Monday, October 29, 2007

A Welcome and Unwelcome Surprise

About 10:30 at night, we heard some tapping on our back french doors. I was sure it was friends of mine that were in town visiting my other laid up friend. I couldn't go over to see them so I thought they decided to drop in unannounced on me. I was in my exercise sweats and I immediately ran into my bedroom and quickly changed into something more respectable. My husband went ahead and opened the blinds and the door. It was my son, Nick! Apparently, his girl friend's mom had called that day and was missing her. The mom wanted her to come home so she sent the stepdad to the college to pick her up. Nick decided to hitch a ride. It was a nice surprise!

We had a good visit. Nick was telling us as he has in the past, that he would like to take his car to school. We really didn't want him to because of the expense but also because we have been having some problems with the car.

We got it for him 4 years ago, a 1998 black Mazda 626. It had only 60,000 miles on it at the time and it had been running great. Now it has 100,000 miles on it and has developed a slight leak. So every month, I have to check the radiator and refill the reservoir. A couple of weeks ago, I had driven it to my youngest son's violin lesson, about 60 miles away. On the way back, the engine light came on and it smelled like it was smoking. Of course, as usual my husband was in Nashville, TN on business. I stopped at a gas station and unlocked the hood. There was no anti-freeze in the reservoir so I had to buy some and refill it. It was a royal pain . I had just checked it a few days before and it had been OK. My husband came home and said that there must be another problem with the car if the engine light is coming on. He took it to town and had it checked. They said it was something to do with the catalytic converter.

If that wasn't enough. We drove it to Costco on Saturday and a new light came on, the over drive light. We came home and my husband went on the internet and looked up that problem. It seems to be related to the transmission and possibly it could burn the engine out. It looks like a whole new transmission may be needed. Also the boots? on the car are cracked and the axles may need to be replaced. This is looking like it's going to cost an arm and a leg to get the car back in working order. Not only that but it's due for a timing belt too.

I think we should cut our losses and just give it to somebody who might be interested in picking up a car cheap and then working on it. This is a most unwelcome surprise to our budget. We had not expected to buy another car so soon.

Luckily, the girlfriend talked her parents into taking her car back to school. So for now, my son has transportation.


Catherine said...

Oh what a lovely surprise to have your son home to visit. Hope he didn't bring all his washing with him :-0 Do you find you worry when he's away, or is it something you try not to think too much about?

What an absolute pain about the car! I have a love/hate relationship with cars because they are such a drain on your finances but I couldn't really do without one.

BetteJo said...

E-e-e-w-w, cars and kids. No fun! You want them to be able to get around but boy it costs a pretty penny! Plus - you worry about them driving to and from .. yuk.

My son is one of those kids that thinks nothing of driving 3 states away and back just to go to a baseball game, in one day. Makes me SO nervous!

Being a single Mom with few resources, my kids have both had to buy their own cars. I help where I can, but it's tough. And when the expense is unexpected - forget it! I feel your pain!!!

palette48 said...


Yes,it was a nice surprise and of course he brought his laundry home. He had some difficult spots on his clothes and I was up half the night trying to get those out.

The car is a headache and we are going to take it in and have it checked from top to bottom. Then we will decide if it is worth saving.

palette48 said...

bette jo,

Yes, we should have had Nick buy his own car. Now my younger son will be driving in a couple of years and he will be looking to us for a car too.

Leigh Russell said...

I love it when my children turn up unexpectedly. Last week, one daughter called at lunchtime to invite herself and her partner over for dinner. She also invited my parents to join us! At 6 o'clock my other daughter called to ask if she could come round - we ended up 8 for dinner instead of the 2 of us my husband and I anticipated. Love it!

palette48 said...


Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoy it too when family and friends show up unexpectedly. It's always a nice surprise.