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It’s been a while since I’ve written.  First there was the two weeks of Olympics where I did very little other than plop in front of the television and watch sports.  I figured there was only so much worthwhile blogging about that.  Then there was the week after the Olympics.

There comes a point in deployment where things just get ugly, at least there does for me.  Last week (not to be confused with this past week) was that point for me.  I get tired of life that’s just me and the kids.  I get tired of cleaning up after the kids.  The mess only ever seems to grow and continue, and does it really matter if it’s just me and the kids living in it?  Chase isn’t around to be bothered, and we never have adult company over here.  I get tired of being the mom.  Tired of telling the kids to clean up, do their homework, not fight, tired of being referee, nurse, and entertainment director.  I don’t want to be stuck at home, in a messy house, with my kids.  I want to go out.  However, being me, heaven forbid I let someone know I just need to get out and away.  While that would be a good solution, it would require asking for help.  Instead, I come up with my own solution.  Shopping.  It didn’t take long for me to buy all the items I had money for.  Fortunately, this deployment, I am on a budget, so I knew when I needed to stop. There was nothing left that needed to be bought, and I knew that I didn’t need to keep on shopping for stuff we didn’t need.  I knew how much I had to spend.  But then my solution for the problem of mid-deployment ickiness was gone.  However, there was a light at the end of my bad week tunnel.  Friday night Celebrate Recovery.  A weekly event where I get to hang with adults, and other people watch my children.  Just that was a break enough in itself.  But that’s not all, it’s also a place where I get to look closer at my hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  I can look at what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

Fast-forwarding to Monday.  Monday morning felt like a why do I bother kind of morning.  I had chosen Monday morning to make a few phone calls about stuff I would like to take care off.  None was satisfactory.  Two phone calls went unanswered, one of those messages has been unreturned.  The one phone call I did get through just left me wondering.  I spent a long time on the phone, and didn’t feel like I did much good.  I still have no idea when the sound system will be able to be fixed in my van (it’s not broken, it just doesn’t work as we’d like it to).  I fully intended to start school on September 3, it may be Labor Day, but it’s also the first week day of September, and with Chase deployed it’s not like we’ll be spending time with him.  However, I have no idea when my school books will arrive.  The worst part was feeling like there was nothing I could do to accomplish these things I really want to accomplish.  Then words spoken often at Celebrate Recovery popped into my head.  “I can’t, God can, I guess I’ll let Him.”  I couldn’t fix those problems, but God could.  I could worry and continue to not fix anything, or I could let God handle it and do something I could control the outcome of.  So I picked another project I would like to see completed before Chase comes home and began to tackle it.  My kids may not have the official schoolwork, but as we’ve been working on school through the summer, we would just continue what we’ve been doing until we do get the official stuff.  And while I was being their parent again, I made them clean their rooms.  Monday went from a day that I wondered why I bothered doing anything, to the end of the day looking around and feeling good about all I had done.  So for the rest of the week, I stopped focusing on things out of my control, and I started controlling the things I could.

While the sound system and school books are still up in the air, I did get to see something get taken care of this week.  One of the things I could control was putting the license plates on the van, or so I thought.  I went to go take care of it, and realized that I could not remove the rear plate holder.  I could have gone into stress over-drive.  I didn’t know what to do, and, well, as until this week, I had let them sit on the counter, the temporary was close to expiring.  I couldn’t do it, and didn’t know where I could go to pay someone to do it.  I can’t think of a place that advertises a specialty in license plate installation.  However, instead of worrying and hitting the gummy bears like that would install the plate and ensure world peace if I just ate enough of them, I took a deep breath.  I thought of what would actually be helpful.  I put a general SOS on Facebook.  I called a friend who might know what to do.  She offered her assistance.  When, after bringing my van to her house, she was as clueless as I was, I still didn’t stress.  I knew there had to be a solution somewhere.  Then at Celebrate Recovery, I saw a neighbor of mine, who I’ve seen rebuilding an engine in his driveway.  So I asked him for assistance.  And lo and behold, he was happy to look at my plate holder, and say we just had to get to it from the inside and offered to come by and fix it the next day.  And now my van is up-to date plate-wise.  No stress needed.

Dear Cal Worthington Ford,

You have had my car for a week.  It is now high time that you at least give me a diagnosis for what is wrong and what it will cost to fix.  I understand that it takes three hours to determine an electrical issue.  But three hours should not take seven days.  Tomorrow will be the week-aversary of me giving my car into your hands to fix.  It also happens to be the day that you have a local radio show.  I would highly recommend that you make me to busy picking up my car, or already having my car and running errands, to be able to call in.  Because as it is, my schedule is clear, other than grocery shopping, and I can make sure that at 12:30 I will be by my radio and my phone.  Walking to the grocery store can wait until 1.

I’m getting really frustrated here.  I called a week and a half ago to ask about the problem.  You told me to come in a week ago.  If things at your shop are first come first serve, why did you make me wait to bring in my car? I would have been happy to have been a half week up higher on the list.  If we did have an appointment, why did it take until today to get a technician to even look at my vehicle?  I feel like you don’t respect me or my time.  I understand that you are professionals and your time is worth money. That is why I’m willing to pay over$300 just for you to tell me what is wrong.  But at this point do you understand that my time is also worth money?  What do you think a week worth of walking and putting off anything that can’t be walked to is worth to me?  It’s that time of year to take my kids in for yearly physicals and dental visits, but I can’t make an appointment until you give me my car back.  Heaven forbid something happen to one of my kids.  We’ll be scrambling to get to a doctor appointment or the emergency room.  I know we could rent a car right now, but I’m already figuring to be paying you out the wazoo to fix my car. Are you going to give me a discount so that I can go get a rental?  I have friends I’d like to visit and exercise with.  I have shopping for a birthday party to get done.  I have a life.  And while a week without a car has been an interesting experiment.  I’m ready for my car back.  Now.

I was excited to hear from you today at 8:30, but then you told me the technician only did one hour of work and you were just calling to get authorization for the other two hours.  I was told over the phone it would be three hours for the diagnosis, and you even told me as I dropped off the car, it was an electrical issue, it would be three hours.  Yes, I get it, I will owe you a ton of money and you won’t even have fixed the problem.  Do what you have to do, I need my car.  But I took a big-girl breath and told myself at least the car is being looked at.  I figured you would call in two hours letting me know what was up with my car.  I’m quite aggravated that you didn’t call me back.  I thought about calling you back later in the day, but I decided to save all my ire for your show tomorrow.  (Seriously, make sure I’m busy.)

Look, I’m the mother of three and my husband is deployed.  I don’t need aggravation from you.  I need you to treat me like you’d like your wife to be treated if you were deployed.  Yesterday, you were apologetic that you hadn’t seen my car, so we were good.  Today, you annoyed me greatly.  No apology, and while you acted as if we were moving along, I really don’t feel as if we got any further.

But hey, if my phone call tomorrow doesn’t light a fire under your behind.  I know how to get stuff done.  I’ll do what I did when I was FRG leader and I needing something from the commanding officer.  I’ll hitch a ride down to your office and bring my three little children to hang in your workplace all day long.  You have cable so my kids will be happy.  You also have doughnuts, popcorn, and sodas.  We can make ourselves right at home and in your face if we have to.

Sincerely,

Me

There is one problem with sharing my story.  I have to keep telling the story even when it’s embarrassing.  The story must continue even when I look like a total ditz.  Alright, I will not keep you waiting longer to hear the continuing saga of my car.

Chase called not long after I wrote last night.  It was so good to talk with him.  He reassured me it wasn’t the transmission.  From there we were able to determine that we just needed to take the car to the dealership. Might as well fix everything at once and the dealership is the only place in town to be able to fix the speedometer.  We decided that going ahead and getting a tow truck would be the best way to get the car there.  I felt a million times better just having a plan of action that someone who has a clue was able to approve.  Cars leave me clueless.  Even knowing where to take one when somethings wrong makes my head spin.  This shop does this and the other does that, and the place that fixes this can’t fix that.  I want a one stop to fix it all shop.  Which I guess is what the dealership is, except that they cost more than everyone else.  Chase kept talking about what he thought the diagnosis would be.  And the word fuel kept being thrown around.  Fuel filter, fuel sensor, fuel blah blah blah (my mind just can’t seem to process all those technical car terms).  I had to ask, “Honey, is it possible the problem could be a lack of fuel?”  I’ll give my husband credit for not being the one to bring this up, although it may not have occurred to him as he would never allow the car to run out of gas.  All the sudden though it hit me, the fuel gage had stopped working once before, only moving when the car was near empty.  And it had been on 3/4’s of a tank for a while.  Knowing that the gauge had a problem once I made it a habit to fill up at least once a week no matter what the gauge said.  But over the past couple weeks my schedule hasn’t been quite normal.  I couldn’t remember the last time I filled up.

This morning I drove to the gas station.  The tank holds about 14 gallons, I put in 13.95.  I’d say I was out of gas.  So glad it hit me before I called the tow truck.  As humiliated as I am that I have to confess that I got all stressed out over something so easily fixed, I would have been beyond humiliated to receive that call from the dealership.  “Ma’am, you just needed gas.”  The car is still going to the dealership next week.  Especially as not only is the gas gauge added to the list of things that really don’t properly work, but the trip meter doesn’t work either.  I set it to 0 after filling up so that I could gauge how far I’d been.  After driving to base and back it’s still on 0.  I also noticed that the general mileage meter was stuck, meaning I’m probably over-due for an oil change.

Talking to Chase I also determined that there are no vehicles in the state of Alaska that are really what we need.  While some could do, there are still issues.  So I will work at being patient for a van, waiting for the right one to come along.  Trying to be grateful that I have a car, that runs as long as you put gas in it.