yellowstone National Park turned moving death trap): Well, I don’t know about THAT.
Me: TRUST ME.
Mom: (Pause.) You probably, like, chewed up its little babies when you started the car.
(This is the part where I shriek, a sound something like blaaaeeeechhhhhaaaaa, and throw the phone.)
Mom, after I retrieve the phone from under the seat: It’s funny, this thing you have with animals.
Me: OK, a) it’s not THAT funny and b) what are you talking about?
Mom: Remember the dead bird down the chimney?
Me: OK, SICK.
One of the guys from work is near my house and meets me there to talk me off my ledge. We find a dealer sort of by work, and he follows me over there to make sure my car doesn’t go up in flames. (Or more appropriately, I guess, so he can be the one to deliver a first-person account to Eyewitness News when I die.)
In the meantime, another friend from work, one I called to ask about dealers, has called me back. I tell him what’s going on and then hang up. A few minutes later, I get this text from him:
“Did you check the backseat to make sure the rat or possum is not in your car right now? I would if I were you. It may jump out and gnaw on your neck.”
Ha freaking ha.
We get to the dealer. Unfortunately, my warranty does not cover “Mother Nature.” Bright side, they can fix it while I wait. Two hours and $192.39 later, my car is almost as good as new. Both places tell me that to keep the animal away, I should hang mothballs in stockings around the edge of my hood. 15 minutes and 30 mothballs later, I smell like a 95-year-old woman’s closet.
But that’s not the end of the day, ohhhhhh no. While I was paying for my car, I dropped my phone. I picked it up. I dropped it again. I picked it up, and the screen was black. I turned it off, and then on again. No screen. I try calling it. No screen. I try charging it. No screen. I bite the bullet and go to the Verizon store on the way home. Good news, the guy says, I can replace your phone for free. Bad news, you lose everything on there, including every last phone number.
I am going to go hide under my blankets now so nothing else breaks. For, like, a week.