Friday, November 11, 2005

lemonade anyone?

I feel like I need to write a disclaimer before you read this. Chris and I aren't dumb. We don't live in a run down house with knee high grass that is littered with all of these old vehicles. Please don't take that image away with you. We've just had some unfortunate luck with our vehicles and, in an effort to relieve myself of the vehicle stress of the day, I am writing this post.

Chris said, "When you get a lemon, make lemonade." I assured him that we'd made plenty of lemonade over the years...too much if you ask me!

Our family just does not have luck with automobiles. Even before Chris & I were married, our auto luck, or lack thereof, began. If you care to do so, take a trip with me down memory lane (but you might want to drive your own vehicle on this trip!)

*1994 Spring Break Chris & I are driving from Abilene to Atlanta to make wedding plans for our upcoming wedding in August. This is my first car. It is a black Ford Taurus. We called it "Black Beauty." We stopped in Leeds, AL (near Birmingham) to eat at Burger King. We got back into the car and it wouldn't start. would not start! I called my Dad and immediately started crying when he answered the phone. He later told me to never start crying when he answers the phone while we're traveling until after I've told him what's going on. I guess I scared him. (It is a 1000 mile drive and we were only 20 & 21 years old!) So, we wait over 2 hours for my parents to come pick us up. We leave the car there to be repaired. My dad & Chris go back later in the week to pick it up. (I'm beginning to laugh as I write this. Remember we're not even married yet.) My dad works at a Christian school in Atlanta and had a meeting at another private school in Georgia. Chris tagged along (it was a meeting with a speaker & a nice lunch so it wasn't too bad). After the meeting, they went to pick up the car. They get the car and are driving back to Atlanta, Chris in the car and dad in his car. Along the way, the transmission decides to fall out of my car! (the one that had just been "repaired" in Leeds, AL and the one we were supposed to drive back to Abilene in a few days.) They stopped on the side of the road and figure out that it's not going anywhere. When they go to get in my dad's car (to get a phone I think) they discover that my dad has locked the keys in the car (or van, I think it was.) Anyway, the car was not able to be fixed before we had to go back to Abilene, so I "inherited" Mom's car. She was not so happy with this situation. I think they had ended up leaving the car on the side of the road and had it towed into Atlanta. When it was finally "fixed," the guy told my dad to drive it to a dealership, don't stop at any red lights, don't turn it off until he gets there, and take whatever the guy will give him for it!

***Chris & I can't agree on the exact timeline from here. He says we took Mom's car back to Abilene then got the Taurus back again because we think we drove away from our wedding in it. He thinks we had the Taurus for awhile longer then it died again and that's when we got Mom's car.***

*The car I got from my mom was a red Pontiac Bonneville. Although my mom wasn't happy giving up this car, I didn't exactly love it. I guess it was okay for awhile, but towards the end of our ownership of it, it would just stall at the most inopportune times. I remember living in Lubbock and going under underpasses and having to make a rather sharp turn and holding my breath because it would want to stall out at those times. There I'd be turning to get onto the Interstate along with a merging lane and cars behind me and mine would stall! I would have to shift to neutral, crank it, then pop it back into drive and step on it! Needless to say, Chris "inherited" this car from me and I ended up driving his cute little blue Pontiac LeMans. (Looking back, this was not a cute car, but at the time I thought it was. It's what he drove while we were dating in college. I loved it!)

*1995-1997? So, we're living in Lubbock with the Bonneville & the LeMans. We're wanting to get rid of the Bonneville, but Chris is in grad school and I'm not making much money either, so we're trying to stick it out. Along comes a hail storm! Thank you for the beauty of nature! We lived in a quadraplex with no garage or carport or anything, so we watched our little Bonneville get pelted by the hail. (I can't remember where the LeMans was or why it wasn't damaged.) We got some nice insurance cash out of this hail storm and used it to make a nice downpayment on our next car: a white Plymouth Breeze.

***I should mention here that not too long after we got the Breeze, we moved from Lubbock to Uvalde, TX. The U-Haul truck we rented had problems on that trip. Would you expect anything less?***

*1997 So, in Uvalde, we have the Breeze and the LeMans. I don't remember the LeMans giving us too much trouble but maybe I've just blocked it from my mind. We decided to sell it for $1000. We were renting a house at the time and some guy came out there to fix something and saw it. He offered us $900 cash and we took it! I do remember making Chris tell him all the things that were wrong with it (so I guess it did have some problems.) I remember seeing that cute little car in carline at the school where I worked, so I guess one of the parents had bought it. I really did like that car! Well, Chris wanted a truck, so he bought a Ford F-150 from a friend. It was a nice full size truck. We rode to the hospital, to give birth to Gracie, in this truck because the car was in the shop in San Antonio!

*2000 Yep, that's right! We had gone to San Antonio (about 2 1/2 hours from Uvalde) the Saturday before Gracie was born on a Friday. She was about 3 weeks early, so we didn't know we were going out of town so close to when she would be born. I don't even remember what happened, but something happened and we were stranded in San Antonio with me basically 9 months pregnant and it being about 90+ degrees! Chris stayed on the phone for a gabillion hours with some lady with the insurance company. He kept getting put on hold. He finally told the lady that his wife was 8 months pregnant (or maybe he said 9) and it was over 90 degrees. She then felt bad and offered to call for some help. He assured her that medical help wasn't necessary but we needed to get a wrecker there now! We were basically in the parking lot of a nice restaurant but I was self conscious about going in there and sitting for long periods of time by myself. We finally ended up calling up our preacher and his wife, Mark & LeAnna Hale, who drove 2 1/2 hours to pick us up and drive us back home. Bless them! We did end up eating while waiting for them. The next day, I felt horrible and stayed home from church. Later that day, I told Chris I needed to go to the hospital because of a problem I started having. Everything was okay, but I really feel like I got dehydrated that day and less than a week later, Gracie decided to make her arrival! Ironic thing, Chris was planning to head out that morning with 2 work colleagues to San Antonio. They were going to a meeting and were going to pick up the car while they were there. My water broke at 5:45 that morning. I am so glad that it happened before he left for San Antonio. Can you imagine my fear & anxiety if he'd been 2 1/2 hours away when that happened?!?! His friends ended up picking it up when they went for the meeting.

*Well, the Breeze continued to have some problems and the truck was having some as well. We traded both cars in on a shiny red Suburban. Ah. my suburban. I loved it. However, we couldn't afford it. I had resigned from my job of teaching at the end of the school year. We were blessed enough to find someone who knew we were selling it, asked how much, and offered to write us a check for the whole amount....enough to pay it off. Bless her! We were nervous because it had had some problems but nothing too major. We then bought a 2000 Chevy Malibu in April 2001 right before (like a few weeks before!) we moved to South Carolina. We were moving to SC so Chris could have a better job and I could continue to stay home with Gracie. As much as we like Texas, the job move was a good move.

*2001 We came to South Carolina with just the one car. It was great for awhile, too. (Aren't they all?)Chris really needed something to drive to work. So, he bought some rust with 4 wheels, otherwise known as a truck, with $1400. You can imagine what a lovely vehicle you can buy with $1400! I don't even want to get into all of the problems that truck had, but one day it went "KERBLAM!" and then proceeded to sit in our yard for probably 4 months. Finally, some auto place paid us about $250, picked it up, and took it away. I guess they were planning to sell it for parts or something. Yeah, good luck with that!

*So, once again we were down to one car for awhile. Well, my parents decided to get a new vechicle and let us borrow their old one. The insurance would allow it for so many days (I think it was 90). It was a beautiful 1994 Chevy Astro van! Let me tell you, we were the envy of all of our friends! HA! Seriously, it was a little embarrassing, but we like to live by Dave Ramsey's motto. "Live like noone else so one day you can live like noone else." We did our taxes that year and got quite a big refund so I asked Dad how much he'd take for it. We ended up actually paying money to keep the big thing! Yes ma'am, we were now the proud owners of this fine contraption.

*Once again, I had my parents' hand-me-downs. At least this time, I paid for it! Back in '94, I took the Bonneville and ran! The Astro was quite the automobile, let me tell you. We spent so much money on that thing keeping it running and keeping the air going. Ugh! The Malibu, by this time, is having problems too. It's almost like we would flip a coin to see which one we'd like to have in the shop each week. The final straw with the Malibu came this Memorial Day. We were on our way to Nashville for my niece's birthday party. My dad had just called on the cell phone to check on how we were doing. When I answered the phone, everything was fine. About 2 minutes into the conversation, Chris had shifted into neutral and was coasting off the Interstate to the end of an exit ramp (in the middle of nowhere I might add). I was not happy. There I sat with my not quite 5 year old and 1 year old while my husband took a ride with some farmer up to a gas station. They tried filling it up (even though I knew that had nothing to do with it) they tried jumping it with cables, nothing worked! Eventually, we ended up walking uphill about a 1/2 mile with our 2 children along the side of the road up to a gas station/convenience store. This was literally probably the only one within 5-10 miles. It was actually a "nice" one as far as they go with tables and rocking chairs and big screen tv playing "The Dukes of Hazzard." We got the car taken somewhere and my brother drove from his house in Pegram, TN to pick us up (a little over an hour.) Chris & I were crammed into the front seat next to Josh. Neither Chris or I could wear our seatbelt which I hated! Anyway, after that trip I was pretty close to throwing in the towel on it. Soon after that, we ended up buying our beautiful (really this time!) red Honda Odyssey.

*2005 I really like my Odyssey. It's not brand new (2002) but it's been a great vehicle so far. The "Maintenance Required" light came on when we were on our way to the church retreat but it just meant that it was time for regular stuff like oil changes, etc. I hope this one lasts awhile!

*After we bought the Odyssey, we sold the Astro and Chris bought a little truck. You may ask why we were talking about making lemonade today. Well, let's just say his truck aint no Honda Odyssey. Yep, you guessed it. It was in the shop today with a less than desirable diagnosis. *sigh* Chris said he wouldn't expect anything less from us. It's "drivable" but needs some stuff done to it. I'm not sure where the money is going to come from, but God has been faithful to take care of us so far in our lives. I was reading "The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real" tonight and one of the characters was talking about listening to Twila Paris' song, "God Is In Control." I needed to read that. He is in control!

Since this post has really served as stress relief for me, I am feeling better. Here are some good things that happened today:
*I have Jesus in my life!
*We played Candy Land and Cariboo tonight with the girls and that was fun.
*The pure excitement & happiness Gracie showed when Chris mentioned "Family Night" was refreshing.
*The joy she had picking out 2 things at our new local Dollar Tree this afternoon was cute as well.
*I thought I "smelled" Katie this morning and said something to her about being "shooey." She left the room and then I saw the box of wipes being pushed around the corner. I went to investigate and there she was with a diaper and wipes. Smart girl!
*Chris wore a new shirt I'd recently bought for him and he looked really cute in it!
*I have Chris & the girls in my life.
*The weather was nice & cool today.
*My dad just called and said they were going to drive through town tomorrow and offered to take us to brunch. Our life is good!

Dear Lord,
Please help Chris & I to focus on You all the time! Help us not to get stressed over things like car problems and help us to make good financial decisions. Please help us to be there for other people when they need us. Help us to be the kind of parents you want us to be. Thank you for all of our blessings!
In Jesus' Name,


jettybetty said...

I do hate it when cars break. I don't have to have a great car, but I do prefer them to run.

What do you think of the "Yada Yada" book?

I love your sweet attitude--and I do agree--you might as well make lemonade out of your *lemons*. We all do have so many blessings!

Hope you enjoy your brunch tomorrow! Am I to assume your dad will take his car?

Malia said...

Oh my! I can TOTALLY relate with this. We have definitely had our share of car woes. I, too, received a hand-me-down car (Chevy S-10 pick-up truck) from my parents while I was in college. I had it my sophomore year then while driving it back to school for my junior year (driving from Tampa, FL to Blacksburg, VA) I experienced major engine trouble and ended up stranded on the side of the road in Columbia, SC. Alone, female, 20 years old, no cell phone (not in '94) the Lord was watching over me and sent a very nice, very helpful, very generous older (married) man to my aid. Long story short, sold the car to the local "junk" dealer for parts, my husband (then boyfriend) drove down to get me with his truck and took me and my stuff the rest of the way back to school.

The stupidest car buying decision we made was in 2003 when we actually bought a car on eBay! It was an older Jeep Cherokee. The car was located in Massachusettes (remember, we live in Nashville, TN). Using two free one-way tickets from Southwest that we had, we flew up there and drove the beast back. I think we had it less than six months before selling it to a local mechanic!

There's a lot more, but this comment is already very long.

We currently have two very good, well running cars. Finally and thankfully!

TMK said...

Sorry, but I laughed through most of those stories. That was fun! (to read at least)

Cars are the biggest money pit EVER! Good luck with yours now and always. Great attitude girl!!

Alissa said...

I had heard most of those other times when you were having car troubles, or when I was and you were sharing. Some, I hadn' it was fun to share them. I AM sorry about Chris's truck. It always happens at a poor time for trying to come up with extra money. However, I think we have both seen God work wonders with our checking accounts and I know that He will follow through again!

Jacinda said...

Jetty Betty,
I love the "Yada Yada" book. It's the 3rd in the series and I saw that there's even a 4th one. Have you read any of them? I really enjoy them. They're not real deep but that's the kind of stuff I like to read. I also like the "Sisterchick" series by Robin Jones Gunn.

MDM said...

Oh my goodness!! Cars cars cars. Glad you have your Honda...hey, stick with the foreign cars from now on, K???!!! Just kidding, but really they seem to be more dependable.

jettybetty said...

Nope, haven't read any of the "Yada Yada" books yet--will have to check them out!!!

Jacinda said...


The Yada Yada books are good, but I would like to put a disclaimer that I don't necessarily agree with everything that the ladies do or say or believe or teach. I guess maybe I just feel like I should say that. Have a good day!

Chris said...

God answered our prayers!!!