Thursday, January 09, 2014

Car Trouble - Seriously, a lot of car trouble

Never mind that we spent over $1,000 to keep the air conditioner running this summer or that just replaced the fuel pump last month. Our vehicles have given up the fight. That's right, both of them. We just needed a few more weeks out of them, but it was just too much. And, as usual, the timing is impeccable.

It started several weeks ago when Cody (our trusted mechanic) gave us the news that our car had a serious engine problem that would require at least $3,000 in repair work. But, not to worry, it should last us until we leave in February as long as we don't have "any long trips planned in the near future." A couple of trips up to Crookston and back plus one long drive to Arkansas and she had just enough oomph left to coast into the salvage yard, where we sold it for just enough cash to cover our rental car to get us home.

Ok, this was inconvenient, but not unexpected. Afterall, the mechanic warned us. Besides, we still had the truck to get us around and it was far better for the packing and moving phase we're now entering. We arrived home from Arkansas on Wednesday and prepared to rearrange our lives around having just one vehicle. The truck, however, was getting pretty darn sick of hearing us complain about it and apparently decided to get even.

On Saturday, the passenger side seatbelt quit working a necessity for a family of three sharing one car. It just wouldn't budge. An odd problem, to say the least. But a trip to a salvage yard, a trip to Cody and $100 plus gas and it was fixed. On Sunday, we noticed she was running a little rough on the way to church, but we chalked it up to the extreme cold. It wasn't until after church on our way to a friend's for lunch that we knew something was really wrong. And within a block of our destination, it stopped altogether. The walk to the house was cold and humbling.

Stranded at our host's home, we had no choice but to call our teenage son's teenage girlfriend to come pick up the entire family. She continued to be our chauffeur for the rest of the day as we made arrangements for the truck's future. All I can say is that we're lucky that Nick chose to date a chick with her own wheels!

We were able to borrow a friend's car so Steve could get to work on Monday and switched it out for another of their cars on Tuesday. Although, I can't imagine why they would let a family with our recent track record borrow perfectly good cars. Clearly, we have some pretty generous friends. Our single parking space in the heated parking garage at our apartment building has had quite a turnover lately and the neighbors must be scratching their heads. Reliably, our car has been parked there every day for the past three years, but in the last five days it's been replaced by a little green rental car, a battered old pickup, an SUV and now an Impala!

And poor, poor Nick. He just loved the freedom of having his license. And just as he was lamenting the loss of the first car he'd ever driven, he came to sudden and painful realization that he'll be just a passenger for the foreseeable future. Not only can he not drive the borrowed or rented vehicles, teens in Honduras aren't allowed to drive!

Oh well, Nick. At least your girlfriend can drive you around!

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