About a month ago my son started looking for housing in a very tight housing market. Not many places were even available for what he needed. What was available was ridiculously expensive. He finally found a reasonably priced place to live within biking distance from the college. After checking it out and meeting the roommates, they offered him the room. He was excited, but did have some concerns. For the first time in about a year he asked for my advice. I was opposed simply because it was a small home with all girls in the other rooms. I told him that if he would just do the right thing for the right reason that a better option would open up for him and he would be glad that he had passed on this one. He decided to take my advice, but it was almost another month of constant looking before he was offered another contract. I have no doubt that he regretted his decision more than once.
This last week we helped him move into his own place. He “beat out” about 30 other students who were also applying for the contract. He is across the street from his college, and can see his classrooms from his front door. He has a much, much nicer place. Once you consider the utilities and amenities that are included in the rent, it is actually less expensive as well. Throw in the fact that he also has a nice on-site pool, and I think my promise was kept. Phew!
Yesterday I received a surprise phone call. The day before I had visited a local thrift store that was having a sale on used bikes. All my kids have outgrown their bikes, and I decided to see what they had. I ended up purchasing three bikes. Yesterday the manager called me (I had given out my husband’s business card) and he told me that he forgot to give me the sale price on one of the bikes. I stopped back in and they actually issued me a refund for the difference between sale price and full price of the third bike! It is not often that you find people that honest. 🙂 Being back to school time, I really appreciated the cash.
As I was driving around in this nasty heat, my mind went back to a few years ago when we had decided to take a small vacation in July. We decided to travel to a favorite vacation spot about 2 hours away. On the way there our car decided to break down. We had just put a new engine in and should have been good to go, but no. An hour into the two hour drive through nothing but desert we were stranded on the side of the freeway. Fortunately we did have some cell phone coverage, and fortunately we also had towing coverage on our vehicle.
That day it was also extremely hot, and with the vehicle dead we could not get the air conditioning going while we were waiting the hour and a half for the tow truck to get out to us. For some reason, on that particular trip, we couldn’t find our blue ice, so we had decided to bring an ice chest full of cold and frozen water bottles, and several large jugs full of ice. Definitely overkill for a two hour trip. We were able to keep everyone relatively cool and hydrated, (including several young children and a nursing infant) and avoid any heat related problems. I have often looked back on that experience and considered the atypical choice to bring so much frozen water with us a miracle. It is entirely possible that it may have even saved the life of our young child. Not only were we fortunate to have the water with us that day, but they were able to tow us all the way to a shop within walking distance of our hotel, and the repair turned out to be rather minor.
Fixing up our “new” car includes cleaning it thoroughly. I thought we’d take a layer of dirt off, then be good, but the vehicle wasn’t worth much more than that. I cleaned one layer, then realized it was worse than I thought. Spent an entire day cleaning. By the end of the day it looked so much better. Then I found several spots I had missed. Eventually spent another entire day cleaning it, including a trip to the car wash for inside and out, and a partial wax job. I now realize that if I spend another entire day, it may look really good. We even nicknamed our vehicle “Mahana” because she may just be a great vehicle if we take better care of her than her previous owners did.
I think we are the same way as people. First we decide we probably just need to repent and cleans ourselves of the obvious sins. The harder we work to clean ourselves the more we realize we have to do. It all becomes worth it when we see our full potential. Included this little thought in respect of the fact that the miracle of the atonement is available in it’s completeness every day, and for every layer.
My severely “directionally challenged” daughter was able to drive herself to church and home yesterday. Sounds everyday simple, but in the context of her personal challenges, it was actually a major accomplishment.
She has spent the last several years with a license, but not driving because of her difficulties with directions. It is just difficult to be a safe driver when you have no idea where you are. Her goal this summer is to re-learn to drive and to work on overcoming this challenge. Her young adult ward overlaps times with our family ward, so one of our goals is for her to just get herself to and from church independently. She has been driving many errands with me for the last three weeks, but most of them short trips and close to home. We actually had to practice with her driving the route to the church several times before she felt ready. Her trial “solo run” to the high school (2 miles round trip) was a disaster with her getting lost and the trip lasting over half an hour. At least she and the car were both in one piece. So yesterday was, I think, the first time ever that she had driven herself that far (about 4 miles round trip.) And she didn’t even get lost!
We only get rain a few days a year here. When we do it is often at night. This creates an occasional problem because I consistently neglect my dried out and heat battered windshield wipers. Then when it does rain, I can’t see, but it doesn’t last long so I just drive carefully, promise myself I’ll remember to replace them this time, then forget for another six months.
We did our safety inspection early this year, and I actually remembered to replace my wipers rather than get another warning. This was all one week before it rained!
Keeping used cars running takes a little money, and a lot of luck. It also takes more knowledge and experience than I have, so this next post is probably more about saving me from my own ignorance than anything else.
We have an extra car sitting in our garage. I personally see no need to have more cars than drivers, but we held on to it because it was paid for and we will have extra drivers home for the summer, and a new driver a few months after that. It had been running really rough and not always shifting properly, but it would be good one day, bad the next. Then the silly alarm system kept going off at all hours, so we finally just disconnected the battery. Since then it has been sitting, gathering dust, with a flat tire as a bonus. What a waste of garage space I thought.
Decided it was time to see if it would run again or not – basically registration is coming up. Hubby pulled the tire, found a large nail, and got that fixed. Then he pulled out the battery that was no longer holding the charge, found it well past its life expectancy, and replaced it. For the price of a flat repair and new battery I feel like we have a new vehicle! We still need to test it out further, but it looks like the bad battery was probably the cause of all the sporadic issues we were having. Go figure.
As we got ready to go on our trip last week, I decided to make sure that the car was good to go. It was getting close to time for an oil change, and one of the tires was wearing funny. I kept forgetting to take care of it, but at the last minute we got it in.
I told the mechanics that we were going on a trip, and could they check that tire and see if anything else needed attention. I usually don’t make a habit of telling mechanics to let me know everything that is wrong with an older car, because it usually will cost me more than the vehicle is worth.
They called back saying, yes – the one tire was completely bad and would have gone out on us. Not only that, they also checked a small leak that was coming from the engine and found a serious problem developing. They told us that it was a $1,000 – $2,000 repair, but because they had found it so early, they could still put a stop leak option in for $20, and it will probably fix the problem for another 3 -5 years.
We still decided that a 14 hour drive wasn’t the safest option for that vehicle and opted for the rental, but at least we found the problem while it was still small. I can’t think of any other scenario where we would have found that leak early.
We took our family on a trip this last weekend. Finding a reliable vehicle for long road trips that will seat our large family without breaking the bank has been a struggle. A few months back a generous family member was able to upgrade their vehicle and give us their old clunker, affectionately named “Trusty Rusty.” Another relative even refers to him as the “Miracle Van.”
He’s not much to look at, and has a lot of mileage under his hood. We drove him over 500 miles this weekend without a single problem. I don’t know how, but he gets as good of gas mileage as our economy car of the same age. It was wonderful to be able to be with family for their important event.
Nothing earth shattering today, but a big help is the fact that our car passed safety inspection with no problem.
The car is 22 years old, has 244,000 miles, and does not come with a car payment. We’ve never had it not pass safety inspection in all the time we have owned it! Two of our boys have crashed the doors, but those were inexpensive fixes and no one got hurt. We love our old clunker, and it looks like we’ve got another year with it!