Today is a big memorial for the victims of 9/11. I remember 9/11 because I was working at SeaTac Airport when it happened. The FAA grounded all flights and we were on lock-down. Nobody was allowed in our out for days. Because I worked cargo and not the passenger lines, I didn’t have to stick around. I did however find all kinds of folks in the neighborhood that were waiting for flights to resume to go back home. The airport job was my second income and it was the graveyard shift. At the time it was just me and my firstborn and we lived in a shabby apartment in a seedy neighborhood not too far from the airport. Not much but I kept it clean, did repairs and fixed the yard which impressed the owners of the property so much that they asked me to manage the place for a short-term. It soon turned out that they were pretty much slum lords and when the place really started to fall apart because they refused to spend any money to fix the place up, I moved to Federal Way.
I still recall staring at the giant screen tacked on the wall at work, showing the Twin Towers engulfed in flames and smoke, then the screams at street level as people ran for their lives. I cried because I had been there years ago and knew there was a daycare there. Then the scene switched to the Pentagon…..It was eerie not hearing a sound from the sky except for an occasional fighter jet going by. A couple of things about that day have bothered me, like how come the emergency broadcast system wasn’t used? And how come my relatives who knew I worked at the airport, never bothered to check on me? My babysitter did of course. She called me immediately saying she just wanted to make sure nothing was going on at the airport.
After that incident, the company I worked for was in big trouble. They were already in a chapter 11 and this was the final coffin nail. They informed us that we would be losing our jobs in the summer because the company was going out of business. They didn’t get the postal contract like they were hoping, so they couldn’t afford to stay in business. Without that second income, things were going to be even harder since I wasn’t getting child support. I was going to have to find another income.
I look back on that time because those were the days I could find second jobs. I had a roof over my head but the thought of becoming homeless a second time still lived in my brain. I had been proud of the fact that I could work two jobs and not take welfare. I hardly got to see my kid but I believed I was choosing the lesser of two evils.
This morning I am waiting for the local auto parts store to open because I discovered the radiator hose on the mini-van needs to be replaced. It just so happened that Caly’s neighbor saw me trying to get the hood up and he came over to help. Turns out he’s a master mechanic. What are the odds of that? He got out his flashlight and looked around under the hood and I asked if it was the radiator hose because it sounded just like the time the hoses blew on the r.v.. He nodded and pointed to a spot on the hose that had steam hissing out of it. He said that the hose had some extra length on it and I could just unclamp it, cut off an inch, put the clamp back on and top off the radiator. That way it would make it to the auto parts store and it shouldn’t cost much to buy a replacement hose. By this time his wife had joined us and after a pleasant discussion, I discovered they are really nice folks. They offered to help me check the van out this Sunday because they understood my situation. Then I realized they are the parents of a little girl my youngest plays with and they attend the same school! Perhaps I was meant to meet them, I don’t know but it is awfully coincidental that the van should hiss and gurgle at the precise time the neighbor got home from work and he should be a master mechanic across the street.
It took me awhile but I replaced the hose that runs from the water pump to the cooling system. At first I thought it was a radiator hose but I’m glad I fixed it myself! I had hoped that the hose would be less than $20.00 to fix but when the clerk looked up the hose for the mini-van he said he had bad news for me, it was going to cost $36.00 because it was a formed hose instead of a bulk generic one. I told him I didn’t have a choice so I spent a total of $46.00 for the hose, a plastic connector and clamps to go with it. After I wrestled the old hose off and put the new one on, I was a little nervous. Would this work? I started the van and she sounded better than before! I topped off the radiator as it was low then drove around the neighborhood. I am so proud of myself and I didn’t have to take the van into a garage! Take that, you overpriced mechanics! I have all of $10.00 to my name right now but I couldn’t be without a working vehicle. I just hope nothing else goes wrong.