Love Takes on Many Forms–Part 2

Welcome back, friends, and many thanks for stopping by twice this week.

When I left you last, I had totaled the much-despised, glow-in-the-dark-mobile minivan. Used the $$$ as a down payment on my beloved Camry and paid the rest off via use of 0% credit card.

(If you have a burning desire to be all caught up, here is the link to Part 1.)

Ten-plus years have come and gone since then. My Camry and I are quite close. It’s been very good to me—much better than I’ve been to it in terms of oil changes, fuel-injection cleaning, etc.

Not sure if other long-term Toyota owners would agree, but I’ve learned any work this vehicle needed fell under the umbrella of maintenance. Because this thing runs until it absolutely can’t (i.e., the engine started seizing when I let the oil change go for too long—oops!), I never KNEW my baby needed attention.

Camry 2002 My baby would miss me if I let it go, lol.

This brings me back to why I’m writing this post. I toyed with buying another Toyota. B/c I’m never in the mood for adding payments to my monthly bills, new or leased wasn’t a choice. (Besides, I fell in love with the new Mazda’s styling. We’ll see, in two years when Younger Son will be wanting a car.)

My self-imposed budget suggested buying an older Toyota (or VW Jetta or Passat, both of which I looked at too, since Older Son is a “V-Dub” kind of kid). I’d be buying a vehicle right around the age it would probably start needing the kind of work mine did. And I already know my baby is mechanically sound. It’s older and occasionally needs TLC in more expensive doses.

BTW, Hubby would have hit up the 401K for me to get the Mazda. New. I declined.

So, a few weeks prior to writing this I stopped at a new garage in the neighborhood. Hubby had been there a little while before and talked to the mechanic about my car. Wanted to meet the guy myself and show him my Camry. I didn’t know Jack—the mechanic—had replaced my battery this past winter. I liked him right away.

Wouldn’t you know? Chatting with him—as question-asking writers are wont to do—led to him telling me he was a certified Toyota mechanic x18 years before he went out on his own and opened the garage in my neighborhood. He stressed over and over what a good car the Camry is.

He also saved me $200+ on the repair. Picked up my car the same day I wrote this. Feels like I bought it yesterday.

And here’s another, pretty crazy coincidence.  God putting Jack-Certified-Toyota-Mechanic on my path wasn’t enough. Jack asked how I came by the car, so I told him my crashing-into-the-compressor story.

He stopped short and looked at me. “How long ago was that?”

“IDK. Younger Son was four. Maybe eleven years ago? The compressor was parked a few blocks from the school.” I mentioned looking up at the man at my passenger window.

“You mean Joe?”

“He lives in __________.”

“That’s the guy!” Jack said.

“Why? Were you there too?”

“No. My son was.” (He’s Jack’s only worker.)

And off Jack goes to confirm this story. Which his son did.

It is a seriously small world, folks, and little by little, we’re adopting Jack and his son as our go-to mechanics. They’ve serviced three family cars in two weeks and go well out of their way to keep us happy.

Tell me I met him by accident.

Have a great week,

Joanna

Love Can Lead You to your Angels–Part 1

Hi everyone. Hope all is well with all of you. Are we seriously past the midway point of July??? Why does summer  fly by faster than the other months?

A while ago, I promised a short series that tied into some recent posts from Kristen Lamb. Because writing the first seems to have erupted open a big can of worms in my already-overconvoluted brain, those are on  the back burner for now. I will get to them eventually. Kristen touched on some really important topics parents deal with, some which can be very challenging to younger parents. I’d like to do them justice.

In the meantime…

Every now and again ANOTHER thing happens to further my belief that God puts people in my path exactly where and when I need them.  (Feel free to substitute the universe, Higher Power, or whatever you choose to call an outside force you believe impacts your life—assuming you adhere to the a tenet that an outside force impacts your life. If not, call it coincidence.)

I have a 2002 Camry I absolutely love. Bought it at a great price from a local rental car dealer in 2004. It had 32K. It now has ~130K miles and has needed exhaust and mount work for close to a year. (I kept putting it off. Quotes I got were quite pricey. Figured I had until this past April before I had to pass inspection. April came. April went. So did May, and I was at June’s exact mid-point when I drafted this. It is July’s midpoint as I edit and post, BTW.)

Did I mention I’m a procrastinator? A very good one?

Anyway, the Camry is my second Toyota. My first was a brandy-new Celica GT I bought when I got my first real job. Sold that baby at circa 89K b/c the trans was banging, and I was told I’d have to have the trans rebuilt to the tune of $2600 or so. I learned the car sold a second time. To the best of my knowledge, the trans work was never done.

Once I got pregnant with Older Son, Hubby started thinking along the lines of a minivan. With three part-timers (a.k.a., Hubby’s boys, a.k.a., my stepsons), we wanted to be able to travel in one vehicle when the boys visited.

I won’t share which brand, but we did buy a new minivan, a new model that had just been released. It was okay at first, but as time went on, issues showed up. These included alternator problems—corrected under warranty—and transmission issues (which started rearing their ugly heads about one month before the five-year warranty ran out).

Forgot if we got it repaired. All I know is, one morning I had a whole five minutes extra time between schools after dropping off Older Son. I remember wondering if I should splurge that time getting a cup of coffee. While I pondered that I reached down for my purse to grab my cell phone.

Looked up just in time to see the plumber’s compressor in front of me (not that I knew it was a plumber’s compressor).

Didn’t see it in time to stop before I plowed into it.

(Note to self: Multi-tasking while operating a motorized vehicle may not necessarily be the best idea. Nor is buying a vehicle that hasn’t been around long enough for it’s problems to show, especially once the warranty runs out.)

A familiar face showed at my passenger window. I knew I hadn’t seen the man in quite a while, and I certainly couldn’t remember his name. “I know you!” was all I could say before I started crying.

He nodded. “I’m Joe. Don’t worry. Make sure you’re okay.”

I was. That was my luckiest crash ever. Totaled the stupid minivan. We still had full insurance coverage and got more for it from State Farm than I could ever have made selling it.

Put that cash toward my current Camry. The second I got back in a car—a blessed Toyota—I knew I was home. My minivan days were done.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll stop here for today. In the meantime, tell me about your relationship(s) with your vehicle(s). Do you have a favorite make or model? Does your car become a part of you, or are you a leaser who easily lets go?

Have a great day and catch you later in the week!

Joanna