Wednesday I opened an email from Monterey Boat Works, the Marina I was trying to get Selene into. The email stated they were unable to recognize me as a customer due to my poor credit scores. Ever since grade school scores have been bumming me out.

Right now Selene is tied to her old owners mooring ball, he needs her off asap or risks getting in trouble with the county(losing his moorage). Dale has been a huge help in this transaction. The email denying my slip options in Monterey was depressing. It was good to finally fall asleep Wednesday night and forget the day.

I wake up Thursday morning ready to get serious again about finding a slip. Monterey Boat Works wasn’t interested in my plea for favor on my poor credit situation. So I meet with Dale, get some ideas, and head for Moss Landing. Another Marina, hopefully one that doesn’t run credit checks.

Cruising down Highway 1, an incredibly beautiful and soothing drive, my van stops running. It’s not the gas, it’s not the oil, it’s not the electronics. It’s the engine. Loud, stomach pounding, knocking noises as the engine quickly dies out with each start. Stranded on the side of some farm road I get out of the car and pop the hood. Maybe some medicine wagon will see me stranded on the side of the road and offer a miraculous potion that cures engine woes. This doesn’t happen.

Instead, a PT Cruiser labeled TomBoy Tools pulls along side me. There’s a lady driving and offers help. I’ve never met the lady before, this is California, and she stopped to offer help, miraculous. I ask for a cell phone to call Dale or maybe a tow truck. She doesn’t have one, but none cell phone carrying people are my kind of people. I knew we’d be getting along. Doesn’t have cell phone, but does have a an AAA Card and driveway for the van. So I get a tow to her house and call up Dale, the boats old owner.

First comes Val, the neighborhood mechanic. He checks the car, says it’s real bad, something with the engines timing. The conversation switches from my car to Sally’s car. Sally’s the lady whose driveway I’m now in. Sally’s talking about smog stories. Val and Fred start sharing their experiences. Fred’s convinced there’s a Mercedes with hemorrhoids behind the smog shop down the street. The smog shop passes every car it checks. Fred says every time that a car pulls up for smog, they stick the diagnostics up the tail pipes of the brand new Mercedes sitting behind the shop. Bingo, your old piece of junk passes.

Anyways, back to my car. Dale makes it just after dark. Listens to the engine a few times and agrees with Val. The knocking noise means somethings broken in the engine. My $1500 dollar van has suddenly become a very tiny apartment parked in front of Sally’s house. And remember, I still have no slip for Selene.

Sally happens to be the neighborhood cat lady, lots of cats. Nora, who had no idea the situation was ever bad, is now suddenly in dog heaven. Sally was the hero of my day, without her I’d probably still be stranded. Dale called her an Angel, he’s probably right. And go figure, she has an accessible, steaming hot, shower off the side of her house.

So today I wake up in my broken van out front of Cat Womens house. Nora chases the cats for a while and I get a hot shower. Later we stroll down to moss landing, about a mile from Sally’s. I talk with the Harbor Guys, they’re cool. They have slips available, they don’t run credit checks, and can get me in whenever I’m ready. Now I just have to come up with the slip fees and deposit, much cheaper than Monterey Bay Boat Works. Still lots of money for a guy who just bought a boat and broke a van.

At least today it’s all looking very possible, yesterday it wasn’t.

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