Thursday, October 27, 2005

Happy Birthday (You Money Pit You)

I didn't realize until late in the day that all of this was taking place on her third "birthday" (i.e. anniversary under my ownership), but Kevmobile 1.2 seems to be conspiring to drain me of all my excess money these days. You might recall that, at the beginning of this month, I was without the car for several days due to what turned out to be both clutch and transmission problems. Then last night, on my way home from Denton, I noticed that the power steering was much less...powerful. I took it in after teaching at my first school today and found out that the rack and pinion had gone out. (That had been one of those things on my to-do-in-the-near-future list since August, but its replacement was preempted by the clutch and transmission stuff.) Great--more missed lessons, more money leaving my wallet...and how will I get to the college? Missing that teaching is not an option, so I pondered bumming rides off friends, finding a bus schedule, wondering if my parents (who were on their way for a visit anyway) would arrive soon enough (but nahh, didn't want to make them do that). Finally, they came up with a solution: I'd use the mechanic's spare car as a loaner for the afternoon. He relished the idea of having the car, which he was trying to sell, on a college campus for a few hours with the FOR SALE sign readily visible.

Driving that car proved to be the most interesting part of the day. It was a Prelude, so it was even lower to the ground than my Civic. There was no AC (not needed today, really) or radio (I did miss that, and I realized that time moves very slooooooooowly at red lights when there's nothing to listen to), and the speedometer didn't work. Not wanting to get a ticket in a borrowed car, that meant I had to drive by feel, which I think actually worked. Having driven a stick since I was sixteen, I figured that I know at least what 30, 35 and 40 MPH feel like, but still, that was an odd sensation, not unlike a Jedi closing his eyes and using the Force (no, I didn't actually do that). At any rate, it was a nice gesture on the mechanic's part to loan it to me; I added a few gallons of gas to his tank on my trip.

When I went back between combos to pick it up, the other proverbial shoe dropped: It needed a full set of tires, not just the front two as they'd suggested before. Oh, and the brakes are about to go out. Bleh. (And before anyone suggests hastening the arrival of Kevmobile 2.0, you should know that I still have a year to go before this one is paid off...and I was hoping to go a year after that before starting payments again.) After those two things are done, I hope to not set foot in the mechanic's again anytime soon, save for oil changes.

Have a money-pit car story? Feel free to drop it in the comments (perhaps along with your favorite lottery numbers; I need some extra luck this week).

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