Not Just Another Auld Lang Syne

New Years Eve 004How does one look back on a year such as mine?  Three years ago, I ventured out into one of the scariest places I think I’ve ever been.  Post divorce, 40-something, straddled with debt that wasn’t all mine, looking forward to fewer years to earn back the losses than I had behind me.  While many would say I look good for my age, the fact that they had to add the phrase “for my age” said it all.  I was divorced, single with more children than most, struggling to avoid bankruptcy, and wondering how I was going to pay the bills and put food on the table.  I was frightened.  I was destitute. I was humiliated and ashamed.  I was alone.  To make things better, I blew an engine on one car, and dropped the rear differential out of another.  I had no credit, no cash, no clue what an engine or a rear differential was, and nowhere to turn.  I was terrified.  I wondered, often, how and if I was going to survive.  I was also 40-something and it was only a matter of time before the aging process we all must eventually succumb to, became no longer disguisable. Further, I still had children at home, lots of them, and would probably retire (if that was still even a possibility for me) with them at home.  Not exactly the formula for finding someone to spend your golden years with before you actually get to your golden years. Continue reading

It’s Not Fair That I’m Having All The Fun!

Really now, for me it has been one of those funtastic years.  I have had more fun with cars than I’ve ever had and more fun than any person should have.  It’s really not fair that I’m having all the fun.  I should share the joy! 

The fun all started last year about this time when my 91 Toyota Corolla decided that the alternator needed to be replaced.  It died on me without warning at a fairly busy intersection in town.  I was recently separated and well, that was a really fun experience.  I had no clue what to do and having been married for the last 2 decades, I was the typical airhead wife (when it came to cars) and left all the car repairs/maintenace up to Mr. Husband.  Not such a smart idea.  But the alternator could go out on anyone at any time.  I’ve since learned that this is just what makes alternators so much fun! 

So, since I was recently separated and very broke (I was paying for my house and for where I was staying both) I had no money to repair the alternator.  I enjoyed the fun of towing the vehicle back to my house and trying to borrow an old car (’86 Nissan Sentra) from the ex.  That car promptly blew the engine (on I-5 at rush hour) due to the fact that Mr. Ex was not one to maintain or service his vehicles on a regular basis.  No oil after a while adds up to no engine.  What fun! 

I do have a 98 Dodge Durango, which, at that time was running fairly well, but which also cost me a fun amount in gas.  I was driving a ton at that time attending class a nearby small university and was falling further and further behind due to having to take out small personal loans just to pay the gas.  More fun.  I decided it would be more practical to stop having so much financial fun with the Durango and get the Toyota repaired, so that is what I did. 

But now, the engine light was still on in the Toyota.  Hmmmm.  What fun.  I decided to do nothing about it at that time.  Even more fun!

Things rolled along rather uneventfully and quite dully for a month or two then last November I started hearing some strange sounds coming out of the Durango.  To make a long story short the funnest thing of all happened to me when early in December (and, yes, it was cold) my Durango dropped it’s rear differential right in the middle of the street about two blocks from my house.  Oh yes, that was a blast!  Everyone needs some wild fun like that.  My son was in the car with me and as soon as the thing stopped shimmying and shaking and I could stop the vehicle he yelled, “Mom!  Get out quick!  I think she’s gonna blow!”  Well, she didn’t blow but two hours and two different tow trucks later they had my pride and joy dollied up and towed back to my house.  It became even more fun when I discovered that the extended warranty wouldn’t cover the repairs and the total cost to me was going to be nearly two grand.  Since I was going through divorce and any extra cash I might have had was paying my attorney, I was really having a lot of fun now!  The tax return was so much fun because it went to pay for that repair.  I’m grateful to the dealership for saving me from having any more fun by storing my car for almost two months free of charge while I waited to get the tax returns. 

And still, during all this time, I am driving my Toyota that still has a check engine light on.  Hmmmm.  How much fun did I really want to have all by myself here?

Well, Durango gets repaired, I get in a small fender bender by myself due to my own tiredness and inattentiveness and now I either turn it into insurance which is a $500 deductible and possibly an increased rate.  What do you think I did?  I opted for more fun and did nothing. 

About two months ago a friend of mine suggested I really quit having so much fun and get the “Check Engine” light dealt with.  Hmmm,  I did forget to mention the flat tires that happened about that time resulting in the need for me to experience even more fun with two new tires balanced and all the tires rotated on the Toyota.  

Well, I had to wait, but last month I did get the “Check Engine” light checked out and, you guessed it, I was in for some more fun!  I was missing motor mounts and that was causing the O2 sensors to shear off.  Hmmm, what that really means is I got to spend $390 for some more great fun.  The check engine light is now off, but that brings me up to last Sunday, when, on the way to the coast, the Toyota (yes, the car that just got fixed) died.  By now, Triple A, has become my very best friend (hmmm, I think I might marry Triple A). For an hour I sat on I-5 on a Sunday morning waiting for a tow truck to arrive, looking like a complete and utter dork. Like I need a lot of help with that! To top it all off, since I was so close to the freeway, I decided to get myself out of the car and move further off the side of the road.  As I did that, I locked my keys in my car.  Wow!  Was that ever fun!  It really was fun when the state trouper stopped by to see how I was doing.  I nearly died when he pulled out his little white pad and started writing.  Thank goodness, he didn’t want me to have any more fun than I was already having so he just took notes and, when the tow truck finally arrived, he went on his way. 

So here I sit today, with a Durango that is missing a part underneath because of my own stupidity and is making strange clanking noises and a Toyota that needs a new distributor and won’t drive at all.  I’m really having so much fun! I can hardly stand it! The Durango is a fairly easy and inexpensive repair, but it will still cost money (wow, more fun!) and yet, the cost of gas these days (now there’s some fun everyone is having) will make it so that I become a homeless person just to keep the tank full.  Needless to say, even if I repair it, I won’t be driving it much.  The Toyota, on the other hand, is more expensive to repair but will save me dollars in gas.  But, as fun as things have been for me, I still don’t experience all the really great fun of having a lot of dollars lying around in Swiss bank accounts like I used to.  Well, like I said, it’s been a really fun year that way. 

I am really having more fun here with cars than any person has a right to. I mean, I’m really going to hate it when things turn around for me and the fun stops.  In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really isn’t fair that I’m hoarding all the fun to myself.  I mean, really, others should be having some of this fun too.  In fact, maybe I should share all this fun I’ve been having.  Hahahaha!  Is anyone up for some fun?