Probably one of the biggest differences between Tim and I is this: that he hangs on to cars until they are used up and worn out. Completely. Both of our cars have nearly 200,000 miles on them. He fixes them up, patiently, many times going to the junkyard to get the replacement parts that they need. I've been driving the Oldsmobile, which is over 20 years old. It is also the 'work' vehicle, which means that he's removed the backseat from the thing so that he can haul stuff from job to job. Now, I'm not a 'car' snob. Really, I am not. As long as the car gets me from point A to point B, I'm kind of good with that. However, I've been driving this car and it has stopped doing that.
A couple weeks ago, I was driving it downtown and I happened to look over. The car was smoking from the passenger front wheel. I immediately pulled over. I could smell the brake burning as soon as I got out of the car. Later, when I saw Tim, I mentioned it. "Yeah," he says. "I think it's dragging. I've got the parts to fix that. Haven't had time." And he hasn't. Not really. The gear shift knob is always falling off. The passenger side window works...eeeeeevvverrrrrrrrrrr....soooooooooo...slooooooooooooooooooooowly. The trim around the moon roof has partially fallen off and is tucked up and pinned into place. Mostly. Except where it is hanging. The other day was the piece de resistance. I went to town. I parked the car. I sat there a moment thinking, "What is that burning smell?" I knew it wasn't the smell of brakes burning. As my friend Mary noted, "When you find yourself differentiating between burning smells on your car, well, that isn't good." She's right. I sat there trying to figure out what to do. Tim was not home. There was no smoke. So I got out of the car and went to breakfast, came back and the darnable car would not start. It wasn't all bad, because I met some interesting people. That's the upside. Got a ride in a patrol car. That was exciting, and probably initiated a bunch of neighborly gossip. And Tim did get the car started. But I discovered a weird thing. My radio does not shut off any more. Is that what happened? I don't know. I told Tim I wanted the radio disconnected, and I want the portable battery pack in my car at all times. He doesn't think it's necessary. (I do have the battery pack, though) And he's right. The car's started up fine since then. Still, the car makes me nervous. I don't want him driving it, because he drives a long way to work, over an hour, through very remote places. So I drive it, and I'm beginning to hate it. His Mustang will be dropped off to be inspected and aligned tonight. Next week, he'll be driving a good car. I'll get the Intrigue back that he's been driving. It's got nearly 200,000 miles on it...and...well...it's got problems too.
Here's the thing that bugs me. We've got cars. He bought a car to replace Cara's car. She doesn't want to learn to drive standard. I could be driving that. We just need to switch the license over at the notary. But he does not want to do that just yet. There are a couple things he wants to work on. We have an old Mercedes. Needs a new master cylinder. He's going to fix that. We've got a very nice Skylark, and I forget what the heck that needs. We've got a Ranger truck that needs a transmission. The transmission is sitting right there. It's been rebuilt. Just not installed. We've got our plow truck, which does carry a current license and could be driven, but it needs a new battery, and usually has to be 'jumped' to start it. "Really, Tim, you need to do something with those cars," I say. "We need to get rid of the Oldsmobile and the Intrigue." And he looks at me with honest consternation. "What?!!!" he says. "Those cars can be fixed...."
Men. They are a funny animal, ain't they?