Last year, just about this time our mini van of 4 years died. We had seen it coming; the jolty starts, the squealing breaks - it seemed like it went fast.
Somehow we were able to sell it for parts. Apparently this is very popular to buy dead cars for what some would think is a ridiculous amount.
Christmas season ended up being so stressful I thought I might die. No joke. We had no car, and so Jerry rode his bike to work every day about 3 miles. He didn't complain once, what a wonderful guy - let me tell ya, if it was me riding my bike in that horrible rainy cold weather I would be letting someone know about it! He even would take one of the boys, all bundled up with mittens and hats in the wagon to the store for groceries. At the time I was four month pregnant and had just found out from our doctor that our in utero baby was very very sick, may not even live much longer and that to increase the very small chance of survival I would have to take daily injections... that our insurance would not cover... that we had to pick up about 40 minutes away... and that were SO EXPENSIVE! And we already had no money.
My wonderful sacrificing family decided my Mom would drive down to pick me and the kids up two weeks before Christmas and we would have Jerry come down on Christmas Eve. He had a handful of days off and it would be perfect. When my Mom got to our house her car battery died. We had planned to leave the minute she got there, but she ended up staying a night and after having her car towed to a random mechanic in Vancouver and driving with a random man from said mechanic to her car. It was stressful.
We stayed 10 days in Spokane, Lucy only slept one of those days and spent every other second screaming. The kids fought, I was exhausted and wanted to kill my sister, also 4 months pregnant. She's bossy. We totally love each other. I ended up taking my mom's car back to Vancouver to get Jerry on the 23rd and driving back the next day. At the end of Christmas with no other option we took Mom's car again, drove all the way back to Vancouver, I drove back to Spokane a few days later and then took the gray hound to Portland and a taxi home to Vancouver.
We were then basically car less. We rented a nice little red car until February and bought our current blue mini van in February, in cash... in cash = used. I love having no car payment. LOVE IT.
Fast forward to last week:
I had driven Jerry to work so I could go to church. Luckily I planned to leave a little early that evening and stop at the store for our very sick baby (side story: she has been sooo constipated lately, and just screams and cries when she's trying to poop. Our pediatrician has suggested the possibility of some sort of intestinal blockage - so sad. Iris has to have two bottles of prune juice and/or a suppository daily - really it is so horrible that I can't really do anything for her!) So I load the kids in the car at 7pm and head out. When I get to the bottom of our very long driveway I realise the power steering is out.
Erring on the side of caution I call our amazing amazing amazing friends who live very close, they come right away, lend a car and I get Jerry, we stop at the local Wal Mart (hate them, but at 9pm they were the only place open) and get power steering fluid.
The next morning we put fluid in the car, drive it around our loopy area but it never works. We decide to take it to buckeys, but the tank is on E. We decide to take both our cars (in July we bought a very very old white mini van just to get us around) to the gas station. I would follow Jerry and we would get gas then head to the mechanic. We're almost to the gas station when Jerry turns his emergency lights on and slows waaay down. Somehow he coasts into the gas station and parks. The engine was over heating. M'k... weird. So I decide we'd go get some antifreeze in the other car and then continue to Buckeys (mechanic). My car wont start. What!? Oh, it was on 'E' maybe if I get gas it will work. Jerry and I push the car to the pump. When I stress I laugh, I was laughing so hard Jerry thought I was going mental. The man has amazing ability to ignore other people... but not this time; 'Kait - ShHHH people think you're crazy, this is embarrassing!" but I couldn't stop. I had tears rolling down my cheeks. We put in 10.00 of gas, start it up and voila it works. We decide to put 20 more dollars in since we're going to be driving it around. It drives to the end of the drive way and dies. We have to push it to a parking spot, by now we've pushed it almost in an entire circle. I am laughing again. Jerry walks away and pretends he doesn't know me. Molly, Lucy and Iris, being buckled into their seats can't get away. :)
We call our very very very wonderful friends who live very close to us and they swoop in their big red van (what I now equate to rescue - more so than the red cross), pick us up and deposit us at home. Kathleen went so far as to say, "Okay, should we work out you borrowing a car?" She is very amazing, and I'm serious I can't say enough about their family. Each person in their family is amazing.
The car we had towed to buckeys where it sat for two days because no one told us we should leave our keys in the car, unlocked. - IF YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN AND MIGHT NEED A TOW, LEAVE YOUR KEYS IN THE CAR!!! It recieved $400.00 of work. We were able to pick it up on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Totally ruined our plans. I didn't do any t-day shopping until Wednesday night and had to ask my parents to pick up the turkey.
Jerry happened to land himself some overtime, he was working 10 days straight. Friday to Monday. Friday, Saturday, Sunday - car is fine. Monday: car is over heating on the way to work. He has to keep stopping and is almost late.
I told him to check the engine coolant, he said it was full... Maybe it was just a broken thermostat. I didn't think about it much that day. We'll take it to Buckeys I guess... see what's wrong?
Around 9:13 I get a phone call
Caller ID says, "PAY PHONE"
I swallow, knowing what the call means.
"Hi Babe. Know what this call means?"
Smoke billowing out of the car, clunking noises, not able to go more than 40, then 30, then 10... then not at all.
I call our very very very very very amazing friends. Colleen this time comes right over, doesn't make me feel bad at all - I THOUGHT IT WS FIXED!!!! and lends me her car, watches my sleeping kids and I go get Jerry, this time I have to drive to the mall in Tacoma.
The point of this story is that - #1 Why at christmas time? #2 How much is this going to cost? #3 where are we going to get that money? #4... REALLY!?!?
The car is going to be towed to buckeys, hopefully it'll be something small and easy to fix. Hopefully it wont cost much. Hopefully it'll be done today. Hopefully Jerry can go to work tomorrow - it's too far to ride his bike.
Here's to hoping.