Friday, June 25, 2010

Where There's a Melted Mess of Goo, There's Fire

Recently I had the pleasure of turning a one week vacation to Hawaii into a two week vacation driving all over the western US for a week, then going to Hawaii for a week.  For a full description please see my previous blog.

Once I returned on a Friday evening, I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend prior to heading back to work.  Saturday morning Heather informed me that the featherbed we had left in the back seat of the car was venting and had fogged up the windows.  She went off to a wedding rehearsal, where they practice to make sure everyone can make it down an aisle or repeat vows, as necessary, and I got into the car to retrieve my sunglasses to take a ride on my motorcycle.  This is where the story takes a radical turn for the worse. 

Upon opening the car door I saw what Heather was speaking of.  Indeed, the windows were fogged over, but not with a milky white fog of built up water vapor or outgassing of some manmade material.  Instead they were smoky colored.  As I was wondering what was up I looked down at what had once been the center console of my car.  In the place where a plastic base had once stood proudly below the gear shifter was now a space as empty as Bernie Madoff's promises.  The gear shifter had a melted spot and the base of the console was now a pile of black hardened goo, like the volcanic shores of the tropical paradise I had just visited, without the beautiful ocean backdrop. 

Several realizations quickly came to mind: My car caught on fire, this is not good, how much damage is there? is this fixable? how did this happen? why did it go out? why can't the Cubs ever win the world series? what if the house would have burned down? 

Then I remembered that I had left my Ipod nano plugged into Heather's cigarette lighter powered charger.  As I pondered whether this had started the fire I unplugged the charger and followed the wire as far down as I could before it ran into and melded with the melted goo that once was my console/my Ipod/ a coin purse/ my Blackberry that had been in the console compartment.  I was only able to determine which part of the brisquette had been my Blackberry by the general shape, but at least the change in the coin purse was still recognizable.  I pried it out and washed it, happy that despite thousands of dollars worth of car damage I could lessen my loss by 65 cents.

A call to the insurance company and my expectation that my liability only car insurance would not cover it and my hope that my homeowner's insurance might were proven correct and dashed, respectively.  Of course the representative couldn't tell me this until I had gone over every detail of my car and the incident possible.  While cleaning out the car to prepare it for its transition to the big junkyard in the sky, I found the vinyl owner's manual cover had melted to the bottom of the glove box.  I also found Heather's 4th gen Ipod nano - a greater loss than my 1st gen Ipod nano.  It looked unscathed and I tried to turn it on but it was apparently a victim of the high heat.  I waited until Heather got home to tell her what had happened.

I asked Heather do you want the bad news or the really bad news?  The bad news is that your Ipod is dead.  Somehow Heather thought I said her grandpa was dead, which in hindsight didn't seem to phase her as much as I would have expected it to.  We figured out the mix-up only after I had related the really bad news: The car now smelled badly of smoke.  And was no longer able to start or drive.  And was probably totaled.  And wasn't coverd by insurance.  The good news, besides the fact that the feather bed didn't catch fire, and the car didn't go up in flames burning the house down with it, was that Heather's Ipod was only locked.  It still pumps out the incredibly bad music Heather overpaid 99 cents per song for.  Sorry if you like Country music, but that's my opinion.