Well it's all right, everything'll work out fine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line
Don't have to be ashamed of the car I drive
I'm just glad to be here, happy to be alive ....
Travelling Wilburys, "End of the Line"
On the day that GM files for bankruptcy and on the heels of Chrysler's own problems, and all of our woes in the Great Recession, comes the diagnosis from my mechanic (who I love and trust immensely) that my 2002 minivan with just shy of 130,000 miles is once again in need of another mega-repair job.
One that is estimated to cost four digits and change. Again.
For new readers (and there are a few of you, thank you so much), I have The Commute to Work from Hell. On a good day, it's an hour and 40 minutes. Most days, it's a two hour bumper-to-bumper slog. Public transportation isn't a viable alternative, a carpool probably isn't feasible either with the location of my employer (not too many people from this area going up that way), and I'm going to plead the Fifth in regards to whether or not I'm looking for a job closer to home, given that my boss reads this blog on occasion. (Besides, you're all smart people; you can come to the correct answer on that one.)
Since I've been doing this gawd-awful commute (it will be two years at the end of July), this car has become The Bionic Minivan. In just the last six months or so, I've replaced brakes, a battery, spark plugs, and a bunch of parts I don't know the proper names to. I've broken down on the side of 1-95 at the end of a day where the temperature barely topped out at 10 degrees. The Bionic Minivan goes into the shop every six weeks for an oil change, and usually there's some funky noise that I ask dear Wayne and his guys to dutifully investigate, and they do. On the rare occasions that they don't find anything wrong, Wayne hasn't even charged me for his time. Where do you find a mechanic like that these days?
But today, folks, it seems that my minivan - like GM, like Chrysler, like all of us, it seems - is coming to the end of the line. We've got some issue with the rear struts that aren't strutting - or something amiss that is wreaking havoc with the tires and God knows whatever else with the underbelly of the car. Replacing the tires (which was today's fun) will likely buy me another month, maybe six weeks with the car. Fixing the underlying issue will be around $1,000. This is at least the third four-digit car repair bill in as many months.
Ironically, The Dean's car had its own woes recently and not even three weeks ago we went out and bought a new Chevrolet Equinox. (This was within 48 hours of Chrysler deciding to shutter dealerships around the country. Timing's always been our strong suit.) I joked to my Facebook pals that we were doing our part to stimulate the economy.
Somehow, I missed the part of Obama's latest press conference where he mentioned that the bailout of the auto industry would be taken care of by the Betty and Boo household.