Thursday, September 24, 2009

Car Craziness

For those of you who have known me since high school, you may (or may not know-college friends definitely will) that I inherited the family car curse. My dad's dad had it, my dad has it, and I got it too. Most of my cars have been complete clunkers-they work at first, and then make a rather rapid and sudden decline into the abyss. This continued until I met R, who is a super human car guy. He's done tons of stuff with vehicles-it's a real gift he has. I mean, most people could probably fix a car well enough (even I can change the oil and change a tire and air filter and battery and know where the alternator is) but R has a feel for things that most people don't have. So when it came time for me to get rid of Clifford the big red truck, I told R to pick out the car and I would drive whatever it was. He insisted I have a say but I told him that would just bring on the curse. So he found the car and checked it out and gave the go ahead. All of the issues I've encountered (KNOCK ON WOOD) have been fixable by my super mechanic man.

But seriously, there's a limit to things. R actually told me the other day that he was planning on taking the fall off from car duty. This is HUGE. He hadn't told me this before and only told me when it was no longer going to happen (you'll find out why below). He loves his cars, and while he isn't one to neglect me in order to work on one (at least intentionally, sometimes he gets carried away) he does enjoy wrenching and getting things done. And since we both have 1.5 hour commutes each way to work every day, we have to keep the vehicles in working order. So the fact that he was going to take the fall off-except for minor stuff like oil changes, etc.-was a huge deal. But it is no longer to be.

A couple of weeks ago while fixing something totally unrelated, the transmission on R's Subaru (Rudy) died. He was afraid he'd done something to cause it, but it was just an unhappy coincidence. I'm just glad it happened while he was wrenching in the driveway and not on the road way. This happened a mere two or three days after a radiator hose blew on the way home. That happened to be a Thursday, the day when I go into Cambridge to do academic stuff, so I called a good friend who came out, picked R up, and they went to the car parts store while I sat with the car. R came back, fixed the car on the side of some neighborhood road with nothing more than the store parts and what he had in his trunk, and we took my friend out to dinner. Then the transmission died while he was finishing the work from the radiator hose bursting. SO...he had to decide. Keep Rudy and find someone to replace the transmission? Part it out? What to do? R has decided to replace the transmission himself (he only made this decision after tons of research. I didn't help. While I have a grasp on car mechanics greater than most women my age, I think, I still don't get what he's talking about half of the time). Then he had to locate a parts car, which he found and bought last week. This weekend was spent doing some preliminary work so that he could get started in earnest this weekend.

While this is all going on, my car's alternator dies on my way to my first Sunday at the church. I'm crying on the side of the highway while the car won't start, trying to figure out why this is happening to me. R comes out (he was going to stay home to take the kittens who we thought were sick to the vet) with a battery and tools and we get the car rolling and get to church. Then the car dies again on the way home. Turns out it was the alternator, so he took the alternator out of the undriveable Rudy, put it in my car (Beethoven) and voila. Driveable car.

In the meantime, R's been driving the car that was supposed to me the replacement for Beethoven, and will be very soon (Jack Sparrow) when I switch to an MA license. I'm hoping this will be tomorrow. So I'll drive Jack and R will drive the Vanagon (Magic) until Rudy is up and running from Project Lazaru.

Phew. You think I'm done? Think again.

R got rear-ended yesterday on the way to work. The driver side rear bumper is punched in and the back light is all cracked up. It's fixable, but just one more thing we have to deal with now.

I'm thinking someone should just give me a Honda Insight or a Subaru Forester. And give R a car too. He can fix cars like nobody's business, but doesn't he deserve a break? Sheesh.

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