I had this very cheerful, burbley post planned all about the plans for Big Brother’s wedding celebration (I need to stop calling it Big Brother’s wedding, because that’s actually going to happen weeks earlier in Korea), but then first the priest we had scheduled to say Mass for us had to cancel (he discovered he was scheduled to do Confirmations at one of his parishes) and then on my way to Sae’s final fitting for her wedding dress, the one at which I was fated to learn The Ways of The Bustle, I had another episode of my current bout of Fun With Cars, and not even buying a lovely climbing rose bush (which I think I will plant in a very large pot to avoid the prospect of having to abandon yet another garden) and a long spell sitting and reading books in the bookstore could salvage the mood.
The deal with my car is that I apparently have a hole in my radiator. The first inkling I had of this was a few weeks ago, when driving home from running an errand down by the Dayton Mall, I started smelling a Very Bad Smell, and then as I was on the off ramp from the highway, all the warning lights on my dash lit up at once, and when I coasted to a stop at the light, I discovered that my car was dead and did not want to start again. I eventually did persuade it to start and drove it home (luckily my house was very close) but it made horrible death rattle noises and was smoking. Even someone as clueless about cars as I am knows that this is Bad. So I got AAA to tow the car out to my Hero Mechanic’s shop, where he discovered that the main thing wrong with the car was that it desperately needed an oil change, and it was completely out of coolant. He remedied these faults, and everything seemed to be well again.
Then last weekend when I was trying to head down to Mai’s Bridal Shower in Westchester, my car overheated. I was in the construction zone an I-75 south of the Dayton Mall, and there was nowhere to pull over, so I ended up in the parking lot of the Springboro Wal-Mart. Hero Mechanic had told me that I was going to need to add some coolant, which I’d meant to do but just kept forgetting until it was too late to do it that day, so I figured that this was probably the problem and I was getting my just deserts for procrastinating. So I texted Mai that I wasn’t going to make it, wandered around Wal-Mart for about an hour and a half waiting for the car to cool off, then bought a jug of antifreeze/coolant, poured it into the appropriate opening under the hood, and drove home. The thermometer never edged above a quarter the entire way home, and I thought my problem was solved.
The next morning, when I was driving home from Mass, my car tried to overheat again. I found this rather distressing, and consulted with Rosie about it (she has a degree stating that she Knows About Cars). She told me that I very likely had a leak either in my radiator or in one of the gaskets, and until I could afford to pay to have a mechanic run a pressure test, I would just have to make sure I kept the coolant topped up at all times. So I’ve been doing that. Every morning I go out with my bucket of water and fill up the radiator and top up the reservoir. And so far it seemed to be working. It even got me out to dancing and back on Wednesday night without a hitch.
I figured the acid test would be whether it could get me out to the appointment at Sae’s seamstress (located out in Carlisle) today or not. And it failed. The needle on the thermometer was creeping up as I neared the end of the highway part of my journey. I hoped that street driving would be better, but apparently not. By the time I’d gotten a few miles off the highway the needle was climbing higher and higher, until finally it hit the red and I had to pull over into the parking lot of a CVS and call Sae to let her know where I was. In the end she and Fleur came to get me so I could learn how to bustle Sae’s dress while my car cooled. By the time we got back, the engine had cooled enough that I could add more coolant to the radiator and the reservoir. I decided not to try to make it all the way home in one go, but stopped off by the Dayton Mall for grocery shopping, and decided to let the car cool while I hung out in a book store before topping it off again for the journey home.
The problem is that, while I know exactly what’s wrong with my car (I could point the hole out to you – it’s the one dribbling water out while I try to put it in), I can’t afford to fix it. There’s just no money. I try not to talk about money much, partly because, while the economy is squeezing everyone, there are very few people in my circle of friends who are being squeezed as hard as I am. Plus, poverty is, well, embarrassing. I don’t want to admit how many times I’ve turned down invitations to things because I couldn’t afford to pay my way, or I couldn’t afford the gas it would take to get there. These days money is even tighter, what with the fast-approaching Weddingpalooza, and I don’t honestly know how or when I’m going to find the money to fix my car. And, well, that’s really depressing.
On the not-depressing side (we strive for balance here at “That’s A Dancer’s Leg, Margaret!”) today my Big Boss came out his office, walked straight down to my desk and asked me if I would be willing to come along on a trip to check out a potential sponsor. I said yes, and he started laughing because I hadn’t even asked where we would be going. Then he told me that this sponsor is in Kauai, as in Kauai, Hawaii, as in tropical paradise. Friends, I have never been to a tropical paradise, and I don’t care if I’m stuck in meetings all day taking notes. I’d go in a heartbeat! For a little while Boss J and I talked about the possibility of both trying to go, but then we came to the conclusion that the two of us together in any tropical paradise would probably end in that paradise getting pretty thoroughly wrecked, and the end of it being considered a paradise. So we decided that only one of us should go. For the sake of the children. Plus none of us want to leave the office to the tender mercies of the Other Admin. So it looks like, if this trip really ends up happening, and if it doesn’t happen to fall on top of one of the upcoming Family Weddings, I just might get an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.