On car repairs, anxiety, and early mornings

I woke up at 630 am. I never do this except under great duress generally brought on my my children. Today I have things to do. Many, MANY, things to do. I’ll start with the big one. And a fun little anecdotal account of my car history. Because again, it’s early, I don’t do mornings, and maybe you’ll enjoy my foggy morning brain. Mostly, though, blogging about this is easing my anxiety.
I bought a used car from a lovely elderly couple. The woman is of the generation of women who generally didn’t get drivers licenses. Her husband, also an octogenarian, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. They needed to sell the car, I needed to buy a car. A good, reliable, inexpensive, safe car to transport my little lovelies. It was bittersweet. I had a car, the elderly gentleman cried as I drove away.
Shortly thereafter, I thought perhaps my brakes needed to be done. They were squeaky. I asked a couple friends and we unfortunately were never able to make that happen. After that, on a trip to Maryland, my check engine light went on.
*cue panic*
We had just bought a car, shelled out a security deposit on a new place to live, and living on a modest to meager income. Holy crap of all holiest craps, I bought a lemon. (This has yet to be proven or disproven.)
Anyway, time passed, the check engine light went off. Sigh of relief. But then the brakes went from squeaky, to kind of grindy, to kind of stuttery.
I know these sounds. My first car? I drove through the pads, shoes, rotors, whatever else is in there-basically to the point my wheels were about to fall off. I had no idea. And I was 17 and on Phish tour so I wasn’t particularly worried about anything. $800 dollar brake repair later, I got into an accident and my car was totaled. I think that was maybe a month after my mom shelled out the cash.
Next car? Same deal. Paid for big repair, totaled car.
By my third car I thought I was much more responsible about the whole car repairs thing. And I may have been. However, the dear old girl ended up with close to a quarter of a million miles on her and was in need of a $2500+ exhaust system repair (in addition to the couple hundred just shelled out for various other things). She was only worth $1700 on a good day. Big Blue had seen better days. I sold her cheap.
Then I got another car. One of the first things I did? Got the brakes checked and fixed. No big deal. The check engine light went on. PANIC. Got a diagnostic. Catalytic converter. Dude. Seriously? I had a new tiny baby, a commission based job and absolutely no way to pay for $1000 repair. Eventually I got it fixed by a mechanic friend and no lie, less than a month later, my radiator hose blew, and in the process of fixing it, we discovered some seal in some part of my engine had stopped doing its job and fluids were all mixed together and was probably not a good idea for me to drive it again. My mechanic suggested head gasket. Considering the amount of time and labor needed to fix this, I opted to look for a new car.
In rolls Bessie. She’s a sweet girl. I can fit two big girl car seats in the back, she’s clean (aside from the ton of kid stuff in it), plays my old live Grateful Dead and Phish tapes and gets me where I need to go.
Basically I’m telling you all of this because I’m sitting here waiting for him to give me the damage. To any of you who know me IRL, on FB or Twitter, you know my anxiety/panic issues have been kicked into hyperdrive. I’m trying not to freak out and throw myself on the floor crying and hyperventilating. So far this has helped.
And hey, maybe some of you can relate.
Cross your fingers and toes, do a happy car dance, send inexpensive quality repair vibes and calming energy my way.
Pretty please with a cannoli on top.

And have a lovely day.


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