Archive for the 'Vehicles' Category

Jeopardy question: What is TC5 X5J?

Answer: The license number of Andrew’s “new” 2005 Honda Accord, titled in his name!

This morning, one of Andrew’s profs allowed him to leave class early, so that Scott and I, in the Durango, could pick him up at MSU and drive to the house of Kim (the seller of said vehicle, from whom our family members have now bought a total of seven used cars) before she had to leave for work. We arrived there at noon, and by 1:00 PM, he had signed the paperwork, bought the car (with a loan from the First Familial Bank of Walnut Shade), driven to the license bureau, paid the sales tax and licensing fee, and was headed with license plates in hand to Chick-fil-A to treat us to lunch!

For one thing, if you ever want to buy a great used car in the Springfield area, go to Hughes Auto Sales. Kim buys and sells them, and Carlos fixes them up like new. They make a great team. (I had to nearly drag him to get him into this picture. He’s a superb mechanic and an all-around super nice guy.)

Andrew, Kim, & Carlos

And now I simply must tell you about the license bureau deal.

It’s located on the Park Central square in downtown Springfield, just a few doors from where Josiah used to live and work, and near where Andrew gets his suave hair cuts. Scott and Andrew were in Andrew’s car and I was following in the Durango. Andrew dropped Scott in front of the building and turned off the square (which is more like a circle) to find a place to park. As you probably know, parking in downtown Springfield – like parking in most downtowns – is hard to come by, but Andrew found a little lot just a block away that said “Free Customer Parking – 2 Hour Limit.” The lot was nearly full but just happened to have exactly two empty spaces, which we snagged.

We walked back to the building and found the appropriate office on the second floor. Andrew went in there while I, who on principle almost never pass up a bathroom, took care of other business before returning to the office. It was a standard, boring license bureau office: long line, no decor, one clerk, rows of folding chairs, etc. Scott and Andrew were up at the counter, no one was sitting in the chairs, and the long line (of nearly a dozen people snaking out into the hall) started back on the other side of the chairs. Feeling a bit self-conscious with all those people waiting, I walked past them and joined my handsome men at the counter, acting like I belonged there.

The clerk was nice enough, but she, Scott , and Andrew were just kind of standing around, and it seemed like something must be wrong. It turns out that Andrew was missing one of those four vital pieces of paper we all know you MUST produce in order to license a car in Missouri: title (well, he’d just signed that a few minutes before at Kim’s house, check), proof of insurance (the agent had emailed that to him and it was on his phone, check), proof of inspection (Kim had graciously had the car inspected and given Andrew that paper, check), and a paid personal property tax receipt for a year that I to this day can never figure out without looking it up. I had thought briefly about the personal property tax receipt, but since Andrew had never paid any personal property tax, he obviously wouldn’t need to produce such a receipt.

Well, I was wrong about that. Duh. You can’t just tell them you’ve never paid any personal property tax and don’t owe any; you have to prove it. Scott, brilliant man he is who thinks on his feet, thought, “Hmm, personal property tax, that’s a matter for our County Assessor,” so standing there at the counter he called Chuck Pennel! When we all get to heaven, Chuck will have extra jewels in his crown for all the times he has helped, advised, encouraged, and rescued the Roberts family. So Chuck told Scott what he’d need to do about that situation, and the clerk just calmly stood there with Scott on the phone and Andrew occasionally looking sheepishly over my head (he always looks over my head) at the long line back by the door.

The clerk said Andrew would need some certain form, and I think she – or was it Chuck? – gave Scott a number to call to have them send her the form that would prove that Andrew doesn’t owe any personal property tax. So Scott made another call, and while he was waiting for them to answer, he asked the clerk how much Andrew owed, and she told him. Young people today – and maybe all people today – only have debit cards or credit cards, and although the license bureau would take Andrew’s debit card, they would charge him a service fee, so, old school mom that I am, I whipped out my checkbook and wrote a check for the amount (which Andrew later repaid), and she handed him a receipt and two shiny license plates! Meanwhile, Scott gave whoever he was talking with on the phone all the pertinent info, and they looked Andrew up, and was he from Kansas City, and no he was not, etc. And then “they” evidently sent the required form, and just then, at that very moment, the clerk said, “Well, the internet just went down.”

I. Could. Not. Believe. It.

Not only would that mess up our own deal, what about all those people patiently standing in line on the other side of the chairs?!?

And the clerk said, “I didn’t get the form, but that’s OK, I heard you on the phone, so you’re good.” We said, “Good? Like, do we need to do anything else?”

“No, you’re all done. You can go. Have a nice day.”

And we went!

We went past all those people standing in line, and they were actually quite nice. They didn’t throw anything at us, and they didn’t say nasty things to us or about us. Some of them actually rode the elevator down with us, cheerfully joking with Andrew that it was all his fault, but nobody seemed the least bit mad or put out. It was all the favor of God!

After lunch I took this picture of The Man and His Car.

Andrew with his silver ’05 Honda Accord!

A mere 90 minutes later, he sent me this text: “the mileage is 107,344 and the license plate number is TC5 X5J. it has license plates on it, a parking pass, insurance papers in the glove box, and air fresheners on the vents. 🤪 oh and it’s registered with the University.”

That all makes for one very happy young man!


And he owns a car!

Today Andrew handed Scott his final car payment! His 2003 Honda Accord is still titled in Scott’s name for the sake of insurance, but Andrew now has unlimited use of the car and full responsibility for all maintenance and repairs. A few weeks ago, sadly mere just days after he turned 18 (that birthday being the pre-agreed-upon termination date of our commitment to pay half his car maintenance and repairs), one of his wheel bearings went out, his brakes needed full replacement, and he needed new tires. Thankfully, Kim Hughes’ mechanic husband, Carlos, agreed to do ALL that work for only a very small amount above the cost of parts and tires. They live 50 miles away, so we did make several trips back and forth, and Andrew did have to hand over a significant wad of cash, but the car is now in great shape, and it is for all intents and purposes his.

Hats off to a great accomplishment for our youngest man!

A fond farewell

Right here in the throes of your busy life, Dear Reader, I humbly ask you today to pause for a moment of reverential contemplation as we reflect on the immortal words of our Beloved Dill Pickle (undoubtedly an intimate companion of Mr. Dickens): “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

The Pickle was born in 2000, grew up in a variety of homes, and was adopted into our family in mid-2015, a fee of $500 having changed hands in that transaction. The Pickle served Andrew well for over a year, transporting him from one location to another, if not in high style or extreme comfort, at least in a modicum of reliability.

The Pickle was proud as a peacock to have been outfitted with classy covers for both its seats and steering wheel in December, 2015, and while its cosmetic features did leave something to be desired and it did burn (leak?) oil at an impressive rate and its AC stubbornly refused for any reason to blow cold air, the Pickle did have an exceptional security system in that its doors could not be opened from the outside unless one knew how to apply the secret release code.

Andrew put 14,000 miles on the Dill Pickle over the past 14 months, but on September 2, 2016, he drove the Pickle for the last time. He (the Pickle) was making some odd noises and “felt funny,” causing Andrew significant concern. When he called me asking what to do, I told him to drive it straight to our mechanic, who later told me he was surprised the car had even made it to his shop. It arrived there sporting two shredding front tires, a damaged strut, and a broken axle; the right front wheel was in danger of falling off. Our mechanic said his conscience would not allow him to let the Pickle leave his lot unless it were repaired ($1200) or towed.

With tears of sorrow and heartfelt thanks to God for Andrew’s protection and safety, we unloaded all of his personal possessions from his cherished Pickle and went home.

Hearing the news of the Pickle’s demise while he was away on a mission trip, Scott agreed that the best thing to do would be to place the Pickle for adoption with our mechanic, who would then see to its being taken to a far, far better place. Papers for the Pickle’s final arrangements could not be signed until Scott’s return, and when he did return, Scott – who is known far and wide for turning challenging situations into profit – received from a wise friend the idea of selling the Pickle on craigslist.

And this he did today, for $500.  = )

So, while we are all sad to see the Dill Pickle go, we are all thankful that even in its passing, it continues to be a blessing to our family.

Yes, good has been done here.

The Pickle exits the scene. Andrew smiles, but, still feeling an emotional attachment for the Pickle, calls out “Take care, O my Pickle. Take care, O my Pickle. Take care, take care, don’t dare not care, take care, no air, no fair, take care, take care, O my Pickle.”

The end!

Jeopardy question: What is “TBD?”

Answer: The number of days (weeks? months?!?) between the time that one finds in one’s trunk the cooler of chicken breasts and pork egg rolls she bought at Sam’s TEN DAYS EARLIER and the time when her car no longer reeks of road kill.

NOTE: While the human gag reflex is indeed a powerful force, having coated the trunk with a solid layer of baking soda and having placed two half steamer pans of (unlit!) charcoal briquets in the seats of the car, a 17 year-old male who is desperate for wheels with better gas mileage than his only alternative (a 2004 Durango getting 15 mpg tops) will volunteer to drive said stench-mobile so his mother doesn’t have to. What a chivalrous son!

The plucky Dill Pickle – and God’s great faithfulness

Here’s the email I sent Scott on Friday.



What happened:

About 3:30 this afternoon, Andrew called me from somewhere in Branson, concerned that his car was making a weird, bad noise and felt funny. Something about the front tire(s) or wheel(s). I told him to drive it to Taney County Tire, ask them to look at it, and have them call me to tell me what was wrong and if it was safe to drive home.

The diagnosis:

Jeff called a few minutes later to tell me that the only way he could allow it to leave their lot was for it to be towed or repaired, that it was NOT at all safe to drive, and that he was amazed Andrew had gotten it there without having a very bad accident.

The right front strut (the thing that attached the wheel to the frame of the car) had broken. The whole thing was so loose that the wheel could have fallen off.

The left front tire was so worn on the inside that the interior wires or threads were poking through all the way around. The right front tire was nearly as bad.

The left front axle is broken.

When I went to pick up Andrew, Jeff showed me all these things. It’s quite bad.

Our options with Taney County Tire:

  1. Repair it. When one strut is replaced, you always replace them both, so the repair would involve replacing:

– both struts

– two front tires

– front left axle assembly

When Justin calculated the estimate, it came to $1200, but Jeff told Justin that we were good customers and “we have to help her out.” They agreed to do it all for $1000. I told Jeff we had paid only $500 for the car, knowing it was an old clunker, so given its oil drinking habit and its lack of A/C, it may not be worth repairing. I told him I would have to talk with you over the weekend and let them know.

  1. Trash it. If we decide not to repair it, I can take Jeff the title, and they will take care of hauling it off and getting it junked at no cost to us. Jeff said salvage yards aren’t buying cars. They are getting less than $100, if any, when they do that.
  2. Buy a car from Jeff. He has a car sitting there that a lady needed fixed. He did all the repairs and got it fixed up, and she couldn’t pay for it, so she gave him the title and he wants to sell it for the $1700 he has put into it. His comment to me was that it’s fixed up, it has A/C, and it’s safe. He said, “I would put my kid in it. Finding a car for $1200 is not easy. If you want this one as an extra car for $1700, let me know and it’s yours.”

He is awaiting my call to let him know what to do with the one Andrew has been driving.

Please contact me so we can discuss this and decide what to do.



Scott and I talked, and we agreed that Option #2 sounds best to both of us, so when Andrew asked this morning, I told him that. We’re not sure exactly what that will mean in the near future, but we did two cars for three drivers while Matthias and Jessica used Scott’s car for their honeymoon, so we know it’s possible.

Andrew and I had pulled all his stuff out of the Dill Pickle when we left it at Taney County Tire on Friday, He was very quiet then, but now he seems sad and rather wistful about relinquishing “his” car. (“It’s my first car, Mom. I have a lot of memories about that car.”) I let him talk. He said he wants to watch it get smashed. Wow. Now that would be tough for me, and I don’t know if we can even reserve a spectator seat for such an event, but I’m thinking that if it’s possible, it would be a healthy grieving thing to do.

Since Friday, Andrew’s been very helpful and considerate. He’s been giving me a lot of hugs. I think the realization that he (and/or others, including friends of his) could have been very seriously injured has made a big impact on him. I am still amazed that it held together long enough to get him to the repair shop with no accident or injury. When he got there, Jeff’s mechanic tried to drive it a bit to figure out what was wrong, but he only went a few feet – not even out of their lot – before turning it around and telling Jeff, “No way! It can’t be driven. It’s not safe.”

God was watching over my boy. I am deeply grateful. Damaged cars can either be fixed or junked. Not so damaged sons.

Vehicular if then

IF you are in your home when it begins a frog-strangling downpour,

And IF the rain is so heavy you that can barely see your mailbox from your porch,

And IF you later learn that cars on the highway were parking on the shoulder because they couldn’t drive in that kind of rain,

And IF, as you peer through the deluge, you have the distinct impression that the driver’s window of your Durango is open,

And IF you then race out to said Durango, getting soaked to the skin before you even fling open the driver’s door,

And IF you realize with sickening dread that the driver’s window is not the only window that is open; all four windows are,

And IF, as you scramble to get the key in the ignition to raise the windows, you notice that there’s an inch of standing water in the console between the front seats,

And IF you are puzzled and can’t figure out how such an incredible volume of water got from the windows to the middle of the vehicle,

And IF in your consternation you to look up and see that the sun roof is wide open,

And IF you manage to get the sun roof closed and all four windows up and there is still water streaming down the dashboard over the stereo controls,

And IF you trudge slowly back to the house (because once thoroughly drenched you know you’re not going to get any wetter),

And IF you wait till the rain stops and you go out with beach towels to begin sopping up the water in the Durango,

And IF, while you are sopping, it starts raining again so you give up in disgust,

And IF, an hour later the rain really does stop, enabling you to at least remove the standing water,

And IF, when you drive the car later that day, you are thrilled and amazed that things like the ignition, the lights, the stereo, and the AC all actually work just fine,

And IF you also try out the cruise control find that it does Absolutely. Nothing. At All,

And IF that knowledge depresses and discourages you because you use the cruise every single time you drive to town (meaning that you have become lazy and don’t want to have to bother trying to maintain a steady speed, and you realize, sadly, that you will now have to closely watch the speedometer every time you drive the car for all the remaining years you own it),

THEN, when five days later, the cruise suddenly starts working perfectly again,

You will be exceedingly grateful.

Jeopardy question: What is “Turn the radio up louder?”

Answer: My short-term solution to the Durango making a whining engine noise.

It’s nice to have friends who know what to do about car repair things when I don’t. At church last night, I asked J.R. to listen to it and advise me as to whether the noise was a “serious” noise that needed a mechanic’s attention, or a “trivial” noise that did not; you know, one of those noises that a twelve-year-old vehicle might produce just to make its presence known and grumble a bit.

J.R. listened, instructed me to pop the hood (bonnet for you Brit readers), and checked the transmission fluid. He said it was 1.5 quarts low. I noted where the dipstick was, way up against the dash, and asked where you put the transmission fluid in. Turns out it goes into that same hole that’s only about the diameter of my middle finger! I would clearly need a long, narrow funnel to do that, but J.R. said that if I took the Durango to our mutual friend, Bill, who works at O’Reilly’s, Bill would put the fluid in for me.

I thanked J.R. for his help and advice and then confessed that when it started whining about a week ago, it was intermittent; not all the time like it is now. I told him I didn’t like the sound of the whining (Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without grumbling or complaining.”), so I did what any wise woman would do. I turned the radio up louder. J.R. got a big belly laugh out of that.

Bill did put the transmission fluid in, and while it still whines a little bit, it’s much softer. But on the way home, the battery light came on. I passed that little problem on to Scott.

[Update: (2/26/16) The Durango is currently spending the day at Taney County Tire where it will be fitted with a new alternator.]

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane!”

Saturday evening I was sitting on the porch reading when I heard a pretty loud motor, like a really noisy lawn mower.  The sound was coming from over toward the creek, and I figured it must be something over at Altom Construction.  I ignore it and kept reading.

The noise continued, gradually increased in volume, and seemed to be moving a bit.  So, maybe not Altom.  I figured it was probably Mr. Gaar over mowing the Casa de Luz.  I ignored it and kept reading.

Very shortly, the mower noise got significantly louder, and I was quite sure it was moving.  It had to be those Lane boys.  Their family lives in our little “neighborhood” at the end of the road and they are very big into motorized vehicles.  Go-carts, four-wheelers, motorcycles of all sizes. . . they have a large collection of such things, so I figured they must be zipping up and down Coffee Road.  Too comfortable to bother getting up to go look, I just kept reading.

But suddenly the noise felt and sounded like it was right over my head!  And VERY loud.  And still moving.  Was it circling?  What the heck was going on?

I dropped my book and went out onto the front walk, and guess what was right above me?  THIS!

(This is it, but I didn't take this picture)

(This is the actual thing, but I didn’t take this picture.)

This thing – whatever you call it – was circling directly over my house and the horse pasture across the road!  It went over and around three or four times, and twice passed just over the tree Scott parks his car under.  The guy sitting in the thing was so close I could see him grinning!  He waved to me as I stood on the front walk, and I waved back.  WOW!  What a thrill it must be to sit up there and fly around!  It looked like he was sitting in a go-cart suspended from a parachute.  I had never seen anything like it, much less a demonstration like that right over my very own front yard!

I couldn’t tell who he was, but because he waved, I figured he must be one of the Lane boys, so I texted their mom:  “Is your son flying over me?!?!?”

She replied, “Ummmm.  I don’t think so… What do you mean???”

“There’s a guy in a thing flying over me.  No, I’m not hallucinating.  It’s like a go-cart in the air suspended from a colorful parachute.  I don’t know what it’s called, but I thought of you because you guys have all those things with motors.  He circled over my house and the horse pasture several times and then headed west along 160.”

Her response:  “Oh, funny.  Yeah, there’s a guy in town that has a couple of those.  Zanescapes Landscaping.  You’re right.  That would be something they would have!”

Absolutely fascinating.  I was hoping the guy would come back so I could get a picture, but I didn’t want to run into the house to get my camera and risk missing him, and [insert embarrassed face] I didn’t know how to take a picture with my phone.  By the time I got that figured out, he had indeed returned, but he was way out over the pasture and creek, just a tiny speck, so you can’t even see him in the pictures I took.

I later looked up Zanescapes online, found the picture above, and learned that this vehicle is called a powered parachute.  I then googled that and located this close-up shot of someone flying in a powered parachute, so you can better see the set-up.  The man flying above me looked just like this, wearing a helmet and tennis shoes, and I could see him almost as closely as the guy in this picture.

Some guy in a powered parachute

Some guy in a powered parachute

I am not an adventurous person, and I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to actually do it, but this surely does look like at lot of fun!

Jeopardy question: What is 13.4?

Answer:  The gas mileage that your average, 11 year-old Dodge Durango (odometer reading 141,000) will achieve when pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a 2006 Honda Accord up through the Ozark hills from Walnut Shade to Willard.

Bonus points if you also happened to guess that the driver of this entourage used hand signals(!!!) for all left turns because the left turn signal on the trailer would not work.

Knowing when to exhale

Friday night we planned to go out on a date.  We were due for a date (we generally have a date every other weekend), but we were both rather ambivalent – couldn’t figure out where to go or what to do or what we wanted to eat.  We finally decided that what REALLY sounded fun was to find a restaurant where we could enjoy a leisurely meal and sit and play pinochle.  = )  In thinking through the various options, it seemed that most of our usual eating establishments wouldn’t take too kindly to our occupying a table for a long time, especially on a Friday night when there were other people waiting to sit in our seats, so that pushed us in the direction of “some small mom and pop place where there’s not a line out the door and they won’t care if we sit and play cards,” and that made us think of Mr. G’s pizza.

Mr. G’s is in old downtown, a couple blocks away from Dick’s Five and Dime.  It’s not at all fancy, sometimes smoky (we don’t smoke), and very big on kino (we don’t gamble), but their Chicago style pizza is really good, and I also like their salads.  They’ve never been full when we’re there, and we knew that as long as we could find a table that wasn’t near a cloud of smoke, it would be fun, so off we went to Mr. G’s.

When we pulled up to Mr. G’s, something didn’t look right.  The place was darker than usual.  There weren’t any cars around.  Oh, don’t tell me Mr. G’s is closed!!!  Read it and weep.  Not only was Mr. G’s closed, there was a typed notice taped to the door with a padlock on the outside.  Not a good omen for pizza and pinochle.  Sigh.

Pulled up to the curb and stopped on an uphill there at Commercial Street, we tried to figure out what to do next.  We sat there for several minutes, and the A/C was running full blast because even though it was about 7:00 PM, it was still something like 94 degrees outside.  While we sat and pondered, we began hearing some kind of a low rumbling afar off.  Kind of like rocks tumbling softly.  Or like a very heavy truck going over a bridge a quarter mile away.  Or actually very much like the sound a pot of plum preserves makes when it finally comes to a boil. . .

Me:  What’s that noise?

Scott:  I don’t know.

Me:  Is it. . . ?

Scott:  Well. . .

Me:  Our car?

Scott:  Maybe. . . uh. . . hey, I think I see smoke!

Me:  Huh?

Scott (turning off the car and pointing):  See?

Me:  Coming from our car?

Scott:  Uh-huh.

Well, this clearly was not good.  We’re downtown on a Friday night when most everything is closed or closing, our car is smoking, and we can’t even (legally) have Andrew bring the Durango and come rescue us.  What to do?

We got out of the car, and Scott cautiously lifted the hood.  Yes, the radiator had boiled over and was in fact, from the sound of things, still boiling fairly vigorously.  I could hear my dad’s admonition:  “Never open a hot radiator.  Don’t even touch the cap.  Wait for it to cool completely, and then open it very slowly.”

Me:  Ummm. . . I think we have to wait for it to cool down.

Scott:  Yeah.

So we stood there beside our boiled-over car and talked about our options.  Scott’s theory was that it had just overheated because it was so hot outside, and we had sat there idling for a long time with the A/C running and with, because we weren’t moving, no airflow over the engine.  And anyway, he couldn’t remember when the radiator had last had a flush and fill, so there was probably little to no antifreeze in it.

I listened more or less patiently.  OK, somewhat less than patiently.  His anaylsis may have sounded logical, but it didn’t sit well with me.  It seemed to me that even at 94 degrees with the A/C on, any self- respecting car – even if it is 16 years old and its odometer shows nearly 200,000 miles – shouldn’t boil over.

A man just leaving the antique store on the corner, saw our hood up, and asked if we needed help.  Scott told him the car had overheated because we’d been sitting there idling with the A/C on.  The man said he had a jug of water in his truck, which he dug out and handed to us.  It was over half full, and that was a blessing.  Once the radiator was cool, we’d need to pour in as much water as it would hold, and all we had on hand for that purpose was our two half-full water bottles.  We took the jug, thanked the man, and got back in the car.  Scott took a big swig from his water bottle.  I successfully resisted the strong urge to blurt out, “What the heck are you doing?!?  The car obviously needs that water a lot worse than you do!”

My thought was to leave the car there to cool, walk the couple blocks over to where the little diner-type restaurants are, have a meal, come back, pour the water in the radiator, head for home, and hope for the best.

Scott’s plan was to drive to some other restaurant Steak n Shake?  Applebee’s?  A Chinese place in Hollister?  and eat while the car sat there and cooled.  He was quite sure the problem was just our choice to sit with the A/C on, so he was sure that once it cooled down, all would be fine.

I was more skeptical, but then, he always sees only the positive and I always see only the negative, so our different opinions made sense.

In the end, we compromised.  We drove a few blocks past all the mom and pop restaurants and parked the car on a side street.  Then we walked back to the Branson Cafe, but found that, despite the fact that it’s now owned by a family we know, it had closed five minutes earlier.  So, probably looking just like a couple of confused tourists, we crossed to the Farmhouse Restaurant, which was still open and appeared to be the happening place on Main Street that night.

I really enjoyed my meal there (DELICIOUS chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuit, and coleslaw) and, it being a totally casual good ole’ boy kind of place, we did break out the pinochle cards while we waited.  The kitchen messed up Scott’s order, giving him coleslaw instead of his fried okra, so while he waited for the okra, he did try a small bite of the coleslaw.  The look on his face confirmed that he still feels about coleslaw just like I still feel about barbeque.  Convenient that we are allowed to be different, and proof that some things never change.

After dinner, we requested two large ice waters to go (which Scott did not drink) and walked back to our car.  The radiator was cool and low, so Scott poured in our two ice waters plus some of the water from the man’s jug.  (Perhaps I’m not supposed to say that he discovered the next morning that he had forgotten to replace the radiator cap and then had to go visit our friend, O.)  Anyway, not realizing the system wasn’t pressurized, we drove home with the A/C off and the windows down and were thankful to arrive unscathed and with the temperature gauge still showing “normal.”

That evening and again Saturday morning, there was more commentation – to which I chose to listen silently – about why the car had overheated.  Scott decided he wanted to take it to Taney County Tire (TCT), our current repair shop of choice, and have them flush and fill it and do an oil change.  But they are closed on Saturday, and with our present dearth of legal drivers, and Scott’s need to drive to work in Springfield on Monday (and Wednesday and Thursday, for that matter), it wouldn’t be possible for us to get the car to them on Monday morning.

So we dropped it off Sunday after church, on our way out to the annual church picnic and baptism at Table Rock State Park.  That was about 12:30 PM Sunday.  Scott called TCT Monday morning to tell them why there was an extra car in their lot and ask them to repair it.  We planned to pick the car up Monday evening.

But TCT called him back later Monday to say that they had determined the cause of the overheating.  It seems that a fan had gone out and needed to be replaced.  Now, I am not sure where under the hood this specific fan lives, but it must be in some totally unreachable location – like Tanzania? – based on the priced they quoted us for this service.  But it had to be done, and for that amazing number of dollars, they would also do the flush, the fill, the oil change, (“And wait!  There’s more!”) and a tire rotation that was due.

Except that they called  back even later Monday to say that the part they had ordered had arrived, but it was the wrong part.  Ugh.  So they’d get the new part Tuesday morning and it would be ready Tuesday afternoon.  Well, that would work out all right.  I had a doctor’s appointment in Branson on Tuesday afternoon, so we could just leave a bit early (Scott working from home on Tuesdays) and I could drop him off at TCT to pay and pick up, before I went on to the doc.

Expect that they called Tuesday morning to say that they had received the part, but it was once AGAIN the wrong part.  Ugh, Take Two.  They would have they correct part in hand Wednesday morning, and the car would be ready Wednesday afternoon.  This did throw a wrench in the schedule, however, because Andrew and I were planning to go to the grocery on Wednesday morning.  Now, since Scott would take the Durango to Springfield that day, we’d have no car to go to the grocery.  Hence we would need to go to the grocery on Tuesday morning (I refuse to hit Wal-Mart in the afternoons, if there’s any possible way to avoid doing so), and Tuesday morning was rapidly going away.  As in, “going away, going away fast.”  So we dropped the academics we were in the midst of, quickly scribbled out a list, and went first to Wal-Mart and then to McKenna’s, where I intended to procure peaches, cantaloupe, and watermelon.  Scott had requested “a small melon to take with us on our guys’ float trip this weekend.  The river’s stream-fed, and I’m going to float it behind us in the water.”  Whatever.

Except that when we got to McKenna’s they had NO PEACHES because, “The peach man’s running a day late,” and they’d have them tomorrow.  Wednesday.  When I would have no car.  “And by the way,” Jean McKenna added, “That’ll be the end of the peaches for this year.”  I almost cried standing there.  Their peaches have been almost as good as the Colorado ones.  Sigh.  Very. Big. Sigh.

So I arranged with our neighbor to be on stand-by to take me to town this (Wednesday) afternoon, whenever I got word that the car was ready.

Except that Scott called at noon to say he had heard from Taney County Tire.  Hope rose.  It seems that the part did not come in today.  Hope fell.  The manufacturer didn’t send it.  Oh, yes, the manufacturer had received the order for the part from TCT and evidently had the part on hand; they just failed to get it into the box to be shipped overnight.  AARRGGHH!!!  It was now being overnighted to arrive in Springfield at 8:00 AM Thursday, it would get to TCT by 9:00 AM Thursday, and the car would be ready sometime Thursday afternoon.

Scott, of course, would have to drive the Durango to Springfield on Thursday, leaving us once again car-less, but Andrew and I would need to be at the church at 8:00 AM Thursday.  So I texted Pastor Barb, explained the situation briefly (I can do that; it’s just that here I have chosen not to), and asked her to come four miles out of her way to pick us up.  Sigh.  She, being willing to do almost anything for enough homemade salsa and homegrown tomatoes, said that would be fine.

All that to say that, while I do fondly hope to have our fully serviced Honda back home tomorrow afternoon, I will not be holding my breath till it arrives.


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