Today was a somewhat of a D-Day. My car has been in Francisco’s lot for exactly eight weeks. I am sick of being asked when the car will be done, and consequently, he and Admir are sick of me asking them when the car will be done. So I called a meeting in attempt to answer this burning question.
I called Francisco this morning and asked him to have Pablo come pick me up, and would he mind if we stopped by Central Auto Sound to pick up my head unit? Pablo and I talked about our families on the way to Art’s shop. He told me about his daughters moving back to Mexico because they didn’t like it here.
Art was around and not busy, and I was surprised to find him so interested in the status of my car. He asked thoughtful, detailed questions that I would not expect (and haven’t gotten) from someone who hasn’t seen me in awhile. I explained to him my frustration with the lack of established timelines and accountability I was seeing. I didn’t think I was going to have to manage this project on the intimate level I was about to. Art said he’d “light a fire under Admir’s ass,” which is all well and good, but I made it clear that I didn’t go over there to tell on him. (I did not make clear, either, that I went over there to retrieve my head unit because no one was keeping an eye on it.) I left Art’s shop feeling slightly empowered, like I had a knowing party to practice on before I delivered my hammer-dropping speech.
I may look like I’m on vacation wearing my giant sunglasses and floral print tube top, but I don’t feel like it in the slightest. Every day, I wake up feeling frustrated and without recourse as time ticks by and I don’t have a car to drive. I told myself at the beginning of the Barbie Dream Hearse blog that I would write only about the car, the mechanics and perhaps the business. I didn’t want to get personal.
But after eight weeks with no clear end in sight, this project has gotten seriously personal. I can’t reasonably move anywhere and establish myself professionally and socially until this is done. I want a permanent home, job, and friend-base right now more than anyone can imagine. I have been staying at the apartment of a man with whom I am not romantically involved. I have been traveling to other cities periodically in attempt to stay out of his way. My friend did a really nice thing allowing me to stay at his place for so long, but eight weeks is an incredibly long time to spend with anyone. He didn’t sign up for this, and frankly neither did I.
I explained the situation to Francisco and Admir as best I could without sounding upset. I told them we needed to establish timelines and an order of operations to make sure that no more time is wasted. I’m sure plenty of cars have spent much longer in the shop to have much less work done on them than mine, but that’s not important now. If I had known it was going to take this long, I would have rented an apartment month-to-month, and perhaps bought a beater-car that I could ditch here when the project was done.
I’m not going to lie, at one point I almost lost it. Frank and Admir were being understanding and light with the excuses, which I appreciated. While it’s not their fault that I am homeless and not local, I told them this before I turned over the car. I tried to explain my living situation in such a way that it was strictly a list of facts and they could draw their own conclusion about how much it sucks, and for a brief moment I choked and couldn’t say anything. I concentrated on not breaking down into some weepy pile of shit that would gain me some short-term sympathy but no one could ever respect again. Then Admir politely attempted to finish my sentence and a strange wave of relief washed over me. And then I got the status and set a schedule.
The A/C tubing is in place:
And the wiring is 80 percent done:
There are a few more shots of the contents of my future amp rack in the photo album. In addition to all the wiring, you can see the A/C tubing going from the front and up into the car. Now for everything else.
|Admir||Last 20 percent of A/V wiring||0.5 day|
|Frank||Cover side panels||3-4 days|
|Admir||Hang the headliner||0.5 day|
|Frank||Put in molding to fit the headliner||1 day|
|Frank||Build rear-facing seats (wood and fiberglass)||4 days per seat (8 days)|
|Admir||Put amp rack under rear-facing seats (only the base needs to be done)||1 day|
|Frank||Build right-facing benches||5 days per bench (10 days)|
|Frank||Build divider||3 days|
|Frank||Assemble components||5 days|
|Frank||Fit components||3 days|
These estimates are approximate, but they made me feel a lot better than I did before we talked about them. This conversation opened the floodgates for finding out which tasks were contingent on other tasks being done. It all needed to happen, and now I can have a realistic expectation for a completion date. I’m crossing my fingers for the beginning of July. I’m almost cringing as I write this because I know it’s going to be a little longer than that.
Also, I’m second-guessing my planned placement of the TV. I was going to put it on the left side, but then it’s going to be hard to view from the rear-facing seats, which are the best seats in the car. I have two options, both of which will probably provide a better viewing experience, but I can’t decide which is best.
a) A 19″ mounted TV on the back door. We could make it secure enough so it doesn’t jiggle around as long as I can keep my use of that door to a minimum. I would be able to remove the TV too. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even buy one until I got where I was going.
b) Two 10″ embedded TVs. I think this would look nicer, but I’m afraid they might be too small. The viewing distance will be about five feet.
Maybe I’ll take a poll. I’m not going to be sitting back there much.