OK, here's the thing, see? I have four automobiles. This is not a good thing. We have two drivers and a "garage" that could conceivably hold two cars, if the roof weren't literally collapsing.
The only keeper is my wife's 2005 Ford Freestar. This thing has been a miracle for us; we bought it right before the pregnancy became pronounced. It's reliable, it has the cool remote-control doors, it has all the space we need for two kids and it actually gets better mileage than anything else we own. It also has an extended warranty, so we don't have to fix all those nifty little gadgets when, inevitably, they stop working.
My wife's other car is her 1995 Camaro. It's a Full Mullet Jacket model, red with t-tops and Z-28 wheels. It also has the universally despised 3.4L V6 that was replaced later that model year with the universally admired 3.8L V6. It has ridiculously little power, lousy brakes, mushy steering and suspension, uncomfortable seats, and ridiculously long doors that make it a chore to get in and out at all. But when we were first wedded, some seven years ago, La Luz de Mi Corazon had never been allowed to choose her own car. Her stepdad had chosen her turd-brown 1979 Malibu, followed by her 1989 Chevy Celebrity in classic "Blowoff Blue" paint. She, however, had always lusted after a red Camaro with t-tops, so we looked until we found one and that's what she By Gawd drove for the next 6 years.
It worked out well; nothing can help you accept that you don't have to have a little red pony car like trying to drive two kids around in it for years. We were the happiest minivan buyers anyone has ever seen.
I also inherited dad's old truck when he upgraded, so we have a red 1986 Chevy K10 pickup. It's a beast, a snarling, lumbering mix of noise and rust. I love it dearly. But it's not reliable and it sucks gas like a mysterious vortex between dimensions. Also like the mysterious vortex, it's never clear where all that gas goes, because this truck has a Chevy 305.
Worst. V8. Evar. Lousy mileage, lousy power, lousy torque--and that's when it was new. This truck would make a great project, and I have a 350 block on the stand in the garage, but the last thing I need is one more way to spend my time. Boredom is not really my problem.
Finally, I have the 1995 Buick Park Avenue--that's my daily driver. This is the car that will not die, at 243,000 miles and counting. It's rusty, the trunk and the taillights are smashed (rear-ended by an uninsured driver, despite the fact that they passed a law against that in Illinois) and the windshield wipers don't work. Also the rear suspension is . . . unconventional, and the power steering pump is making a disturbing clattering sound--it sounds like someone dropped a couple of nickels in there. I'm no botanist, but that can't be good. Oh, yeah, and for some reason it rarely cranks over the first time you turn the key--probably a problem at the cutout for the automatic transmission.
The plan is to sell those last three for whatever we can get and buy a 4-door sedan or possibly a small pickup truck for cash (I hate payments, but I love paid in full.) Then we can have two vehicles, two insurance payments, and the ability to mow our property without moving any cars.
To that end, I spent today replacing the wiper motor in the Buick so that the new owner doesn't die when it rains ('cause I'm a nice guy.) I spent literally hours sweating over this; the hood actually had to come off at one point. No kidding. The stupid motor is held in by three metric bolts that can be turned about 1/32nd of a turn at a time--IF you flip the wrench over between turns. Luckily, I was in the shade, where it only got up to about 93 degrees Fahrenheit. About 4:30 in the afternoon, I finally had the damn thing bolted in and wired. I turned on the key, turned on the wipers, and cussed with alarming and charming facility and agility for about a minute straight. Is there anything worse than seeing your project fail and knowing you still have maybe an hour of cleanup and repair to do anyway? Most of today was literally wasted.
Oh, and now I have no idea what's causing the wipers not to work. There's no sound from the wiper motor or the washer fluid pump, but the the fuse checks out and the motor is now brand new. I'm out of ideas unless it's the switch on the turn signal stalk.
So now you know Don's Shame. Defeated by the GrandpaMobile. Oh, the humanity. Oh, the ignominy.
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