$1,967.70

That’s how much my husband wrote the check for yesterday afternoon at the local Ford dealership, where we’d taken our pickup for repairs.

We bought the pickup back in 2005, when it was two years old.  I had just signed on for what we thought was a very important and great-paying job, and so Beau and I treated ourselves to a pickup.  We were free-flying newlyweds back then.  Twelve years down the road, our pickup is long paid off, and we can only wish — now that we’ve grown into a family of five — that she was a four-door instead of an extended cab.

DSC00702.jpg

This pickup is, perhaps surprisingly in this day and age, our family’s one and only vehicle — except for our stock trailer.  We are, after all, raising three kids on cowboy’s wages, so buying anything like a vehicle would be a mighty big commitment for us.  So when her front end started knocking and squeaking back in January, we parked her with full intentions of getting her to the mechanic any day now.  We expected the bill to be fairly hefty, as we’d been neglecting some persistent problems in the front end for a few months.  So while we were waiting to win a small lottery to put toward pickup repairs, we borrowed my folks’ car, long-term, just like the schlepps we are.

Three months passed.  Days went by in a blur of dirty diapers, alphabet recitations, and corporate ranch mayhem.  Our pickup just sat outside the yard here.  Then — ta-da! — April came and we got a tax refund and we decided we had better act like grown-ups and get our pickup fixed.  So we took ‘er in to the Ford dealership.  And yesterday Beau laid off a little early and our family drove to Forsyth, in Grandma and Grandpa’s car, to get our pickup, which we had been told was finished.  As in, fixed.

The dealership stayed open a few extra minutes after closing time waiting for us to get there.  Beau wrote the check and we drove our pickup off the lot… again… 12 years after we paid for it the first time.

We were so proud to have our own vehicle again that we celebrated by taking the kids to the movie:

boss baby

So.  Cute.  Can’t wait to buy it — I can totally picture myself watching it 58 times in a row with my kids.  The Boss Baby is perhaps especially meaningful for our family because we live with our own boss baby:  2-year-old Marsielle.

After the movie our family headed home.  Beau drove the kids in my parents’ car; I, gifted a half-hour of quiet sanity by my husband, drove the pickup home solo.  We drove 20 minutes, then exited the interstate.

And then…

10 minutes from home…

our pickup started making noises again.  Think fast-moving-freight-train-with-all-the-brakes-on noises.

I was so mad I could hardly sleep last night.  This morning, I asked Beau menacingly if he was going to call the mechanics at the Ford dealership — or if I should.  I told him this mama’d be happy to call and open up a can of… cream of mushroom soup.

It was six o’clock in the morning after another restless night — a baby crying twice, a boy who slept on the couch, a 4-year-old who was in our bed for a while then insisted I relocate with her back to her own bed.  And we were facing another day without our own vehicle, wondering if almost two thousand precious dollars would’ve been better spent as a down-payment on a new four-door pickup.  (Dodge.  Shiny red.   Diesel.  Flatbed.  Not that I’m picky.)

Yet I couldn’t bring myself to swear about it.  Any normal person would’ve opened up a can of whoop-ass.  (I find it easier to type out a curse word than to actually say it; a college writing professor once told me that writing without the occasional swear word is pretentious, stuffy and unnatural.)  But me, I’m not a natural curser.  I guess it’s a result of my high breeding.  I always get flustered trying to swear.  And Beau has to stifle his chuckles.  And then we both end up with the giggles.

So I didn’t call the Ford dealership.  But Beau did.  Know what they said?  That we should keep driving it and it’ll probably come out of it.

Wha-whaaaaa?

© Tami Blake

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