My wife Jaime and I have spent the past two and a half years gut-renovating our first home. It's been a massively consuming project, to the detriment of everything else in our lives, including this blog. I owe Ben a huge debt of gratitude for holding down the fort during my prolonged slackitude.
Last weekend, we were preparing to close on the sale of the house. With just a few days left before we were scheduled to hand over keys to the buyers, we still had a mile-long to-do list, including getting moved out, tending to numerous outstanding maintenance issues, touching up paint, and on and on and on. On top of all that, Jaime had to cover for her co-worker who was out on vacation, I was on triple deadline at work, and our childcare had become completely unreliable. Every waking minute was charged with frantic desperation. I let Ben know that my computer was packed and that I wouldn't be posting until we were set up at our new place.
I was rushing to make a deposit before the bank closed and buy carbon monoxide detectors at Home Depot when I caught a fleeting glimpse of this car driving through a grocery-store parking lot. I didn't get a clear enough view to identify it, but I knew it was something crazy that I'd never seen before, and I knew that after we moved across town, I'd never have the chance to photograph it again. So against my better judgment, I flipped a U-turn in front of oncoming traffic, snaked my way into the parking lot, and began tailing the car. A Plymouth Arrow is rare enough, but an MCA Jet GT??? What does that even mean? And those graphics! I had no idea such a thing existed.
The car pulled out onto the main road and headed north — the opposite direction of my errands.
Like a crazy stalker, I pulled alongside and rolled down my window. When the driver turned her head, I flashed a five-dollar bill and my camera. I shouted over the noise of wind, rain, and traffic, "I want to photograph your car!" She seemed to understand.
A few blocks later, she put on her turn signal and pulled over.
The owner was pleasant and enthusiastic. I think she said her family at one time owned three Arrows in various trims. She told me she is looking forward to detailing it as soon as summer weather arrives. She was happy to stand in the pouring rain talking about cars, and she liked hearing about the blog, but I had to go. I spent just a minute taking photos. She would not accept the $5.
All of that would be enough for a story worth telling, but here's the kicker: She parked in front of my house.
To understand the significance of these photos, check out these shots Ben took of my truck two years ago. In the background, you'll see the house in its earliest stages of restoration: blue paint, white primer, painted front door, wrought-iron pillars, no landscaping, windows covered in plastic...
And now that project is complete.
So not only did I score an amazing Old Parked Car and a wonderful car-spotting story — I get to share with all of you readers a personal glimpse into one of the most climactic moments of my life.
(You may have noticed our home renovation blog, Homing Missile, in the sidebar. I'm looking forward to wrapping up that project in the coming months, now that I'm not dealing with construction tasks every evening and weekend. I'm saving the exterior before-and-afters for the very end, but you've just gotten a sneak peak. Not that I assume you care.)
We closed on the sale last Friday. This is my first blog post written from the comfort of our new home.