December 20, 2015

It’s December 14. Folks everywhere are putting up their Christmas trees, hanging lights, and shopping for loved ones. But all I can think about is the fact that our 1999 Saturn SL2 might be ready for the junk heap and our rental car is due to be turned in on Saturday the 19th. I knew Tracey was apprehensive about the prospect of buying a new (actually, replacement) car on such short notice – as a scientific type she needs time to look at every possible scenario at every possible angle before pulling the trigger on anything – but, frankly, we had done as much prior homework as we possibly could have and now was no time for dilly-dallying.

It was unseasonably cold and dark when we test drove the 2014 Maxima at Enterprise Car Sales, and the Maxima was the same model as the one Tracey had rented a few weeks prior. So we pulled the trigger. A nice (and rare) blue model with a black interior, 34K on the odometer, at a price we could handle by paying cash. Whether our teeth were chattering because of the cold or because of the stress we both felt at the time I can’t say (I’m guessing it was a combination of the two), but the deed had finally been done. The only problem in Tracey’s eyes was that the Maxima had a slight pull to the right; no problem says the Enterprise guy, I can take it to my Firestone guy and they’ll do a front-end alignment at no charge.

Earlier in the day I had had a chat with Bob at AAA auto repair, and he assured me that he felt the transmission issue I had encountered with the Saturn on Saturday was nothing more than the result of the catalytic converter failing and the fuel injectors sending false info to the transmission. Sounded logical to me, so knowing I was gonna be out $1,200 after all was said and done I gave him permission to proceed.

On Wednesday I take the Maxima to Firestone and they take care of the alignment issue. I’m congratulated for finally getting a newer car than the 1999 – as the front desk guy tells me, “You finally got a car older than the Clinton presidency!” The best I can do is work up a weak smile.

Two hours later I’m back at the AAA auto repair place. Bob at the front desk tells me all went great and the car will last me another 50K miles at least. So call me surprised when, as I’m pulling out of the lot, the car jolts as it shifts into first gear, then again going into second, then the familiar racing as it goes into third, then the loud bang as it shifts into fourth. To put it mildly, I am beyond pissed, and I’ll admit, I’m making a scene back at the repair shop counter. An elderly lady in particular looks at me in bemusement as I absolutely rail against Bob, who calmly takes it, then suggests we take a drive.

Now it’s Bob who is unhappy as the Saturn jolts and lurches its way around the block. I’m beside myself, my stress meter running into the red, and he’s pissed that what he told me on Monday turns out to be – yep – a lie. In my mind I’ve just wasted $1,200; in his mind he’s lost a lot of integrity. He hands me a card of a transmission guy in Mesa and assures me the catalytic converter work they did needed to be done and will keep the car running smooth for another 50K miles, and his transmission guy “Captain Kirk” will do right by me. The Saturn bangs and lurches itself home and I tuck it in the garage for safe keeping.

Thursday I call the Captain, and he tells me to come by on Friday. “Don’t worry”, he assures me, “I like those SL2s, they’re indestructible. Why, for one guy in your position I ended up finding a transmission in a junk yard for $500 that worked perfectly well. Come on by and we’ll give it a good look-see.”

Somehow I’m not feeling assured. That night I get my Christmas cards done while listening to Pink Floyd.

On Friday I bring the Saturn over to Captain Kirk. He looks at the paperwork I gave him from AAMCO five years ago when the original transmission was replaced and I was charged $3,800 for the work. “You’re not going to like this”, he says, “but that guy took you for $2,000 more than it should have cost.” He has a guy do a test drive and comes back saying the transmission problem is due to an “electrical problem”. Minimum charge will be $100, then they’ll see what happens after they fix that. He’s pretty confident the transmission doesn’t need to be replaced.

Both Vegas and Christmas seem very far away.

“We’ll take care of this for you”, says Captain Kirk, “but do me a favor: take it straight home and don’t drive it until you bring it back here on Monday.” I feel as if I’ve lost control of my whole world. When I get home I down the first Johnny Walker Red I’ve had in two years.

So that’s where things stand. We have a new Maxima that drives great. We have a Saturn with a transmission issue yet to be resolved. It’s five days before Christmas and I could care less about the day. In fact, were it not for the presents already starting to appear under the Christmas tree I’d be taking down the decorations tomorrow. I’ve hated the idea of spending money on cars for years and this is exactly why.

Per Andy Williams, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. NOT. I’m not hearing sleigh bells and ho-ho-hos, I’m hearing the sound of dead presidents sliding out of my wallet on a daily basis. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or the 4th of July – that’s not a sound you like to hear any time of the year!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:38 | Comments (0)
No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info