Thursday, April 3, 2008

Applesauce Anne

Today was HISTO Ancient Greece Round 4, which takes place all the way down in Greenwood, about an hour away from where we live. Michelle and Jerri very kindly set up a plan between them -- unbeknownst to me until yesterday -- for Jerri to come and pick me and the girls up for HISTO and for Michelle to drive us back home. This will have major significance later in the story.

Today was also Aisling's piano lesson. We still haven't been able to get back to the regular schedule, but we are managing at least once a month. The piano teacher's house is about twenty minutes away, so Aisling and I trundled off early this morning. I was going to go get a cup of coffee at the mini-mart where you can get a great big delicious cup plus cream and sweetener for only 79 cents; I had brought my book and was planning to enjoy a restful one hour period that I knew would be the one silent moment of my day in the joyful madness that is history bingo.

But on the way there, the van starting acting funny, which is terribly unlike it. This van, an Oldsmobile Silhouette, has been the best vehicle we've ever owned. Its name is Applesauce Anne, a reference to its color. The actual GM showroom color is Champagne, but could there possibly be a dumber color name for a minivan that is used to transport children to school and sporting events? Obviously, Applesauce Anne made much more sense.

Applesauce Anne had a flat tire in a church parking lot once, but I could tell she felt just terrible about that. And once she frightened us by overheating, but that was just because one of her hoses had jiggled loose and we comforted her and told her we loved her.

We recently put a few hundred dollars into some little things that needed to be tended to, which is why I was so worried yesterday when the temperature gauge spiked up alarmingly on the way to piano teacher's house. The worry light came on, showing a little red thermometer. And then she gasped and wheezed in a most alarming manner every time I turned a corner.

"I don't think I'd better wait," I told Aisling nervously. "I think I'd better drive back into town and ask Daddy what's going on." Thankfully, it was my husband's day off.

I got back home, praying all the way, let me tell you. I got my husband, who came out and looked under the hood for another loosened hose, but there was no such luck.

"Well, let's drive it and see what happens," he said, looking thoughtful.

On the way out and the way back, things did not look good. Anne was shuddering and knocking and we had to run a red light in order to keep it from stuttering to a halt. She died two times after that, and we barely had the oomph to let her coast into the little combination auto repair shop and tire store that's at the downtown end of our street. Aisling and I walked home and my husband went in to talk to the man behind the service desk.

Jerri showed up about forty minutes later and we loaded up our HISTO stuff in her van and set off for Greenwood. I knew nothing at all until six hours later when we rolled back into the driveway in Art and Michelle's SUV. My husband didn't have to say anything; the look on his face said it all.

Applesauce Anne is dead, completely dead. As a ten-year-old vehicle with 153,000 miles, my husband estimates that she's worth probably $700 in driveable condition. With blown head gaskets, it would cost at least $1600 to fix her, probably more.

So in one week's time, we've gone from being a two-vehicle family (one company car, one paid-for minivan) to a one-vehicle family (one paid-for minivan) to a no-vehicle family (zip, zero, nada, but we're saving a lot of money on auto owners' insurance, and we don't even have Geico.)

This, my friends, is a rather discouraging circumstance, I have to admit. Especially since our computer just checked out two weeks ago. I'm beginning to feel like a character in a Charles Dickens novel, maybe someone named Mrs. Periwynkle Droopybottom or something like that.

THANK GOD IN HEAVEN for family. My cousin Carol offered us money, any money we needed, to sort things out. I called my parents to see if we could borrow my Grandad's van for a few weeks, but it turned out that it had been sold. So they drove right on over without even stopping to eat their dinner and brought us Poppy's Blazer, which we took the liberty of naming Buddy.

And then, of course, there were all my friends at HISTO who were not only wonderfully sympathetic and encouraging about our prospects for my husband's new job, but also a great help in assisting with HISTO, because of course, I lost my voice on Wednesday and was unfit for calling numerous rounds of HISTO.

So here we are, devoutly hoping and praying that things will just LIGHTEN UP, ALREADY. For heaven's sake. Sheesh...

1 comment:

Kbg said...

Oh, poor Applesauce Annie...I keep hearing in my head that song in the Wizard of Oz..."Not only is she really dead, she's really most sincerely dead...." We will miss her.

Buddy sounds like a fine replacement, although it will be weird getting used to you in a Blazer.

I can't see that much more can possibly go wrong.