15 June 2009

So it continues

I took the bus this morning.

A quick note about my morning routine: Gabriel goes to school a ten minute drive in one direction, and I work a two minute walk to a two minute bus ride in the other. Normally, I drive him to school, park at my house, walk to the bus stop, and take the bus to work. In the afternoon, depending on which bus passes me first, I'll either take the bus all the way to Gabriel's preschool, or just to my house, where I get my car and drive to pick him up.

When I say I took the bus this morning, I don't mean that.
What I mean is this. I had to wake up a half hour earlier to schlep Gabriel to the bus stop, take the bus downtown, get there about a half hour earlier than I need to (there's an infrequency of buses that early in the morning and I can't be late, so early it is), sit on a downtown bench and feed Gabriel breakfast, pretend that the bums aren't trying to engage us in conversation, walk to his school, drop him off, and after all that waiting around and dawdling, sprint back to the bus station so I can catch the bus back up to work.

It makes my mornings....somewhat less pleasant.

Especially when Gabriel spent the weekend at his dad's and was all keyed up and couldn't possibly fall asleep until he talked to himself for over an hour about jetpacks and it was well after ten o'clock.


My car! Oh hey!
So, I drive a shitty car, because a little over a year ago I completely totaled my nice car and shattered a bone in my foot and traumatized my son. I couldn't afford to re-enter a Car Payment Situation, let alone whatever my car insurance would cost me if I had anything besides liability. I used my insurance money to buy the car I drive now. Which is not a bad little car really, it's just 15 years old, and fussy.
It's had two distinct problems so far. The first was that the clutch went out, which is fine and normal, albeit expensive. It doesn't make me trust my car less, or feel like it's liable to explode on the highway or anything.

Then my car broke down in the disconcerting Total Mystery To Mechanics way. Finally I took it to the dealership, and they fixed some aspect of it, plus my mom gave me money to have it tuned up, with the idea that it wouldn't break again. Because that would be nice.
Then my engine started dying. You know, just because. If I was stopped at a light or something. It wouldn't die every time though, and it always started again no problem. Because that's normal?
So I took it back to the dealership because WHAT THE FUCK, and they were like, throttle motor sensor something something something same problem as before but different and OH HAI YOU CAN GIVE US $500! But I don't have $500 so if you could please to tell me Good Sirs: What's the worst case scenario here? Because I don't mind starting my car at stoplights sometimes, if the problem's not gonna get worse.
Oh yes dear ma'am, you're currently operating in WORST CASE SCENARIO MODE.
So I'll put a dollar in this jar every time my engine dies, and when I get to $473 I'll fix it.

I was up to $22 (yes the money jar was really my plan shaddup) when my car started doing something NEW AND EXCITING. Which is this:
Sometimes, the gas pedal just decides to be For Pretend Only. Like, you're driving your car, which involves a gas pedal, y'know, for driving purposes, and then OH JUST KIDDING NO GAS FOR YOU. You drive a manual transmission, so the car sorta needs to be moving to be in gear, so it starts doing that I'M GONNA DIE NOW SPUTTER THING AND GAS PEDAL STILL NOT WORKING NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU STEP ON IT NOTHING IS HAPPENING so you put it in neutral but your car has afore mentioned THROTTLE MOTOR SENSOR SOMETHING SOMETHING and it doesn't really always like to just stop in neutral and it dies. So that's fun.

The thrice it's happened, I've managed to restart my car, keep calm and carry on, but I don't want to not be able to start it again in the middle of the road with Gabriel in the car, so my car is at my house right now and I'm deciding between the following:
1. Try to drive car to mechanic.
2. Get car towed to mechanic.
3. Call mobile mechanic.

And now I have one of those cars that makes me nervous every time I think about it. Which. Fuck.


  1. Oh hell. That completely sucks. ALOT.
    I always feel like it's a personal kick in my crotch when one of the vehicles decides to shat it's brains on the road.

    Still...imagine if we still had to drive horses? Oh the stories THAT would bring.

  2. That same thing happened to my truck last summer. And the only way to fix this mystery ailment was to replace everything that MIGHT be wrong part by part, from least expensive to most expensive. Guess how far I got on that spectrum before the problem was fixed? Yup.

    I so hear you on that last line. Sometimes at a stop light, I still get that nervous feeling in my stomach, anticipating the sputter and subseqent death of the engine.

  3. I would call the mobile mechanic. With my family's plethora of car problems, I think after I was 15, I never saw anyone in my family actually GO to a mechanic until I moved here, and realized philly mechanics? Biggest sleazes ever. Most mobile mechanics will also tell you if your car can't be fixed on the spot and will deal with getting it towed to their backyard. (My dad has some numbers of these sorts of people in santa cruz.)

  4. Oh sweetie! Hugs. I had a car like that. Hope it gets sorted out. I vote for mobile mechanic.

  5. Omg. I am sorry. Cars problems are pretty much the worste thing ever.

    I am very lucky to live with a mechanic... just one of the reasons I married him :)

  6. If it were me, I'd probably go for the cheapest option.

  7. I'd get a bicycle with a trailer to carry Gabriel/groceries in it.

  8. You must you must you MUST call the guys on Car Talk. It's a show on public radio every Saturday morning right before Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! (AKA the dicest show ever invented).

    These two yahoo brothers in Massachusetts (read: hilarity + funny accents = awesome) answer calls about mysterious car issues. I listen every week cause they're funny and it's interesting and WTF I don't even OWN a car!! I am convinced they can solve your problems. And if they answer your call or letter, send a shout out my way cause I'll be tuning in!

    DO IT!!!!


  9. You should totally do that car talk thing, but Massachusetts folk don't have strange accents, YOU DO. (Whoops. Defensive.)

    Anyway. that totally blows about the car. Crap.

  10. Ah, criminy, that sucks! ;(
    Sad for your car. Sad for you.