Monday, November 27, 2006

Pick-Up Man

Last week PK's old Nissan finally headed for that giant parking lot in the sky. I'm gonna miss that car. We bought it used when we were first married. We have put close to 200,000 miles on it in our years of road trips. Now, it is rusty with no air-conditioning and questionable heat (not a good thing in the frozen tundra that is Minnesota). The interior has a moldy and old french fry smell. The driver-side door doesn't close all the way and we've been driving with a broken tail light for about a year. Every year or so we have replaced the alternator that always seems to go out at the most inconvenient time possible. But, overall, it was reliable and very inexpensive to maintain. Alas, it is no more. I'll take a moment to mourn our loss....

OK, now to the good news (at least from PK's point of view). For years I've promised PK that when we finally kissed the reliable, sensible, affordable family car goodbye, he could have a pick-up. Well, to his great delight, we found ourselves in need of a second vehicle and fast. Despite the pain of another car payment, we set out to find the perfect, cheap truck for my pick-up man. Lucky for us, it was Thanksgiving. We went up to farm (and truck) country to his parents' place for the holiday. On Friday after the leftovers, we took a short tour around all the small towns looking at truck after truck. To be honest, they all look the same to me and I was bored out of my mind. Did y'all know that in those small-town little dealerships, they don't even take your license when you take a test drive? And they let us drive it for a couple of hours....weird how trusting those folks are. Anyway, we finally ended up at the first place we had tried and bought PK's new pride and joy.

Despite the numerous country songs to the affect, I was not prepared for the love and devotion a man can feel for his old pick-up truck. I quickly learned.

On Saturday, we left the in-laws for the long 6-hour trip home. We decided that PK would drive his new toy and I would follow in the car. I didn't get far...just up the driveway and onto the highway for a quarter of a mile before the turn onto a dirt road. Once I hit pavement I realized something was terribly wrong. I had a flat tire. I pulled over onto the dirt road just in time to see PK gun his engine and fly down the road spraying a cloud of dust as he went. He never looked back and he never heard my horn honking or saw my arms flailing in a vain attempt to get him to stop and help. I guess the allure of the 4X4 is just too powerful....even his damsel in distress could not pull his attention away. Well, I waited for a few minutes hoping he'd realize I was no longer behind him and come back for me. He didn't. I called his answer. Finally, I weighed my options. I could unload all the luggage from the trunk and struggle to put the spare on or I could walk the short distance back to the in-laws' and request assistance. I opted for the walk as I was unsure if I could remember how to change the tire myself (I can already hear the women around the world crying out in shock and dismay at my inability to be self-sufficient when it comes to this important task, but I swear I could do it if I really had to...I think.) So I hiked back to the the freezing cold....with snow up to my waist...OK, OK, it wasn't that bad, but PK might read this and the guilt factor will pay off for me sometime in the near future. Actually, it was pretty cold, but my father-in-law came to the rescue and drove me back to my car where he changed the tire for me. We decided that the flat couldn't be fixed and that I wouldn't make it home on the spare. So DIL (Dad-In-Law) sent me to town to the tire store where I was informed that they "don't see many Saturns up here" and that they had nothing that would fit my car. Luckily, DIL decided to follow-up and had followed me into town. He talked with the owner and the two of them called other tire stores in surrounding towns to no avail. Finally, tires were found in North Dakota about 45 minutes away in the wrong direction. So, off I went with DIL following me to make sure the spare made it. Still no word from PK....I made a note the check that the truck included a rearview mirror. Only I could have this kind of rotten luck.

We made it to ND and waited about 2 hours for the new tires during which DIL bought me lunch. Then he bought my tires for me too (which is good because I just spent $6000 on a truck and new tires might have been CT's Christmas present...and I don't think he could take those for show-and-tell). I know you're all green with envy over my priceless in-laws. Just remember that I have the husband the ditched me on the side of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere....not so jealous anymore, huh? To his defense, PK did finally call when he finally had reception on his cell. And he has been appropriately apologetic, but I figure I'd better milk the poor, pitiful damsel thing as long as I can.

I don't know what y'all were thankful for this Thanksgiving, but PK is thankful for his new ride and I am ever-so-grateful for my lovely parents-in-law.

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