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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

No more driving in silence

I spent the better part of the past three months driving in silence. It wasn’t some lame attempt at achieving a Zen-like state; it was purely a function of not having an operational radio (or clock or keyless entry system) in my car.

About three weeks after we bought our new, used Windstar minivan in 2002, the electronic sensors went a little haywire. “Could be something, could be nothing,” the dealer informed us, “but let’s charge you an arm and a leg to find out.”

Feeling lucky, we took our chances and never had the diagnostics run or the short fixed. Come last December (as in 2004) when the van was due for an E-check, the engine light was on in addition to the parking brake and overdrive.

The nice guys at Bay Village Pro Care fixed the problem in a jiffy and without too much pain to the pocketbook so we could pass the E-check. But last fall, on one of those days when everyone has to be in a different place at the same time, Danny was working late and we were all running late, my car died. Caput. Nada. Nothing. Not even a jump could get the thing started.

So the next morning it was towed to Pro Care. Once again, the fixes weren’t major, but the fine fellows there did something to knock my clock, radio/CD player and keyless entry out of whack. We called to see if they could fix and they said bring it on in. Well, one thing led to another and we never got around to bringing the van back in. (This fall was EXTREMELY busy.)

As a result, I spent the past three months driving in silence. It’s not a bad thing, really. Gives you time to think, reflect on meetings, brainstorm ideas, mentally make grocery lists and notice the city.

But it was a drag going back and forth to the east side with no NPR and no clock (strategically set 10 minutes ahead to keep me on schedule). As it happens, I’m a much better driver when I have the distraction of the radio. If left to my own devices, my thoughts tend to wander (along with the wheel on occasion). Pretty scary, let me tell ya.

Happily, I am no longer driving in silence. Faced with some wicked car repairs on Danny’s car (let’s just say he was leaking a half-quart of oil a day), he became a man possessed in the search for not one, but two new, used cars over the holiday break. (We don’t buy new. Can’t afford to.)

After 10 straight years of driving a Windstar minivan, I had my first chance to pick my own car. It’s so darned cute and fun – a little Ford Escape. Love it, love it! It’s silver. I’ve never had a silver car. I’ve had two blue cars and three tan cars, so we really went crazy on this one. New model AND new color! Woo hoo!

People will think I’m crazy. When the salesman heard of my brood he suggested a much larger guzzler. Told him I couldn’t stomach the tank, the fuel costs and the environmental unfriendliness of such a truck. But I just couldn’t keep driving a minivan. It served us well for many years. But we’re rarely all in the same car together and when we are, it’s for short distances (to Grandma’s or church). So the time was right to get something a little smaller, a little more fuel efficient (only took $25 to fill up my tank today; that wouldn’t even get me halfway in the van) and, let’s face it, a little more hip.

Not that I care about appearances or anything. In fact, I’ve never been much of a car enthusiast. My first car was a Hyundai Excel bought from my older brother who was stationed in Germany in the Air Force. My dad told me it was the only car I could afford (of course he was right). After that, I just drove what Danny brought home.

But now I’ve picked my own car and I’m pretty pleased with the purchase. It’s just a start of some of the changes taking place over here at Wendy Hoke Enterprises. But more on that tomorrow….


writelife said...

Congrats, Wendy -- fun, fun! Great to read your blog after holiday hiatus. (I took one of those myself.) I miss my daily fix of Creative Ink!

Hope your New Year is off to a good start!

Lori said...

Woo-hoo! New car! Always exciting, whether it's new-new or simply new to you. Congrats.

Jill said...

Can't wait to see it! Congrats - I'm very envious. The mini-V is soooooooo utilitarian.

And thank you so much for blogging again. I'm with Kristen on the withdrawal factor.