Today, the family had a quick lunch and we all got into our footwear & jackets and piled into the car. We were heading up to this new shop in Ajax that claims to be all things baby. I was excited, because they were having a draw for one of 4 strollers, and we are in need of a stroller for baby number 3. I said to MOMD today, “You know hun, we are going to win one of these strollers.” He said, “Yeah?” and I said, “Yeah, we are. I think it’s this one,” as I pointed to the picture on their flyer.
You probably don’t need me to say this, but I’m going to anyway: I was excited. MOMD was excited. The kids… well, the kids knew they had to come, and they were willing to make the most of it.
So like I said, we got ourselves outfitted for the outdoors and piled into our car. Roxy is a 10-year-old Toyota Corrolla whom we love. She has more than 260,000 km’s on her so you know that she’s been everywhere with us. But, back to my story: we’re all in our seats, everyone’s bucked up, garage door is open, key is in the ignition and… nothing. The lights come on, the dash lights up, the radio starts to play, but the engine is not engaging.
MOMD & I look at each other. “That’s weird…” one of us said. “Could it be the battery?” To say that we are not car people is simply one of the greatest understatements every made. We recognize that because the lights, the dash, the radio all came on that the battery surely is fine. But we really have no clue what the problem could be… So MOMD turns the key back to the “off” position (since the car never started, I feel funny saying he turned the car off) and tried again. And again – the engine did not engage.
Now, I want to be clear: there was not “rrr-rrr-rrr” sound that sometimes accompanies an engine trying to turn over. There wasn’t even a “click” to indicate that the command had been received. There was really just nothing.
I try not to freak out. I say, “Well, let’s call CAA and see what they have to say.” We all got out of the car, took off our jackets. The boys scattered unbelieving of their good luck, while MOMD picked up the phone and made the call. The helpful person on the other end agreed that it was unlikely a problem with the battery but suggested that it could be the alternator or the fuel pump. She explained that the only thing the CAA techs were trained for was to boost a battery or to tow a truck. This meant that all they could do for us was a tow.
Bottom line: no one can help us with our car before tomorrow. We just put $400 into it last Monday, replacing the muffler and all the things that go with that. Tomorrow will cost us – if we’re lucky – $200 – $300. Did I mention that this is a 10-year old vehicle? In 7 days we will have sunk potentially $700 into old Roxy.
That’s 2 car payments.
We have talked about replacing our little sedan with something more appropriate for the needs of our expanding family. A mini-van seems like an obvious choice – 3 kids, 2 adults and 1 dog need room to be able to travel together. We were fairly serious about making a purchase back in January. But then, then we decided that we could wait. Connor will be out of his booster seat in about 3 weeks, Sam will be moving from a car seat to a booster seat once Connor’s done with the booster, and 2 car seats can fit in the back on the corolla, along with one other person. Thing is, there are a few variables in our short-term future and we wanted to play it safe. Waiting to make this big purchase is the safe thing to do.
But by this time tomorrow we will have all ready made 2 car payments this month, and we’ll still be driving a 10-year-old car. Which leads me to think that maybe we didn’t play it safe: we played it stupid.
No matter what we decide now, tomorrow I will spend the day in the shop getting the car fixed. That has to happen. Because to get any trade-in value on the car, it needs to be in working order. I am looking for hope. For reassurance that it’s all going to be fine, that we should take the plunge and replace Roxy with a shiny new mini van. That the variables will stabilize themselves and it will all work out to our best advantage.
That’s the funny thing about hope (and faith too, now that I think about it): it’s easy to have it when all is going pretty well, according to plan. It’s a whole other ballgame when you’re blindsided. So here I am, looking for hope…