Tuesday, February 15, 2011

  I have a long history with crappy cars. I think my Dad found great entertainment in making his six girls drive hideous vehicles. I'm sure his inner mantra was "Crappy cars build character."

  One of the first cars my older sisters drove was a very old Toyota the color of a lemon. In fact we called it "The Lemon." Not only was it yellow, but it was a stick shift with beautiful orange rust spots. It was definitely a sight to see a teenage girl driving this beauty. Stopping and starting...stopping and starting (Though, I must say we all learned to drive a stick quite well...eventually). It was a great relief when The Lemon became a lemon and died. That is until my Dad brought home the replacement. Another yellow car just like its predecessor (Curse you Toyota for ever making that model!). Oh, the laughs he must have gotten that day.

  To my joy, Lemon II died before I got my drivers license. Eventually, I bought my first car for $900 from a friend. This 1989 Ford escort was dubbed "The Cricket." It made a chirping sound that I could not for the life of me locate. My Dad and I drove this car all the way from Indiana to Utah for me to use while in college. I am shocked The Cricket made it, but she did and she served me well. Leaky windshield, squeaky breaks, and all.

  When I met my husband he had a nice shiny red motorcycle and sports car. Unfortunately for him, I brought into our marital union the curse of the crappy car. Don't get me wrong, on and off we've had a couple decent vehicles, but God must think I need more character, because crappy cars always crop up.

  Currently we have one okay car and one piece of crap (Sorry to all of you who are offended by the word crap. It is the only word to accurately describe my vehicles). I've become adept at dealing with the inconvenient circumstances you tend to find yourself in while driving this kind of car. For example, when the Hubby and I left for our date on Saturday, our okay car (the Jetta) would not start. Why? Because it has a funny quirk of randomly turning on the brake lights when the emergency brake is on (a must if you live on a hill) thus draining the battery. My husband said, "Don't worry. I can get it started." We proceeded to push the car backwards and then rock it forward to aim it down hill. It got stuck in our driveway so we shouted for the neighbor boy Tommy to help. We eventually got it started as we coasted down hill (Flashbacks to Little Miss Sunshine anyone?). "Aren't we lucky we drive a stick shift?" the hubby said seriously. I laughed in reply. "Yes so lucky."

  Our '99 Chevy Suburban (The Burb) has it's own personality. The Burb has 230,000 miles on it, and has trouble restarting if you run a quick errand and try to restart it right away. So, I have to floor the gas as I start her up only drawing more attention to my beautiful ride. She also has a door malfunction on the passenger side. But, no worries, my Dad replaced the handle with a coat hanger. So, now it works great. Ghetto fabulous...story of my life.

  What makes The Burb even more unique is what I find in her every nook and cranny. My personal favorite is probably the petrified chicken nugget I found the other day. How long had it been under the back seat? I have no idea, but that sucker was rock hard. A friend recently told me she found a shoe horn in her car (Who actually owns a shoe horn?). Oh well, I suppose that's as good a place as any for a shoe horn. I ask myself, "Self, why do I have so much crap in my crappy car?" Is it because I have a sub par vehicle that I treat it so poorly? Or, would I treat a nice car like that too? Maybe someday I'll be able to drive my Lexus and answer that question.

  I admit I find it difficult to see my friends driving Escalades and BMW's while I putt around in my prehistoric cars. But, crappy cars are what lack of money requires. Six kids = crappy cars. Getting married while in college = crappy cars. Deciding to drop everything for the Hubby to go to medical school = crappy cars. Another truth is that we are dang lucky to have two cars (and no car payment) when the majority of the world lives in poverty. I'm also lucky to have a husband who can fix anything and a father who could too.

  If my father's mantra is correct then I sure have a lot of character by now and I'm still gaining character by the minute. Not to mention the fun in the mystery of never knowing what I'll find in my back seat. I am one lucky girl.


  1. Once again Jody - you obviously rule. :)

  2. You forgot to mention our yellow Toyota's 15 minutes of fame...Remember when a deer hit it, and it got towed to a junk yard? Two months later it shows up in the parking lot of South Dearborn High School right before prom, as a reminder of what would happen if you drink and drive!

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  4. Jody...I love you. You can turn any situation (the good, the bad, even the ugly) into the funniest comedy. I've enjoyed reading your blog over this past month and I hope you continue to write it b/c I love reading it. If I've had a icky day, reading your blog brightens it up. I miss you, Mark, & your munchkins dearly & I hope we can see each other soon! Can't wait to see tomorrow's blog! :)

  5. Great post Joe. I think crappy cars are with us forever. I still have the Escort. It just turned over 290000. paint is peeling and it is rusting out. It rattles and makes weird noises, but about everything still works, even the a/c! I have been kinda proud of our old cars. The always ran well and didn't cost us a thing. Sure, you might have to fix something every once in a while, but hey, better than big monthly payments. It is kind of like snubbing our car proud society. Think of it this way, it provides a contrast to your personal beauty!

  6. It's true Dad. "Proud car society- I snub you!"


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