There is no better feeling then walking into your very own apartment for the first time in almost three months. There is an instant calm that rushes through your body and I don't think anything at that moment could bring you down. Well, at least not until you attempt to start your car for the first time in three months. It is at that very instant when you realize it's going to be one very long week at home.
I'm well aware that when I purchased my car two years ago I bought a high mileage used car. At the time I didn't think this would be a big deal. I wasn't planning on having a job that was sixty miles round trip from my apartment. I was so hoping that I would be able to coast on this car for another four years before having to invest in a new car. Unfortunately sixty miles a day and five days a week really adds up on a car. Now add in the one thousand mile round trip visits to see my family in Michigan. It's no wonder my car hates me for all I've put it through. When J.R. and I were home in February we opened the garage door to find my car tilting to the right. I had more than just a flat tire. The coil spring had snapped in half and punctured the tire. Two new tires, one coil spring, and a visit from my father-in-law left my car in perfect working condition. That is until now. After three more months of sitting stagnant in my garage my car decided it was time to get back at me for not driving it. It started right up the first time I turned the key. Oh how excited I was to finally be able to drive my own car and not a rental vehicle. The first stop was fabulous Wal Mart for groceries. I finished my shopping and again my car started. Onwards to Macy's to see all of my friends. Four hours later I returned to my car. *click click click click click.* Ok car.. where is the VROOM that follows the click. Thinking that maybe it just needed a few words of encouragement I decided the best plan of action would be to yell profanities at it and kick it a few times. I don't suggest this as it did not make my car start and it left me with a very sore foot. Thank god the rent a cop was there and he was able to jump my car. Now off to dinner. One hour later I return to my car. *click click click click click.* Car 2:Josie 0. More profanities, one more jump, and a frustrated phone call to my father-in-law and I was on my way to Hayward to fix the problem once and for all. I made it as far as the interstate when more lights started to appear. Thinking it was a problem with the alternator I headed straight for home to allow my car a night with the battery charger.
After sleeping in my own bed for the first night I awoke cheerful and refreshed. I took a shower, got ready, and went out to start the car. After disconnecting the battery charger I eagerly turned the key. *click click click click click.* We now stand at Car 3:Josie 0. Time for a new battery. After locating a friend who was nearby and wasn't taking a final exam I was able to run to get a new battery. I walked up to an employee and stated the obvious... I need a new car battery. Who knew they came in sizes?! We finally got that figured out and after a long conversation on how to actually CHANGE a battery I returned home ready to beat my car at it's own game. Twenty minutes later and the new battery is installed. I didn't even have to call anyone to walk me through how to do it. Very proud moment for me. I turn the key and *click click VROOM.* Car 3:Josie 1. Two hours later I arrive at my father-in-laws shop. I'm happy to report that the alternator is in perfect working condition. However the serpentine belt... not so good. One new belt, a new pulley, and a few hours later my car is back to golden status. Thankfully I have family that can fix such problems at a much lower cost as money is tight.
Unfortunately, J.R. sold his vehicle before leaving for Iraq and we cannot keep coming home to a broken car. We also can't afford two new cars. My alero is on the way out and I'm realizing that whether I am ready or not it is time to start looking for a new cars. One more stress to add to the pile.
To add to the fun times I am having at home, I can't remember the password to my personal computer here. My cable and internet (which I continue to pay monthly because I never know when I will be able to fly home for any period of time) were not working the first day I was back. T-mobile messed up my voicemail and in the process of fixing it they deleted every saved message I had. If you've called me in the last two weeks and left a message I HIGHLY suggest trying me again. And to top everything off my parents had to put my childhood dog down due to old age and kidney failure. Not cool.
I do not want to end this post on a negative note so I saved the good news for last. The company we rent from (Peter's Rentals based in Eau Claire, Wi) has been so amazing since J.R.'s injury. In order to help us financially they have dropped our rent down significantly. They are also allowing us to have a therapy dog!! I am very anxious to apply for a dog when I return to Washington. Peter's Rentals is also changing all the door knobs to levers so J.R. can get in and out easily and have offered everything they can to help. I am so glad we rent from such an understanding company who is willing to go the extra mile to help us.
I can only hope that the rest of my visit home is relaxing and quiet. The time away from J.R. is nice but I must admit I'm anxious to return to D.C. and hear all about the fishing trip he is currently on. The green streak in me has been trying to stay quiet as I am wishing I could have attended the trip out to the Smith River. I'm trying to tell myself that I have the better deal since I get to sleep in our own bed and enjoy the privacy of living alone but that hasn't suppressed my jealousy much. I will be heading to Michigan on Sunday to spend time with my family and then back to the Cracker Box on Wednesday. Gotta love it.