Nocturnal Zombie Drivers

The Bible states that we should be “of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV) I don’t disagree but I think maybe Paul didn’t quite understand what traveling with a sick baby in a minivan was like. Is there a little leeway with the “sound mind” standard? Like, I’m mostly coherent but there is a slight amount of drool swinging from the corner of my mouth and my eyes are bloodshot and twitching. I’m still in my right mind though. I mean, I wouldn’t shoot somebody – unless they cut me off, obviously. Then I would only give them what they deserve, nothing more. I’m not unreasonable after all.

Recently we had an opportunity to go to Florida. I’m not actually a huge fan of the state since it’s full of poisonous things and typically has enough humidity to make fish uncomfortable. However, it was late December and so when my boss mentioned that he needed a truck picked up in Florida and driven back to Indiana I casually suggested that, since it was 4 degrees and snowing, my love for Florida had grown exponentially and I would be able to make the journey if he wished to stay home and keep the business running, like any responsible business owner should. Two days later my wife and I were on a Airbus 380 headed to Fort Myers, Florida.


The original plan was to pick up a 2008 Ford F-450 in some exotic sounding town on the east side of Florida. I bought the tickets for Punta Gorda Airport, which is on the west side of Florida and was planning on renting a car and doing a mini road trip to the previously mentioned beach town. Two minutes after I bought the incredibly affordable tickets on Allegiant Air (Hey Allegiant, if you want to give me money for that mention, just let me know. We can arrange something) my boss called and mentioned he found another truck he’d rather have. As it happened, he had found a 2012 Ford F-450 in St. Petersburg which was actually closer to Fort Myers airport. No problem! This will work even better.


The plan ran into a small snag. The car lot selling the ‘12 F-450 had listed the truck on eBay the day before my boss saw it. They typically tore their trucks down, inspected them, and fixed them before they cleared the trucks for resale. They listed the truck on eBay before the it was inspected because it usually takes a week before anyone comes to look at it. My boss is very proactive, however, and had us on the plane two hours after he had placed the down payment. This was a problem because the truck was in fifty different pieces being inspected even while we were boarding the airplane.


“No problem,” the seller said. “If it doesn’t take anything major we’ll have it back together by Friday noon.” It was Thursday noon when we boarded the plane so no big deal. One night at a hotel, a quick trip to the beach, and then grab the truck and roll coal in the direction of Indiana.

Soon the seller called again. “The engine is bad. We’ll have to replace it. Don’t worry though, we are swapping out the engine for a 2014 engine which has less miles on it.” The seller had ordered a new short block for the old motor and was going to rebuild it later and resell the engine. We could have the newer engine. Good deal, I thought, a newer engine with more horsepower and torque. Win. Win.

Soon the seller called again. “Uh… hey, that new engine has no compression in one cylinder. It did when we tested it before we swapped it. I’m not sure what happened. We’re going to have to rebuild the new engine so it’ll be another day, if nothing else goes wrong.” At this point all the Ford hating psychopaths out there are cackling and bellowing about how inferior Ford engineering is. My experience is that most cars are designed by Satan. Satan apparently sells his consulting services to many different brands, Ford being one of many. I once broke my windshield in my Saturn sedan while trying to change a windshield wiper motor. Apparently they built the car around the windshield wiper motor so the motor couldn’t physically fit out of the hole it was supposed to. Good job Satan. I could go on for hours about Satan’s masterpieces in car engineering but I won’t because I’m supposed to stay “sound of mind.”

Surpisingly, nothing else did go wrong. They used the new short block they had bought to rebuild the older engine to rebuild the newer engine. After the whole ordeal, we had ended up with a one owner, Texas owned 4X4 2012 Ford F-450 with a 2014 6.7L engine that had a brand new shortblock installed by a Ford authorized repair shop for a mere $21,500. That’s a lot for, say, a hamburger, but not bad for 4×4 diesel truck. They had it all buttoned up by Saturday morning and we were pounding pavement in the direction of Indiana shortly thereafter.

We drove eight hours to South Carolina and spent the night at my brother in law’s house with his family. We sped off in cloud of diesel exhaust, turbo spin, and stone scattering the following evening and arrived at my bosses shop with the new truck at 7:00 Monday morning, 14 hours after leaving South Carolina. Was all that bleary eyed, face slapping, coffee chugging monotony worth it for two days of 70 degrees and sunshine? Sure, I guess.

Except that three days later we left on a nine hour drive for Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with my wife’s side of the family. Adilene threw up on the way there and my wife lost her sanity. She’ll find it again, at least I hope so. She usually does, no thanks to me. I’m terrible at finding things. We had a wonderful weekend filled with eating, consuming food, and nibbling on snacks interspersed with some sleep.

Grandma and Addie doing some synchronized napping.

Then we drove two hours south to hang out with my side of the family. We’re going rip open presents, eat way too much (again), and chillax for several days. Then we’ll throw our weary bodies into the Caravan and resolutely grit our teeth for the nine hour drive on the PA Turnpike, which is like driving across the crater ridden surface of Mars. Then we’ll just collapse in a pile and stay in coma for several months after which we’ll become Amish and hopefully never drive again.



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