Here we are at the last month of the year. It doesn’t seem possible, does it? But the change in daylight and the impending cold tells me it’s true. If I have to go out somewhere after dinner now, I feel like this:
Speaking of going out in my car, I got new brakes today. I’ve been going to the dealership for oil changes, and last time they said my back brakes were dangerously worn thin. Brakes are expensive! It seemed like a good time to find a new place that might be less pricey. So I went to a shop recommended by friends, and the owner called to tell me that in his opinion, I could probably go a while longer on them—about as long as the next oil change. What?! Who suggests NOT doing work on a car? I opted to go ahead since I didn’t want to gamble during crappy winter weather. Plus as I suspected, the cost was less than at the dealership. However, I appreciated his honesty. He was also extremely nice and upbeat. I’m thankful for the recommendation and that I gave the new shop a chance. Fingers crossed his work is as good as his attitude.
The stinkin Lincoln is gone. I found a company that collects junk cars and had it towed away today. Nevermind that I ended up having to take an entire day off of work because the tow truck driver kept pushing the pickup time further and further out. It started with a before 10:30 am timeframe which worked because I had scheduled my cat to go to the vet at 11:00. I planned to take the morning off, get those two things off the to-do list and go to work after lunch. However, the first tow truck call came about 9ish with a I’ll call you at noon and pick up will be between then and 3:00. He must work for the cable company too. I heard nothing at noon. But then, about 2:00 I got a call that he was on his way. And at 3:15 he called asking for my address and said he’d be another 20 minutes. It was just after 4:00 when he showed up. I was irritated, but what could I do? It was freezing today. I needed the car gone before the first real snow hit us and I was stuck shoveling around the dead car. So I signed over the title, collected my $300 in hundred dollar bills that I’m not 100% are real yet, and watched him load the car onto the tow truck. I have to admit that I felt a bit sad watching it go. My parents gave me that car for Brianna. My dad really liked that car. And I thought of how my mom talked just a week ago about the strangeness she felt every time she opens her garage door and sees her new car sitting there. She recently traded in the van she and my dad had for a smaller, more practical car, and somehow it still doesn’t feel right to her. Trading in the car was another step in her life without him, although she purposely picked a color he liked. So now she’s reminded of him every time she sees it. And reminded that it’s another new thing she has to learn to live with. And as I watched the Lincoln disappear, I felt a twinge of the same thing. Another piece of dad history gone. I’ll be forever grateful for my parents’ generosity in gifting it to me, but knowing it had outlived its usefulness, I’m also thankful to have it out of my driveway.
I drive a minivan. There I said it. Even though from the moment I reached adulthood, even before I had kids, I swore I wouldn’t drive one. I swore I was never going to be a “soccer mom.” Nothing against soccer, I actually don’t mind the game. I’ve spent many nights sitting on the sidelines of a soccer field. And of course, nothing against moms, since, you know, I am one. I simply rebel against stereotypes, and I didn’t want to be that mom in a minivan. And yet, with two grown children, I still drive mine. I guess I should take comfort in the fact that almost every one who sees me in my car for the first time is somewhat shocked. I actually had someone tell me that she imagined me driving a Mustang or a Charger or something sporty and cool. I think I disappointed her. I didn’t tell her that I actually had a Mustang at one point. It was a 1967 convertible…a project car bought when I was married. It was never finished enough for me to drive, and was the only item I requested in my divorce. Unfortunately, I didn’t know my ex had put a lien on it, so it disappeared along with everything else. I’ll have one again some day…
In the meantime, I drive what I refer to as my MUV (mini-van SUV combo). I think the front end looks more like a truck, which was the only thing that made buying it palatable. When I purchased it, I knew I needed something larger than the small car I was previously driving. The fact that my kids were right behind my head and literally hanging over my right shoulder in the car drove me mad. I told the dealer no minivans but no gas guzzlers either and in my price range, that really left no options. So when I saw my car and the nose wasn’t pointed like most minivans and there was enough space for the kids to be back far enough for me to pretend not to hear them whine, I relented. Plus it has a dvd system with remote headphones. My kids and I have spent many quiet years of driving together. Of course, over time there has become less of a need for hauling kids and more for hauling junk. I had a decorative painting business for a long time, and my car can carry a full-size ladder along with all my equipment. Take out the seats, and I have stacked almost a room full of furniture in there. I can pick out almost whatever I want at an antique shop and cram it in my car. Same goes with my hardware store addiction. Lumber? No problem. Snow blower? Load it up.
And that is why I can’t get rid of my minivan. It’s just so darn convenient. Although I have thought about it. I mean, really, I would look good in a sports car. I can drive a manual transmission vehicle, no problem, and I do like to go fast. But today when we got another 5 inches of snow, I plowed through it and never got stuck. That’s comforting. I guess it’s still working for me, thankfully. Until it no longer does, I’ll keep it.
Several years ago my parents generously gifted me a car. A 1995 Lincoln Continental that they lovingly maintained and drove for years. They upgraded to something newer, and knowing that I couldn’t afford to buy a car for my daughter, they decided I could use it more than they needed the little bit of money they’d get selling it. It cost me about $300 to get it licensed and titled, and I was thrilled!
My daughter wasn’t quite as thrilled. It’s gold, she said. So, what? I replied. It’s kind of big…she hesitated. It was free for you, so it’s perfect, I stated. End of story.
My child isn’t ungrateful, I don’t mean to imply that. She was thankful to have something to drive at all. But a first car is always something of a big deal for kids, and I understood her hesitation. However, it didn’t take her long to claim the car as her own. And create her own personal pigsty in the backseat and trunk. A Lincoln Continental has pretty good space in it, enough for a week’s worth of clothing, empty water bottles, random crumpled papers, and shoes. Soon, we began affectionately calling it the Stinkin’ Lincoln. It has been a blessing to me, not just to have an extra car available, but to have an extra person to help tote around my youngest or me when my car was in the shop.
Today my daughter bought herself a new car. Something small and red and more age-appropriate. I’m proud of her for working and saving the money she needed for this step, and I’m happy for her excitement. But I’m also glad that the Stinkin’ Lincoln is still around and will be available for my youngest who will be driving soon. The car has had some problems in the last few years and is showing the wear of winter weather and teenage driving, but it’s still running. And for that I’m thankful.