Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can anything more go wrong?

First of all, I really need to apologize to all of you - I haven't been keeping up on reading blogs at all for many weeks. I guess it's been because I've been just a wee bit preoccupied with other things - like water and flooding and blizzards and worrying and sleepless nights and peering out the window wondering how high the water is NOW!!

I really hate to write about "downers" but I just have to this time. I have to let off some steam - vent, you know. Otherwise I'll explode - or cry - something.

Does anybody else believe that cars have personalities? I'm beginning to. I think mine is truly mad at me and I don't know why. All I've tried to do is take good care of it and now - well, things are not good. I bought my car new 10 years ago, a Chevy Venture van. This is about the fourth van I've had and would find it hard to go back to a conventional car anymore. Vans are just so much more roomy and comfortable and you can haul so much more "stuff" with them. And besides that, you sit up higher than a conventional car - and for those of you who drive in Minnesota in the wintertime, you know how nice it is to look over that snow that's blowing across the highway instead of trying to look through it. Anyway - I love my van - especially this one. So a few years ago when Ole asked me if I didn't want to trade it off for something newer I said no. I didn't see any need to - besides - why make car payments when you don't have to. I've taken very good care of my van all these years and all these years it's been there for me. Never dumped on me on the highway, never cost me any money except for general maintenance, etc.

Well, about a year ago I decided the poor little van was getting to a point where it wasn't a good economical decision to carry full coverage insurance on it anymore. It had aged to the point where it wasn't worth much dollarwise. You know how it is when you get old - you're just not as valuable. So I dropped the full coverage insurance and two days later a rock hit me in the windshield and put not just a chip in, but a big crack!! Isn't that just the way it goes. About two weeks later a sugar beet flew out of somebody's truck and of course landed on my windshield and I got another crack. I priced out a new windshield - well over $700 - so Ole decided because of the age of the vehicle I would just have to make do. So I did. And my little van purred along just fine.

Well, this winter when we were in Albuquerque one of Big Brother's friends, who is a glassman, told me he would replace my windshield for his cost - $230. So I jumped at the chance and had him do it. Obviously my little van didn't like having her parts replaced because she's been acting up ever since. We were driving down the street in a huge rainstorm (still in Albuquerque - yes it rains there) and my windshield wipers started acting up. They'd get to the top of the upswing and wouldn't go back down - just sit there and grind away. Ole said he would fix that when we got home.

Of course that didn't happen because when we got home we were flooded and Ole had a foot of water in his shop. He still hasn't been able to get back to work in his shop (some two weeks later) due to all the debris and slime. So I took my little van into a dealership to have it worked on and $200 later came out with a new windshield wiper motor. Two days later I was in town running errands, dodging all the dikes that are still up protecting homes and trying to find my way home through all the detours when my little van started to jerk horribly when it would shift from one gear to another. "Oh, no," I said, (well, actually I said more than that but I'll keep this nice) "now I'm having issues with the transmission!" And I KNEW that was going to be an expensive fix, and one that Ole couldn't do even if he could get the car in his shop. So I called Ole and he told me to get it over to the dealership where my friend works and have them put it on the computer.

Well, I did. And I sure didn't like the answer I got. Some little doohickey that sends information to the other doohickey and shifts some valve that does something else when the transmission shifts is bad. The mechanic's advice was to drive the car until it's dead because it will cost more to fix it (upwards of three grand) than the car is worth. The funny thing was when the mechanic took my little car for a test drive it ran fine. Now isn't that just the way of a naughty child? But he said the computer indicated the doohickey was bad and that it would act up intermittently until it just would quit working completely. Boy, that didn't leave me with a feeling of confidence - much!!

So I drove the naughty little car home and parked it in the garage. My car lives in a heated garage, never has to sit in the sun or the 40 below temperatures in the winter. Don't I treat my car nice? It really shouldn't have any bitches!!! BUT - a couple of days later we were going to church and it started up just fine, took us to church, down to the community pancake feed afterwards and then home again. Later than afternoon Ole backed it out of the garage to hose all the dirt out of the garage that's been accumulating. When he was done he was going to move the car back in and it was deader than a doornail. Wouldn't even grunt. Well, after much fooling around and testing stuff, Ole and Lars dragged out the jumper cables and got it going good enough to get it back in the garage. Then they took off the Wal-mart, bought a new battery (another $100) and replaced the old one.

So I very tentatively drove the 10 miles to town yesterday to hit the grocery store and (fingers crossed) everything went fine - this time. I guess my car didn't want the windshield replaced - just wanted to stay completely intact - wanted all her original parts because she's certainly been naughty since I did that.

Anyway - now I'm looking for a different vehicle. I HATE that. I especially hate the thought of car payments. We've always managed to pay cash for my cars, but of course ten years ago and previous to that cars weren't upwards of $30,000 either. And this time I want an SUV so I can sit even HIGHER off the ground so not only can I see over the snowbanks in the winter, I won't get my feet wet in the next flood!!

Yes, People, we're going to have ANOTHER flood. The prediction for Fargo and Moorhead is that it's to be even higher than the previous crest which was a record breaker. And I didn't think our river (Buffalo) would do much this time around, but every day this week the weather bureau has been increasing the crest predictions by 6 inches to a foot. Last weekend they said it would crest at 12 feet, which is barely flood stage. Last night, after changing things three times, they've upped it to 16.7 feet - which will put it back in our storage building, very close to inside Ole's shop again, and once more put our driveway under water.

What's going on here? Why is God testing us to this extent? I just don't know if I can take the stress of watching that water come again and not lose my marbles this time.

Things have got to change soon or I'm going to check myself into the state mental institution. Then I can just sing songs all day, rocking in my rocking chair and I won't have to deal with all this shit!!
Love Lena


Carolyn said...

I'm sorry. {{HUGS}} Our vehicles do the same thing. As soon as we make the mistake of saying "I wonder if we should start looking for another car...this one is get pretty old." The current car reacts with "BAM! Take that! And This!"

Anonymous said...

With that graph, you just lost all semblance of anonymity. I think it would be a good bet to remove it.

~ Sil in Corea said...

Yep, all you gotta do is change one thing and the rest of the parts start going all skew-goggly. I changed the fuel pump on my '53 Ford back in 1962; same thing happened, all to hell in a handbasket.

Paula said...

Make sure they have some good drugs in that mental hospital and I'll join you.

Capitolady said...

That just stinks! Bad Bad VAN.

Calthea said...

I just wanted to say I saw your and Ole's interview last night on the news. I had to do a double take. I told mom to change channels and her reply was "I recognize the last name." Small world. :-)

Memaw's memories said...

Sorry about the van. My first new car only lasted 10 years too, and it died.

Hope the water doesn't come as high as predicted.

Carolyn said...

I'm just checking up on you. I hope things are going well.

~ Sil in Corea said...

Hi! Sure hope the water is going down at last!
Totally off-topic, I am passing on an award given by a journaling friend, to you and others. There are no obligations with this award. It's just my way of letting people who read my journal know some of the journals that I really look forward to reading. There are lots of different reasons why I read some of these journals. You may like some and not others. (Some take forever to load on dial-up; I've noted them as "Photos")
You can copy the graphic from my journal, as well as the write-up, if you are inclined to participate.

Hugs from Corea,
~ Sil

Anonymous said...

not often do you go looking for something on the internet or anywhere else for that matter, and come up with something from South Dakota. I see that you lived in our great city of Pierre!

Paula said... OK???