Showing posts with label car problems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label car problems. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Drive To and Return


                As mentioned in this post,  I thought Highway 140 was quite beautiful at some parts and quite scary at others.  The idea of a 50 foot drop and no guard rails is rather creepy.  But that is the way Roland wanted to go - and he was driving.

                I thought 140 seemed scarier driving north than it did driving south - which is ironic, as the drop is on the south/west side.  The drive didn't seem quite as long, either.  But Denise and I had taken I5 through Medford because she wanted to see the temple.  I just  had Roland go by way of Highway 138 to Highway 97 where you can choose to go north up through Bend and over through Boise, or you can drive down south to Lake View and Winnemucca.  

                The Nevada route is only about 30 minutes faster than going through Idaho - provided there isn't any construction or other barriers that might interfere with the normal route, but going south requires a lot more traction and winding - which I somehow didn't believe our car could handle.  But it did.  There were many who'd been praying for our safety and we made good timing, I think.

                Jeanie passed away on the 6th and our plan was to leave on the 7th.  It was Jenna's final week of school and she'd been planning on dressing up for each day.  She'd been looking forward to her final week of school this year and to watch her 8th grade friends graduate.  She cried when Roland told her that she would not return to school.  


                I was appalled at Jenna's behavior - obviously thinking more about the inconvenience of her own plans than for thinking about her brother and the grief that he may be suffering.  Death is rarely convenient for any of us.  I did talk Roland into allowing her to go to school one last time.  We still needed to go to Roseburg to get a rental car and bring it back to the house in order to pack it up.  There is ALWAYS a delay when Roland plans things.  Wednesday was an early day, and we could check her out even earlier if we needed to.  There was no sense for ALL of us to go to Roseburg, and I didn't want to watch Jenna idling any time that she could have spent at school.




                We had made arrangements to pick the car up between 8:00 and 8:30.  We were contacted by the rental company just before we left the house.  We were told the car would not be available until later and that they would contact us.  We had planned to go to Roseburg on some other errands - the delay of the rental would make things easier - I thought.  Roland could do all the driving and we wouldn't have to worry about the second car. 

                The rental company never called back, and so we decided to just go there.  There had been five people waiting for rental cars.  All the cars that were supposed to be available were still out - all the cars that were on the lot that looked like they might be available had expired tags.  We had tried other options, but are actually limited in Roseburg and didn't want to gamble on driving another 90 miles to a larger city if we might encounter the same problem with another rental car company. We still didn't have a car when Jenna returned home from school and so said a major prayer and ended up taking our own.

                The GPS was taking us through Sutherlin, but I knew we could get through on 138 which was in the opposite direction.  We probably wasted a half hour driving back and forth before we finally got on route.  Our daughter-in-law, Carrie, commented that our disability of getting out of Oregon sounded like the makings for a sitcom.

                Roland said he would return through Boise and Bend. 


  
                We passed many orange barrells. 


No workers or slowdowns - probably due to the wind - except for after crossing the border from Idaho into Oregon.  Loose gravel caused us to slow down.   Tar was being poured ahead.  There was actually a utility truck  with its flashing lights that led the cars in either direction - I think it was at least a mile long.  I'm not exaggerating.  It wasn't bad.  It had been the only slow down of the entire trip. 

                Once we got to Hines, we stopped at a Dairy Queen to have lunch.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Don't Give Me That Human Attitude - You're Just a Machine

My mom brought her Saturn SL1 brand new.  Corey, Kayla and my mom all had Saturns.  I took a picture of them - each standing by his or her car.  They took it to Saturn.  I don't know what Saturn did with it.

      Roland and I had borrowed my mom's car on more than one occasion to go to Arizona.  It was just more reliable than anything we ever owned - except for the Saturn Ion we had for less than two years.  I think we have taken that to Arizona as well.

      Saturn used to send reminders to their cliental to let them know that it was time for their car to be serviced.  My mom took hers in (or had Corey take it in) to be serviced each year, until they went out of business.

      After we put my mom into assisted living, Roland and I asked if we could buy mom's car.  We didn't know it came with a personality - that it was somehow possessed.

      Sometimes the car will make noises as though the fan is running.  As we don't want the battery to die, we are forced to get the keys to turn on the engine to stop whatever part of the car seems to be running.  I haven't heard the fan noise since we moved - that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.  But the car has taken on another personality that is probably more annoying.

      It's tired.  It wants to rest.  We already drove it today and now it doesn't want to move.  Sometimes the motor will purr right away.  Often the car acts as if we left the headlights on and killed the battery.  Roland thinks it's a loose connection in the wiring, but we really don't know.

      I've asked our mechanic about it a couple of times now.  I had made an appointment for him to check it this morning.  I had taken Jenna to the bus stop on the off chance that the buses were running this morning.  They weren't. 

      The sun was too bright for me to drive her to school, and so Roland took her.  She is having her first overnight field trip through the school.  I had signed up to chaperone, but missed out on the opportunity somehow.  No matter.  Right now I feel like a zombie.  I don't know what's making me so sleepy.

      About an hour after Roland returned, I went to start the car.  It wouldn't start.  I called the mechanic who said he would make a house call - but then he got busy.  I tried starting the car at noon as I had another appointment.  Started just fine!  The nerve.


      I rescheduled with the mechanic tomorrow morning.  Hopefully he'll be able to find what the problem is.  We're going to need a more reliable car.  I don't know how we're going to work it into our budget.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Enjoy the Journey




        I don't recall how many vacations we may have taken when somebody in the car called, "Are we there yet?"

        I give my parents credit for livening up the journey for us - allowing us to enjoy the traveling part - well, as much as can be expected.  Our car problems were never a part of the plan - in fact it actually deferred us more than once.  After a while, though we still couldn't plan for whatever car problem might occur, we learned to roll with the punches.  No family vacation was complete without car problems and/or rain.

        I wasn't able to go to Yellowstone with my family the year that car broke down 18 miles outside of Pocatello, Idaho. My mom and sister left my brother, Corey, and my dad in the car while attempting to walk to the next town on foot.  Back in the day when we just had road maps to go by.  No GPSs to let one know the upcoming mileage or nearest service station.

        As with ALL vacations that we took, prayer has always played an important role. Before long, they were picked up by couple who opted to spend the next three hours with my family. This is how Corey remembers it:

 None of us knew how to get the car working again.  Dad was in no shape to walk and we felt one of us should stay with him.  It was also decided that I should be with the car in case I was able to get it started again. I do remember feeling bad that I was essentially making the two women walk into town.  Mom and [Kayla] decided to walk however far they needed to walk to get to town.  Before they ventured off, I suggested we say a prayer that we would get to Pocatello somehow.  I remember as Mom and [Kayla] walked off, I felt helpless in this car that wouldn't start with my ailing father watching my sister and mother walk away. 

"Mom and Kayla hadn't gotten too far (maybe two or three city blocks; I remember they were still in sight) when a car pulled over and asked them if they needed help.  They picked them up and backed up to our car and then maneuvered behind us and pushed us to the next town.  There [had been] only one lane of traffic at one point, so there were a whole bunch of cars behind us. 

"Once they pushed us into town they pushed us to a repair shop and then they took Mom to Pocatello to get the part and then drove her back and did the repair.  The man and his wife spent a good portion of their day with us and they really went the extra mile.  Because of them, we did eventually get to Pocatello just as we prayed for."




        There was there was one time when the tire flattened or the rim had broken, forcing us to turn around and drive back to a town we knew was there as opposed to uncertainty of how many miles ahead.  We spent more than an hour in Mojave - which put us behind.  Sure, mom may have rolled her eyes, but we were able to deal with it.  I think we played a game to pass the time.

        We also broke down near Beaver, Utah.  A tow truck took our car to Beaver.  We were really impressed with the mechanic and would have liked for him to be able to service our car all the time - but that was not realistic.



        A rollover on the road prevented us from getting to Corey's college graduation on time.  It had been a really long day.  My niece took a nap in the car, but became cranky before we arrived to Ephraim.  My sister, Kayla, and our niece, Ellen and I were dropped off at a park while the rest continued on to Snow College.  I wasn't sorry I had missed Corey's graduation.  I know Kayla, Ellen and I enjoyed the park more than we would have the graduation ceremony - particularly Ellen who probably would not have allowed either of her parents to focus on the ceremony either had we gone.



        Many vacations are often better planned than is life itself.  Often what we strive for or believe will be the end result doesn't necessarily work out to our expectations - which isn't always a bad thing - perhaps, for some, it turns out to be a better thing.  Definitely a different thing.  And there are some who feel they've wasted time preparing for something that never came to pass while others simply enjoy the journey and are grateful for the experiences that sent them to the path that they are on now.  They continue to learn and to enjoy their journey - always moving forward - even if they don't always see what's up ahead.



        It took the Willy & Martin handcart companies  111 days to reach the Salt Lake valley. That was close to the number of days  it also took Brigham Young and the first Latter Day Saint settlers to reach the Salt Lake valley as well! 

        Between 1856 and 1860, nearly 3,000 emigrant members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined ten handcart companies--about 650 handcarts total--and walked to Utah from Iowa City, Iowa, (a distance of 1,300 miles) or from Florence, Nebraska (1,030 miles). This journey or “Trek” took them about 111 days to complete.

        Many of the handcart pioneers were foreigners who had sold their homes and possessions for money to get passage on a long boat trip from European countries to be gathered with the saints in Zion. When they arrived in America, they had so little that they could not afford wagons, teams, and provisions to make the long journey to the Salt Lake valley. Then they were advised to leave behind everything they did own except for the few essential items necessary for their trek across the plains and mountains to Zion. These “pioneers” knew that they faced many dangers and hardships, even death along the way. Yet, they chose to do it! What POWER could cause so many people to undertake such a challenging and dangerous trek?




        Jenna has two weeks left of primary.  The week after Conference, she will be attending Young Women instead of going to singing/sharing time with the entire primary.  We've already started attending the Trek themed firesides and activities geared to the youth.

        On Sunday we went to the stake center in the big city of Roseburg, where she had the opportunity of meeting her new Ma and Pa.  It was the start of their 111 day challenge. One stake, six wards, 17 families, 161 youth (and counting) - half are (or will be) 12 years of age.  Jenna said there was only one in her group who has done the trek before and it wasn't Ma or Pa.


        Each youth was given a packet that outlines each week from April 13, 2016 to July 1 when the group returns from their four-day pioneer experience.  Tomorrow night she will return to the stake center for another activity.  Next week will be her last opportunity for attending Achievement Days for primary as she will be attending the young women's every week after that.

        “What a story it is. It is filled with suffering and hunger and cold and death. It is replete with accounts of freezing rivers that had to be waded through; of howling blizzards; of the long, slow t forgotten. But hopefully it will be told again and again to remind future generations of the suffering and the faith of those who came before. Their faith is our inheritance. Their faith is a reminder to us of the price they paid for the comforts we enjoy.” - Gordon B. Hinckley


        I hope that Jenna understands this opportunity she has and will be as excited as I am for her.  I hope that when she returns home from her activity tomorrow that she will have more enthusiasm than "being forced to go" and that she will look forward to the day that she will reenact (among others) the journey of our pioneer ancestors (if even only a small part) and that she may enjoy the journey she is currently taking in getting there.  I hope that all the youth do.




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fix Or Repair Daily





         My mom had a Ford Escort – which seemed to be a good little car overall.  I don’t remember having had to take it to the mechanic on a regular basis.  It did have its little quirks, but nothing major.  Not that I’m aware of anyway.

         Not that we ever wanted to, but we couldn’t drive over 70.  The car would shake and vibrate as if ready to explode. We learned that by accident when on a stretch of highway that seemed to have no traffic. I was often surprised when it didn’t fall apart on us.

         When going to get gas, mom wanted someone with her. The small door that closes over the gas cap had to be opened from the car – but it would stick.  Having someone push open the door while someone pulled the lever behind the steering wheel made it easier than stretching one’s body while pulling the lever by hand and trying to unstick the door with the foot – or finally asking some stranger for assistance.

         Mom would often leave the door open just in case she was ever caught without companionship.  Without fail, some “good Samaritan” would come along and push it closed.  Mom was annoyed by it – and though I understood why, I seemed somewhat grateful that others felt concerned enough to “look out for us”.

          
I never realized how unattractive this is

         Shortly after I was married, mom sold the car to Roland and me.  At that time he was driving a Dodge Caravan and gas was outrageous (or so I thought; 20.00 won’t fill a small car at present; I thought it disgraceful that we were spending that much to fill the Dodge.)  I told Roland under no circumstances was he allowed to drive the van unless all five us were in it (seems uncomprehend able that I thought it was such an outrageous sum at the time.  Can you imagine filling up a minivan on just 20.00 right now?)

         Roland would complain that the Escort windshield was so low to the ground that he couldn’t see anything ahead of him on the road.  And then one day he made a U-turn in the middle of our neighborhood street – thrilled with having the ability.  He also thought it was great that he could park in spaces where the van wouldn’t fit.

Mom and I took a lot of trips in that car.  Though I have a lot of memories of the car, I don’t miss having the car anymore.  I do miss my mom quite a bit.

Today we drive the Saturn that she drove.  It also has its quirks.  The one that drives me up the wall is when the heater/vent/AC unit goes on all by itself.  It will do it randomly – long after it’s been driven and just sitting in the driveway or parking lot or wherever – sounding like it’s possessed. 
It’s led a good life, but I think it may be time for something new.  Something that has more get up and go and doesn’t make me feel like I’m driving in neutral.  Funny I’d say that when I don’t even like to drive.  Perhaps Oregon will change that.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Break-Up Was Mutual . . . sort of

All throughout my married life there have been only two times in which we’ve had extra money.  Both times were actually in December – the year before Jenna turned one, and the year that Jenna had turned two.

We’d gone to a lot of used rental cars – loans aren’t made.  They want cash up front.  And seven years ago we just happened to have it. (Well, almost seven years)  We purchased a 2002 Buick Century.  And it has been a tremendously great car – mostly due to prayer, I believe.

When I had the car inspected for the 2011 renewal, I really thought that it would be the last time.  And yet it passed inspection last year.  The Lord knew that I needed it to drive to my mom’s and run errands – though I do remember Jenna and I having bussed it on occasion.  I don’t like to drive. 

I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed it. I do like the control that one has with personal transportation – so long as the car or truck is working.  Having unreliable transportation can be even more frustrating than waiting for public transportation.

On Saturday I took the Saturn – it was behind.  Two hours later Roland found himself in the driveway with the Buick and a dead battery.  It really didn’t come as a surprise to me as I had been leery of its driving ability just the day prior (well, actually the last eighteen months – just moreso on Friday) and had wondered at what point it would croak on us. 



The battery has been recharged.  I took it over to an honest mechanic who was willing to run a diagnostic but found in the computer I had gotten one last year and asked if I had gotten the fuel pump I needed for over a year now. 

“No.” I said sheepishly. 

Biff and I could both see the mechanics mouth drop to the floor before he asked how in the world we were able to drive it for all this time.

“Prayer.” I said.  I honestly believe that is what has kept it alive all this time.  “My mom passed away earlier this month and evidently I won’t need a car anymore.”

We are down to only one car and three drivers – two who work on a schedule.  Then there is still the matter of transporting Jenna to school.   I DON’T want to do what we did at the end of her second year at Vantana.  I DON’T want to drive in early with Roland and then go pick him up and wait for the duration for him to get off the phone (recruiting students for online university) I don’t particularly wish to weigh myself down to waiting for UTA – but in all honesty I’d really rather not deal with driving anymore.  I am tired of the weather, construction and other drivers.  And I’m sure there are plenty who will be happy to know I won’t be behind the wheel anymore.  Roland is not one of them however.
I had made arrangements for Biff to take Roland to work and Jenna to school.  After all, if he is using our car (and has been for nearly six months now) he needs to make sacrifices too.  But that would require my picking up Roland.  I’ve had too much stress on the road at that time of day.  He can drive himself and Jenna and I will take the bus.  At least we did this morning.  It worked out okay.  But it is a beautiful day outside.  And traffic was light (I probably could have driven; but I have enough troubles backing out of the driveway.  Backing up into the driveway (in case the car will need to be jump started again) would be a nightmare for me.


I’m okay with it right now.  I may feel differently when the weather changes again.  But driving in it wouldn’t thrill me either.  There are pros and cons either way.  Jenna and I will both get some needed exercise walking to and from the different bus stops.  We can cut the cost of our car insurance (though it appears that bus fare will be more) and best of all – I won’t have to drive. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Racked Nerves


          I am usually not pressed for time – but on those few days that I do need to leave – well, those are the days my mom would like me to stay.  And it would be all well and good if I actually lived closer – or with her.  But I don’t.

          We’re down to one functional car – and even that has been questionable. 
          Since Roland works late on Wednesdays, he drove the car in and so I borrowed my son’s car in order to get out to mom’s.  Talk about nerve racking.
         
          First off, it has a quirkiness to it that anybody but Biff might not get – and the fact that other people have trouble turning on the ignition is actually a great feature in Biff’s opinion.  I was just about to give up, when I actually got it to turn.  I don’t know how.  But then I worried – if I did make it all the way to mom’s and it was time to leave, would I be able to start it again?

Biff’s car would make clicky sounds – even when I hadn’t put on the turn signal.  I was only part way to my destination when it dawned on me that I didn’t think Biff has car insurance.  Oh, great!  As if I wasn’t already neurotic about the whole thing.

          And then, I parked across the street from my mother’s driveway (as there was a van in her driveway) and pulled out the keys from the car and the radio continued to play.  I didn’t know if that was normal for Biff’s car.  I turned it off so that the battery wouldn’t run down.

Mom’s air conditioner was being worked on – a good portion of the day – I might add.  She was hungry.  She wasn’t satisfied with anything in her fridge and asked the worker how much longer he’d be.  At least another hour.  She told him that she was going to go get lunch and that she’d return before he left, but if not, he could just lock up.  Just a few years back, that would have been so out of character for my mom to do that.

We went to a drive-in just at the end of her street.  And we did return before he was finished.  (I think they should have sent two guys instead of just one) and I actually had to leave before he did – although he was packed up and ready.  Biff left for work shortly after I returned.

          I noticed a luggage tag fastened to mom’s purse.  Corey had posted some personal information on a bright pink card.  It may let others know her medical situation and contact information in case she gets lost again. I don’t like this “old timers” mental state at all. It is more irritating than Biff’s car.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Silent Heroes



There are several variations of what may come to one’s mind when visualizing his or her perception of a hero.  There are comic book heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or even Word Girl.

Many people have benefitted from the heroic actions of the police, firefighters, soldiers, etc.  It is the uniformed men or women whom they see as heroes.  And they are, and deserve to be recognized.
         
          There are “heroes” who do it for the glory – just to be recognized as heroes.  And there are the silent heroes who work behind the scenes, who don’t ask for recognition, many who would prefer not to bask in the glory.  These are the true heroes.

          Roland is one of those heroes.  He does things out of nature – not because he’s seeking a reward or glory.  He just does things because they need to be done.
          For example, he’s really not mechanically minded, but he will stop to give people a lift or assist where able – whether he actually knows the person (or people) or not.

          One time (many years ago) he noticed an acquaintance waiting at the bus stop.  He offered her a lift just because of his nature.  But for her, it was a heroic act of rescue.  Neither of us knows all the details and so it is only speculation as to whether she woke up late, her car wasn’t running, she had barely missed the bus . . . whatever. 

She  has been grateful to Roland for his actions all this time – and it really wasn’t a recent thing.  Maybe 30 years ago?  Maybe longer.  An incident that Roland probably thought nothing about even in that moment, but in that moment he had become her hero.  And she has never forgotten.

My dad was a hero just by his example – supporting each of us in our dreams – supporting us from “behind the curtains” never feeling the need to set foot upon the stage himself.  And really not wanting to.  He didn’t have a desire for the praise. 

He was wise with money and knew how to budget and provide.  We may not have been financially wealthy, but daddy kept the family together and saw to it that we would take a family vacation each year. Daddy was a silent hero.

I remember being stranded on the road myself.  Kayla and Corey were with me.  Kayla was maybe about five or six.  We didn’t have cell phones then – and payphones were only a dime.  With the car (I believe I was driving the one that belonged to my grandmother, actually) pulled over to the side, I took each of the kids’ hands and started walking.  A man pulled over to see if we needed a lift.

As I pushed Kayla and Corey into the car, I thought: “What am I doing?  I don’t know this man.  He could just try to steal us and hold us for ransom”

But this “grandpa” who had picked us up became my hero for a moment.  As it turned out he really didn’t live too far from my grandma. 

And there’s another time when my neighbor was stranded on the freeway – with at least six kids in the car.  It was the “hippy era” and those long haired freaks had earned a reputation among the older generation which was less than flattering.  But it was two of those long haired “freaks” that helped us to move along.

And then there are the occasional customer service representatives who are serious about resolving my concerns.  Those are true heroes for making me feel like I am more important than a paycheck.

Strange how such little actions on our part can have such a huge impact on somebody else’s.