Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Friday, January 11, 2008

Yowww . . .

This should be a triumphant post about a very big day in my life - I just bought my first car.

But the 24 hours since buying the car have been so damn stressful that the dance of joy is impossible due to very sore legs. So instead I’ll just tell the story lol.

Yesterday, S and I went to the cheap car yard that had thus far been closed when we’d tried to go car shopping. It was open, and a quick perusal of the cars in my price range showed up a single very good option. We asked to test drive it, but when the car yard guy started it up, it had a flat battery. That was okay, he jump-started it and it worked fine. We took it for a test-drive and it handled nicely for its age – smooth enough even at 80kmh, and even though the steering was non-power, it wasn’t hard to corner or anything. It seemed perfect, and after a thorough check of the engine, lights etc, we (S and I) decided that I should get it. $990 and three signatures later, the car was mine.

It started up fine and we drove back to S’s house, where it sat for three hours until I had to go to work. I got in, turned the key and . . . nothing.

Luckily, although the car didn’t have a warranty (too cheap!), it did come with a year’s membership with a 24/7 roadside assistance company. I phoned them up and they sent a battery replacement van. The battery guy tested everything, replaced the battery (it was degraded as well as having gone flat, so he thought I’d be better with a new one), gave me quite an in-depth assessment of what he thought of the engine (it’s very good, despite this teething problem) but suggested that there were some sparking wires which might need attention.

So anyway, he got the car up and running again, and it was idling beautifully. So I switched it off, paid him, and after he left, went back inside to phone work (for which I was already an hour late) to ask whether I should still come in for the rest of my 4.5-hour shift. They said yes, so I went back out to the car to head off.

I turned the key and . . . nothing.

I didn’t have hysterics at this point, but I wanted to. S, a neighbour and I tried to push-start the car (but this was a wasted effort as we later found out – you can’t push-start automatics), and when that didn’t work I phoned the roadside assist again. They got the battery guy to call me, and he said that it was a different problem as he’d definitely fixed the battery. Half a dozen phone calls between me, Mum and roadside assist later, we decided that it was too expensive to get the car professionally towed the 36km from S’s house to mine, and instead my stepdad came to S’s house with a tow rope, and we flat-bed towed my poor car all the way from S’s house to our local garage near where I currently live.

S and I split driving the towed car half-and-half – he came along as shotgun communications, but my ankle gave out half-way so he did the rest. Then, of course, I had to borrow Mum’s car to drive S all the way home again, then get myself home. It was a loooong evening. I never did get to work, but they were sympathetic, and besides, I’m finishing next week anyway so they’re hardly about to bother firing me!

I had to get up early this morning to go and drop the car key off with the mechanic, and then I worked 11-5:30. In the afternoon I phoned the garage, and nearly wept with relief when they said that they’d put a second-hand but functioning starter motor in my car and it was now working perfectly. I picked it up after work and it started fine and worked beautifully all the way home. Here’s hoping it still works when I’m trying to leave for work tomorrow!

So right now I’m sitting here completely exhausted with my feet soaking in a tub of warm water and Radox to try and ease the achy stiffness caused by too much driving (especially driving when holding the brake down really hard to keep a tow-rope taut) and too much work in shoes that aren’t really good enough. I’m tired out to the point of tears.

But I have a car!

It’s a 1981 Ford Laser Ghia, an ubiquitous model for which I’ll never have trouble sourcing parts, and which has a really good reputation as a solid, reliable little car. It’s a four-door hatch, with a radio and cassette player (I’ve yet to see whether the power outlet works so that I can use my iTrip), and it once had aircon – I’m hoping Dad (who has a refrigeration and air conditioning business) can re-install it. It was once silver but now it’s a kind of dull, slightly silvery grey. It needs some anti-rust paint over a few rust spots, but it’s sound and quite pleasant to drive.

Here it is . . .

It hasn’t got a name (or a gender, for that matter), yet . . . I’m waiting to see what its personality is before I assign a moniker to it. But it’ll have one eventually!

I have a car! *squee*


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