Friday, April 2, 2010

Week 3 Feb. 2009 – Drippy Driveway

One morning I went into the car and find ice in my water bottle. It reminds me of the saying that the rich got their ice in the summer but the poor got theirs in the winter. But the reason I was outside way early in the morning is due to, you guess it, my mom. As I walk into the breakfast nook she greets me with: “There’s oil spots all over my driveway.” As this was mom’s day off she had lots of time to mull over this latest catastrophe.

I take my car over to the nearby Car Fix shop and for less than $30 got an oil change. When I got back to mom’s place I had to park out on the street and spend the morning online looking for articles on how to clean up a greasy driveway. Then I was sent to the supermarket to pick up a few varieties of drugs for mom and a bag of cat litter for the drippy driveway. It was one of the things that was supposed to clean up the stained surface and I had to be generous in adding it, according to the experts who had gone through similar situations.

The next afternoon after another 3 hours spent applying for jobs, I return to see my scowling mother. “You don’t drive an old crate…” she pointed out more oil marks with an old plastic laundry scoop full of cat litter.

Again I took the car over to the Car Fix place and a thorough inspection turned up a transmission leak along with a strong recommendation to take it to a Ford dealership.

My contaminated Mustang had been ostracized to the level of street parking. I acquired a note from the USPS indicating I was parked too close to the mailbox. I also got a large note on the windshield about NO OVERNIGHT STREET PARKING!!!  The missive was unsigned but my mom knew the culprit was “that dorky Bobby Ray.” This personage was the esteemed president of the Hampton Lake Homeowners Association. According to mom, and later other neighbors I was to meet, he spent much of his time during the warmer months chasing geese and ducks away from the “lake”.

I doled over way too much money to the Ford dealer and had to go for a couple of days without transportation. Eventually the problem was fixed but it had instilled a deep suspicion of watching for oil/transmission fluid leaks on my mom’s once pristine driveway. She dreaded living in a place where the driveway was spotted with car emissions. “You’ve seen those kinds of places, oil stains, cracks, ugly driveways…” I really hadn’t paid much attention to such flawed parking surfaces. A few dots of oil spills on a driveway seemed normal to me.

But the sight of mom standing there looking for stains as she held the kitty litter filled scoop…it made me wonder how home ownership turned into home possession. She was owned by the home, she no longer owned it.

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