Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Van Is Gone

As you may or may not know, my husband passed away last December. He didn't have much to leave, but among his personal possessions was a 1988 Dodge Caravan.

I had it re-registered into my name (much easier at the DMV than I anticipated after the fiasco at the bank), and then looked into donating it to a worthy cause. Well, the problem with the van is that it was old and needed work. I know the brakes were shot, and after sitting for so long, I know it needed a battery, a tune-up, an oil change, new tires, and God only knows what else. The body was rusting away. You know that any item that just sits unused deteriorates faster than if that item were being used. I didn't have the money to fix it to get it presentable for most charities. Most want vehicles that are relatively late model and in runnable condition. Well, this wasn't.

A friend thought her brother might want it. He was good with cars and if I sold it cheap enough, he could afford it. Shoot, I was willing to give it to him just to get it out of my parking space and before the condo association decided it was an eyesore and fined me for it. Unfortunately, he decided he didn't want it. Couldn't blame him; he would have put in a lot of time fixing it just to be drivable and he needed something he could drive now.

Then, one day I was either one the way to work, or coming home from work and heard an advertisement for Purple Heart Cars. This was the Purple Heart Veterans organization asking for vehicle donations. They accept vehicles in any condition, running or not. Here was my answer! I could get rid of the vehicle, give it to a worthy veterans organization, and even claim it on my taxes as a deduction. In my heart, giving it to an organization dedicated to helping veterans was more important than any deduction I might get

So last spring I contacted them via their website. The next day, I got a call from a tow company asking for directions to my house to get the van. The only problem was, I hadn't cleaned it out yet. It had a lot of personal possessions that I just hadn't gotten to cleaning out. And, I had put the registration somewhere "safe". Well, if your house is like mine, that could be anywhere! The upshot was that I told him I wasn't ready yet; had he called to make an appointment with me, I would have had everything in order. So, we put it off until I found the registration. And got it cleaned out, but he didn't need to know that part.

Summer came, and I just don't do much outside during the hot summer days. Finally, the weather cooled down enough to clean the van out. Some things stayed in the van; but most came in the house, went into my van, or were tossed into the trash. I found the registration (not where I thought it was, but it in the next place I looked). I even found the keys.

I contacted PHV again, filled out the form, and asked specifically that someone call before coming for the van. Because of my work rotation, I didn't know if they would come on my day off or a day I worked. I wanted to be home to sign over the registration and turn over the keys. That was over the weekend.

I came home from work on Monday and the van was gone. There was a paper stuck behind the Christmas wreath on my front door indicating that Purple Heart Vets had picked up the van. That was good. I wasn't upset that they got the van, I was miffed that they didn't call because I still had the registration and keys. Legally, I could have caused some problems by reporting the van stolen. But, that would have been wrong and would have come back to bite me in so many ways, that I never got past the first thought of it. But I did think of it :D

I sent another email, since it was after hours, to ask what they wanted to do about the registration and keys. That resulted in a phone call on Wednesday from the gentleman who took the van. He explained that he happened to be in the area and decided to see if he could just pick up the van. I explained that was not the problem, but I had specifically asked to be called first so I could be here to turn over the keys and registration.

He came to the house, I signed the registration over to the PHV and gave it to him along with the keys. He asked if I had even noticed it was gone. Huh? This was a big, rusting blue van that was taking up one of my parking spots and he wondered if I had noticed? I assured him I had as soon as I pulled up.

Anyway, it's gone. One more thing off my list.

No comments: