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    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    A Tale of Two Autos

    For those of you who know me well and have known me for quite some time, I offer an update on an old story. For those of you I have just met, relax, and let me tell you a tale...

    Once upon a time (spring of 2000) I bought a dinky little car from a dealership for $500. That's me in fall of 2001 leaning against him. We named him Eeyore, because he was not real pretty, and not real fast, but he'd get you there. Most folks think it is impossible to get a car from a dealership for that little, but they'd be surprised what a little tech help, a lot of patience, and a wad of cash can make a dealer do. *wink*

    I loved my little car so much that I bolted fence slats to the roof to make a hauling "bed", and began introducing him as "Eeyore, my 1987 Ford Escort 3/4 ton Pickup Wagon". And boy could he haul!

    Anyway, Eeyore had worked like a dream (a dream with only 18MPG, but even so) for several years when he started having problems. About the same time, I met a fellow who claimed to be a retired mechanic, so I let him work on my precious little car for me. At first it was just oil changes, then he replaced the master cylinder to fix the brakes. All was well and good, but my car developed a serious problem. He grew a short somewhere in the engine. We replaced part after part trying to find the problem, my mechanic and I, and were at a loss.

    Finally giving up for the moment, my family had to take a trip to PA to meet Keebler's mom (a trip I now regret) on the pretense of checking on them due to a fire in their apartment building. We unplugged the battery every time we stopped the car to keep it from running down, and made it there and back safely. We learned that our tiny car made into quite the lovely camper when we needed it to along the way.

    When we got back home, we continued working on the car. Replacing electrical parts at random, hoping to find the culprit and solve the problem, all the while driving as little as possible, and unhooking the battery every time we parked. Then one day, he died. My mechanic gave up. Said he'd be able to fix the car of he could tow it into his yard to work on whenever he had a spare moment, but otherwise he wasn't interested. Having experienced his brand of towing, I decided that was not an option.

    The last thing Eeyore hauled on his roof was a 17 cubic foot upright freezer.

    So he sat. My poor little Eeyore sat, abandoned and alone, acting as a storage unit instead of a car, and rusting away before our eyes under the carport for over a year.

    In the nice time, my grandparents felt pity on me and gave me the car that they had driven me around in when I was only 8yo. A 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Getting 12MPG wasn't a grand idea, but at least we could still get around to where we needed to go, especially in the winter. At least we had a car. Then we tried to actually use it. Carried business supplies in it and *oops* ripped the header. Hauled a UHAUL trailer with it, and did that just fine. Ran it gently into a concrete pillar and dented the bumper... So much for him being almost showroom quality, 'eh?

    Then something began to go wrong. My mechanic and I worked together on the problem and spent over $200 on repairs. We even cleaned and kitted the carburetor, but nothing seemed to work. The problems just kept getting worse, and more numerous. My mechanic started having serious personal problems and dropped off the face of the earth.

    Cleaning out the carport in the biyearly cleansing, I finally listed my poor little Eeyore on Freecycle(tm). Maybe someone could fix him, but that person wasn't going to be me. I cried so hard seeing him leave. He was the second car I had ever become so attached to, and getting rid of him was not only a goodbye, but also an admission of failure. I had failed to repair him, failed to keep him running, failed as a friend... I was devastated. At least he was going to a good home and I liked the fellow pretty well who took him (having just met him that day).

    We started riding our bikes everywhere within 2 miles of the house, then Keebler's bike got stolen. We were nearly transportationless, as Sheldon, the Oldsmobile, refused to start without a battle, and would stall at random while in traffic.

    I posted on Freecycle(tm) again, this time asking for a reliable, small car that worked.

    I got a message from the man who took my Eeyore. He had gotten him fixed within 15 minutes of getting him to his house. My baby was working again, and I could have him back! Would I be willing to trade Sheldon for him? Durned right I would! Yeehaw!

    So back came my Eeyore, all fit and hale, and off went Sheldon, a gas-guzzling memory from my past. So gleeful was I to have my baby back, that I spent the next 4 hours sanding all the rust off and applying a couple of coats of primer.

    Today I go and get my Eeyore inspected and licenced again. I'll get him a tune-up and a full tank of new gas, and a locking gas cap as welcome home presents. Maybe I'll even get him a new Eeyore hangie thing for his rear-view mirror just for kicks.

    It is odd driving my little car again. Being taller than my vehicle hasn't been a reality for a long while. I can reach all the way to the half-way point of the roof without climbing or even standing on my tippie-toes. Getting out of the car is a challenge, as he is so low to the ground, standing up is really standing UP, and more akin to rising out of a pit than getting out of a chair.

    I'm not even sure I have a good picture of Sheldon, and Eeyore isn't quite ready for prime time yet.

    Despite all that has happened in the past week, my mood is always lightened a bit if I simply glance at my new, old, repaired and revived little car.

    I love my Eeyore!

    1 comment:

    lovelife said...

    cool for you all.