Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Hissy

Almost precisely one year ago I had a breakdown. Some might've called it a hissy fit.

I was tired of ice and snow flying up through the hole in my car and hitting me. The novelty of driving children around in something with minimal safety features had long since worn off, along with the paint. I don't know what precisely had taken me to the edge, but I came home and just threw a hissy as hard as I could.
"I refuse to drive it anymore!" I nearly screamed, "How can I drive my children around in that thing? The seals are falling out, it's 20 years old, there's no L.A.T.C.H., there aren't any airbags, it's a TUNA CAN!" We both agreed, after I I hyperventilated into a paper bag*, calmed down and saw reason, that we would wait until we had a house. Guess what? Now the car is 21 years old, and I'm still driving it, but we do have a house.

Two months ago I ran over a hunk of ice. Immediately the temperature started rising and the car nearly overheated on the 5 minute drive home. When I dropped off the family and pulled out of the driveway I noticed a large green puddle. Antifreeze. That ice hunk punctured my radiator. For some reason, I thought I could make it back to work for a 3pm meeting even with my car rapidly expelling antifreeze. (I probably thought this because all last summer my car overheated with pin-point regularity. I knew that I'd have to turn the car off at all intersections and blow the heater during all of July. There was the panicked case of me having to pull off the side of the freeway while caught in a traffic jam until the vehicles moved and my car cooled down enough to drive. Misty water-colored memories.)

I made it to the intersection of Orem Center Street and 800 West, a lovely intersection on the crest of a hill. I sat, hazards flashing, smoke/steam pouring from under the hood, through two light cycles, and revised my plans. Clearly, I would not be making the remaining commute to work in my present state. Fortuitously, my regular mechanic was at the bottom of the hill: if I could just get the car started again, and coast through two lights and under the freeway overpass, I could make it to the mechanic half a mile away. And that, with the help of divine providence, is what happened. I called Other Half from the mechanic and said in a low and rage-filled voice, "If this is over $500, I. Want. A. New. Car." I think he was too scared to disagree.

The total came to $300.

I paid it and drove off with my fancy new radiator.

The check engine light came on 400 feet from the shop. I called Jenny and cried.

I picked up my friend Noelle so we could go to IKEA to price some things out for an OrangeSoda project. I made a joke about my car, and then mentioned that I saw one of the housekeepers in my new neighborhood driving the same car. All my neighbors probably think I'm the housekeeper. Sounds about right. "Honey," giggled Noelle, "I hate to break it to you, but my maid drives a nicer car than you."
"I know," I sighed.

Other Half drove my car today. "Does it...always sound like this?"
"Like it's all metal, and metal is being used to stop the car?"
"And like a cat or a small child got stuck in the wheel well?"

I'm just sayin....

I've been frugal enough, right?

*Just kidding. No paper bag. I've always wanted to become that hysterical, though. Do you think corsets are required?


Marianne & Clayton said...

You should buy some smelling salts, just in case.

And yes. You have been a car saint. It is high time.

~j. said...

Mechanics should offer a no-check-engine-light-light-up-on-your-drive-home guarantee. I'd be amazed if they offered that sort of guarantee that lasted a half-mile.

We shall have a party for you and your new car.

noelle said...

i'm very excited for you to get your new car, although i'm wondering if you'll be kinda sad when it's gone. when we finally got rid of my ancient p.o.s. jetta i couldn't believe i was just as relieved as i was teary about it. and i grew to HATE that thing.

also, i apologize if i uttered the term "maid" - maid sounds so...well, snobbish. but i should also point out that said housekeeper also has an iphone.

AzĂșcar said...

Noelle, I don't think "maid" sounds snobby. You have a toddler, are pregnant, have a job, you NEED a maid.

Maybe it's the crazy liberal in me, but I think everyone pregnant, and with a toddler should have a government provided maid. Yes, that's it. And any maid that has an iPhone must be an awesome maid.

The thing I will be most torn up about saying goodbye to my car is that I will need to clean out the trunk. Oh, crap.

TheOneTrueSue said...

My sympathies. Car troubles give me Exploding Head Syndrome.

So this means you ARE getting a new car?

La Yen said...


You give ~J money for the helicopter, (her husband's slightly better than yours beater) and then he gives someone else money for THEIR beater, and then you have spread the love throughout Provo and everyone gets a 12% improvement! Think of the maids!

Queen Scarlett said...

Please tell me you're getting a new car. VW was having a sign and drive deal...which is a great deal... jettas with low monthly payments. Hoping you get a much safer car for you and the kids.

What was the hubby driving? If his was nicer, he should've totally switched with you. ;-)

AzĂșcar said...

Sue- I'll believe it when I see it.

La Yen, I think Haley Joel Osment is behind that idea, and I don't like it.

La Yen said...


Amy said...

Don't clean out the trunk. Say goodbye to the car and all its baggage too.

Petit Elefant said...

It's time. Time for a new car, which equals a new way of life.

Chillygator said...

You could get a new car without losing that feeling of danger and adventure by buying one of the faulty Toyotas. You might even get a deal!

Olivia said...

don't people send their favorite bloggers things in the mail??? by now you should have received 88 million new cars in the mail... i don't have a car, but if i did, i'd fan mail it to you.

Annette Lyon said...

That's pretty much what it takes to get ANYTHING done, changed, or fixed: have the man have to deal with it firsthand. It'll get taken care of in a jiffy.