Monday, December 19, 2005

You want Romance? Okay!

Several of my alert readers have pointed out that my recent posts have been decidedly UN-romantic. At least on the basis of the subject matter. Especially the ones dealing with guano and other animal defecation.

One reader also pointed out that I failed to post anything at all yesterday. I’m not sure if that little piece of information was intended as a dig, or as an expression of relief. But in either case, I have an excuse.

I was tired.

Why? Because I got very little sleep on Saturday night.

Why did I get so little sleep? Well, that’s a story that actually DOES contain some romance, or at least a lot of love. But I can’t tell it now. Maybe in a week or so I’ll tell it. You’ll just have to wait.

Ah! I have just created a “hook,” which is a literary device intended to engage the reader and make him/her want to learn more. And you DO want to hear the story, don’t you? See? It worked!

Today, however, I will write about the very romantic topic of auto repair. I’ve decided to bite the bullet and have 4 new struts installed in my aging Mazda Protégé commute car. It’s got over 150,000 miles on it, but the drive train seems to be in good shape and I’d really like to keep that little car as long as possible before I have to spring for a replacement.

Yeah, I know. Once a car get’s that old (mileage wise) it’ll “nickel and dime you to death.” And in general, that’s right.

But I’ve had really good luck over the years keeping little four-cylinder Toyotas and Mazdas running, and running very economically, well past what most people consider to be their normal useful life. When my daughters were learning to drive and needing cars to go off to college, we’d usually give them a hand-me-down car we had driven for well over 100,000 miles, or we’d buy them a cheap used one and try to keep it going.

Yes, sometimes they’d have expensive problems. Once I bought a used Camry with automatic transmission. That transmission started slipping within the first few months and I had to pay to have it rebuilt

Then daughter #2 wrecked it. I don’t remember if that was the time she swerved to avoid someone who cut in front of her (she ended up hitting a mailbox on the sidewalk, which we paid for), or when she was rear-ended at a stop light. Regardless, the insurance company declared it “totaled” and wrote me a check.

I bought some junkyard (“used auto parts”) pieces to fix or hide the body damage, and it ran just fine until the next wreck when I agreed with the insurance company that it was totaled, and accepted salvage value for it.

But most of the other cars suffered only relatively inexpensive failures until they were sold or given away to someone who desperately needed an old car. Yes, we’ve actually given away a couple of vehicles. They were probably worth exactly what the buyer paid for them, too.

So, I’m going to try to keep this Mazda going for a while longer. I’m pretty fond of the little car, and it’s been treating me right for about 9 years.

TOLD you this was a romantic topic.


Anonymous said...

I can empathize. My wonderful Subaru wagon is approaching "only" 100,000, and I hope I can drive it another 100,000. Yes, we'll have some repairs soon on it (timing belt, brakes, etc.) but it's paid for. And I'd rather have it than a new car.

Karyn Lyndon said...

You shouldn't get attached to inanimate objects, especially ones too big to fit in the attic. (It seems like men are worse about this than women.) Your car doesn't really love you...and just ask's impossible to scrapbook.

kenju said...

My 1997 Plymouth Grand Voyager (which I love) has 104,000+ and it is beginning to nickel and dime me too. I need new shocks and I think that the transmission is slipping a little now. But it still gets 21 mpg in town, so I cannot complain too much. Gas is $2.17 here...UGH!

Monica said...

Believe it or not, I totally agree this is mustang's name is Trevor (yes, it is) and he (yes, a HE) loves spending time with me. We have a lot of fun together...he's the first car I've ever been in love with....and he told me he chose ME not the other way around...isn't he romantic?

Duke_of_Earle said...

THANK you, Monica! At least SOMEone understands. So THERE, Karyn!

But I stop short of ascribing gender characteristics to the car, calling it "she," and so on. My fondness is more platonic... But that can still be romantic.


Karyn Lyndon said...

Platonic romance? I don't think so...