Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fixing the Fleet

So there we are in the midst of a minor financial crisis.  We are trusting God to provide the next job and keep us within the confines of our current budgetary constraints.  I pray that God will give my husband, who is feeling the stress a little more than I, a little sign of hope that we will make it through.  How does God answer this?  With the simultaneous break down of all 3 of our vehicles during the 2-1/2 weeks of financial famine. 

First our little blue car, the extra car we keep asking ourselves why we own but with months left until Jake drives is seeming like more of a neccesity every day, begins to grind the brakes.  Still works fine but clearly should not be driven until John can replace the brake pads.  No problem we have 2 more.  Then John's work van suddenly starts acting up using an entire tank of gas every day.  It is decided that fixing his work van will be cheaper than a tank of gas per day and so he does a small repair to keep it running with another repair needed in the future.  My van had developed a little shake in January which we were sure was the result of the tires so February was supposed to be a new tire month for the van.  I keep driving while waiting for the next job, in the mean time the shake gets so bad I am no longer feel safe driving.  John decides to put the spare on the van.  He discovers that the tread had pulled away from the tire and I was sliding back and forth on the loose tread as I drove.  I experience a transformation in my driving experience that lasts exactly 1 day.  My wonderful girlfriends drag me out of the house on a Monday night and treat me to dinner and a movie.  I am leaving the mall after close and as I get to my van the front tire is completely flat.  Now I have a flat and no spare tire.  I run across the mall to catch a friend who drives me home.

Tuesday I wake up feeling certain that today John will get the job we have been waiting for.  We learn later that my gut was right and go to bed feeling very happy and relieved.  However leading up to that experience we have to solve the van problem.  We drive the brake grinding blue car over to the mall where John pumps up the tire with the compressor and manages to drive the 5 miles home just before it goes flat again.  I continue on with the brake grinder out to my parents home.  They are in Florida for the winter and so I trade our car for "jer's pt".  My dad's red pt cruiser with vanity plates.  I feel so cool. 

The entire time I am switching cars Isabelle is freaking out that I am getting rid of the blue car, telling me she hates the red car and then begins to list all the places she will not go in the red car.  I also got stuck momentarily on their unplowed driveway and banged my head on the side of the car so hard I lost the back of my earring.  As we drove home I finally told Isabelle I didn't like the red car either but life was not fair and she needed to STOP TALKING!  She wisely sat silently the rest of the way home and surprisingly didn't complain once the entire week.  And I must confess I sort of enjoyed driving Jer's PT, a little car with much better pick up than our old van.

Once John got a job we decided priority one would be fixing up the fleet.  Saturday was the day to do the work and it couldn't have gone better.  He pumped the tire up again on the van and drove it to a used tire store we go to.  They had tires that fit our van for way less than I thought we would pay.  And while he waited John was able to walk next door and pick up the brakes he needed for the blue car.  He had planned to drive out with Jers pt, change the brakes and come home with the fleet intact but got distracted with picking up part of Isabelle's birthday present. 

Isabelle is getting a "big girl bed" for her birthday.  We had everything but the mattress and a can of paint to match the bed to the rest of her furniture.  I had been on craig's list wanting to spend under $100 for a twin mattress and finding several good looking ones that we were going to check out that afternoon.  Then John remembered a buddy of his mentioning getting their teenager a new bed.  He called to see what they did with the mattress and they guy GAVE us their old mattress.  So after putting much cheaper than expected tires on the van he went to pick up Isabelle's new MUCH cheaper than expected mattress.

Feeling so accomplished already at only 1pm we decided to relax and do the blue car after church.  Although it wasn't quite as smooth, John made the 20 minute drive out to my parents house without the keys to the blue car causing him to take and 1-1/2 hours to do something that should have taken less than an hour.  Back home with his tools he got the part off but then ended up running around in the cold a little more than usual to find a car parts store that would turn the roters for him just before closing on a Sunday night but now the brakes are changed and our fleet is back in service.  Friday John will have a friend make the final repairs on his work van and we will be ready to go wherever the road leads us.

Is it weird that I have more than one post with the label "car troubles"?  What does that say about me?  Are we really back in the car repair stage of our lives again?  Oh well, it was fun the first time and with so much added wisdom in our lives it has been fun the second time as well.  So far...

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