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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

How not to dispose of an old engine

Since Melissa starts a new job on Monday, she has spent the past few days racing around running all the errands that she thought she had another week of freedom to accomplish.  One of the items on her to-do list was to dispose of an old engine block that has been stashed in the hanger.  Dave and Curtis replaced the engine in his car years ago when it seized up and the old block has just been collecting dust.  So Melissa calls around and finds its pretty much worthless except as scrap metal.  Problem is that the thing weighs several hundred pounds, so she cons her brother who lives near the hanger to go there and help her lift it into the car.  Piece of cake to then deliver it to the scrap metal yard, right?

She starts out this morning by delivering Curtis to work because last night the very same car died (one of the front arms broke while he was driving on the freeway).  So Curt's car is now parked at a car repair shop in Woodinville where Melissa and Curtis had it towed at 1am when she came to pick him up from the freeway shoulder.  As she drops him off, she asks Curtis for his mailbox key so she can make a duplicate for the spare key set.  Curt asks if she will also make him a copy of his car key.  (This will later become relevant I swear.)

Melissa arrives at her brother's place to pick him up, to find the new family dog, Henry, who she has never met is a lively barking terrier who has convinced himself Melissa is the devil dressed like a girl.  He barks his little head off at her, only changing to a deep growl when Melissa's brother, Charly, tries hopelessly to quiet him.  We pile Charly's three children in the back seat of the car, without the barking dog, and head for the hanger.  The three munchkins are wound up by this adventure and begin poking and prodding one another.  To hear the wails of indignity you would have thought they were poking and prodding each other with with cattle prods, but no, they are just being kids.  Charly threatens to have Melissa pull the car over and they will have to take a time out by the side of the road in the rain.

We arrive at the hanger and get the engine onto a piece of cardboard and slide it out of the hanger.  Where we promptly discover that Melissa can't hold up her end of the deal - because she can't lift her half.  Charly is sure he can lift it himself.  It weighs over 200 lbs.  So we get two jacks and put one under each end.  Charly lifts one end and Melissa raises the jack.  We go back and forth till the engine is about a foot in the air.  From here Charly figures he can maneuver it into the car - not having had to actually lift it off the ground which is the hardest part.  Melissa is scared he will hurt himself, but he successfully gets it into the back of the vehicle where it rests on a piece of wood.  Off to the scrap yard we go.

Only a few minor threats from the adults in the front to the children in the back, and we arrive at the scrap yard.  We open up the trunk and the guy says, "where's the paperwork?".  "What paperwork?" Melissa replies.  "Well, by law you can't dispose of an engine without the registration or title to the car the engine came from."  Melissa retorts that it might have been nice if they had told her this when she called them earlier this morning to ask if they accepted old engine blocks.  This apparently is the government's way of protecting you against chop shops that would just cut your car up and sell it for the scrap metal value.  Of course, Melissa doesn't have the title or registration to Curt's car.  We are in Lynnwood, and Curt's car is in Woodinville 20 miles away.  And no way is Melissa driving that distance on the freeway with a huge engine floating around the back of the car with no way to secure it.  Was one thing to drive three miles down the road going 30 miles an hour from the hanger.  But another thing entirely to take it on the freeway - where an accident could cause the engine to go flying and kill someone.  She points this out to the guy at the yard and asks if we can leave the engine there and come back with the paperwork.  He says ok, and tells us to go drive onto the scale.  We confirm he has the scale reading, and drive to the back where they unload the engine (by sliding the wood out of the car until the engine just dumps on the ground - luckily doing no damage to the car).  We drive back onto the scale and the guy again nods.  Charly checks with the office to see whether the registration will do, or if we need the car title.  The gal in the office freaks out and starts telling Charly that we can't leave without taking the engine with us if we don't have the paperwork.  Charly points out that the engine is already out of the car.  She says that they will put it back in.  She says that we will have to do that anyway because she didn't record the scale readings.  She starts talking about calling the police.  Charly walks out, hops in the car and says to Melissa, "drive away and make it fast".  Melissa is like, "huh?!"  So we drive away because, what else was there to do?  The guy said we could come back with the paperwork, and no way is Melissa letting them load it back into her car.

Melissa drops Charly and the kids off at home, and drives to where Curt's car is parked in Woodinville - having been towed there the night before.  She is thinking, lucky that I just happen to have Curt's car key, right?  Well no.  She can't open the car.  The driver side door lock is jammed.  And the passenger side lock is missing.  Yes, that's right, there is no lock at all.  So she can't get in the car.  This turns out to be irrelevant though because Curtis informs her that the registration isn't in his car.  It "got wet and disintigrated", whatever that means.  So now, Melissa heads to the bank in Bellevue, where she has to get into the safety deposit box to retrieve the title.  Which is in Dave's name.  She anticipates an argument over this.  She drives back to Lynnwood all the while figuring she can use dropbox to logon from her phone and get a copy of Dave's passport if it comes to that.

She arrives at the scrap yard figuring that (1) she will have to wait till they do whatever magic they do to match the engine to the title (is the VIN etched on the engine or something?), (2) argue with them about putting the engine back in her car to be weighed, and (3) argue about her last name being the same as what's on the title and shouldn't that be good enough?  She is loaded for bear.  She produces the car title and puts it through the slot on the bullet proof glass window protecting the office (cuz scrap metal is so lucrative people rob the till?).  Without examining them, the gal makes a xerox copy of the title along with Melissa's driver's license and pays her for 220 lbs of scrap - without so much as a blink of an eye.  Ok, so seriously?  We should have just produced the registration for Melissa's Lexus the first go around.  So Melissa has driven 100 miles and used 5 gallons of gas over the past four hours.  Want to guess what they paid for the engine?  Six dollars and change.

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Was it six dollars before or after the HazMat fee?

What a pain,
Daniel



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