A Little Ray of Sunshine

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Prayers, please

Our car broke down yesterday evening. My husband had to go to class, and was going to drop the boys and I off for our Monday swim with my mom. Fortunately, we splurged on AAA. Or not, as we used it. It surely would've been more than the membership cost to have the car towed. Unfortunately, from the symptoms (sweetish light gray smoke, check engine light, car shaking sideways), my dad thinks it could be something between a cracked head gasket (just a few hundred bucks, which we have most of in our emergency fund) and a cracked engine block (a heck of a lot more than we can afford). The mechanic won't get to it until late this afternoon, he said, when I talked to him this morning.
It was the best possible time and place for this to happen, if it had to. Mom was able to help us with the boys, and give us all a ride home in her minivan. It's dead week, so half my husband's classes are cancled (teachers who gave their finals last week so they wouldn't have to do them at the 7 am slots they were assigned). And the old Buick Century we have for sale, well, it hasn't sold yet. So, if it's the worst, we can change our insurance to the Buick and still get around, albeit in rather cramped and awkward style. The Buick has its share of issues, or maybe a little more, but they are mostly lock and key issues, and all have work-arounds. The key does work on the passenger front door, the electric lock will still serve to open the driver side door (though you can't unlock it manually), the manual locks work on the back two doors, and a screwdriver does just fine for the boot!
However, Murphy has been formally evicted. He needs someplace else to live. Anyone want an obnoxious guy who makes things go wrong? Didn't think so. Well, there's a homeless shelter downtown.
The mobile home park we live in is up for auction on the 15th. We're waiting to find out what this means for our lease-to-own. Hopefully the new owner won't have some way around the fixed space rent in the lease terms, or if he does, it'll be a way that lets us out of the part of the lease that says the home has to stay here physically for four years. For now, at least, everyone's healthy, and I already did the grocery shopping for the month. We'll need more milk in a week, but Mom will help us get to the grocery store if need be.
But my little boys thought the tow truck was really cool. They watched, and we explained what the driver was doing. I know Hemi didn't understand any of it, but I think Beau did.
So long as nothing else goes wrong, we'll manage. And if it does, we'll manage that, too. Prayers would be appreciated, though. Especially for patience for me. (One of my BIG faults.)
UPDATE: It is the head gasket (a head gasket? Is there more than one of the things?), but being a Ford, the cyllender heads need to be . . . something mechanical because Ford is a cheap company who made them out of the wrong stuff. Resurfaced? Refinished? Whatever. Expensive, anyway, and needs new accessories, bolts and suchlike, too. My insurance company, AAA, was willing to shift the insurance to cover the old Buick until the Ford is fixed, no charge. My parents will help us out with the repair costs, and we've got a vehicle that'll get us through the week. We're getting the heater core done as well, and our mechanic finally found us a used fan box, too, to replace that. Ray, our mechanic, is rather overwhelmed, as usual, and won't get to it until Friday. This is what happens when you do decent work at a reasonably low price, find used parts for your customers, and don't do stuff that doesn't need to be done yet: you become the mechanic of choice for the entire poor population, which in this case includes a university worth of students. His shop is always full.
Now I know why American auto makers are going bankrupt. They make cheap stuff. I told my husband I want our next 'new' car to be foreign made. Back when I got the Buick, I only wanted American made. ('New', in my family, means any vehicle of any age not previously owned by the family. A 'new' car may well be over ten years old.)

3 Comments:

  • At 1:07 PM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Elmo said…

    I should write a thesis on moble home repairs. I've done everything from replacing floors to running plumbing for a dishwasher install. The thing about trailers that bothers me is the fact that almost nothing is standard construction. The screws, doors, bathtubs (I've replaced one of those too.), etc. aren't standard residential construction issue. ARRRGGHH....Now you can go back to your regularly scheduled domestic life.

     
  • At 1:13 PM, December 07, 2005, Blogger BoysMom said…

    You should, Elmo. Or maybe a D-I-Y manual. We found we can't get a blanket around our water heater because there isn't room! My husband's put up lights, new faucets, fixed insulation on the bottem, fixed pipes on the bottom, put weather stripping around the door, needs to patch the heating ducts still, etc. Home Depot knows us by name. Okay, it's a small town, we have friends who work there, but still!
    They made the thing so flimsy that if you look at it wrong, something breaks.

     
  • At 6:20 PM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Elmo said…

    So sorry to hear about the head gaskets but it seems like you're getting a good deal on the repairs. So long as the heads didn't get too warped from overheating they can be resurfaced (basically a process where the heads are trued to mate up with the engine block to insure a tight fit.)

    So far as the DIY manual, I think you've sparked an idea. I'm always having something around here needing to be fixed so...

     

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