Luckily, I was able to borrow my Grandfather's Honda Accord Wagon. My Grandfather is 87 and hasn't driven since he had his triple bypass & valve replacement a couple years ago. He should have stopped driving long before that, but he hung on to his last vestige of independence as long as he could. But Papa's driving skills are another blog.
The Honda is a 5 speed manual transmission. I learned to drive on a stick, I've had several manual transmission vehicles over the years and it came back pretty quick. I scored a few 'Mom might actually be a little cool' points with my son. My son really likes the car and thinks it would be 'cool' if we could get it permanently. I'd rather drive the Grandma Mobile into the ground first. I'm not a wagon person.
It turns out, the tie rod was the culprit of Tuesdays commute from hell. SuperDad informed me that they would replace both tie rods and give it a front end alignment. "You still haven't gotten a sticker for that?" SuperDad asked. I had tried for an inspection sticker back in October - it failed emissions across the boards. They gave me a rejection sticker and a wad of papers. I was supposed to get various sensors, relays and such replaced by a mechanic, have the paperwork filled out that the work was done and return for another inspection. If it still failed I could apply for a waiver. I never managed to hook up with my fathers partner's son to get the work done - something always came up. So I've been driving around with a rejection sticker for 6 months. I explained this to my Father.
"You are so hard on cars." He observed. "But....But...But......" I stammered. Why is it that a parent can turn you back into an errant, hand in the cookie jar 8 year old, with a word? I don't beat on the car, I just drive it back and forth to work. I add oil.....Well, it has been 8 months since my last oil change, (Better not tell him that), and I did let the brakes get so bad that Dad had to replace the rotors from the deep grooves left by the padless brakes, and the exhaust I had replaced a year ago has another leak (must be the cheap Meinke metal)........I really didn't have an argument. So, I hung my head in shame and squeaked out "I don't mean to".
"When will you be done with that big debt?" "November" "Well, when it's paid - buy a new car!" "Yes , Daddy". Sidenote: I'm 40 years old and I still call my parents 'Mummy & Daddy', I always will. Around 16, my brother couldn't handle the 'uncoolness' of 'Mummy & Daddy' and started calling them 'Madre & Padre'. We're middle class totally white folk from New England. Who's cooler?
Anyway, I was supposed to pick up my car Thursday. SuperDad had gotten caught in traffic on 128 caused by a bad accident. I got in touch with him about 6:30pm. "I was hoping we could do this tomorrow morning, I'm beat" Dad hadn't even made it back to the shop due to traffic, so he didn't even talk to the mechanics. "Oh good! Now I can put on my jammies and relax!" Thursday nights are my sanity nights. My son stays at Mummy & Daddy's and catches the bus to school from there. I get an evening and morning of head time that helps keep me sane. It's amazing what 24 hours alone can do for my outlook on parenting. SuperDad said that he'd get someone to drive the car to his house on Friday and I could pick it up on the way home from work. God Bless SuperDad!
I changed into my jammies and curled up on the couch. The phone rang.........it was SuperDad: "They want us to pick up the car now" All I could utter was "FUCK!". This response elicited a hearty chuckle from Dad. "Just kidding, pick it up tomorrow, here." Ha, Ha, My Dad, the comedian.
I picked up the car, it was a lot better than Tuesday. I phoned SuperDad and he informed me that they couldn't do a front end alignment because the struts are gone. Poor Old Reliable is on her way out. "It's not worth putting anymore money into it, just make it last until November". Now came the painful part, "What's the damage? How much do I owe you?". "Don't worry about it" was his response. "Thank you, so much" I said. It just isn't adequate enough to express my gratitude for all he has done for me.
He's just a SuperDad.