Haphazard Observations of the Everyday

And a little fiction by Miguela Holt y Roybal

Miguela Holt y Roybal

Miguela Holt y Roybal
New Mexico, USA
March 10
Monarch of All She Surveys
Miguela Holt y Roybal is my maiden name en Espanol. I am a retired schoolteacher and aspiring author looking for crumbs of beauty among the ruins. My novel has been a work in progress for longer than I care to admit. It is a postmodern pastiche of magical realism and about a young woman from New Mexico who goes to work in Washington, DC during the 1980s. She has been a longtime witness to the secret rituals of the Penitente culture in her home state and learns about herself and redemption as she sallies forth on her quest for novelty and adventure. I claim fair useage of images found on the internet that illustrate some of my posts. All contents copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.


SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 4:47PM


Rate: 18 Flag


Overhaulin' is a reality TV show on the The Learning Channel that takes old cars and remodels them for deserving drivers.  The vehicles are amazingly tricked out by designer Chris Foos.  There is a lot of fun and many zany pranks on the show and the end results are just amazing.

 The show's crew produces end results like this:

foos school bus 

And this:


I applied to Overhaulin' for some help with my husband's old Econoline van but never heard from them.

I am not a car person at all.  As a matter of fact, I never wanted to drive when I was young because I was afraid to.  It would have suited me just fine to be the little lady driven to church and to the market.  Women's Liberation saw to it that I would drive all my life, white knuckled, and refusing to pump my own gas.  I had a sixty mile commute to school each day for five years before I retired.  This old gal has covered many a mile behind the wheel.

Last year, I let the finance company repossess the lemon of a PT Cruiser that had four fans replaced in two years.  It was dead again.  I have been on foot ever since in my small town hauling my groceries in a little cart and going to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for my disabled husband whenever a friend was unable to give me a lift or seemed kind of grudging.  That was often.


Robert has had this old Econoline van parked in the driveway for a over a year.  It is too large for me because I am accustomed to small vehicles.  Even so, I told him I would man up and drive it.  The van represents Bob's freedom and it has been grounded much like he has since a recent amputation and colostomy.

There are no specialized garages within hundreds of miles of here and so I had to work with the locals.  While Bob was last hospitalized this spring, I took the van to the garage to have the thing fixed so that I would not have to plug in and unplug the battery in order to start it.  This was happening because the specialized wheelchair lift drew the power out of the battery and it was dead and needed a jump everytime.  We don't know our neighbors and did not want to bother them with a daily request.  I paid but the the battery still drained.

The mechanics were also to stabilize the seat that swiveled for Bob to mount it. It flopped around when I tried to drive and it was frankly unsafe.  It was like one leg was missing on a chair.  I asked them to bolt it in some way and instead they welded the thing tightly with the seat 1/2 inch from the wheel!  I don't even know how Bob's friend drove it off the lot that way.

I paid some Mexican mechanics to move the seat back to because the other garage refused to even look at specialized equipment.  As it turned out the seat's unwelding would require more than they were able to do.  Bob can't get in it anymore but I thought maybe he might be able to unweld it later.  In addition to that, I had the other mechanics install a very heavy wheelchair lift, just only the mechanical part, so that Bob could do the electrical later when he was able to get out of bed. 


Today, Bob got up for the first time to see what was up with the van.  I guess he got tired of me complaining about having to walk through all weathers such as 45 mph winds in the freezing cold and over 100 degrees of heat all summer.  Winter is coming again.  He was very disappointed to see that the Mexican mechanics had installed the thing 1/2 inch short of its being able to function electrically.

The misplacement thwarted Bob's plan to get under the van and rewire the thing.  Of course, I was not going to let my crippled, one legged husband get under there and offered to put a blanket on the ground and try to wriggle under there myself to follow his directions.   


It's a little dark to see the wheelchair lift that was badly installed. 


See the disgusted look on his face?  I am shattered because I spent over $500 dollars getting these "repairs" done by supposed professionals and to no avail.

for sale 001

 For Sale

I am crying now because Bob and I are arguing about how friends and family have let us down again and again.  He always sees the good in people and I am going to call people on their bad and indifferent behavior.  I did everything I possibly could but no woman is an island except me.  We have family nearby.  They are too busy or I think indifferent to help us.  I should have taken a picture of the forty year old neighbor drinking beer and watching us from across the street.  Bob has one friend with over ten cars in his garage and could not find even one to sell us or to loan even though he has no qualms whatever about almost daily visits at mealtime. 

I am pretty disgusted with people right now and have to agree with Sartre.  Other people are hell.  The funny thing is that I have helped people all my life and should have good helping karma.  But no.  If it were not for the support of my Open Salon pals, this spring, I am certain I would have gone mad.  Please if you see someone who is bearing a load, whatever it is, won't you stop and help?  Do unto others.




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This was one heck of an essay. I so agree with you.. I try every darn day, but when someone like you needs help and no one does.. well it makes me really angry.,
I don't know anything about cars, but if I was in New Mexico I would help you. Really! How can anyone not want to help when you really need it.
rated with empathy and love
I wish I knew more about fixing cars, as I could probably make it to New Mexico in two nights.

I ask that the good karma you've engendered please decide to make a foray to your home.

Thanks for sharing this piece with us.
I have a good friend who says, "I love humanity, its the people I can't stand." Spot on -- Sounds to me like you really need to get with some qualified folks to work with the wheel chair lift. It's pretty specialized equipment and really shouldn't be draining the battery all of the time. Good luck getting it fixed and I'm really sorry it's been so hard, pretty well sucks....
I gotta leave. I leaf says goodbye to a tree.
In Autumn time a leaf floats away to say:
Bye Tree.
But the Tree says "Howdy Leaf!" Later.
In Spring.
Private sad.
I think of You.
Ay You Two.
Yippee! Ah!
The poetry of earth is never dead
(On the Grasshopper and Cricket)

When I fear I cease to be
(When I have fears)

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Tender is the night
(Ode to a Nightingale)

Where are the songs of Spring?
(To Autumn - All are by John Keats)
He was only twenty-five when he died.
I am glad he recorded his inner sanctum.
I am spending calm and quiet seashore time.
On Atlantic Free Press I show a Farm Truck.
It's a 1948 Studebaker. I take you two for a haul?
It runs. The wipers stop in the rain if you step on peddle.
I may lose this comment. I have no trouble anywhere else.
But as soon as I begin reading/comment @ Open Salon?
I have much to say:
This is not a flounce.
People have grievances.
Never cower down to creeps.
Speak. Thanks for sharing and:
Love always,
you keep up what your about.
There are good people in the world, more good than bad, even if some days it seems just the opposite. Have you contacted local churches or help agencies? It's hard, sometimes, asking for help -- especially if you've always been a helper -- but now it seems as if you're owed some kindness.
I wish I was there to just give you rides. How awful for you and your husband to have invested in such worthless people. I'm so sorry Miguela that really stinks and shame on those people who like to say they have a lot of friends but that's as far as they go. I have been where you are the past couple of years. The only good that came of it was finding out that many friends and family were just people who like to say they are good people. They're not, and I feel very free to call them on it, as free as they feel to act that way.

As far as Mr. Mealtime, he's known as a mooch. Smile and tell him there's a charge for dinner as you're raising funds for a vehicle, no free rides in your place either. An angel will find their way to you, what comes around goes around.
It will get better. Keep it in today so it doesn't weigh on tomorrow. Tomorrow will stand on its own.
Im glad we at OS can boost your spirits. I say send this post to the tv show and then send it again and again. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I love Bob. Give him a big hug for me. He looks so cute and I would crawl under the van for him too.
I'm so sorry to hear of the trouble you have had and the way you've had to pay for substandard work, and the neighbors! Jeesh! You are due for some good luck!

You probably have already contacted many places in your area, but I remember years ago where I lived there was an organization that gave grants to disabled folk to adapt their homes, etc. I received help with a fence around my yard. I was told about this through the office of housing/development. I wonder if there is something like that for people and cars.

I hope that something breaks through for you both soon. I wish there was something I could do.
Linda--I know that you are a helper. I see it all the time on your wonderful blog and love you for it.

RomanticPoetess--You are the sweetest and if you were here I would cook you a New Mexican feast for your sweetness and love.

Mary--You can I could walk to the auto parts store. You are such a dear. Thanks for you sweet thoughts here.
Marty'sguy--I am not sure that the van would make it to Amarillo or Lubbock, Texas. Those two cities are the closest places where many doctors and others from the health care industry concentrate. We are in the middle of nowhere. Thanks for reading and hugs to Marty.

Art, Art, Art--I can think of nothing better than a ride with you and Robert around your place. Are you back home? We missed you.
L'HeureBleue--I could hug you for saying the words that we had "invested in such worthless people." That is exactly how I feel. Thank you so kindly for the validation. I mean it.

Blinddream--This has been building up for three years and I just exploded on some people. Do I care? About as much as they cared for us. You are one of the people who has been the most supportive to me in my many hours of need and I thank you for everything. Everything.
Zanelle--I read your comment to Bob and you should have seen that smile. Maybe I will apply again. No one is more deserving than Bob and you have no idea what a cool and remarkable man he really is. Thanks, dear.

Janice--I have applied to Habitat for Humanity that has a program that is called A Brush with Kindness. They are supposed to help with remodels for maknig a home accessible. Homeowners just pay for the materials. There are only two men who volunteer in the two city area where I live and they are backlogged. I remodeled the bathroom myself.

When the pastor of my church was pestering me to teach Sunday school again, I mentioned that my husband had a recent amputation and that I couldn't. Instead asking if I needed assistance, he said, "Well, when you husband is better, then can you teach?" I hung up on him. This guy's other job is a professor at the local university and he is part time pastor at the Presbyterian church, not a weird little one.
Rule of thumb when getting screwed is to receive triple damages. When a guy ripped me off, I knew I wasn't getting my money back so I took triple from him. With amazing ease, I took a portable drill and drilled out two tires on both his cars. He simply refused to believe it would be cheaper had he simply refunded my money.

There's always a debt to be paid for lying to oneself.

I don't expect you to resort to this sort of street justice. It's not about karma or anything else. It's about realizing we live in a broken system that punishes helping and rewards selfishness. Wanting to help means nothing without also being in a position to help.

And you know Overhaulin' ended in 2009, right?
Harry's Ghost--I applied to the show three years ago but no I didn't know that the show had ended. Bob likes to watch the reruns, I guess. As I said, I am not a car person. I am more into the American Pickers.

Don't think I haven't considered street justice, sir. Thanks for the encouragement. Just kidding. And thank you especially for reading and for your comments.
I wish I could help, and I hope tomorrow dawns a brighter day for you and Bob.
As a person who knows squat about cars, and is afraid
to drive now because of the matter of several dui's and the
permanent suspension of my license,
i can only bring to bear my somewhat less than adequate
knowledge of Mexicans. The dudes are genetically "pre wired"
or "hard wired" to see visual fields with the miniscule error of
one half inch. I wish you had read my friend Franz's well-received
(in certain, but not hoity toity) circles
research on this.
I took care of a quadriplegic for 8 years and he was my best friend. He died last year and broke my heart. He had 3 vans with lifts, two were done by pro's, who did excellent (and expensive) work, the third was a piece of crap, that we had to take a 2 x 2"x 4' piece of flooring round for him to put his chair on, or he would go shooting through the windshield. I have some stories of him and I, drunk and doing loads of drugs, for many years, funny stories mostly, and we almost died a bunch of times, but we had a ball for a long time also and I miss him so much sometimes I have to cry!
James--So that's it. They should stick to enchiladas.

Scanner--I don't believe in the afterlife but if I did, people like you would be sitting on pink clouds of happiness for what you did for your friend. Your relationship sounds a bit like mine and Bob's ;D.
Sarah--My eyesight is bad as I type in the dark, so I didn't mean to skip you. Thanks so much for reading this and I really hate to complain. I appreciate your well wishes very much.
Miguela Bless you and him.
Do Unto Others, Yes--The great rabbi, Hillel, said that's who whole of the Torah's Law in one phrase.
Thanks, Jon, and I see you have almost the same message on your blog today only you said it way more succinctly ;D.
PierreA--I like your style. Thanks for stopping by to comment.
If you lived near my brother in Alabama I think he would help you. I don't offer myself up because I know next to nothing about cars. I feel your pain though.

Both my husband and I are driving unsafe cars because we can't afford to get them fixed. Ayron especially needs a car as he works over 30 minutes away which equals out to over 30 miles away.

I do find it odd that people aren't more helpful, but I don't know the personalities that prevail in your town.

I know that here we only have one set of friends I feel comfortable in calling on to help us.

May things get easier for you.

I know the frustration you speak of. I can barely keep things going around here anymore and after a lifetime of jumping in and fixing things it drives me mad. Fie on the ones who robbed you.
Auntynae--Whenever you show up, somehow I feel better. I do hope that you and your husband can get your cars roadworthy so that you feel safe. A nice lady I have been acquainted with in real life and who is on facebook read this post and says she will have someone she knows come and look at it. Fingers are crossed because I know we will never be able to afford another van and Bob's independence is important to me.

Bobbot-- I used to be able to do everything and still could do a lot if only I had a vehicle that is running. Today we arranged for the public transit to take Bob to the doctor but they can't take us home so we will "walk" seven blocks and hope Bob's wheelchair has enough juice. Take care, friend, you are on my mind big time and wish you well.