We hurriedly dashed the kids off to Tracy's house for the entire night so we could make the four hour drive south to get a car. Saint Tracy? That sounds about right. We drove down the highway through rush hour traffic, arranging paperwork and financing and details over the phone on the way. The dealership said they'd stay open after-hours to accommodate us. We prayed the car wouldn't break down before we got there, since you have to be able to drive your vehicle on to the dealers' lot to qualify for the Clunkers program.
We came barrelling in the dealership doors about 3 minutes before close. The overdrive off light was flashing on and off in "Big Blue" (our 1997 Ford Explorer). The driver side rear-view mirror was missing as were hubcaps. I'm sure we were a sight.
Poor Big Blue. She suffers from some problematic electrical misfirings. The Check Engine light has been on since 2001 or so. The doors have a really awesome trick where when you press "Unlock" they all unlock except Andrew's door. It locks. When you press "Lock" they all lock except Andrew's door. It unlocks. You should see me trying to get the kids out of the car. It is a clown act wherein every door of the vehicle ends up opened. And lately, the only lock that you can guarantee will work with your key is the trunk door. A few months ago I had to climb through the trunk to unlock the rest of the car. The radio mostly works, but if you hit a really big bump, all the speakers go out. But, if you use the windshield wipers, you can sometimes get the speakers to come back on. The shocks are completely shot. Just backing out of our driveway is likely to give you whiplash. You can see why we really wanted to get in on the Cash for Clunkers deal. Because this poor car is not worth much.
As we were cleaning all the piles (and piles) of stuff out of Big Blue, I came across little scraps of our history. A dean's pin from the Air Force Academy, a trail map from the Mohawk State Forest in Massachusetts, hand warmers from Alaska, Canyon hair, pine needles from last year's Christmas tree, tiny newborn sized diapers, Cheerios....and I almost cried. It felt a little bit like abandoning a pet. Big Blue has seen us through most of our married life.She survived the great Intestinal Debacle of 05. She has been with us in Del Rio, Tucson, Fairbanks, Massachusetts, Las Vegas, Alaska, Maryland. She made the trek to and from Alaska twice--has been on numerous ferries, many driveways, many great American roads and parks.But, then I opened up the door on our new Acadia and that new car smell hit me and I saw the third row seats and the captain's chairs in the second row and the air vents in the back of the car and the free XM satellite radio and OnStar (for just a couple months) and the key fob with working lock and unlock functions and those near-tears vanished. We drove off the lot and went directly to Wendy's where we proceeded to christen the new car with her first fast food meal eaten en route. The poor thing has also already been hit by a basketball and a tricycle. This is what family vehicles are made for, though, so I look at it as a "Welcome to the Family" type scenario. Because what self-respecting Family Truckster doesn't have a stray french fry under the seat?
Our drive home was so comfortable. After riding in Big Blue for 10 years, this new one felt like riding on a cloud. But, I do not recommend driving on I-95 after midnight because we spent two hours going less than 1 mile due to construction. We pulled into the driveway at 2:30 a.m. which I can safely say is the latest I have stayed up in about 4 years. But, so far I'm thinking it was worth it. Though, I'm not so sure Tracy would say the same thing as she was stuck with our kids overnight and one of them is teething.
Becca cried today because she wanted Big Blue back. I only cried because I wanted a nap.