It all seemed so simple. I needed a 10-mile race for the wlmtp. Gumbo has a new baby. They’re both in Houston. Done and done.
It’s 80 bucks for 10 miles. If my Jenster math is correct, that’s $37.50 per 1k. But what price to see little Caroline before they send her off to Jenster Math Camp? This was going to be easy.
Fast forward a month. It’s Friday morning. The race is Saturday. Mo decided last night that the steering wheel of our vehicle is about to fall off. The solution: A 7 a.m. visit to the Toyota place. No problem.
Mo describes the technical problem to
the guy. Makes a funny noise. He nods his head knowingly. We wait. And wait. And wait and wait and wait and wait.
And then, we wait. And leave.
As we’re driving home, the guy calls. He wants us to come back to discuss. This sounds to me like the old joke where your cat’s dead HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT you should start out with your cat’s up on the roof and then your cat fell off the roof and then your cat’s hurt and then your cat’s dead, followed by I need to tell you about your grandmother she’s up on the roof.
The guy has a piece of paper and a calculator. He asks how much money we have. We tell him maybe a couple thousand bucks. Which is EXACTLY how much this is going to cost. The good news: No more worries about having to retire. The bad news: The car won’t be ready until the Fourth of July.
The drive home is quiet. I’m totally bummed about missing the race. 80 bucks down the drain. And 2,000 bucks for a bunch of stuff that may or may not fix the car.
Still, it’s only a $2,080 race. Not so bad. Plus we stop for a pre-race Egg McMuffin, Jenny’s meal of choice. So $2,086. And I think they have a free beer. Except we don’t have a car.
Mo says what the hell, we can take your car.
The thing to know is that my car is an 88 Honda that’s held together mostly with duct tape and other stuff found in my running bag. It’s barely safe to drive 4 miles a day, much less 200 miles to Houston. But Mo knows that look in my eyes and figures we’re going to die eventually anyhow, so what the hell.
Erring on the side of safety, I go for an oil change. It’s been 25 years, so I figure I’m due. The guy rings me up for 38 bucks. Still, it’s just 2,124 bucks. And I think they have free barbecue at the finish. The guy hands me my receipt and says, by the way your front tires are splitting. You will die in the next half hour if you don’t replace them.
I do the mental math. Yes, it will take more than 30 minutes to get to Houston. I go to the tire place.
The guy there looks at my car. “YOU HAVE A HONEY BADGER” Apparently the 88 Honda is known to be a fabulous race car conversion among a certain faction who enjoyed the fast & furious movies till the cute guy bought the farm. He asks what I have under the hood. An engine, I think, I reply. Yes, I exclusively watch the Hallmark channel and run in a skirt. Don’t judge. He says I should upgrade to aluminum wheels. I decline. He mutters and sells me a set of granny tires. I try to peel out as I leave the parking lot, but my car maxes out at 30 mph and it takes about an hour to get up to that speed. 380 bucks. A steal. And the race is only costing 2,504 bucks.
It’s been a bad day. I stop for a Coke slushy. Which turns out to be a Coke sludgy. The slush monkey machine has taken the day off. I opt instead for the family size Hershey bar, because, well, it’s chocolate. And it’s chocolate. I might have mentioned that one already. Total: 2,506 bucks.
I go home, prop my feet up, and bask in the knowledge I will not have to eat the entry fee. Victory is mine. Sometimes it just pays to be frugal.
Bring on the race.
Yes, I realize I’ll probably sleep through the alarm and miss the whole thing …