My late Mr. loved trucks. I don't know when this love started, but it manifested itself when he was sent to Texas for an extended work gig. When he came home, he was wearing a cowboy hat, grew his handlebar mustache extra long, and had quite a wardrobe of cowboy boots, some very expensive! From a conservative man to urban cowboy in just a few months. Oh, and he was driving a Jeep Cherokee!
The love for truck and things cowboy continued for his remaining years. Our house was decorated in western themed art, the clothes we wore were western-influenced. We had bolos for every day of the week. And when the Cherokee lost all of its paint, and the bumpers were being knocked off by a teen age driver (well, I did a couple of dings myself), it was time to trade. And trade he did, he traded to BIG TRUCK!
Now we were into serious truck land, a Dodge Ram Pick Up 4 x 4, with extended cab and extra high. It even had a strange muffler that made it sound like it was extra souped up. You could hear that truck coming down the street from blocks away, that low rumble preceeded its return to the homestead. The thing couldn't be any bigger, well perhaps if it said "Mack" on the front. I had to grab both inside handles and haul myself up to get into it! Made quite a scene when I tried to get into it in a straight skirt! R-I-I-I-P!
This thing never fit in any garage. Even if you could get it into a two car garage, the other car was out of luck trying to open the door to get out! The Dodge just took up too much space. So, to keep marital harmony, and to keep the paint new on my way-too expensive SUV (I had to have something big to live in the country, no little sedan would do here!), he kept the Monster truck outside on the driveway he had specially built to accomodate its length and width. It was happy there, lots of room for doors and tailgates, and life went on.
Well, when my sweetie passed, there was question as to what would happen to the truck. I could have found a buyer for it in the country, it seemed made for hauling hay, or pulling a horse trailer, or something beefy like that. But time passed, and I needed to make my move back to the city, so the truck went with me. After all, it was paid for, and if I just parked it, it wouldn't use much gas. The summer I moved was the summer that gas finally tipped over $3 a gallon, making those 4 weekly trips to bring stuff back to the city VERY EXPENSIVE. I put about 3000 miles on that truck that summer, but with each passing trip, I was becoming more and more uneasy with driving the monster, as the odometer ticked off the miles toward 100,000.
So that was the beginning of the money pit. The first big bad thing that happened was this--the very day I made my last trip from the country with a load of junk, the monster truck just couldn't hold its fluid one more minute, and flooded my driveway with transmission fluid. Luckily it was only a seal, and was fixed for a reasonable amount of money. Then later that year, a bad battery required not only a $100 battery but an expensive repair to the electrical system to keep the lights lit at night. Then stupidity took over my brain one day, and I left the back hatch door on the camper shell up, caught it in the garage door, and 1 million little pieces of glass spread all over my driveway and garage floor! This was a costly mistake, to the tune of $500+ to get a new door.
As I said before, fitting this monster in the garage is always a challenge. After ripping off the trim to my new garage during my first summer of trying to shoe-horn it inside, I was so careful. I went very slowly in and out, always checking not to whack off the mirror, not to clip the cute red convertible that shared garage space. And getting the door open to get out was still a challenge, this garage was even narrower than the previous one at our country house! I would get so nervous when I had to take the monster out, would it start? Would it rip the garage apart? Would it scratch my other car? Was it worth the anxiety?
So this week, some things seem to push the decision point toward saying goodbye to the monster. First, I noticed the swiss cheese appearance of the tail pipes (two of them to replace!) I started looking for a replacement vehicle. Then the Monster turned on me. The CHECK ENGINE light went on and stayed on, seeming to say, "If you are going to think about getting rid of me, I'll show you!" So I said back, "If you're going to do that to me, I'll fix you--you'll be relegated to the back of the used car lot, for some wild teenager with a couple of bucks in his pocket to purchase, then run you into the ground chasing his friends!" At least I know a teenager wouldn't get that far, what teen has $75 bucks in his pocket to fill the gas tank?
I had a twang in my heart as the used car guy kicked the tires, noted the dents, checked the odometer. He was a positive sort of fellow, said cheerily, "A little touch up paint, it'll be good as new!" What an optimist! But he was willing to look for a buyer, said it even looked good (no bad paint for an 11 year old truck), and went off to get me either the good or bad news.
He came back with OK news, which by this time, I had talked myself into taking very much less than I originally thought I could get for the monster. Besides, the thrill of new wheels causes your hard-nosed negotiating skills to become rather soft! But what he offered was reasonable, and I was so done with monster trucks by this time!
Tonight, there is a 2 foot shorter, 1 foot narrower, 18" less less tall, less garage-hogging vehicle sitting next to the red convertible. I can get in and out of the doors, I can walk completely around it without squeezing myself down to Flat Stanley size. It doesn't bump the front of the garage to get the door closed behind it. This new shiny beast isn't a monster. But it will do as my hauling vehicle. Yep, the bike fits inside, messy things like bricks, concrete bags, mulch can be carried in it. It even has room to haul people, and in some reasonable amount of comfort. Some day I hope to have a kayak to haul on its roof.
The days of Monster trucks are in my past. I hope my sweetie is looking down and giving a nod of approval. I need to look forward, not back. I hope he is OK with this.