Friday, November 21, 2014

Broken Door Handles, Hoods That Won't Stay Up, Leaky Roofs and More Stories From This Season

Last week, we were in the middle of a frustrating car issue (the millionth one in the last few years), and then I just had to stop and laugh at the picture. Let's go back in time a little bit, so I can paint a picture for you. 

Last year, we had a bunch of issues with our van not starting. We went over to my in laws one day and my mother in law opened the garage for us to pull in and get the girls out in the garage since it was freezing and snowing. When we went to leave, it wouldn't start. We tried to jump it and no dice. My husband tried a ton of stuff and nothing worked, so we gave up and took his mom's car home. A day or two later, his dad went out and it just started on its own. Ok, I kid you not when I say that about a week later this exact same thing happened again. Went to his parents, pulled it in the garage and had no problems with it that entire time in between, went to leave and it wouldn't start. My mother in law and I both thought he was kidding when he came inside and said it didn't start. What are the odds?! We couldn't get it to work at all again so we called the shop to take it in. The next morning they went out and guess what? It started! So we took it to the shop and they couldn't find anything wrong with it. Took it back to his parents and, well, you know where this is going. It wouldn't start again. So we called the guys at the shop and they actually ended up coming over to his parent's house to see what the deal was since they couldn't find anything wrong with it just hours before. No one could get it to start so we called a tow truck to come get it and right after they got started. Couldn't make this story up if I tried. It was ridiculous. So, to make a long story short, they replaced the starter and about a week or so later it wouldn't start again. So we took it back in and it was a faulty part so they replaced it again free of charge. We were good to go for awhile. Sometimes I still needed jumped though and my husband said it was just because it was soooo cold last winter. Warm weather hit and we had no more problems until we needed a new alternator. So we replaced that this summer. Well, we were getting ready to take the girls trick or treating on Halloween and the van doesn't start. It was the first cold day of the season, so we jumped it with our car and were on our way. Side funny story: we got home that night and the car was running in our drive way. My husband forgot to take the keys out after he jumped it and it just sat there all night, with the keys in it, running, while tons of people walked by on Halloween. Thank God it wasn't stolen! Anyway, we don't have any more problems for a few days and then it won't start again on a cold day. After twice, I am paranoid every time I go somewhere that it is not going to start for me when I'm alone. Well, of course it was bound to happen sometime. So last week, we are at gymnastics. The van started fine on our way over, but when we come out it doesn't start so I call my husband to come jump us. He leaves work and heads over. By this time I am frustrated because we have replaced the starter, alternator and had just gotten a new battery less than 2 years ago. Everything should be working fine! So he gets there and pulls his car nose to nose with the van I'm sitting in. He rolls down his window so that he can reach his arm out the window to open his door from the outside because it won't open from the inside. If you aren't lol'ing right now, read the story again. I'm sitting in an empty parking lot with two kids because our van that we've recently replaced everything on won't start, and my husband has to roll down his window just to open his door. That's when I just couldn't help but laugh. What a sight we must have been! It was just laughable at that point. We have had so many car woes it was just par for the course, but the door handle just cracks me up. How ridiculous it looks! Then I have to get out to hold the hood of the car up because it doesn't stay up on its own like its supposed to. So we've currently got a dead battery, broken door handle, hood that won't stay up, along with a missing wiper on the van that has been gone for....literally months(This was after we finally took it off because it would just occasionally go rogue and the wiper would randomly freak out and go in like a circle and scratch the whole windshield. Seriously. Oh yeah, at one point we had a soft dog bowl on it to keep it from scratching....Wish I was kidding). Only one license plate on the car because the other one was stolen last week (who does that?!). Let's see, what else....need a new roter on the van because it shakes when you break going faster than 40 mph and when my husband changed it this last weekend, found that we also needed new brake pads because they wore out too fast from the bad roter even though they were just replaced this summer. Add this to the oil drip, the leaking antifreeze that sometimes makes our heat turn into freezing cold air for a few minutes before it comes back on, and the cracked bumper that was just replaced after someone hit us a few years ago and I'm calling it a day. I QUIT CARS. Ok, I honestly didn't realize we had that much wrong with our cars until I wrote it all out! It sounds a little bit ridiculous, doesn't it?! This all has a point though....
I was talking to my friend Rachel about this season we're in right now. The one where we don't have nice things and the things that we do have don't even work apparently. And the one where we don't have a lot of money to fix said broken things, or better yet, buy new ones. Yeah, that season. And we were talking about how it is just a season. A season that will be fleeting like any other season we've been in or will be in. Soon we will be able to afford nicer cars that won't have everything go wrong with them. Well, hopefully anyway ;) It is hard to be content in these seasons sometimes. I want nice things! I want cars that run and that you can open the door without having to roll down the window! Is that so much to ask?! But then I think about how blessed we are to even have cars. I feel like that is so cliche to say, but it is really true. How many people in the world would love to have one of these cars? How many people are walking, or waiting at bus stops in the cold and snow and wind because they can't afford these luxuries. And in that conversation, I felt better about our season. Not only is it teaching me life lessons, like that things aren't as important as I often make them out to be. But I'm learning contentment and thankfulness. I'm realizing how much we really do have! And I'm learning to laugh and realize that this season makes for some hilariously awesome stories. These will be the stories that we tell our adult children as we encourage them that someday this season will pass for them too. 

Ok, now even though this is getting long and I've made my point (we don't have nice things, but its only a season, in case you needed a re-cap...), who wants more funny car stories?! 

We were really very lucky to have two cars over the last several years that we got for a steal in basically perfect condition. The first one I got my first year of college from my aunt for $2,000 and had around 50,000 miles on it. It was the purple Saturn and it never needed anything except a new clutch around 100,00 miles. It was such a reliable car. Then we got the pearl colored Saturn. We had two cars and weren't looking for one, but one random day my husband's aunt said she had a friend who was trying to sell her elderly mother's car and house. The mom had been living in a nursing home and they were just sitting. We had absolutely no reason to go look at this car but we did. It had 40 some thousand miles, had been sitting in a garage its entire life and driven by an elderly woman. It was in perfect condition. And she told us we could have it for $1,100. This was pre-kids and we had money to blow so we said sure, why not. That car would have lasted us seriously forever, but my husband was in an accident this summer when someone turned right into him and the car was totaled. Saddest day. After dealing with a super frustrating insurance agent for months while we tried to get what we were supposed to, we finally got the check and he bought an older, but reliable Toyota that hopefully will last a long time. Even though it is reliable, things, like random door handles, still go wrong. 
Ok so before the pearl Saturn, my husband had this 1988 Toyota truck. It didn't even have a model name it was so old. I hated that thing with every ounce of my being. It was old and rusty and he loved it so much. It was a small truck so it wasn't even good for hauling or moving big stuff. I hated it from the day he bought it, but he loved it and he was the one who drove it, so.... 
My friend Ashley needed help getting some furniture after she moved here, and for whatever reason the men were unavailable I guess because we went to pick it up the truck. Well let me just tell you what that was like. We were in the sweltering, humid, midwest summer in this super old pick up with no a/c. I know how "princess-y" that sounds, but it was really hot. So we are cruising down a main street and oh, it just randomly back fires. It did that sometimes. It was always 100% embarrassing. Not to mention the fact that it had no power steering so I had to literally use every part of my body to turn this thing with one arm, while controlling the stick shift with the other, trying not to hide my head from the embarrassing back fire and sweating buckets. We were in hysterics by the time we got to the furniture place. See, years later it made for a good story!

My last funny car story is about my husband's little red car. Right after we got engaged, he and some other people were headed to a church conference over Christmas break when his current car broke down and was totaled. I think it was the head gasket. Well, we lived in the same dorm and I worked on campus, so instead of him buying a new car, we just shared mine for the rest of the semester since I hardly ever drove it. This was the purple Saturn, by the way. That summer, he moved home and I moved into an apartment, so he needed a car. He found the little red convertible. I don't think I hated it from the moment I laid eyes on it, but I certainly didn't love it. The first night he got it (this was prior to the truck, so my friend Ashley didn't live here, but was in town visiting), we went over to his parent's house. When we got there, he was happily washing and detailing his new baby. It was a soft convertible top. It was certainly not a fancy car. Ashley called it "The Stuart Little car" because it was sooo teeny tiny. We decided to take it for a little cruise. Ashley sat in what I guess was considered the back seat. I'm not sure how a person could actually fit back there because it was so small, but there were seats so she did. We put the top down and we were off. I think Ashley literally just laughed the entire drive. It was so tiny and he would just step on the gas and I don't even know. You probably had to be there. So funny little Stuart Little car. Well, we soon find out that the soft top actually leaks. A lot. So pretty much every time it rains (which was all the time), it gets soaked. But only the passenger side. You know...the side where I get to sit. I remember one night we were in a colossal storm and had to drive home in it, so I climbed into the already drenched seat and got my butt totally soaked. For the entire drive home, I held a sweatshirt or blanket or something along the window/roof so the rain wasn't just pouring in on me. It was just a slow leak instead. I may as well have just walked home because I was drenched from head to toe. But my husband still looooooved that thing. He was so sad to see it go when we sold it after we got married. He never got wet in it, though. Did I mention that it just smelled like musty old rain all the time, too?! Yeah. 

Ok, I'll stop talking now. Those are my funny car stories and life lesson for today. And just for the record, when we got our van a few years ago, it truly felt like quite the luxury. You know after the back firing truck and the Stuart Little mobile. If only all these things hadn't gone wrong with it, but I suppose that's par for the course with car ownership. 

Got any funny car stories?! I wanna hear 'em! 
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1 comment:

  1. Natalie- I loved this because I could totally relate! Our vans gas gauge is broken and I actually ran out of gas in the car rider line! So embarassing! We have stained carpet a beat up couch, broken toilet... Just made me laugh reading this and encouraged that we are not alone in this season of life!! It is just a season- hard to remember at times but so true! Thanks for the encouragement!


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