Who is Rosie Pro? More like what--Rosie Pro is what I fondly call my 2003 Mazda Protege, the little car that could. I bought her after Fester the Escort (1994-2003) met his violent demise on the side of Elverta Road.
Being in my 20s at the time, I decided not to be childish--the car could go nameless. But on the way home from Roseville Auto Mall, the song "Kissed By a Rose" came on the radio, and it struck me that this car was definitely a Rosie--all girl, and very pretty. The name stuck.
Rosie Pro has had a ladder dropped on the front fender, the door of another car jammed into her own, and in February 2007, she was rear-ended, causing some scratches on the back bumper, but fortunately no other damage. She's had her nicks and bruises. But nothing prepared me for what happened this weekend.
Sunday, of course, was moving day. I spent Saturday finishing my packing, doing a little bit of cleaning, and getting everything finalized. I made a quick Target run for clean pajamas and a paperback book, and returned to the apartment at about 9:00. As usual, I clicked the doors locked until Rosie's horn beeped, and then locked myself in the apartment.
I woke up bright and early Sunday morning, at about 6:00, and jumped in the shower. When I was finished, I threw my essential toiletries in a plastic box and took them out to the car.
The first thing I noticed was what appeared to be yellow and white paint tossed all over the car.
Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be mustard and coconut-flavored sunscreen.
The second thing I noticed was that my car was the only one in the immediate area to have been targeted. I park in a little part of the lot that has 12 spaces, all covered. My spot is on the very inside end of this little part of the parking lot. On the driver's side of my car, there's a wall and some tall bushes. My parking spot is probably about 15-20 yards from my front door.
"Oh, ha ha, cute prank!" I thought to myself.
Then I got closer to the car.
In addition to throwing mustard and sunscreen all over the car, the "pranksters" had also made several long scratches in the doors, fenders and lid to the trunk. Oh, and for good measure, they put a nice, big dent in the back passenger-side door.
Believe me, these pictures are NOT for the scrapbook.
You can imagine my shock...and my tears. I was absolutely horrified. I called Antioch PD to file a report, and cried a little more before putting on my big girl panties and dealing with it.
The first order of business? Cleaning the mustard off. By now, Dad and his friend John had arrived to start loading the U-Haul. I took the car across the street to Chevron and ran it through the car wash. This didn't do much except spread the mustard around a little, so I drove back home. Mom pulled in a few minutes later, so she and I spent some quality bonding time smearing mustard all over my car, and eventually getting it off. Then I took the car back to Chevron and ran it through the car wash again. Much better!
There's still dried mustard in some of the impossible-to-reach crevices. I suppose it will come out eventually.
The irony of this situation--and I find it hysterically funny, actually--is that I parked this car in a high school parking lot every day for two years and never once had anything happen. Other teachers have had their cars keyed (often randomly) and cars have even been stolen out of the lot. Mine remained untouched. Then, on my LAST NIGHT in Antioch, it gets vandalized--badly.
Of course, my first thought was "this is personal." I wandered around parts of the parking lot and saw no other damaged cars--only mine. I started wracking my brain. Who would do this? Sure, some of those choir kids were major brats, but they're not criminals! Many kids know what I drive from seeing me in the parking lot, and many know that I lived in Bella Rose--but I never told them which building, or what apartment number.
It seemed so malicious--and that's what bothered me the most.
The rest of Moving Day went pretty smoothly (more on that later), and I made it to Lincoln in one piece. Believe me, as annoying as the damage to my car is, I'm thankful that it's only cosmetic. They didn't slash my tires or do anything to harm the performance of the car. For that, I'm extremely thankful.
Still, I don't want to drive poor Rosie around with numerous scratches and a big ole dent, so I called my insurance people yesterday to make a claim.
Can I just say that I have the best insurance in the world? My dad, being a vet, is eligible for USAA. As his daughter, I am eligible, too. I have been insured by them since I started driving, and I will stay with them. They're awesome.
I immediately got through to a claims adjuster--a real, live person--and within minutes, I'd filed my claim, been referred to a local body shop, and was on my way. I have a $500 deductible that I have to pay, but the rest will be covered by my insurance. And that's a good thing...because I had the appraisal done this morning, and they're going to have to do a lot of work. Like $3,533.90 worth of work.
Finally, there's a new piece to add to the puzzle. Mom and I drove to Antioch yesterday for my apartment check-out. The maintenance guy and I got chatting, and I told him about the vandalism. He stopped what he was doing, looked at me, and said, "Mustard?"
My jaw dropped. "You mean, it wasn't just my car?"
"Nope--they got a ton of cars at the other end of the complex with mustard."
I spoke to one of the ladies in the office, and she confirmed it--she had several messages that morning about cars being sprayed with mustard...but as far as she knows, mine was the only one with scratches and a dent.
It's a mystery...
So bright and early Monday morning, I'll drop Rosie Pro off at the body shop. She'll stay for about 5 days, and come out smelling like...well, a rose.