May 6, 2011

Saturday. The day started early. I had plotted a course of action and a timeline the night before.
7:45 first order of the day : Get up! And eat.

I Jumped in my clothes, brushed my teeth and started to grab all my things. I had packed everything the night before as I know I am pretty much brainless on early morning.

I had a quick breakfast, said goodbye to everyone and headed out. The first step was to get on the bike and go to where the van was parked, which was about 15 miles away. I got there, started the engine, let it warm up, affixed the temporary insurance paper in the window, pulled out of the driveway, drove in the bike in the spot where the van was, covered it up and jumped back in the van.

The bike sits where the van was, tucked for the day.

Destination : back to Barbara’s to drop off a last box of family photos sitting in the van.

Leo ready for the day sits on the van's console

By the time this was done it’s about 9:45. I am ahead of schedule. the second errand entails White Rock, this time to pick up a drive to White Rock where the bought-unbought sculpture and 5 other of my works await me for pick up. That is also when I would give the buy-unbuy lady her money back and close this mad chapter of my life.

at the buy-unbuy lady's house, a row of identical homes that make me feel spinny

I arrived there early. I was supposed to meet her at 10:30. it’s 10 AM. I called and announced myself.
“Hi, I am here already, is that OK with you”
“Oh, I just got out of the shower, let me get dressed, I’ll be right there”

I sit in the van. I feel a bit of anxiety. Take a deep breath. I just hope she doesn’t freak out. I check in my wallet for the certified cheque for her.

“Danielle, you can come” She said from outside her door. I get out of the van, I was in the middle of rubbing my eyes when she called.
“You look tired… You are busy?” she asked.
“Well…” I didn’t know what to say. First I hate it when people say that you look tired. As if it helps anyone to let them know they look like shit.
“…Doing what I gotta do” I replied and smiled sideways.

I started picking up the sculptures that were in the garage. We then walked in the house and I grabbed War & Peace. What I feel is a strange emotion of asking forgiveness to the piece for having left it in a place where it wasn’t loved… My little one.

I came back in and handed her the certified cheque. And I could not help myself and said :
“Here is a certified cheque, just to make sure that I am not accused of anything.” It was a bit of a barb I guess… but I needed to express something after all that she put me through since this little story started.

“Oh I would never do that…” She replied.

“Hmrffftt” I thought.

It was done. The horses in the van, the money in her hands.

“I want to give you gas money” she pleaded.
“ No, I don’t want anything, it’s not necessary.”
“ No I have to” and she went upstairs to her office, where she had so happily written the cheque only a week ago. She came back down and handed me a folded piece of paper that I did not look at.

“I’m so sorry…” She says. She was sorry. I could tell.

“It’s all right, don’t be sorry. Things happen the way they should.”

“I have to go back to the hospital, they are doing tests… I’m so alone… I’m alone, I have no one, no family here… My mind is failing me… my emotions…” She is tearing up. She is falling apart. She looks frail as if she could break or float away like a wisp of smoke. And there it happens again. I am the strong one. The one who can console and comfort. I put my hands on her shoulders.

“You are not alone. You are never alone… You have to take a deep breath and go into your soul, not your body. You must take care. Take your time…”

It was strange, all those words coming out of my mouth. I kissed her on the forehead. I had the power to soothe. To grant some sort of peace. Purpose.

“I’m so sorry…” she repeated tearing up.

“I don’t want you to have one micro speck of worry about this. It’s all perfect. All as it should be. You hear me? I do not want you to worry about this ever again. Take care of yourself. Be good to yourself. Do what you have to do, be gentle to yourself.”

Soon after we waved goodbye and I hopped in the van and drove away. How strange that all was. I did not have an ounce of ill feeling. I was at peace with everything. I had ended this play with grace and had managed to get out of fear.

11 AM Next step, bring that sculpture to the mover. I got there and we packed it in a box. I saw it disappear in a sea of crunched up paper. See you in California where a greater fate possibly awaits you…

Now it’s on to stage three of the day : the sculpture studio. There was still a couple of pieces of gray alabaster, one piece of marble and one little brick of limestone that Alberto had given me still sitting in the van. Those will be gifted to the Steveston carvers. Everyone is there on the Saturday morning and it’s good to see them all. We chat a bit, but I gotta run. It’s time to go eat, check emails and stop to quickly see Erika.

At 1:15 PM I head out to Vancouver. Step 4 of the plan to go park the van in the Safeway parking lot and see if anyone that was interested enough in the van to come meet in in person. I get there at 1:40 PM . I go to the store and get a bottle of water, a banana and a chocolate bar. I clear up what is in the van, open the back doors to let the air in. As I open the door I notice this motorcycle with a weird home made set of cases.

Parked and ready for potential buyers

This thing looks so wild… I take pictures.

a side view

the rear view...

Then I go back inside the van and wait for the potential buyers to show up. A few minutes later I hear a voice coming from the back door.

“Is this for sale?” a grizzled man with the deep lines of someone who worked outside most of his life was poking through the back door.

“Uh… yeah… did you see the ad on Craigslist…”

“ How much you ask for it?” he asks

“Uh.. $975.”

“How much did you want for it?” he asks again

“Well, I wanted $1200…”

“I’ll give you $1200 for it. Right now.”

“You… huh? Yeah?”

“Yeah, I’ll give you $1200 for it. I want it. I want this van. Been wanting a van.” He came towards the front of the van then saw my helmet on the front seat.

“You ride?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Oh, super. I ride too. This is my bike back there.”

“Really? The one with the boxes? I was looking at it… took a picture.”

“Can you open the hood”

“Yeah, of course!”

So he looked under the hood, sat on the passenger seat, asked me to start the engine.

“I want it! Lets go to the bank.” So we walked to the bank which was a few steps away. Somehow it was the right bank… I looked at him, he was slightly bent, light on his feet in a “blown by the wind” sort of way. But he was smiling. We walked in the bank and he went straight for the counter. I could hear him tell the tale of his finding of this van and how he was getting this money to pay for it. It was hard to grasp. He came back towards me waving the white money envelope with the cash in it.

“Lets go to the insurance place” he chirped as we walk out of the bank. We were heading towards the van and another man was looking at it. Someone from the Craigslist ad. He was the guy from Gibsons… on the island, a long ways away. I felt incredibly guilty, but I could not see how he would want to pay more and told him it was sold. He was disappointed. He had come a long ways… I’m so sorry…

Then we walked into the insurance brokers’ office. An asian lady was sitting there. She looked at Clint and looked apprehensive. When they started to talk I realized that he had been here before.

“How much is it going to be for this?” he said pointing to the van’s registration papers.

“Well, it depends, how long, what liability…” She had the look of one of the too many “Can’t Do Dat” people. She indeed started to list all the can’ts. I intervened.

“I am selling this vehicle to this gentleman, we just need to know what is required to make the transaction and insure the vehicle”

“Where is the Air Care certificate?”

“The van has pretty much been off the road for a year.”

“ Oh, you need Air Care or we can’t do this…”

I looked at Clint and said : “Lets go get the Air Care test then we’ll come back.”

We went out and headed for the van.

“Lets go to Richmond and do the test there, it will give us a stretch of highway to get the engine to run full out for a bit.” He agreed. He was still smiling. So we headed out. Got on the highway, pushed the motor a bit, then arrived to the testing center. We had a chance to chat a bit. Clint is a gambler. He goes to Vegas and to LA once or twice a year and gambles a set amount of money. He has a face lined like a high elevation mountain map. He looks part drinker, part scoundrel and part man who lived hard and part good hearted man.


He told me a bit of his story : fisherman, tug boat driver, drinker, gambler. Lost his wife because of the drinking, kept on going rambling around the world. He is 77 years old, says friends are the most important thing in your life and kept repeating how good life was.

We finally get to the test bay. Give the attendant the information and wait. I felt really confident as this van has always passed the test without a problem. I get the report : FAIL.

what I did not believe could be...


I can’t believe it… I never failed that test… What are we going to do? We are informed that Clint could insure the van for 3 months but would have to come back when the van was repaired, pay again and redo the test. I am seeing my sale falling, slipping between my fingers… What to do?

Lets call Russ.

“Hi Russ, Danielle here.”

“Oh hi, how are things?”

“Well, I just went through Air Care and we failed. I got a buyer with me in the van… not sure what to do”

“Get over here.” He tells me the address which is very close and I head out. It’s almost 4 PM. I get there and Russ comes from the back yard. He was working on a motorcycle. He rides too.

“Show me the numbers.” I show him the test results. He peers over the numbers for about 5 seconds.

“Your idle is too low and the timing has to be set back. Is your idle low?”

“Yes it is”

In a matter of minutes the hood is open, the dog house over the engine is latched off and the engine is exposed. There is rodent shit over parts of the engine, rust, he pulls out the air filter and it is a disgusting black and rust piece of junk that should not be there.

“here is one reason why you failed… this truck needs a tune up… plugs… It’s been parked for years…”

But he keeps on working with the help of the fellow biker and they get the idle up and the timing changed.

“How much do I owe you for this?” I asked.

“Nothing, I know your situation.” He said while putting all the stuff back over the engine and closing everything up.

“Now Go! And call me to let me know what happens!”

I run to the driver’s seat and Clint up on his seat. He looks a little ragged. It’s 4:30…

“Thanks Russ!!!” We head out. Drive back to the test facilities. Take 2. There is a lot of cars, I am a bit worried they are going to turn us around as it is past 4:30 and they close at 5 but as I think that, a bunch of cars turn around and leave. Only 2 cars ahead of us.

I cross my fingers and say : All right! Lets see what happens! And Clint crosses his fingers too, and grins a wicked grin and then says pointing to the sky : “We aint’ got nuthin’ to worry about, He’s with us!” All right, if you say so. We need all the help we can, I thought.

We get a different tester, he does things a little more thoroughly than the last guy. We get in the booth as they get in the van to run the tests. I really hope this works. I got to let that van go and he really wants it.

The test is done. We get back in the van and drive up to the area where they hand you the results. We look at each other and cross our fingers again. I look over the printer where our fate is being laid in ink right then and there.

“I think I saw a PASS!” I said

the attendant comes over. Here it is. You passed.



We are both hooting and hollering in glee. It’s 5 PM. We did it. I am so elated. We drive out of the facilities and right there is an Autoplan insurance place. Lets go there I told Clint. He agrees.

I called Russ :

“We passed.”

“Good” he says.

“THANK YOU!!!” I said. And he responded saying it was nothing. But it was everything. This gigantic thorn of a vehicle that had stuck to me for the last 11 years. This old, musty, worn beast had found someone else to love it. Everyone was happy. It was the perfect fit in every way.

I took my plates off and put Clint’s on, while he was doing the paperwork. Strangely I wasn’t sad or anything. It feels good when things simplify and get lighter. It is a done deal.

I drove to Erika’s to drop off the few paintings and sculptures remaining in there, I will have to deal with that. I will. No worries. I will.

The sun shines, the deal is done. Clint called back a while later to tell me how happy he was. To celebrate Erika and I went for dinner at the Blue Canoe. It’s so incredible. The whole story. A scene out of a movie. The sun is setting. The place looks magical. To think how all the pieces of that puzzle fell into place the way they did, that Clint was there in that parking lot at that time… just amazing.

Erika the beautiful showing off our food

the view from the Blue Canoe's window as the sun sets

We ate and had a great time, but now I have to go back to Surrey which is almost 3 hours away on transit. I tell Erika :

“Gotta go pick up the bike, I want to do it tonight while I am still energized. I’ll take transit, Unless I find a ride!”

I called a cab to get to the sky train. That will save me a good 40 minutes of waiting and bussing.

I get in the taxi and tell the driver where I am heading. I asked him how long it would take to go to Surrey by bus and sky train. The driver then offers : I’ll take you to Surrey, I ‘ll give you a deal, $60 instead of 70 or 80 if you want. I thought for a minute. If I take transit I would ultimately come back around 1 AM.

“All right, I’ll take the deal” So he drove me all the way to Surrey. It’s a bit of money but it’s been a long day, a long week, a long month. We talk about all sorts of stuff. The skies are unbelievably beautiful. The scenery is astounding along highway 91, alighted by the sunset, the lights of Vancouver, New Westminster and Burnaby shine against the dark blue of the mountains. Again, it’s a symphonic array of colors, shades of blue, pink, pink, orange, black and grays. I am grateful. There was a message on my cell. Clint. He called to say how much he loves the van and how happy he is about this. It’s perfect.

I got to Surrey as night arrived. I put on the leathers over my jeans and started the bike. Last time at this parking spot that I had for the van for almost a year thanks to Barbara’s generosity. I rode peacefully, arrived in Steveston at 21:24.

I’m bagged, tired to the bone and marveling at how much got done today, wrongs righted and deeds done, failed test, Russ’s rescue and the passed test, van sold and back with the bike. All in one day. I am amazed.

Steveston at sunset


3 Responses to “Sold!”

  1. Ron Tasoff Says:

    Hi Danielle

    Love the blog and your music.

    However, I suggest that for the record there is no record of our conversation.

    Especially the part where I was talking to myself while you were trying to call through and I kept rejecting your calls thinking you were still on the line. Clueless and self absorbed – that’s me all right.

    So good luck on your adventure.

    Get that ticket and call me in the morning.


  2. Madeleine Says:

    Je ne sais plus comment te rejoindre, mais je m’en veux de ne pas avoir pensé plutôt de te dire de m’envoyer ta sculpture vendue et invendue et je te l’aurais payée. J’imagine qu’il est maintenant trop tard. Je pense à toi sans cesse. Tiens moi au courant des développements.
    Je t’aime
    Mawie xxxxxx

  3. Charlotte Says:

    Is this what is meant by the saying “Hold Onto Your Horses”? I’m not sure what the heck is going on here in North Carolina… but I thought you could maybe use a laugh. Piglet says HI !!!


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