Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Sad Milestone

This is my car:

I've owned my car since I graduated from college. I was really lucky, actually -- it was my graduation gift.
In the intervening 11 years, my car has seen a variety of changes in my life.

When I worked in consulting, it spent most of its time in an assigned parking lot in the building across the street from my apartment in the Gold Coast. Oh sure, sometimes I'd drive it up to Evanston to volunteer at the animal shelter, but mostly it was lonely.

When I moved further north, my three flat had a garage spot where it was able to stay out of the sun and snow. I drove a little more often, especially as I changed jobs and worked in town but in the suburbs. I think my car was most happy that I managed to navigate the alley without ever dinging it on the sides of the garage, no matter how little space I had or how icy and snowy it was prior to the city of Chicago getting around to plowing alleys.

Then my car moved with me to the suburbs -- a few too many 2 hour commutes home for my sanity -- and now lived a mere 3.3 miles from work. It was a two car garage for one car, so I'm sure it was lonely. Eventually I met my husband and his car came to live there, so it had a buddy. And then it was burdened with an infant seat, which eventually was replaced by a carseat.

Then it moved to a new location again that involved driving more miles to work, but it liked the garage because there was so much to look at, including a pinball machine with a broken backglass, but I digress. The carseat had an infant seat join it, and soon there were identical carseats.

Last summer, it told me that it was getting tired. When it was hot out and I had driven awhile -- say more than a half hour -- and turned off the car -- say to pick up the wee ones from daycare -- and then tried to turn the car back on, it refused. At least for 20 minutes or so. I never got a satisfactory answer as to why the car was doing this, but I finagled ways around it and put off getting a new car because this car had been with me for so long.
My elbow had worn a small hole in the armrest over the years. There is a gazpacho stain from a potluck several years ago when my plastic wrap was a little loose. But no one has ever vomited in my car -- with the exception of baby puke that stayed in Little Miss's carseat.

My least favorite part of my car (and no matter what I or my husband did -- we never got to the after!):

I was driving along the road with my well worn car. And then I looked down. And what did I see?

Look really close. Can you figure it out? You will notice, I hope, that the picture was taken with the speed of the car being zero! But besides that, what do you notice?

And look now! Look look, what a cool milestone!

I've never had a car last this long. Granted my only other car was a 1991 Explorer that was pretty much a lemon (that and my sister drove it for a year and a half when I was in college and didn't do a single oil change or other maintenance -- that probably shortened its lifespan). I think that car died its sad death around 75,000 miles.

With this car, I always forget to look for the cool mileage changes. I missed 1,000. I missed 10,000. And 25,000. and 50,000. and 75,000. Oh sure, at about 74,996 I'd remember to look and notice that I had a cool mileage change coming up. But by the time I got to the nice even number change, I had completely forgotten again.
FINALLY! Finally, I remembered to look. And it was even a really cool milestone one. And now that it's reached 100,000 miles, I have to wonder how much longer it's going to ask. As I mentioned before, I'm starting my search for a new car. How sad will it be when I trade in my only constant companion for the last 11 years? But at least I managed to get to this milestone.
And raise your hand if you think I just jinxed myself with the no puke comment!


Angie June 26, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

I'm laying odds that your post tomorrow will be about puke in the backseat. LOL! Congrats on the big milestone and I'm crossing my fingers that you get at least another 25,000 miles out of old faithful. :-)

Mabunny June 26, 2008 at 12:09 PM  

HEHE, we are driving a 20 yr old van around and it does the same thing, not starting up when it gets hot outside. That means usually one or two short trips a day if necessary because it gets to arudn 100 here and she heats up fast.
Good luck on the new car, and hopefully you will continue to have it be a puke free zone.

Kellan June 26, 2008 at 1:17 PM  

Thanks for coming by today and leaving the well wishes for our sweet baby.

Have a good day - Kellan

Michelle June 26, 2008 at 10:57 PM  

Angie - Today was a work day in the office, so no children in my car at all. Thus no puke in the backseat stories, but thanks for your vote of confidence!

MaBunny - Glad to know I'm not the only person with that issue. However, since I work about 35 miles from my house, it does become somewhat critical that I can stop my car and restart it at some point! I still can't figure out how you deal with 100 degree heat though.

Kellen - Enjoy your day, too -- and the miracle baby!

Rhea June 27, 2008 at 12:01 AM  

You totally jinxed yourself with the no puke comment. Totally.

Congrats on getting 100,000 miles out of your faithful companion. Very cool.

Thanks for visiting me!!

Steph June 27, 2008 at 9:21 PM  

Your car still looks pretty awesome for being 11 years old and only 100k? I have a 3 year old SUV and it has 52k already I need to get my butt out of that drivers seat :)

Cookie June 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

Congrats! I've never had a car last that long either!
I got my first car in college and hub crashed it.... OK, so maybe else ran into the car while he was driving, but still it was totaled :(

Michelle June 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM  

Rhea - Knock on wood, but to date, no puke in the car! Glad you have as much faith in me as I do in myself!

Steph - Keep in mind that I was a management consultant for three years, so there was very minimal driving. Plus, I tend to try to take car of my cars (armrest hole notwithstanding). But wow -- 52K in 3 years! That's a lot of driving!

Cookie - Whether he was at fault or not, he was still driving, so you can feel justified in saying he crashed it. What a sad way to have your first car relationship end though! (But cool that you knew your husband way back then and well enough to let him drive your car!)

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