Saturday, February 2, 2013

I have PTSD from driving Ben's truck.

Kay.  So.  Maybe the day after New Year's Day?  Something like that?  Ben got a "new" car.  New to us.  Old to the world.  It's a 1968 Ford Something.  (I really don't pay attention to cars.  I have to think for a minute when people ask what kind of car I drive.  For reals.)

We really needed a second car, and Ben got a small Christmas bonus, so he decided to use it to get an, um...more mature car.  This way, we have no monthly car payment, which is nice.  I was thrilled to have a second car.  It uncomplicates things - I can take Micah to preschool, take Dylan to taekwondo, etc. without having to arrange to drive Ben to work in the wee hours of the morning and load up all the kids to pick him up at the end of the day.  I'm very grateful.  And I think it's really cute:
And yes, I know that "cute" should never be used to describe a man's car.  But it is.  I like the boxy lines on it.  And Ben's friend, Tim, a grease monkey (I've always wanted to use that term) gave it a two thumbs up before Ben bought it.

It's had a few issues in its past month with us.  The heat wasn't working, and this happened to be during that unfortunate cold snap we had for two weeks, when degrees plummeted to -25.  So that wasn't too fun for poor Ben.  He figured out that he had to flush the something.  (Again, I know NOTHING about cars.)  So he got our frozen hose from our garage and brought it into our house to thaw the frozen ice inside of it.  (Ben hadn't put it away before the first snowfall and it sat under the snow, on our lawn, until Christmas.)  So it eventually thawed out and leaked all over our floor. Which was fun for me.  Then he hooked it up to our hot water pipe behind our clothes washer into the basement, trailed it through our front door and to the truck, and did some kind of....flushing...which then fixed the heat. 

We had fun inside during this time.  It was, as I said, in the negatives outside, and the garden hose is, like, maybe an inch in diameter? So the door couldn't close.  So I kept stuffing towels in the crack that was letting the subzero wind into the house.  And then Ben would come in, and all the towels would fall, and then I'd stuff them in again while he was adjusting the hose was special, special times.

Something else was wrong with it, so Tim came and they fixed that issue:
And then something else was wrong, so we took it to the shop for a couple of days at that point...

But I figured, hey, at least we have a second car.  I'm grateful.

It smells like an old truck my grandpa had when I was a kid.  Just a very distinctive smell.  It brings back pleasant memories.  I loved how big the seat was inside, and I loved when my grandpa would jerk the steering wheel back and forth wildly when we were out on the country roads.  I thought it was so funny.

I learned yesterday that Ben should be the only one to drive this truck.  He took our more reliable car down to Pocatello yesterday afternoon.  Dylan had a Taekwondo rank test down there, and this was going to be Ben's first experience seeing Dylan in a rank test.  And he didn't think his truck would make it to Pocatello and back.

In the meantime, Micah kept begging and begging for us to go get some pizza at the Pizza Pie Cafe.  So did Sadie.  They adore the dessert pizza.  And heck, so do I.  But I kept thinking, "Do I dare drive that monstrosity across town to get it??" 

In the end, my greed for Oreo Dessert Pizza won out over...common sense...and I ordered some for takeout (they don't deliver).  I thought, "Dude, I can drive this thing.  I learned to drive on a stick, and we had a stick clear until May of 2011.  No big deal."

OMGeeeeeeeeeee.  Never AGAIN.

I started 'er up, and it started great, so I thought, cool.  I should have gotten the hint within the first few blocks, when we were driving out of our neighborhood, that we were going to have a problem.  There isn't any power steering, so I'm pulling the dang steering wheel as hard as I possibly can, and it makes really, really wide turns.  It takes about a block of pushing down on the brake as hard as I can to actually STOP.

Sadie started getting a really worried look in her eyes, and Micah learned to scoot closer to Sadie to avoid getting hit by my elbow as I shifted the, like, six-foot-long stick.  Every time we would brake, Micah would let out a little scream.  I kept thinking, "If someone darts in front of us, I'm not going to be able to stop fast enough.  We will plow right into them." 

The main road we were on is a little rough, and the tires are kind of wide, so we were wiggling all over the lane.  I was literally having to jerk the steering wheel back and forth, like a bad actor in a movie scene does.  You know, when they're supposed to be going straight, but they're kind of wiggling the steering wheel back and forth? And you're like, "Dude, if you're going straight, you don't jerk the steering wheel back and forth."  Parenthetically, Ben wants to get new, thinner tires.  I vote for, you know, fixing the braking system first.  Or, you know, fixing the spedometer so that you actually know how fast you're going.  Then we can talk about the thickness of the tires.

The heating system had these weird, complicated knob things that you pull in and out and turn right and left.  Luckily, I figured out how to turn on the defrost, but I couln't figure out how to turn it down, so we were roasting in there.  Or at least I was roasting, because I was in a nervous sweat...

I had to run to the bank first, so I slowed very carefully at the turn-in for the bank, and then grunted as I tried to turn right, hand over hand.  And then the truck stalled.  So I was trying to start it again, and I put my foot on the brake to keep it from rolling anywhere while I did that, but I forgot that you have to stamp ALL THE WAY DOWN to make the brakes actually work, and I rolled a little backwards into a lady who was waiting on the road right behind me. 

I actually didn't feel it at all.  I had no idea I had even touched her car until I looked into the side view mirror and saw how close she was to the back of the truck and the look on her face.

I was able to re-start the truck, and then pull into the parking lot.  She pulled in next to me, and we both got out to assess the damage.  There was just one teeny scratch on the front of her car, maybe 1/8 of an inch long.  I apologized profusely and asked if she wanted to exchange information, and I explained that this was my first time driving my husband's piece of crap truck, and she just started laughing and laughing.  She said the scratch was no big deal.  "After all," she said, "This is a 2008.  It's not like it's new or anything." 

I smiled.  Um, it's newer than a 1968...

I should have just done my business at the bank and GONE HOME, but the kids were still begging for their Oreo Pizza, and against my better judgement, I decided to still go get it.

I was white-knuckling it and praying the whole time.  Please, light, stay green.  Please, car in front of me, don't brake suddenly.  Please, Heavenly Father, let us survive this ride...

We picked up the damn pizza and managed, somehow, to get home.  I've never been so happy to exit a vehicle in my life.  I am never, ever, ever driving that thing again.  I'm very aware of my mortality and not interested in putting it, nor my kids' mortality, in jeopardy ever again.

I was supposed to drop Sadie off for a sleepover after we ate our pizza, and we chose to walk her there instead of drive there.  None of us was interested in getting into that thing again. 

Ben and Dylan ended up returning early from the Taekwondo test (Dyl chickened out and wouldn't test.  Which is weird.  A different post for a different time), and I told Ben about our adventure in what I'm deciding to call The Baby Blue Beast.  He laughed and laughed and told me he couldn't believe I tried that. 

The man is so much braver than I am.  I can't believe he has to drive this thing across town twice a day.  And he acts like it's no big deal.

Today, Sadie and Micah went grocery shopping with Ben.  As they went outside, Ben said, "Hey, should we take my truck?"  Sadie and Micah both yelled, "NO!!"

As I was driving to work this evening in my nice, normal, power-steering, regular-braked car along the same road we traveled yesterday, I was having traumatic flashbacks and shivers.

Never again.


lexykay said...

I've only had to drive once with that type of steering wheel. It's so hard!! It's been so long since I drove a stick, I wonder if I even could, haha. At least you have another car!

Mindy H. said...

What an adventure! And what luck that, out of all the grumpy drivers on the road, you tapped one of the seven remaning drivers with common sense and a sense of humor.

I hope you don't have too many flashbacks!

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