A few days ago, I got a call from my sister that definitely unsettled me. Still does, actually. I think about that call all the time.
She's fine. Family is fine.
But her car is not.
See, my sister and I, coincidentally drive the same car. They were a model year apart, little differences in the interior, but we essentially had the same vehicle, same mileage, same everything. We both whine about the lack of roominess, the minor annoyances, the inability to carpool effectively. But it was kind of convenient that we drive the same car.
Drove the same car. Because what she was calling to tell me was that, on a drive home from a ski trip, her transmission basically imploded (I'm sure there's a better way to describe that, but this is what I'm going with), the car, in traffic, became undriveable, and as they found out after a lengthy tow and a sobering conversation with their mechanic, a big mess. Needs a new transmission, and, as it turns out, basically a new engine too, because the head gasket blew too. Fixing it would be a huge expense that doesn't seem worth it to take on. So now she and her husband are forced into car shopping.
This is not the end of the world. It's almost ten years old, with high mileage. Getting a new car isn't a ridiculous prospect. In fact, now that she's come to terms with the situation, she's actually looking on the bright side, comparing models and preparing to say a final goodbye to the things she didn't love.
As anyone who follows this blog knows, I'm desperate for a new car myself. I've been yearning for a minivan, but Adam's actually talked me out of that now, and I'm looking at a "regular" sized SUV with a third row option for the carpooling I'm apparently desperate to do. So I should be feeling envious, not unsettled. I should be jealous.
But the thing is, I don't want my hand forced. And with a car that has its share of creaks and rattles and moans, having my hand forced is a possibility that, now, I feel like I really need to face. The car isn't perfect, but it drives fine. But Janine's car drove fine...until it didn't. She knew it wasn't in perfect condition, but she didn't realize that a transmission failure was imminent. What could be lurking under my hood? I don't want to pay a huge amount of preventative maintenance money when I'll probably be replacing it within a year, but I also don't want to end up on the side of a highway with two little girls.
So right now, to keep things on my time, I'm doing the little things that make me feel in control. I'm keeping an eye on my tires (a tough one with all the potholes everywhere). I'm making sure I'm changing the oil before I really need to. I'm staying aware of what my car actually sounds like when I start the engine, and when it drives, and I'm looking into what a changing sound means.
And I'm still lusting after my new car...on my time.