Friday, February 29, 2008

My Minivan is dead, and I'm not feeling so good myself

It would be wrong not to post on Leap Day. It's such an event.

The computers at the DMV went down, possibly because they couldn't deal with February 29. Maybe not. No one else seems to have a problem. Maybe they are down in sympathy to me.

My minivan died. Really and truly. The minivan that has carted my growing boys and their growing friends around Columbia for the past 10 years is dead. The minivan that carried me, Bob, and Mark to New Mexico and back is kaput.

That was really my car. I saw an Internet video --- probably you tube --- called "Mom my car." A group of people sat around and talked in great seriousness about how to "Mom" a car. Like some reality show I've never seen, I think. They strewed french fries under seats, sprayed juice over the seats, stuck little toys in the air conditioning vents. One guy threw a ball at the car until "something broke." It was a funny video, but maybe you have to have a Mommed out Minivan to appreciate it.

My van's left passenger door fell off after a few years of enthusiastic opening and closings at the hands of boys who became men. It was on and worked fine unless some innocent offered to get the door and pulled it open ... and off. It almost always happened in the rain. What's with that?

I say it's dead, but it can technically be fixed. A new engine would cost about 5 grand. I don't know what the new door, rear light (where the door hit it when it fell off in the rain one day), and faulty electric system would cost to repair. It's already had a transmission transplant.

On the trip back from New Mexico, the car died in 5:00 traffic in San Antonio on the Wednesday before the fourth of July weekend. In a series of fortunate events, a nice man helped us move out of the middle of the highway. A nice 911 operator called a nice tow-truck operator who took us to a nice garage next to a nice motel with Internet access. We rented a car and enjoyed several days in San Antonio while the nice garage folk fixed our car, repairing it in time for us to get to Houston, then Columbia by Monday.

Since then, the radiator system had to be repaired as well. The head lights went out far too often, probably water on the bulb. But basically, a nice minivan.

Now I'll go back to work to earn enough to buy myself a new minivan. Some people think I should downsize. An Escort has been suggested... as if I can fit a husband, three sons (two about 6 ft tall), a daughter-in-law, a grandson, a niece and a father in a subcompact. What are they thinking? Where would I keep the juice boxes and bottled water?

I'll look at it, but I'd be lying if I said I had an open mind. When I down size it will be to a Karmen Gia. Something for me and my case of water and no one else. I'm not there yet.

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