Mr. D and I were very excited that my Jeep was finally going to be paid off in January. That would mean that we would have no car payments – zero – awesome. Anyone that hasn’t had a car payment in a while knows that is a small victory for us multi-car families. It gives you a little extra breathing room with the holidays approaching. Dreaming of vacations, or just a long weekend was definitely in our plans. We were looking forward to it. Seriously.
So January the Jeep is paid off. Mr. D was in an accident recently that didn’t do a lot of damage to the 2001 Toyota. I mean, what else could you do besides get on top of it and smash it up with a sledge-hammer? It serves it’s purpose. Getting Kam to school and Mr. D to and from work. We did decide it was time for some maintenance on the van. Mr. D suggested a tune up, I said whatever. I have no idea what that means nor do I care as long as the friggin thing runs ok?
Mr. D took the van to a shop early this morning. I knew since he hadn’t called me by noon it couldn’t be good news. So I called him around three when I was in line to pick up Kam from school. I was like “hear from the car people?” I could tell by the tone of his voice that it wasn’t good news. He had actually just gotten off the phone with them. He said that the service manager said it would cost more money to fix the van than to just get a new car. (This is not a dealership telling us this.)
You know that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach?
Just then I looked up and my almost paid off (in the car line with all of the BMW’s and Mercedes) Jeep is smoking from underneath the hood. I look and the coolant level is on high and doesn’t look like it’s budging. I frantically said to Mr. D “my car is smoking.” “What” is his answer. He suggested turning the Jeep off while it was polluting the air of the convertible next to me. Starting it up when I had to and pulling it over somewhere to be out-of-the-way of traffic and he in his hoopty van would be down in about 45 minutes to have a look.
I hung up and thought I’ll just call my Dad. Then I thought, he’s not going to answer, and I just started to sob. My Dad was my car guy, he was my problem guy, he was my “hell baby, it will be fine” guy. That guy is gone, and it hurts like hell.
I could feel Kameron’s eyes on me and knew I had to find some kind of solution. I wiped my tears and headed to Walmart that isn’t took far down the road. I don’t know much about cars, what I do know my Dad taught me. Perhaps it was divine intervention but I walked in and said “my car is overheating, I think it needs some antifreeze.” A younger Walmart associate stood at the counter and said I’m sorry mam, but we can’t touch your radiator. An older gentleman was also standing there. He must have seen that my eyes were blood-shot from crying and that my mascara had traveled down my face in epic proportion.
He instructed me to open my hood and look for a plastic compartment in my car, it should say hot/cold. He warned me not to touch the metal cap until it cooled down. If the levels were low I should purchase some antifreeze. I quickly went out to my Jeep opened the hood, sure enough, my levels were low. I touched the metal cap and it was hot – so I grabbed The Criterion (thank God for the Catholics to send out their weekly useless paper) to shield my hand from getting burnt. Poured in the antifreeze, problem solved.
Now we have to shop for a car. One of Johnno’s favorite things to do. He loved giving the car salesmen a hard time. Negotiating prices, he loved it. Now knowing that we have to get a car, I can hear him now. He would say “baby, you don’t know shit from shinola about buying a car.” “Now let your poor old Dad take care of this one for you.”