Patience, faith, and auto repairs.

car_repair

Patience isn’t one of my virtues and I often doubt my faith due to my trust issues. I need more of both, but I had just enough to get through my crisis. God proves to me over and over again that He does exist and He does listen to my prayers.

I’ve been praying a lot about my car/money situation and my recent depression. A few days ago, I decided to go to the church and talk to my priest about my issues, and also, on a whim, asked him if there was a car repair fund so I could get my car fixed. He said there wasn’t, but he would talk to a man who also attends my church, whose son owns a car repair place.

I called the man, named Mike, and left a message, not expecting much from this. He called back today, and said his son was going to come over to take a look at my car (I could not move it out of my driveway and haven’t driven it in almost a month). A few hours later, Mike’s son, David, arrived with a “doctors toolkit.”

First, he plugged the car up to a diagnostic computer that told him what the problem was. Actually, it was several problems, none of them severe on their own. After jumpstarting the vehicle (because it hadn’t been started in so long the battery had no charge), he was able to get to work–without ever removing my car from my driveway!

gods_patience

Three cylinders out of six weren’t working, due to bad spark plugs, a worn gasket, and a bad coil. I was worried about the price, but was told it would cost me nothing (he was informed about my lack of ability to pay). He test drove the car, brought it back and asked me to drive it for abotu 20 minutes until the battery was fully recharged.

It was a beautiful day and I drove for awhile, enjoying the music from my above-average stereo system (which is one reason I’ve held onto this car so long). It still doesn’t do great going up hills, but it can, and other than that, the car is running just fine!

I also spoke to my father, who apparently had been informed by my son about my car issues and had planned on helping!:o He wants me to set up a Skype account since his Parkinson’s makes it hard for him to have phone conversations without the visuals.

The moral of this story is prayer does work, but sometimes you just need a little patience. God doesn’t always answer right away, but he does hear you, and if you have faith, He will come through, often in unexpected ways and when you least expect it.

I feel a little less depressed now that I have a roommate again (who seems fine so far) and a running car! And a father who DOES care.

Advertisements

Little gifts on a crappy day.

new_geodes
Latest additions to my rock and geode collection.

Life can be surprising. On the whole, today has been a crappy day, but there’s always something to make a bad day more tolerable, if you just pay attention. God doesn’t forget about you even when things seem hopeless and you’re ready to either pull out all your hair or kill someone.

My day started like this. I’m trying to get my car legal but everything about it has been so hard. It failed inspection because of the emissions test. I go through this crap every year. Because I’m off work this week I finally have time to get this shite taken care of, but after everything I need to do is finally done, it’s going to eat up half this week. Cars require more maintenance and cost more than kids, I swear. Especially if you are too poor to buy a new one and are forced to drive an old beater like mine.

Sitting in the repair shop at about 9 AM and feeling put upon and surly, I posted this on my Facebook wall:

So i’m sitting here at the car repair shop trying to get my 13 year old junker fixed so it can pass the emissions inspection…or i can at least get a waiver from the dmv so i’m not driving this pos illegally anymore…gonna spend some time at the library or the rock shop while i wait. Then tomorrow probably going to have to wait around at the dmv all day for the waiver if i still fail inspection. This state just wants to suck money from you any way they can…if i lived in south carolina, florida or tennessee i wouldn’t have to put up with this shit, spend money i don’t have, and waste half my vacation on this. Sorry about all the lower case letters but i’m trying to type this on my phone.

They told me there were 5-6 cars ahead of mine and they probably wouldn’t be able to get to it until late this afternoon and I didn’t want to wait that long, so I decided to start walking home (I had no access to a ride and taxis are way too expensive). The walk home was 5 1/2 miles, in the burning hot sun, along roads with no sidewalks. I will NOT walk back today, but am prepard to walk back there in the morning to get the car early in the morning when it’s cooler (I’ll be sure to wear better shoes instead of the flip flops I wore today).

But it won’t be over. Not anywhere near it. Once I get the car, I have to take it back for a second inspection. If I don’t pass, I can take the second “fail” inspection plus all the receipts for the work I had done (you are required to spend at least $200 to prove you at least tried to get it fixed) to the DMV and stand in line for a waiver so I can drive the car legally. THEN I have to take the waiver to the tag office and tax office (two separate buildings) and pay for the registration and taxes. This crap is going to eat up most of my vacation week.

My court date is August 6th (I was pulled over last month for a expired tags because of the failed inspection) but this week is the only time I have to get all this crap done. I probably won’t have a day to just relax and do other things until Thursday. It really pisses me off because the car is safe to drive, and would pass inspection anywhere else. It’s a waste of time and money in my humble opinion.

But there were a few small things that happened that made this ordeal a little less aggravating and even made me smile. Before I made the decision to walk home from the repair shop, which is in an area with a lot of funky shops and outdoor eateries, I decided to get coffee and a muffin from one of the cafes. I sat down at one of their little outdoor tables, read a book I brought with me, and ate the muffin and drank the coffee, which were both delicious.

I happen to collect rocks and geodes, and across the street was a rock shop. Most of their rocks and geodes are indoors, but some of the less expensive ones are displayed on tables in front of the store or in little fountains. I found a large geode filled with white crystals that kind of spoke to me. The shop wasn’t open yet but an employee was just pulling in. I asked him how much the geode was and he said he thought it was $5. I was shocked such a big, beautiful rock would be that cheap. He said he’d have it held for me and to come back in 15 minutes.

When I returned, the woman in the store told me I’d been quoted the wrong price and it was actually $15. I guess she saw my disappointment because then she smiled and said since $5 was the price given to me that she would sell it to me for that price. I was overjoyed. I selected 3 small colorful stones (the red one in the photo is actually a piece of glass) from one of the outside fountains. So I walked away happy, prepared to trudge the 5 1/2 miles back to my house.

Along the way, I saw a dead bush whose branches intrigued me because of the pattern they made. This is not a black and white photo but looks like one:

branches

About 45 minutes later (when I was about halfway home), I had to stop and rest and refill the water bottle I was carrying. I found a Shell station that had a little sitting area next to it complete with a bench to sit on near the curb. I placed the rocks down on the curb and took the beautiful photo of them you see at the top of this page. When I looked up, I saw something else–a magnolia tree in full bloom, so I decided I needed a couple of pictures of that too:

magnolias1 magnolias2

I walked the rest of the way home thinking about the post I was going to write and suddenly the issue with the car seemed a little less aggravating and overwhelming. I even felt that these little gifts from nature were God’s way of letting me know he was always there no matter what.

ETA: About 15 minutes before the shop closed, I called them and was told they were actually able to FIX the problem and I should be able to pass inspection, but was told to drive about 100 miles first to make sure the engine light doesn’t go back on.

So I got the idea to go back to The Light Center in Black Mountain tomorrow, which will put about 100 miles on the car. I found this place to be very peaceful and healing when I went there last September and wrote this post about it (this blog was exactly one week old!) I’ve been wanting to go back anyway while I’m off. (I don’t think this is incompatible in any way with my Christian faith). If the light doesn’t go back on, then I should pass inspection and will be able to bypass the waiver thing at the DMV and just be able to go get the car registered and that will be the end of it, God be willing.

My dead car.

my_deadcar

So my transmission just died. It was acting up for almost a year and finally gave out this morning when I tried to go forward and the car went nowhere. The only way I could go was in reverse.

My dilemma: do I throw good money after bad to have it fixed/replaced or get a new car? It’s a tough decision.

I don’t want to be locked into monthly payments which are a huge financial burden on someone with my income, nor do I want to buy someone else’s problem. Forget about buying a new car. I know my car. I know its quirks. I’m thinking that if everything else looks okay, it might be worth getting the transmission rebuilt or replaced. I have almost enough for that right now. I could save up the rest over a few weeks.

My car is a 2001 Ford Taurus sedan (yeah I know, lol) but it has an absolutely fantastic sound system that I don’t want to give up…I know that’s probably not a good reason to try to have it fixed but I really don’t want a new car right now. I like this car and I own it free and clear.

I could be set back $1600 at BEST…I already gave them permission to remove the tranny…that alone sets me back $389. I’d be hesitant to tell them to forget it now, unless they tell me it’s going to cost over $2K.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a place where I didn’t need to drive or have a car. Even when your car’s paid off, they’re more expensive than children–what with all the upkeep, oil changes, gas, repairs, car insurance, registration, etc. They’re a never-ending money drain.

My registration expires this month. So I have that to worry about too. It won’t pass inspection because my check engine light is on again. I go through this every year.