I love having a car. I love the freedom to come and go as I please. But I do not love car trouble and its accompanying expenses.
We have two geriatric Fords, both bought used. Tree Guy's car is 9 years old and has 130,000 miles on it. Ol' Henry is a little battered, owing to Tree Guy's propensity for backing out of the garage without making room for the side mirror. I think the busted side mirror gives him character. It makes him look a little grizzled, like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.
Ol' Henry has been a faithful guy. He's pretty fuel-efficient, so he's become our main mode of transportation since moving "out to the country." Unfortunately, the old lungs gave out a couple months ago and now he has no air conditioning. This is a problem here in the South. I don't hold it against him, but AC surgery would cost a little over $1100. And with everything else going on (veterinary bills, renegade money borrowers), we just don't have it.
We'd planned to put him out to pasture, at least for the summer. Tree Guy has a work vehicle and I have my own car. This plan worked for about a month.
Ol' Bessie is 10 years old and has about 115,000 miles on her. Since she's my car, she's pretty dinged up. It all started when this street sweeper jumped out in front of us in 2005. Those things move fast, you know. And then there was that time a stop sign fell on her and scratched up her shoulder. (Who has a STOP SIGN fall on them?!) Oh, and that time I was so eager to shop that I neglected to notice a metal bar blocking the entrance of my favorite thrift store. It left an 18 inch gash on Bess's hood. (Stupid bar.) And let's not forget the time I ran out of gas in the middle of a busy street and a cop pushed my car with his to get me to a gas station. It damaged the old gal's bumper. As if that wasn't enough, she also has a giant crack in her windshield.
Aesthetics aside, Ol' Bessie's had more than her fair share of mechanical trouble. She's not fuel efficient. She's needed several AC surgeries, brake jobs, hose repairs, and more. We still don't have her lungs figured out. The cold air flows smoothly for about 30 minutes and then her AC fan freezes up and we have to turn the AC off to let it defrost for about 20 minutes. This is not enjoyable. But some AC is better than no AC, so after a 5 month sabbatical in the garage, she's back in action.
Or was, until recently.
Now Bessie's got a little incontinence problem. She's pouring what looks like transmission fluid all over the driveway. My industrious husband checked her out and discovered that she is pretty empty "down there", confirming the transmission leak. She needs some work, but with everything else going on, she's gonna have to wait in line.
With Bessie peeing everywhere and Henry's lungs messed up, I've been bumming Shrinky Dink's swagger wagon. It's a sweet ride. It's been well over 100 degrees down in these here parts, so the air conditioning is wonderful.
In other old folk news, my grandma has been guilt tripping me lately about not coming to visit her often enough. Apparently, having no AC in my car in 106 degree weather is not a good enough reason. So I'm taking her to an ice cream social at the senior center today. I'm lactose intolerant*, so this may not be a good decision on my part.
On second thought, maybe the car ride home with Meemaw will be payback for guilt tripping me. Bwahaha!
*Stay tuned for my poem, Dairy: A Lament.