When I was a child I really never thought much about cars. They got our family from A to Z and that's all that really mattered. I do remember not getting to high school once or twice because it was so cold the car wouldn't start and it was probably to cold for me to be driving 20 miles to school anyway.
After we got married we were stationed in England. We had a car for a short time until someone ran into my husband and the car was totaled. In England as young people, cars were an extravagance. Since we were under 23 the insurance was actually more than the price of a car. Add on road tax and the price of fuel, it was just not something we could afford. So we rode our bikes or took the bus. It really was quite convenient and we never had to worry about unexpected repairs.
But now we live in western Nebraska. Riding bikes in our weather is not so handy half of the year and local buses are nonexistent. Having a good running vehicle is a necessity.
We have 3 vehicles, a mini-van, a comfy sedan and a little pick-up. The pick-up is too small for all four of us and has about 300,000 miles on it. The sedan has almost 200,000 miles and has been a great car. Very comfy to ride in, but the doors won't lock, a thief tried to get into the glove box and broke it and the heater doesn't work. We replaced the heating and A/C module and fixed the cruise control this fall but the heater still isn't working so we're looking at $500 just to let them figure out what's wrong and who knows how much after that?
Last, we have a mini-van with about 127,000 miles on it. Everything works great on it and it's always been very dependable. Until last week when the fuel pump went out. This particular model has the lovely option of the fuel pump being inside the gas tank. So to replace it you have to take the gas tank off the vehicle. Did I mention that before it broke we had just filled the gas tank? The 25 gallon gas tank!!
Does anyone see my frustration yet?
Making the decision to be a single income family has always required sacrifices. We have a nice home, but not fancy. We rarely buy new furniture or clothes, we don't have cable, and we don't have new cars. I'm not complaining. This was the choice that we made so that I was raising our children and not someone else. But like all choices there are always some drawbacks. This week it just happens to be frustrations with cars. The parts have been ordered and by next week we should have the van running and this will all be a nuisance. But it has given me the opportunity to be thankful for what I do have. I have a great husband, a pretty good bunch of kids, good friends, a warm and cozy home and I never have to worry about having enough food to feed my family or wonder if my water is safe to drink. Then I start to feel guilty for having such an easy life compared to other women in the world.
I guess it's all the way we choose to look at life. I may never have a brand new car and that's okay. But when I look at everything I do have I would be foolish to let a couple weeks of car trouble get me down. Don't you think?