Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Joys of Owning an Old Van

We got this van when Erik was a baby, so it's not particularly new anymore, but usually it does just fine. Once in a while it does have issues though. Like last December, when I went on my Philadelphia trip, and had to get a rental. Which I got impounded (Yes, I will finish that story soon, really, I swear!)

In January, it had more problems, and I used a rental for a week. My kids spilled cereal and sprinkles in the back of the rental, which I mostly got cleaned up, but there were a few remnants still. The rental also had a dent in the passenger door, which I didn't realize till the day after I got it. The whole week, I was wondering whether it had happened in my possession, or not. Luckily, when I returned it, it turned out it was dented already when I got it. Phew.

Did I mention that the RPM meter in the rental was broken and that on cold mornings, the speedometer would refuse to go up higher than zero? Fun! Drive on highway and have no idea how fast you are going. Luckily this only happened twice.


Last week, the van was having issues again. Starting and then stalling. It would run if I kept giving it extra gas, but that is kind of annoying. The moment I let go of the gas pedal, the car stalled. Not so useful. So I called the garage and told them to get the darned van and get me a rental.

I was happy to get the exact same rental, with dent, with broken RPM meter and even with some of our own crushed cereal remnants still in the back. It was like greeting an old friend. Just to express its happiness on seeing me, the gas gauge stopped working for a bit, assuring me that I had a tank which was filled at about 167 % of the maximum capacity. Which messed up the motor temp gauge, which couldn't get higher than 'Your motor is really cold right now!'

By now, I was late for everything, and on my way to orthodontist appointment for Dawn. I was happily driving along, visualizing us getting a parking spot easily, unlike expected reality. Suddenly, I see this police car behind me, lights flashing, so I get out of the way, figuring he is on his way to Important Police Business. Till he starts pointing at me.

What???!!! I quickly go over my driving in the last few minutes. I did not speed. I did not run any red lights. I don't think he could have found out about... Never mind. I sit and wait and smile at him, pondering the line 'Wow, officer, you have such a taut body, I bet you are a leo!' but deciding not to. Yet.

He points at my inspection sticker and asks me sternly 'So, young lady. Why didn't you have your car inspected? It was due last September!' I bat my big blue eyes at him and want to reply 'I am innocent, officer, really, I didn't do it!' but instead just tell him that this is a rental and it never entered my thoughts to check the inspection sticker. He asks for the rental agreement and my drivers licence and goes off to make some phone calls in his car. I watch the time go by, and hope the orthodontist will accept our excuses of 'car broke down, the police stopped us, and the dog ate her homework.'

Anyway, he comes back, tells me he called the garage, and all is well, I can just get there to have it taken care of. I don't get a ticket, just a piece of paper telling me that I have been stopped and should be a good girl from now on. Or at least try not to get caught if I am bad.

Later that day, I stop at the garage and they inspect the rental on the spot, while Giant gets lotsa attention. I really wanted to add that to my already overfull day ^^

My van got returned during the Wednesday snow storm, they told me that it was fine, it just needed to re-learn how to idle. Thursday morning, it had forgotten how to idle again, so I returned it to the garage, telling them to teach it a bit more effectively, thankyouverymuch. Yesterday, they called to say it is fixed again, y'all send good vibes it actually IS!

The joys of car ownership! And I am not sure whether I ever want to rent a car again, it seems that they attract bad luck. Oh well, at least I have good stories!
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1 comment:

Wendy said...

I always took the fact they focused so much on expired inspections stickers as a sign of living in a safe place- they didn't have much else to worry about. Not that I would have any experience with that or anything.