Wednesday, 14 March 2007

In case you're reading this and didn't know...

I'm back in Kansas for a visit. I had a project for my classes that I could do here in the States and then we have off a month for spring break, which is nice. I will be here until April 5. So far, I'm enjoying being back-I don't especially want to go back, which is very sad. I've wanted to live in England for YEARS! And now, I want to go back to Kansas. It's funny, you always think that there is something better out there and there may be and I don't know it yet, but Kansas will always be home. I still love England and maybe when I'm less high maintenance, I can live there. I still love my internship and my roommate and I love being able to get on a train and run down to London, but we're far more spoiled here in the States, so I will stop taking it for granted and no one better ever trash Walmart in my presence because I will set them straight. From what I have been forced to pay in England for everyday items is a crime and I had to go to three stores before I could find standard medical tape-tape you can buy at Walmart and Dillons. But no, not in England, I had to go to an actual pharmacy and I was charged $8.00- I looked at medical tape at Walmart (even better tape) and it was $2.40. I have been enjoying the wonderful American food. I don't think I ever took American food for granted-I knew I was going to have problems in England, but it's worse than I thought.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Oh, what a week...

Happier days for my car

This has been quite the week. Wednesday morning I got up and was headed out to Birmingham. I walk outside of my house and look at my driveway. First, it takes a moment to register-there's nothing in the driveway. Where's my car??? That's right-it was STOLEN!!! I just stand there for a minute thinking I don't know the 911 equivalent and my roommate is gone and Josh is in class. I go to my neighbor and ask him if he remembers seeing my car or someone near it. He said that the previous night (Tuesday), he took his father home and the car wasn't there. He gave me the 911 equivalent, which is 999.

I run back home and call the police. My car had been found around 11pm Tuesday night. I had just driven it Tuesday night and got home around 8pm. I locked the car like I always do and parked it in the driveway. My roommate was at his parent's house in Doncaster, so he wasn't home. So, the car must have been stolen after 8pm. It was really windy that night and my neighbors are noisy-they're always playing with their cars or in their garages, so I didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. I'm really grateful to the person that phoned it in. Apparently, they called the police and reported that they saw someone hot wiring a car in city centre around 10:10pm. It was eventually found in Hunslet at 10:45pm.

My car was taken to the Halfway Garage, which is about 10 minutes from where I live. On Wednesday, they couldn't give me many details. They weren't allowed to inspect the car until the police came and fingerprinted it. This was around 2pm yesterday and they were supposed to call me when it was ready. I waited by the phone the rest of the afternoon and no calls. I had called my roommate earlier and told him and he came home early from work. Around 5pm, he called the garage to ask them what was going on. The car had been fingerprinted, they just didn't call me. Anyway, they told him that it was probably driveable, but that it had steering problems and the ignition didn't work. Plus, they said there was a £160 ($320) "police recovery charge" that I had to pay in order to pick it up. That really annoyed me-my car gets stolen and I have to pay to recover it. I didn't pay much for the car in the first place, so I didn't want to sink a bunch of money into it.

I figured today is a new day, so I took a cab to the Halfway Garage. I was really worried about the prognosis. I didn't want to pay the recovery charge if the car wasn't going to be driveable. Josh only does brakes, so he wasn't going to be much help. Besides, I often run to him when I need help, so I wanted to try and handle this without him.

It was funny, as soon as I walked inside and said hi-the guy was like "ah...the American is here." I had called about half a dozen times trying to get answers out of them, so they already knew me. Fortunately, the men at the garage were great. The guy that showed me my car was really helpful and honest. He said that there really wasn't anything major wrong with my car, but the key doesn't work in the ignition anymore and the plastic top of the steering wheel had to be taken off so it doesn't rub against the wires. I have to start it with a "plug" thing, I can use a key or even a flathead screwdriver, which makes it vulnerable to theft again, but it's fixable. I drove it home and didn't notice any steering problems. Other than starting it with the plug, there really isn't anything wrong with it. Plus, it ended up only being a £105 recovery charge, which is better than £160.

I'm still really annoyed, but for having my car stolen, I'm actually pretty lucky. My car was only missing for a maximum of 3 hours, the interior is fine, my cd player was still there, only a little bit of the gas was used, and overall, the inside is clean. The outside was pretty muddy on the tires, so I washed it and it looked pretty good. It is now safely locked away in the garage. My poor little car-it's not meant to be dragged all around Leeds. It just goes to and from school, the grocery stores, and Josh's.

I called the police four times yesterday and this morning. I repeated the same story again and they still didn't have any type of record of my name, address, or anything else or any relation to my car being stolen. I know my car isn't high profile, but I think they should at least take a statement or have some type of record of the crime. However, as I typed this message-there was a knock on the door (it's 10pm here) and an officer was here to get my details. He was nice, but he had a record of all my phone calls. I did what I thought was necessary for some action to be taken. I've never had my car stolen and I want justice!! If that meant calling the police and the garage every hour, then I was going to do it.

I think my roommate feels guilty about my car. It's not his fault. All of my neighbors have better cars, my car is dependable-that's why I bought it. However, it was easy prey. I think it was taken for a little joyride. Rich is funny-he drives a black 2004 BMW, but has decided that it has too many miles on it, so he's trading it in for a silver 2007 BMW, which he will get next month. He's really excited-works for me, I'll get to ride around in it too. We went to Pizza Hut tonight. I think he also worries that I don't eat, which I haven't really the past two days. I've been too worried about the car that I forgot to eat. Pizza Hut was yummy-I hadn't been there since we were in Paris in January.

I'm going to relax this weekend-I need a little break after a stressful 48 hours. Rich sold his other house, so he's currently wealthy. I think we're going shopping on Saturday. The Corn Exchange has a cool market on Saturdays. Josh ate the recalled Peanut Pan PB. I told him not to, but oh well. He's seems ok, so far. If he gets sick, I don't want to hear about it. least England isn't boring.