Dollars and Sense

“So…we’re not eating out again until after, approximately, the birth of our third child.”
– C.

Indy, though a blessed luxury after four years without a car, does come with a certain amount of wear and tear.  She’s 12 years old and I’m increasingly of the opinion her previous owner didn’t love her as I do.  

We came back from Christmas to find her battery (the one she came with: a secondhand, refurbished one at that!) had died.  J.’s parents had generously bought us a new one for a Christmas present but when they were bringing her back to life, the mechanic said we should keep an eye on our timing belt because it was obviously old and cracked.  Also a mount and filter needed to be replaced (thanks, Indy’s negligent previous owner). 

As far as I can tell, you should be dead. But I will charge you an arm, leg, and that third child you mentioned to fix it.

So, when I took her in to get her oil changed yesterday, I batted my eyelashes and asked the mechanics if they could pretty please also check the belts for me because I was ever so worried about them (no charge!).  Unfortunately I went to pick her up I got some scary news.  Both the timing and driving belts seemed to be in immediate danger of molecular disintegration.  And even a non-tech type like me knows that when those go, the entire car goes.  They recommended immediate replacement but as it was already late afternoon and as it was going to be “at least a half day job,” they said the earliest they would be able to do it was today.  

This morning I drove J. to school and then to the shop to be there when they opened at 8am thinking that, as they said it would be a half day thing and they are first come first serve, everything would be done by noon and I could go into work after lunch.  I dropped Indy off and then walked the half mile home. 

I’d just got to the door when I realized I’d turned all of my keys over to the mechanics and was locked out, and our landlord would be no help because J. and I had just changed the bolt lock.  Sigh.  I trudged back to the shop, sheepishly asked for my keys and headed back home grumbling.  My grumbling increased exponentially forty minutes later when the shop called to explain that the water pump attached to the belt was leaking everywhere and needed to be fixed as well.  Don’t worry, I didn’t let them charge me double labor. 

I achieved this crazed expression sometime around 1pm. It was hyperactively downhill from there.

The rest of the day I spent checking my phone every ten minutes to see if the shop had called.  I did five loads of laundry, scrubbed the kitchen counters and floor, and cleaned our room.   I rang Susie every two hours to update her and explain that I was still fully planning on coming into work, until about 3 when I became resigned to my fate.  I watched two full movies on AMC while I folded clothes, as well as part of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.  I’d gone verifiably stir crazy by 11.  When I began looking around the flat and thinking of decorating ideas I realized I’d reached a Stepford Level of Battiness.  They called at 4:50 to say they had finished. 

Praise be to Jupiter, Odin, and Quetzalcoatl that we have a Pell Grant to cover tuition and a fat tax return on its way (hurrah for being young, poor, at university, newly married, and living on a tiny income!), as well the fact that we like to save money for just such circumstances.  It’s a steep bill buts it’s cheaper than a new car!  I’m glad we’ve got the means and common sense to take care of ourselves, I just wish it wasn’t so bloody expensive sometimes. 

The downside: $800.00 and an even larger pile of work on my desk tomorrow.
The upside: three day work week and clean laundry.

4 thoughts on “Dollars and Sense”

  1. Trust me, it would have been so much worse if the water pump had gone out while you were driving. That happened to me when I was on the highway– 60 to 0 in 20 seconds!– and a bus driver had to USE HIS BUS to block traffic and help me pull it over. Plus my bill was three times yours, b/c when the water pump explodes, it takes half the engine with it….RIP Sebastien.

  2. Ouch. Yeah…the only bad thing about selling the Bug was that we had just sunk an amount equal to half of what we sold it for into a new water pump, timing belt, etc. etc. about 2 months before we sold it. That hurt.

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