Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dreamcar? A minivan story.

Okay, not a photo of the dream car. When you're little anything is a pretend vehicle. And you're right, this is an old photo. Just had to have something besides words to this post.

So, where to begin? A couple of weeks ago my SIL got to purchase her dream car, a souped up minivan. I own a minivan. It is not souped up. For ages now the CD player has been broken, there are blue paint footprints on the floor, gooey crud in the back cupholders and it is never clean outside or in. But it has been a great car. We've driven to CA a few times, to Utah and Idaho. For the last year it has seemed too small for our entire family but it is still great for our jaunts around town.

Kind of.

For the last year+ it has had a weird issue: it won't start. There isn't a pattern to when it decides I need to be stranded at home or away, it just happens. Weather can be rain or shine, hot or cold, night or day. It just sometimes won't start.

"So duh Paige. Take it to a mechanic."

The thing is, it kind of starts and then just turns off. So it isn't the starter. And then it will start again, no problem, about an hour or two later. And then I just have to wait until it happens again. So what do I tell a mechanic. "I know there isn't anything wrong with it right now, but there will be soon. Can I pay you $1000 to take my car apart and figure out the problem?"

Not a good way to live, especially when you have a kindergartner who you have to get off the bus or they won't let her off and they'll drive her to the extended care center to wait for you. I'm not opposed to this but I don't want to strike fear in my 5yo by not being there. She's a worrier anyway.

The frequency of my car not starting has increased over the past few months. So much so that I've put off running morning errands that aren't within walking distance in case it doesn't start. I have the umbrella stroller in the back just in case I need to push Sommer home and leave the car for later retrieval.

I thought I was safe last week. I went to Target in the morning, thinking the car would be fine. It wasn't. When we got out of the store and loaded up, it wouldn't start.

Just a side note, I had been sick and slept terribly the night before. And remember, I'm pregnant so emotions are high anyway. Extra tired and pregnant do not a sane person make.

When I realized the situation I yelled "No!" and "Crap!" (My go-to cuss word.) And broke down into sobbing cries. Scared the 3yo out of her mind and she cried too, "mommy don't be mad and don't cry." I tried the car two times and then pounded on the steering wheel and kicked the console.

Then I kind of took a breath between sobs and figured out who I could call to come and get my kindergartner off the bus. Then I tried the car again and it started. I thanked God and drove home sobbing.

Later I told my husband that this was absurd and I shouldn't have to worry about this. And in the meantime he had talked to a co-worker about the perplexing problem. Turns out the co-worker owned the same vehicle and it started having the same problem that they couldn't figure out either. But this guy had learned that if he pounded on the dashboard then the car would start.

Sometimes it pays to rage. So God didn't grant me patience that morning and it helped.

A few days later we got in the car to go to school (Ridge has to be driven to his school and Laine refuses to take the morning bus -- another story.) The car didn't start. Ridge said something, knowing the trouble, but I calmly pounded on the dashboard and tried again. Bingo. The kids were amazed at my powers over the car's refusal to cooperate. So was I.

ps -- the co-worker eventually took apart his dashboard and found a wire that was coming apart. He offered to help Eric fix our car but neither of them have the extra time right now as Saturdays on the job are frequent. I'm guessing that we'll get our after-taxes new-to-me car sooner than the fix. At least I have my empowering fists.


a dash from donna lyn said...

in the meantime what a great excuse you have to let off some steam!! just pound that dashboard even when the car is starting fine, haha! welcome back to the blogosphere so glad you're computer is back and running :DL

Torrie said...

i hate when my car doesn't start!

if ever you are stranded and need me to walk around the corner and get laine, just give me a call!

can't wait to see what'new to you' car you get!!!

Kim said...

Sorry your car is having problems. That is never any fun, but if you get a new car out of it, that will be fun.

I can't wait to see what kind of car you get. My family never gets brand new cars so used cars are new to us too.

Kathy said...

Your kids probably think that's the coolest thing they have ever seen mom do. :) And call me anytime, friend! I'll be wherever you need to me to be whenever I can!

Shannon said...

Is your van by chance a Toyota Sienna? Love ours, great van, 100,000+ miles... but it likes to randomly die/ not start. Just wondering if I should start pounding!

Melanie said...

I laughed and even teared up reading this. Those trying moments of life when it just isn't going right despite our best efforts on so many other levels. Glad you you figured out the pounding trick!

Lynne said...

Another of the joys of motherhood, Paige. Keep up the good work--the rewards are out there--sometime, somewhere! I'd come if you called, too--just might take me longer than most!

Paige said...

Not a Sienna Shannon. We have a 97 Dodge Caravan. Reliable except for this... But maybe pounding will work for you too!

Kathy, I was going to call you.
Torrie, I know you're around the corner but I figured that you'd have 4 babies you were watching and only a double stroller. I would have made frantic call to you if I needed it though.

Lauren said...

great story!