“I don’t have pet peeves. I have whole kennels of irritation.” – Whoopi Goldberg
I have been home and back at work for only two days, but I am already in the tiniest, littlest, most miniscule fight with the cosmos. It’s a small thing really: just our car needing $600 worth of repairs. This is the same car that required $1500 this past September. I’ve retaliated like a grownup – dramatically glaring at my bank account and (continuing to) refuse to unpack my suitcase, but for essentials, until the weekend.
All I can say, darlings, is that it’s a bloody good thing my vacation was so relaxing because if it had not been, Aunty C. might be in a bit of a strop. And we wouldn’t want that, would we, universe?
“Ah yes, superstition; it would appear to be cowardice in the face of the supernatural.”
(Yes, the exciting news is still coming, sit tight)
Not being a suspicious person, Friday the 13th holds few terrors for me. In my single woman incarnation I would throw Hitchcock parties on Friday-the-13ths but otherwise largely ignored the day.
However, J. and I are looking to sell our car. Yes, my beloved Indy… She’s a lovely motor vehicle, but she’s as old as my little sister and doesn’t do well on highways. We’re looking for a car that will get us through grad school and (if we’re lucky) the birth of at least one child. We’ve found a guy who takes older cars, fixes them up and sells them for a modest profit and are crossing our fingers. We made an appointment to meet with him today, vacuumed and washed Indy to make her extra pretty, and then began getting paperwork together. Contract of sale, history of maintenance, dealer info…
…when we discovered the title is nowhere to be found.
And believe me we searched. J. turned the house upside down and I spent hours ripping our office to shreds, but to no avail. We think it got lost when I moved from my old flat to our new one.
This is not an insurmountable tragedy, indeed the problem is easily fixed, but I still break out in a cold sweat to think that I’ve been driving around blithely for goodness knows how long without proof that I actually own my car. I may or may not be slightly more wary of Friday the 13ths from henceforth.
“So…we’re not eating out again until after, approximately, the birth of our third child.”
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).
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.
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.
When I graduated university, my parents flew over from England and managed to work my ceremony in with a lot of other traveling. Amid the rejoicing (and I’m sure the feeling of, “Praise Jupiter, we’re rid of one!”) we had a small soiree at my godparents’ house to celebrate, and at said celebration I was given a fabulous present: my car.
This was a victory on three counts. First of all, I had just got my U.S. driver license a couple months earlier. Second, I had a car! After four years of coordinating eating schedules with flatmates so we’d run out of food at the same time and have to go to the store together. Bliss! And finally because my parents had always sworn blind that the one thing they would never do for their kids is buy them a car. I was such an impressive child that I bent the laws of parental rule (…or my parents really are that cool. Probably the latter).
In any event, Mum and I put our heads together immediately to find an appropriate name for my new chariot. Being classical studies/ history types, a number of unusal literary names were tried and dismissed as being too “foofey,” outré, inappropriate, or ridiculous to suit my old but perfectly serviceable and rugged little Honda CR-V. Finally in a burst of inspiration, my eyes stretched wide and I breathed victoriously, “Indy!”
“Yeah!” mom echoed, “Perfect!”
To explain. It is not, as many assume (and J. continues to imply despite my numerous efforts to stop him), a tribute to Indiana Jones. No, no. Rather it is the nickname for the ship HMS Indefatigable from Forrester’s “Hornblower” series. Both Mum and all of us kids love the A&E mini-series, partly from a nerdy liking of the Napoleonic wars, but mostly (on the girls’s end) from a crush on yummy Ioann Gruffudd.
Indefatigable, definition: unwearying, unremitting in labor or effort. Perfect for my car which is a decade old and doesn’t do terribly well on highways, but never lets me down!
Indy has earned her title yet again recently after a series of near-disasters. Last night I went straight from work to GS’s house. Or rather that was the plan. The reality included being stuck in traffic for over an hour, getting hopelessly lost, and ultimately getting rear-ended on an overpass. Defeated (and still lost for a while) I slunk home.
And though I was in a bit of a strop, what of Indy you ask? There was not a scratch on her (the guy who ran into me had a crumpled license plate, i noticed. HAH!), and she made it home with just enough gas. If I hadn’t just bought her new tires I would have now just for being so impressive!