The first article I ever wrote for Gooseberry Lane was about my Subaru. Rather, it was about the difference between my Subaru Outback and my husband’s Mazda Protégé, a difference that was very pronounced to me at the time because I was forced to drive the latter while the former was “in the shop,” a phrase that (around here) means in my driveway.
Looking back at that first blog entry, I noticed that I was prompted to write it after my lovely car had been in the “repair area” of my driveway for…are you ready?…two weeks. In that article, I also mentioned that the phrase “for the duration,” as used in my house, has a rather fluid definition. In August 2006, it meant two weeks; in 2005, when a defective head gasket needed replacing, it meant seven months; this time, the phrase meant almost the same amount of time: seven and a half months. So, why does it take so long to fix cars at my house?
Well, as a rule, my husband is slow to get going on projects, deliberate and quality-oriented while working on projects, easily distracted from projects if they take too long, and slow to finish projects. Translation: he works 60-80 hours per week, is exhausted when he gets home, and (being a thyroid patient) generally requires more than six hours of sleep per night on average. Yes, I definitely get frustrated with these challenges, but when the job is done, I am always pleased with the results (and this time is no exception), plus I know the quality of the work far exceeds that which would be supplied by a dealership mechanic. For example, this time, as a preventative measure, my husband cleaned up and painted the shifter stay on my Subaru because it was “crusty.” Now, I ask you, how many mechanics have the time (or the inclination) to perform that kind of maintenance on a customer vehicle? For that matter, how many people have the inclination to have that kind of maintenance performed on their vehicle? My guess: not many.
Another reason automobile repairs take so long at my house is, truthfully, my fault. I have come to put so much faith in King Richard and his auto repair expertise, that I simply don’t trust other mechanics to perform the same quality of service on my car. When I was dating my husband, just before we got married and just after we had driven our first “couple” car home on approved credit from a Subaru dealership in San Diego, I awoke one Saturday to find him surrounded by neatly organized piles of car parts from the entire dashboard assembly of a car that still wasn’t under a sales contract (in other words, not even ours!). He was annoyed that the trip odometer wasn’t functioning properly and had decided to fix it. After recovering from the shock that he had torn apart someone else’s property, I was incredibly impressed by the fact that he had returned the car to a perfect, pre-repair state. Up to that point in my life, all the guys I knew who removed the dashboard from an automobile had a sack of parts leftover and the dashboard was never replaced. A while later, King Richard replaced the wheel bearings on that car (an even bigger job) with similar results. Like I said, I was impressed.
A third, more practical reason for the repeated delays in auto repair is timing; more specifically, the timing of the weather. My Subaru never manages to develop a problem until it is either too hot for human habitation or too cold to lie under a car for the several hours that it often takes to repair it. As my husband says, “It is a little tough to crawl through a snowdrift to fix your automobile,” or something to that effect. Unfortunately, I must concede the truth of that statement and be patient. I must also concede that, as a thyroid patient, temperature extremes are difficult for my “in house” mechanic to endure without frequent breaks, so that impacts the speed of work as well.
Yet, in the end, the wait pays off. I get an impeccably repaired car that is reliable and he gets the satisfaction of working on a machine, something that (ultimately) proves beneficial for both of us.
Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.