Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sour. Like a lemon.

Last week, the front passenger door to our van quit working properly. A little plastic piece broke off the handle & now it won't open in the usual way. Which isn't so bad. Except that, within the last two years, the other three doors  have also broken. And I'm starting to panic a bit. One of these days I won't be able to get into my vehicle. Or worse, I won't be able to get out.

In my not-so-long-ago newspaper column writing days, I wrote a piece about my "ghetto van". {Dubbed "the ghetto van" by a friend.} It is a precious vehicle to our family, in that this is the 2nd car in a row that we were given. We are grateful & feel uber blessed & are currently debt-free because of this! Though our clunker of an auto lives on, it still makes me nervous every day. I am convinced that one of these days I really will be trapped in that thing. The doors will lock up once & for all, containing me inside like a caged animal at a zoo. Human people will come by to look at the Crazy-Lady-in-the-Van exhibit. They will want to take photos with me.
They will tap on the glass.

The first door to stop working was the back door. I'm not sure what happened, but one day the door ceased opening. I was no longer able to use that handy space to load bags of groceries. You should see us load luggage through the side door when we go on trips. There are half-empty bottles of things rattling around back there, objects rolling all over. But I can't get back there to retrieve them, so I just leave them be.

Next, the driver's door went berzerk. The only way you can open it is by standing outside the door & reaching your arm through, to grab hold of the inside handle. So, you better have the window rolled down so you actually CAN reach your arm through. Otherwise, you have to command the minions (also known as "the children") to open it for you from the inside. BUT, if the little people aren't around & the window is rolled up---which it is every morning---you have to climb through the van via the front passenger side door, turn the car on & lean waaay over to unroll the automatic window. It's not pretty.

The third door to act like a brat was the side sliding door. In order to close it, this is what you do: with your right hand, squeeze open the door handle, while at the same time reaching around with your left hand to all the mechanical greasy parts inside the door, to find a little lever that needs pulled down. THEN, slowly slide the door to the almost closed position. And this is the "fun" part: In its almost shut position, you give it a little booty bump until you hear it click closed. 
Also, not pretty.

And now, this fourth & final door is causing problems. I had to have training from the Mr. in how to open it. I have to grab the handle with both hands & then turn the top portion of my body in a perpendicular position & ,using force in one fluid motion, swing that sucker open. The worst part? Sometimes that doesn't work. So then I have to slide the side door open, climb through to the driver's side, scrunching down with my big badonka-donk & everything, hitting my head on the ceiling lights as I pass by, start the car, then roll down the window, climb out of the van, booty bump the side door shut, walk around to the driver's side, reach in & pull the handle open so I can climb up into the driver's seat, roll the window back up, & get to where I need to go.
At this point, after doing these odd door rituals for so long, I'm past it being embarrassing. I always wonder what my neighbors think though.

Beyond the doors, this van has so many problems. We took it for an oil change & a flat tire fix this week, & the mechanics STRONGLY suggested that we never leave town in that thing. They used the words "unsafe" & "dangerous". So not only am I driving an unpredictably hazardous lemon, I'm trapped in this town.

Pretty soon this automobile will simply be a giant metal tchotchke on wheels taking up space in the driveway.

If you happen to see a van on the side of the road, with a lady inside waving a bright poster-board sign that says "Help me!", please, help her.


  1. This is so funny!! I know it is your life :( But wow, don't we all have *something* like this?? I am so proud of you for sucking it up and lovin' your van despite it all!! AND, I am praying for you and a new car!! :)

  2. Oh gosh, this made me laugh out loud, although please know I am laughing with you. :) I had a "well loved" vehicle once, but it was bright neon yellow....which made all of it's problems and flaws even more noticeable. I hope you get a new vehicle soon.


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