The phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” is a twist on the idea that good people are rewarded in life for being good. In reality, this is not often the case. This phrase has been variously attributed to Walter Winchell, John P. Grier, Oscar Wilde and Clare Boothe Luce.
I don’t even know who John P. Grier is. Do you? I always thought Oscar Wilde came up with the phrase. It sounds like something he would say…
* * * *
My lovely supermodel wife and I have been living the dream here in Mexico for almost four years now. In a couple of months we have to legally change our immigration status from temporary to permanent — mostly because we’re planning on staying in Mexico until we get dead.
And that means we had to get rid of our 2013 Buick Encore. Only cars that were manufactured in Canadia, the USA, or Mexico can be licensed here. Believe it or not, our American made Buick was built in South Korea!
What most normal people in my situation do is drive their vehicle to a car dealership in the nearest big city just across the US border and sell it. It’s a very simple process.
* * * *
My process started some time early last year. And like every other action, it all started with a thought. Given the fact that I can’t remember what happened yesterday, I’m not sure if this was actually my idea, or if it was a thought insertion.
I can tell you this: I didn’t spend any time thinking about selling the Buick. I didn’t think it was worth more than a couple of thousand dollars, so there wasn’t all that much to think about as far as I was concerned.
At any rate, an idea was born in my mind. It was so simple and so beautiful I didn’t even question it. I knew it was the only thing to do. And this is what it was: You should give your car to Amy.
* * * *
Amy is single woman in her 30’s. She has two teenage kids, Evamarie and Daniel.We met her at one of the churches we went to in Surprise! AZ. And she was in one of the Bible study groups we attended.
Amy was unlike anyone else at our church. She was the gal that stood or sat near the door during worship service. Yeah, she practiced social distancing long before it became popular. Amy tended to stare at the floor no matter what else she was doing — she almost never made eye contact with anyone. Amy rarely spoke, and when she did her voice was barely a whisper. I don’t think we exchanged more than fifty words with each other in the nine years we lived in Arizona.
I was a psych nurse back then, so I tended to notice that kind of stuff. At some point in time I know I said this to Lea: I don’t know what happened to Amy, but whatever it was, it was terrible. And it happened more than once.
I don’t know what the criteria are for the poverty level in Arizona are, but Amy probably lived one or two steps below them. And every car she had ever owned was a piece of junk that was probably broken down more often than it ran.
Amy tended to discount any talent she might have had, and she had a few. She made the most amazing cupcakes! She brought some to one of our Bible study groups. I think I ate half of them. Because she was a baker, Lea gave Amy her KitchenAid® mixer just before we moved to Mexico, so precedent had been set.
Now you know why giving her our Buick was such a great idea. If you’re thinking giving a car to someone you don’t really know is weird, I’d have to agree with you. But then something really weird happened about six months after we moved to Mexico.
Amy, the girl who rarely spoke to anyone about anything in person, sent me a text message after I moved 1200 miles away from her.
* * * *
Me: I just got a message from Amy!
Lea: Amy who?
Me: Quiet Amy from church!
Lea: That’s weird. What does she want?
Me: I think she wants me to be her therapist.
Lea: Oh boy. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Promise me you’ll be careful.
Me: Don’t worry. I’ll be very careful.
* * * *
If you’ve ever been in therapy, you know it’s a lots less fun than almost anything, including a colonoscopy. And the only reason a colonoscopy sucks less is because you’re under sedation.
I’m not going to say much about my sessions with Amy for a couple of reasons: One, it’s none of your goddamn business. And two, I’d like to finish this post before I get dead.
I will say this: our sessions lasted at least two and a half years. Amy was, well, an emotional basket case. Riding on a speeding train that had no brakes. And the train was constantly derailing. The bridge spanning the canyon just ahead was out. And the train was on fire.
Amy suffered from a profound lack of self-esteem and some sort of global social anxiety disorder. Punctuated with panic attacks. Highlighted with moments of supreme terror. And nightmares.
Amy had so many issues and questions there were some things I had no idea how to address simply because I wasn’t a girl. So I referred Amy to my lovely supermodel wife because she is a girl. Lea and I ended up tag teaming Amy as her treatment progressed.
Lea and Amy bonded almost immediately. They had a spooky amount of stuff in common: single mothers. Financially challenged. And they had both survived significant traumas. They were like unto best friends in about five minutes.
With me, Amy would take one step forward and two steps back. Maybe three… Repeatedly. My role in Amy’s personal renovation plan was simple: Refocus, refocus, refocus. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I never told her what to do. I told her recovery is a deeply personal process, and something that worked well for one person didn’t do anything for the next. And I knew that from personal experience.
She couldn’t believe I ever needed to be fixed. Because I was so cool. I told her she was right about the last part, but not the first. Then she asked me how I finally succeeded.
I made every mistake I possibly could, until I got tired of fucking up. That’s what you’re going to have to do. So, suck it up, and never quit trying.
I want to get better. I really do!
Then someday you will. You just have to believe that. And you have to believe that you can do it.
How long do you think it will take?
Years. It’s a lifelong process that never stops. So take care of yourself. And get some sleep. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
It ended up being an exhausting process for all three of us. Amy was always afraid that we were going to give up on her, but Lea and I both ended up having a vast amount of respect for Amy because she never gave up, no matter how discouraged she felt.
* * * *
Before you get the idea that I’m really good at this, I’m not. And if you want me to therapeurize you, I charge $150 US/hour. And I won’t be giving you a car. If you still want to go down this road, there’s one more thing you should know: I didn’t do anything to fix Amy. She did all of that herself.
I’m clearly not worth your time or your money.
* * * *
Because I’m essentially a coward, I waited a couple of months before I told my lovely supermodel wife what I was planning on doing with our Buick. And I have to admit I was surprised by her response.
No! You’re not giving our car away!! Do you have any idea what it’s worth?
I was surprised for a couple of reasons. Lea had played as much of a role in Amy’s therapy as I had. Surely she understood the need as much as I did. And I didn’t think our car could be worth all that much. It’s a used car, and people don’t pay much money for used cars.
Somewhat Little Known Fact About Me: I can be just about the most stubborn sonuvabitch you’ve ever met when I want to be. Probably Not So Surprising Fact About My Lovely Supermodel Wife: she might be the only person more stubborn than me.
I’m pretty sure my response was something like unto this: Well, it’s going to happen, so start getting used to the idea. And Lea replied, We’ll see…
* * * *
It took several months and a couple of phone calls to our financial planner before Lea was able to wrap her heart and mind around my idea. Our financial planner just happens to be our oldest daughter, Gwendolyn Henson. Because of that, I like to think that she does stuff for us that she wouldn’t normally do for her other clients.
Lea is much more practical about almost everything than I am. Once she was sure the financial aspect of giving our car away would work, she was completely on-board.
I had one conversation with our financial planner. But I wasn’t at all concerned about the practicality of my idea: I’ve spent most of my life taking anything and everything that I could because I was a drunken pig of a human being. I have an opportunity to give something meaningful back to someone who really needs it. I don’t care what you have to do in order to make this happen. Just make it happen.
And God bless her heart, Gwen did. I’m not sure I ever thanked her for that. So, if you’re reading this, thank you, Gwendolyn. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without your help.
* * * *
On or about Christmas of last year I sent Amy a couple of pictures of our Buick on Facebook Messenger and asked, Would you like to have this car? She responded almost immediately: I’d love to have that car, but I don’t think I can afford it.
Me: I didn’t ask if you wanted to buy it. I asked if you wanted to have it. There was a long pause, then: Are you giving me your car? Are you serious?? YES!! Yes, I’d love to have a nice car!!
Does it run?
* * * *
My beautiful, simple idea had taken one step forward. Yet Another Little Known Fact About Me: making plans is not my forte. I’ve planned only two things in my life, and delivering our car to Amy wasn’t going to be the third.
Fortunately, one of the things I had actually planned on doing was marrying Lea, and she loves making plans. Unfortunately, the year this plan was going to take place was 2020.
There’s one more thing: if you’ve ever watched Masters of Flip, you know Dave Wilson consistently under-budgets his renovation costs. I would do something similar in terms of how much our gift to Amy would actually cost us because I didn’t take anything beyond giving her our car into consideration.
It turned out to be a very expensive gift, and it was far more than just the money we wouldn’t be getting because we weren’t selling our car. Just in cases you were wondering, the Blue Book value on our Buick is roughly $11,000.
* * * *
Just to give you an example of how oblivious I can be, the last time I bought a new car was 2008. Every car I’ve purchased since then has been pre-owned, including the Encore. And to the best of my knowledge, I’m sure I paid way more than a couple of thousand dollars for each of them.
But none of that occurred to me once I came up with the idea to give our car to Amy.
* * * *
In February, we bought a car to replace the Buick — a 2018 Nissan X-Trail. And yes, I paid more than a couple of thousand dollars for it, too. I’ve written about our experience in a previous post.. You can check out all the fun we had with that if you don’t have anything better to do.
Antonio Regalado of R &R Auto Sales was the guy we hired to help us find the Nissan. He also has an automotive service division of his business. So I had his mechanics do a complete service overhaul on the Buick. New filters, drain and replace all the fluids. Replace anything that looked worn so Amy would essentially have a new car that she hopefully wouldn’t need to worry about for years.
I’ll have more to say about this after later…
* * * *
I replaced the tires on Amy’s car and had the front end aligned because the roads here suck. I didn’t need to replace the tires; the old ones had less than 3000 miles on them. But nothing I was doing with the Buick was logical, and I didn’t see any reason to start.
I replaced the windshield wipers even though there wasn’t anything wrong with them either. The only thing I didn’t replace was the battery, because I had already replaced it.
Amy’s car was ready for the road. But Tom Petty said it best when he said, the waiting is the hardest part.
* * * *
I had one thought in mind when we started planning our trip back to Phoenix to give Amy her new car — I didn’t want to go there in the dead of summer. I was hoping to go early, like April. And then along came the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns/quarantines. And the plans of pretty much every person on the planet got fucked up all to hell.
By the middle of July, my lovely supermodel wife was going out of her mind from boredom. Making all of the arrangements for our trip gave her something to do, and she jumped on the chance.
She rented a house in our old neighborhood on Airbnb. She booked our return flight from Phoenix to Guadalajara. She secured auto and health insurance for us while we were going to be in the States. And then we held our breath, hoping nothing would happen to cancel delay our trip. Again.
I contacted our friend, Javier Guardado, and hired him to drive us to the border. He does this kind of thing for a living, and if I’ve only learned one thing in life, it’s this: It’s always good to work with a professional.
* * * *
It was right around this point in time that I started becoming an absolute jerk of a human being. I was seriously on edge, and the littlest things would send me into something like unto a berserker rage.
Emotional control is essential when you work in Psychiatry. Pysch patients sometimes say all kinds of mean, ugly, nasty, icky things. And when you’re a psych nurse you have to be above all that crap if you want to survive.
The fact that I was suddenly unable to do that scared the hell out of me.
If you’re wondering why, so am I. The COVID-19 precautions/restrictions probably had something to do with it. And maybe I had some PTSD shit going on that I wasn’t aware of. And there was something I call Rebound Stress.
Back when we were gainfully employed, Lea and I both worked in high pressure/high stress positions. Then we transitioned to a lifestyle where the most stressful thing we had to do was figure out which day of the week it was. And then we found ourselves in an unexpectedly stressful situation when we decided to give our car to Amy.
We were doing this really good thing. It wasn’t supposed to feel like this! I’m still not really sure what happened, but I became a real asshole, real fast. I’m not proud of it. But I’m much better now, so it’s probably safe to keep reading.
* * * *
Our run to the border took two days, and was as uneventful as a cross-country car trip through Mexico can be. We gave Javier enough money for airfare back to the Lakeside Area, and told him we’d settle the rest of his bill when we returned.
The only issue we had was my Mexican cellphone stopped working. I had an unlimited data plan with AT&T, and in Mexico, unlimited apparently ends at 2 gigs of data. I had to be directly connected to a Wi-Fi source in order for my phone to work at all.
It would be a huge pain in the ass to me while we were back in the States.
* * * *
We arrived in Phoenix early in the afternoon of Sunday, August 9th. It was 113° outside. That’s why I didn’t want to go to Phoenix in the summer. It is ridiculously fuckin’ hot.
But the roads were nice! They were smooth, and wide! It was kind of like Heaven, maybe. And the radio played songs I knew. I even knew who some of the DJ’s were!
We were on a mission — it might have been a mission from God — we had traveled 1200 miles and we were almost there. After all the delays, and expense, and fucking stress — we were going to achieve our objective. And this was going to be so cool.
* * * *
Amy lives in Surprise! It’s a sprawling suburb in the northwest valley of the Phoenix metro area. We used to live there, too. I loved the name. Rumor has it that the gal who named the town said she’d be surprised if it ever amounted to much.
Within an hour of arriving in Surprise! we ran into Tracy in the Safeway parking lot. We had never met her before, and actually, she ran into us. Literally.
Yes, we got into a fender bender in the car we were planning on giving away.
* * * *
I was sitting in the passenger seat. Lea had turned into a lane in the parking lot where a pickup was backing out of its spot several feet ahead of her. From where I was sitting I could see Tracy’s SUV in the driver’s side view mirror as it started backing up out of its parking spot. And she was heading right for Amy’s car.
“Look out! MOVE!! She’s going to fucking hit us!” I yelled at Lea. But she couldn’t see Tracy’s SUV. She could see the truck in front of us, and there’s no way it could have hit us no matter how hard it tried.
Lea moved forward a few inches, in slow motion. Tracy’s SUV continued backing up towards us, also in slow motion. I held my breath and prayed it would be enough.
* * * *
On the bright side, it was a low impact collision. A piece of trim around the left rear wheel well had been knocked loose, and the left rear tail light in the bumper was popped out of its housing. There was no other damage visible to the eye. Tracy’s SUV didn’t even scratch the paint of Amy’s car.
I didn’t notice if there was any damage to Tracy’s SUV. And if there was any, I sure as hell didn’t care. Because there was no bright side at that precise moment in time in my eyes.
I felt like killing everyone I saw in the parking lot. I think I growled at Tracy — like I was a fuckin’ bear or something. Then I stomped off toward the store looking like unto a storm cloud. Honestly, I didn’t trust myself anymore and I had to get out of there as fast as I could.
“Your husband is the reason I’m divorced.” Tracy said to Lea after I had stormed off. Tracy was actually very sweet. She gave Lea her insurance information, and felt terrible when Lea explained that we were planning on giving our car to another sweet woman.
There was a whole lots of feeling terrible to go around that day. I felt terrible for screaming at a sweet young woman who felt terrible for bumping into our car. I felt terrible because I had screamed at my wife when what I should have done is reach over and honk the fucking horn. And Lea felt terrible because she had been driving at the time the car we were going to give away had been involved in an accident.
When we got to our Airbnb rental, Lea went into the bathroom and cried for an hour.
* * * *
I’m not usually as inconsiderate of my wife’s feelings as I was that day. I honestly had no idea what to say afterwards, and I’m ashamed to say that I wanted to kill her, too. But after I looked at the damage to Amy’s car three or four hundred times, I realized it really wasn’t that bad, and it could probably be easily, and hopefully, cheaply repaired.
Then I decided to go into the bathroom and see if there was anything I could do to comfort my distraught wife. Lea had a handful of used tissues in one hand as she paced around the bathroom.
“This is so unfair!” she sobbed. “We’ve come so far, and I’ve worked so hard to make this happen! And then someone hits the car we’re going to give away in the parking lot! And…and there’s not even a fuckin’ waste basket in this fucking bathroom!!”
When we both started to laugh, I knew Lea was going to be okay, and we were going to survive, no matter what else happened. And there would be more unpleasant surprises to follow.
* * * *
Monday, August 10.
We went to Liberty Buick in Peoria to see my buddy, Benny. He’s the guy who sold me the Encore, I was hoping he could perform a miracle and fix Amy’s lightly damaged vehicle.
They don’t do any bodywork at the dealership, but Benny referred us to the body shop where they send all of their cars that need to be repaired. And it was only a couple of blocks away.
We met a guy named Kenny at the body shop. He was very nice, and very knowledgeable. He knew Encores were made in South Korea! Kenny took a look at the very minor damage on Amy’s car, and figured he could fix everything for $1800.
And I just about had two seizures. In Mexico, it probably would have cost less than $100. But it wouldn’t have cost more than $250 at the very most.
Kenny explained why it was going to be so expensive, but I had stopped hearing anything he said. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but whatever it was made me realize I could fix Amy’s car all by myself, and it wasn’t going to cost anyone no eighteen hundred fuckin’ dollars.
All I needed was a bottle of Gorilla Glue®. And, a tablespoon.
* * * *
We thanked Kenny for his time, then drove to the nearest Home Depot. I bought a good sized bottle of Gorilla Glue®, and couple more Maglite® flashlights, then we headed for our Airbnb rental.
We parked Amy’s car in the garage to get it out of the unrelenting sun. I pulled the trim around the wheel well out a bit farther, then glued the hell out of it, and slammed it back into place. You have to look really hard to see that it had ever been damaged.
The brake light was a bit more problematic because it wouldn’t stay seated in its housing. So I borrowed a tablespoon from the kitchen and braced it firmly between the tail light and the rear axle. Then I decided to leave it there after the glue set, just in cases.
Mischief managed. Lea called Tracy to tell her we wouldn’t be filing a claim against her insurance. And I asked Lea to tell Tracy I was sorry for being an asshole. But I did just save her a buttload of money, so maybe I wasn’t so bad after all.
* * * *
Why didn’t we just let Tracy’s insurance pay for the repairs? For one thing, that price was robbery! And for another thing, we had a timeline. We were only going to be in Phoenix for five days. We simply didn’t have the time to wait for parts to be ordered and delivered. And stuff.
So we got it fixed and it looked practically perfect in every way after my Mexican repair job was completed. And it cost me maybe five bucks. Out of all the things that I shelled money out for, both before and during our trip, it was easily the least expensive thing that I did.
* * * *
Tuesday, August 11.
I took Amy’s car to the Cobblestone Auto Spa in Surprise! for an oil change. It was another thing I didn’t need to do because I had already had Antonio’s mechanics take care of that before we left Mexico.
I love Cobblestone. They did all of the oil changes on all of our cars when we lived in Surprise! They weren’t as expensive as the dealership, and they threw in a free full service car wash. Plus, they had comfortable leather couches where you could watch sports shows while your car was being serviced and cleaned. And they had free Wi-Fi.
I was standing in the comfy waiting area when Adam approached me.
“Hey boss, I’ve got some bad news for you…” And I’m pretty sure my head exploded. “I don’t know who worked on your car last, but they stripped your oil plug so badly I’m afraid to touch it. I’m pretty sure I can get it out, but I can’t guarantee that I can get it back in. And if I can, I can’t guarantee that it won’t leak oil afterwards. I think you’re going to have to replace your entire oil pan, and that’s not something we’re equipped to do here.”
Adam refunded the money I had paid for the oil change. I decided to give Amy’s car a thorough cleaning. It could use it after traveling across Mexico.
Then I counted to ten thousand. And then I called Antonio.
* * * *
Given the fact that I had been almost impossible to be near for the last three weeks, I was surprisingly civil to Antonio. I told him what Adam had told me, and explained that these guys had serviced all of my cars for nine years. Their service had always excellent, so if they told me there was a problem, I was going to believe them.
Antonio couldn’t believe his mechanics could have damaged Amy’s car. They also did excellent work, and they double-checked everything they did. Antonio’s good reputation meant everything to him, so he found my news to be pretty much the last thing he wanted to hear.
I believed Antonio when he was talking about his reputation. But I was hearing two vastly different stories, so someone had to be lying about something.
Seeing how Amy’s car didn’t really need an oil change, I told Antonio that Amy would take her car to the Buick dealership when it needed to be serviced. They worked on Buicks every day. If there was something wrong, they would know it immediately.
I would have my friend take pictures of the oil plug, and I would send them to Antonio. If there wasn’t anything wrong, then the Cobblestone guys were full of shit. The dealership would change the oil, and we’d pay for that. And Antonio’s good reputation would remain intact. End of story.
However, if the scenario the Cobblestone guys had diagnosed was true, and there was a serious problem, we would pay for whatever repairs were needed to fix Amy’s car. And I was going to hold Antonio and his mechanics personally responsible for any and all damages because they were the last guys to work on the Buick.
And then we’d see just how much Antonio’s good reputation really meant to him. There was a long silence, and Antonio didn’t have much to say after that. I couldn’t tell if he agreed or disagreed with my plan. Either way, there wasn’t anything he could do about it in Mexico.
Amy’s car will need an oil change around mid-November. I have a feeling the Cobblestone guys are going to be right, and I also have a feeling that Antonio isn’t going to want to reimburse me for any repairs.
That reminds me, I should send a message to Benny and give him a heads-up about the spoon…
Stayed tuned to this channel for any updates as they occur. I’ll let you know what happens.
* * * *
Also on Tuesday, we transferred the title of our Encore over to Amy, and we paid the license and registration for two years. That cost us $355. But I don’t think either Lea or I cared how much it came to.
Amy was smiling! She laughed!! She talked and talked and talked!!! And she didn’t stare at the floor, not even once. Lea and I couldn’t believe our eyes. We looked at each other in amazement. We had never seen Amy act like this before!
That moment — seeing a completely different person emerge like that — that made all the things we had done — the therapy and frustration. The heartache and sorrow and emotional agony and exhaustion. The sacrifice, expense, and more frustration, and stuff. That moment made everything worthwhile.
And just like that, I stopped feeling like I was going to explode.
* * * *
Wednesday, August 12.
It wasn’t all business and car repairs for us in Phoenix. We went shopping. We bought four suitcases worth of stuff to take home with us because there are some things that you just can’t find down here in Mexico. We ate at some of our favorite restaurants. And visited with a few very close friends.
It was so nice to see them all, especially my darlingpreshadorbs work daughters. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in months. I felt almost brand new again.
Some of our friends even said they’d come down to visit us at the Chula Vista Resort and Spa. But they’ve said that before, and not one of them has come down yet, so we’ll see what happens.
* * * *
I spent about an hour with Amy on Wednesday evening, showing her all of the bells and whistles on her new car. And the Buick has more than a few of those. Amy couldn’t believe her eyes.
“It does so much stuff. It’s like magic!!” she whispered. And then I handed her the key and asked if she wanted to take it for a test drive.
“Oh! It starts! Oh my! It drives! And it turns! And the brakes work!! Oh my God! It goes really fast! I’m going to have to actually watch how fast I’m going! And the radio works!! And it has air conditioning!!!”
And she smiled. And laughed! And cried tears of joy. And there were no words for that feeling in my heart.
A couple of days later Amy told me a story.
“You know that day that you came over and were showing me your car? When I went inside, Daniel said, ‘You know what, mom? You should buy that car. It’s really nice and you need a nice car.'”
“He didn’t know I was giving it to you? You haven’t told your kids?” I asked. I was stunned that she hadn’t said anything about getting a new car. She shook her head.
“I didn’t tell them. I wanted to wait, you know, until I was sure.”
* * * *
Just before we started our trip, I bought a new/used set of golf clubs. They originally cost a couple of thousand of dollars, but I got them for less than two hundred bucks. I posted a picture of them on my Facebook page. One of my friends in Phoenix asked if I could find him a set or two of clubs, too.
Thanks to my friend, Mario, I found my other friend, Brian, four sets of clubs. He bought two of them. For $75. He got the deal of two lifetimes on those clubs, and I delivered them to him in Phoenix.
Brian was so happy he invited me to go golfing with him on Thursday. And I foolishly accepted.
* * * *
Thursday, August 13.
El Golf de Arizona! It was 113° that day. But it was the only day this year that has started out with significant cloud cover in the morning skies over Phoenix. The clouds protected us from the sun through the first nine holes before the sun vaporized them to shreds. The back nine were brutal. I’m pretty sure I baked what’s left of my brain before we finished.
Brian is one of our former pastors. We were in his Bible study group when we first met Quiet Amy. He’s the only one of the pastors I told my kooky ideas about God to who didn’t look at me as if I were completely insane.
He probably thought I was, but he hid it well. I’ve always had a lots of respect for him for doing that.
Because Brian is a pastor, I actually made an attempt to not swear as much around him while we played golf, but I know he had to ask me not to say, FUCK! at least once. And in between trying not to fuckin’ swear so fucking much, I told Brian about my simple idea to give our car to Amy, and how complicated, and expensive, it had become.
He asked how much the license and registration had cost. He thought about it for a couple of holes. Then he made several phone calls. And then he handed me a check for $355. His new Bible study group, a group of young men that had had never met Amy — and probably never would — pooled their resources and reimbursed us the entire cost of Amy’s registration fees.
I am rarely rendered speechless, but I was at that moment.
I know I thanked Brian several times, but thank you again, my friend. And thank you to your Bible study group, too. I told Amy she owes all of you some cupcakes.
You can thank me later.
* * * *
Friday, August 14.
This would be the hottest day of our stay in Phoenix, with a high of 116°. If you’ve never experienced heat like unto that, I have one word of advice.
* * * *
I mentioned earlier that we did a lots of shopping while we were in Phoenix. My very organized lovely supermodel wife had compiled a lengthy list of items that we needed. On Friday, we checked the last item off, and returned to our Airbnb rental.
I think the nicest amenity about that place was its air conditioner.
It was Packing Day! It took us a couple of hours to divide up all of the stuff we had purchased to keep the weight of the two largest suitcases under fifty pounds. This trip had cost us enough, and neither of us wanted to pay the airline fee for overweight baggage.
When we finished, both of our big suitcases weighed 49.5 pounds.
And then we rested. I think it was the only relaxing day we had on our trip. We spent a good part of the day resting our eyes while we watched TV. We needed to recuperate from the hellish heat of Phoenix. And we needed to recharge our batteries because we were hosting a small pizza party celebration that evening in honor of Amy and her new car.
* * * *
I took Amy out to the garage to show her a few more bells and whistles in her car because I had forgotten about them. I don’t think I ever used them, so I wished her luck figuring out what they did. Evamarie and Daniel stayed in the house, eating pizza with Lea.
“You can read about them in the owner’s manual. Or you can look them up on the YouTube®, probably. So. How did your kids react when you finally told them we were giving you this car?”
“They were really excited! Evamarie asked it that meant we could go somewhere that wasn’t Surprise now. My last car overheated if I drove it too long. Like, more than ten minutes.”
“Yeah, you’re not going to have that problem anymore.” I said. “I hope you realize that none of this would have happened if you hadn’t reached out to me in your…desperation…or your despair…or whatever it was. I probably would’ve forgotten that you ever existed in a few years. And I sure as hell wouldn’t have given you this car.
“I know how hard that must have been for you. But there is also good in the world. Not everything turns out badly. You need to remember that.”
“I was really scared to do it,” Amy replied after a moment. “But I’m glad that I did. And the car doesn’t have anything to do with it. I would have missed out on two great relationships with two really great people.”
* * * *
We’ve been back in Mexico for about a week and a half now. The first thing I did when we got back was buy a new cellphone from TelCel. They’re the phone company that almost everyone uses in Mexico because AT&T® sucks down here.
Amy and I text each other almost every day. She still has bad days, but now she has a car that works, and maybe they’re not as bad as they used to be anymore.
That was my hope when I decided to give her our car. That it would be a springboard for her to rise to new heights. With one less thing to worry about, she could start focusing on the things that really matter.
Her children. And herself. And her kit-tens. When Amy isn’t busy doing anything else, she rescues stray cats. See? I told you she was sweet.
Amy has come a long way in a short amount of time. I used to spend hours trying to get her to believe that where she is now was even remotely possible. All she had to do was believe in herself.
I don’t think I’ll have to tell her that anymore.