June 27, 2022

doing the car shuffle, and other car drama

Our car situation is such that if you aren't up for the challenge of shuffling three cars around between six drivers it might drive you bat shit crazy. *Note:  Lad drives his own leased car and Curly is the only kid now who doesn't drive, Reg just got his license two weeks ago even though he turned 16 in January. 

I do like a challenge, but (insert image of me pulling my hair out) this summer has been a LOT. Back in the day, all the kids who were caddies would get dropped off at the same place, same early morning time. They'd hope for a loop (golfer). Then they started getting requested and would need to be there at various times. Now, they go in different directions. The events of last week almost pushed me over the edge.

All three of our cars needed work done. Brakes for gray (kids' car), tire patch for red minivan, and the 12 seater, great white (GW) Chevy van needed a ton of work. Initially we planned to replace GW. We couldn't find a reasonably priced replacement. Even with Lad working at the dealership, we had no inside trader tips. We bit the bullet and did what one does in '22 - fix it. We hope that after spending the $4,500 on this '04 gem that has like 150k miles on it, it'll hold up long enough so that we still feel good about that choice. 

A typical 'night-before' conversation goes like this:  "What are you doing Tank? (he works three different jobs depending on weather, etc.). If you work commercial landscaping gig, then what if dad drops you off and when you are done, you walk back to his work (less than 6 blocks) and take his car? Then I have a car to drive Reg and Curly back and forth to basketball camp, and I can drive Ed to the train - or are you doing zoom in the basement again? Then Mini can drive the caddies in the gray car. We need the caddies to be home by 4:00 so we have two cars to get the basketball players to their games. Wait, two babysitting kids will be here for a few hours in the morning, this is the LAST time they need help this summer - so who will be home with them when I drive to basketball camp? Then when I go to book club at 7:30 pm, someone has to remember to pick up Daddy from work at 8:20 pm."

Ya follow?

I asked my dad if I could borrow his Buick Rendezvous for a bit, because two cars was not gonna cut it for us while one car was in the shop. He's 82 and he doesn't drive very often. I promised him that only Coach or I would drive it. As complicated as this made things, imagine the above night-before plotting but with the 'Coach must drive dad's car' restriction, I figured that was the only way we could borrow from him. 

Lad's dealership wouldn't fix GW, but they'd send it off to a place that they use for such jobs. 

On Wednesday two weeks ago, I drove GW to the dealership and Mini followed me in the red minivan. When we got to the dealership, I got in to drive the red minivan home with Mini as my passenger.

I took this photo while driving the white
 (which still has a few car seats in there)
and that's Mini in the red behind me.
Get off my butt. 




Mini went to hang out at a friend's pool later that day. In order for her to get there, I drove in dad's car with the two girls. Mini hopped out and took the minivan from Coach's work, because she couldn't drive dad's car. Curly and I drove to our pool. 

The car place, we found out AFTER we dropped the van off, couldn't fit GW in until Friday. Groan. Coach comes home early on Wednesdays, so when I went to pick him up because Mini had the minivan, I told him that we should just take the gray car over and swap it with GW. We needed a car to get fixed while we had dad's car borrowed. 

Mini's lower leg (even though
 it looks like a shoulder)
 - while she had it bent on
 a stool. This was about a week later
when it was almost healed. 
He and Reg drove off in the gray, to do the swap. I was at home when Mini called,  sobbing. She'd been in a car accident. She rear-ended someone. No one was hurt. The air bags went off and the red minivan . . . well, RIP. That car was not going to pass the emissions test come July, so it was going to need to be replaced anyway. Still, so scary. 

Did I just say that she followed too close? How great that I stuck to my guns, refusing to let anyone else drive dad's car? Phew. Now we were down to two cars, and one of them was dad's. Gray in shop for brakes, white needing to go in for an overhaul. 

Time to buy a car. 


Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh no Mini! Yikes, I'm glad no one was hurt (other than her leg).
Ugh, sounds like a nightmare getting everyone where they need to be.

mbmom11 said...

Poor Mini! Even if no one was hurt badly, an accident -it's so shocking, esp if the airbags went off,
We had our kid car- only 175k miles on it- that was totaled in Feb. (My 16 yr old was driving to get her 50 hours for her license with me in passenger seat). We replaced it even though we had only 2 drivers home at the time. Summers always the worse. (Great that kids are working, rotten that it's always in 5 different directions). I'm a little paranoid about cars now and want to have an extra one at home just in case.
It's s pity the white van cost so much to fix, but at least it's a good solid car that can handle your family's needs. The selection for used cars is so tight and expensive now. I hope it comes back better than ever.

Colleen said...

Oh I feel your pain!!! We just bought our 4th car to keep up with all the drivers/workers here and it's so much better now. But we seem to have a repair or accident very often with our fleet and it's so disheartening. I hope you can find an elderly person who wants to give their car to a nice family for cheap. Ask your mechanic who he knows.

Pat Birnie said...

What a juggling act! Thank goodness that Mini is ok, although it must have been upsetting for her. And thank goodness for your dad’s car as well. You have one busy family! Now important question - what was your book club book?! I always like to hear what others are reading.

Jenny in WV said...

So scary! I'm glad Mini is ok!
Car shopping is my least favorite activity, hopefully it will be a quick and painless process for you!

Kari said...

All of that juggling must be exhausting.  I'm so glad Mini is okay. That had to be frightening. Xoxo

Busy Bee Suz said...

I would lose my freaking marbles! That is enough to DRIVE a person over the edge of sanity.

Poor Mini. I'm so happy her accident wasn't worse for her, but man o man, you called that one ahead of time. Hopefully, this is a wake-up call for her to give them more space.

Gigi said...

Oh no, poor Mini! Thank goodness she, or anyone else, wasn't seriously injured.

Ernie said...

Nicole - The phone calls from crying kids who can drive are my least favorite. My heart skips a beat. So very grateful that it wasn't more serious. Next summer Ed will be out of college. He will probably have a job in the city. Then he might buy a car, or rely on the train. What I'm saying is this might be the worst summer of car juggling. I'm guessing it improves from here.

Ernie said...

mbmom11 - A car accident is such a jarring experience. It really upset Mini, rightfully so. I think she will be more cautious. She better be. The cars and the car insurance with teenagers around is not easy. Sorry that you recently had an accident too. Ugh.

I love our white van. The radio works. The AC is downright amazing. The space cannot be beat. I so hope it serves us for three more years or a bit longer as long as I am still sitting.

Ernie said...

Pat - Juggling act is right. Next summer with Ed graduating might alleviate some of the car confusion. Time will tell. Mini sobbed, for a VERY long time. I broke down, just thinking of how horrible it could've been. Goodness. Motherhood, not a relaxing journey.

I am SO glad you asked about my book. It is my new favorite book. It's called The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. I think of it as Little House meets Dennis the Menace, but that doesn't do it justice. It is beautifully written. I just started 'The Boys' - memoir by Ron Howard and his brother Clint. So far, that is a good book too.

Ernie said...

Colleen - I figured you would understand the craziness of the summer and the cars. We so hope that the Great White will hold up now that we are pouring some money into it. I really was hoping for a new updated van. I drool when I see them out on the road. I am destined to look like I am driving a painter van/church bus. I've thought about having the kids put colored paint on their hands and mark up the sides of the van to give it a little detail.

Ernie said...

Jenny - Thanks for reminding me, I must post about the day we bought a new car. Can you say, we got a little perk there. Not in the form of a price cut, unfortunately. Still, I'll take a perk now and then.

My kids often call me shortly after they've left the house, like if their plans have changed or something. It always makes my heart stop because I fear they've been in an accident. It was a bummer, but so glad she's OK and that she didn't hurt anyone.

Ernie said...

Kari - If only we had enough cars for all of our drivers, and enough driveway space. That'd be something. It was frightening.

Ernie said...

Suz - I like what you did there with 'drive'. Well played. It is so confusing, and don't even ask me about the joy of getting in a car that the teen drivers have left on empty. Grrr.

We had been talking to her about her driving, and we weren't happy. Then again THAT MORNING. Good grief. The accident happened the very day that we picked up my dad's car from him. So glad his car was safe and sound, and perfectly clean . . . of course. Not a wrapper or a discarded pair of shoes or socks or workout bag to be found.

Yes, wake up call- big time.

Ernie said...

Gigi - Completely agree. I have paused a few times since the accident to recognize how awful that could have been. So scary.

joymariecooks said...

Oh my! I am glad no one was hurt (badly) and hope the car shopping experience is (was?) less painful than I'd imagine it is having bought a used car last year

ccr in MA said...

Oh, Ernie! I’m so glad she’s all right, but how scary for all. My goodness.

Pat Birnie said...

Ernie I will check out that book for sure! We listened to the audio version of The Boys while on a recent road trip - it’s SO good and I love that it’s narrated by Ron and Clint. You’ll love those Howard boys even more after hearing all their stories.

Ernie said...

joymarie - It was a relief that no one was hurt. Mini would've really had a tough time if she was responsible for someone being injured.

The car shopping experience was quick, not necessarily painless, in part because of Lad being in the biz and in part because we were desperate to get another set of wheels.

Ernie said...

ccr - It was a heart-thumping moment, but also a moment to stop and be grateful that only the cars were really damaged. Well, and my nervous system.

Ernie said...

Pat - I am excited for you to read The Whistling Season and tell me what you think. I really prefer non-fiction lately, but this book had a very plausible, real feeling to it. Love, love, love. The other women in my book club felt similarly.

I am enjoying The Boys. It is a wonder that Ron and Clint had such a solid upbringing/experience. I read a ton of it while at the resort with my family over the weekend. Did I just call my family gathering boring? Maybe. Reading poolside kept me on the straight and narrow vs. letting my sisters' goofiness trouble me.

Beth Cotell said...

Poor Mini!!! I'm glad she's okay but I know that was so scary for her. I'm sorry you ate having all these car issues. Hopefully you can find an affordable replacement for Red.

Ernie said...

Beth - Poor Mini and poor Mini's parents. The worry never ends as a parent, does it. At the end of the day, just glad she and the other people weren't hurt. We got another car, affordable . . . are there affordable cars right now? Ugh.