It's been a long couple of weeks with no car and lots of questions about how we were going to afford to repair the one we've got or purchase another one. Personally I'm in favor of giving up on cars and getting a horse, but Gary tells me they eat too much and he'd thinks five hours on the road coming and going from work is too many. Picky, picky, picky . . .
While we're in better financial shape than we've ever been in, our resources are still close and our savings haven't recovered from the last time the gremlins eavesdropped on my "We're doing great" conversation. From now on, I'm going to hold a crucifix or pour holy water on the phone before I make this statement.
But someone out there must have been praying for us and I want to thank you--whoever you were.
Gary has a co-worker who took it upon himself to repair the fuel pump on the Oldsmobile when it failed last month (this is the first major repair we'd had to make on it in three years). I don't know much about this young man (Gary barely knows him), but we are forever in his debt. Chris saw Gary out in the parking lot with the our broken down car and asked what happened. Gary told him he thought it was the fuel pump. Chris, as it turned out, was the son of a master mechanic and grew up crawling around in cars. He immediately decided that Gary's problem was his own and he towed our car to his house and, instead of going to bed like a guy who works nights should, took Gary to buy the part and then spent the day repairing it. He even made sure that Gary got some sleep because he had to back to work that night (he refused offers to pay him for his time).
When Chris heard by way of the factory grapevine that our car was broken in a really expensive way, he called his dad who had a 1998 Chevy Lumina for sale. His dad contacted Gary yesterday and said, "Come and get the car and drive it for a while. If you like it, you can pay me for it. Or you can drive it until you find something you like better." Gary drove that car home this morning. I could hear him coming from a quarter of a mile away, not because the engine was noisy, but because he had the radio turned all the way up. He only does this when he's in a good mood.
He is overwhelmed, as am I. We're not sure why these total strangers decided to be our keepers, but we are deeply grateful. We're waiting for our tax refund. When it gets here, unless this car gives us good reason not to, we'll probably buy it. If we get everything back that we're expecting, we may pick up another car and send this one off to college with Jeremiah next fall.
The engine is in great shape (it was owned by a mechanic, after all) and it's easy enough to drive. The inside looks pretty good (and the stereo clearly works). However someone somewhere has a lot of white paint lying around without a car in it because we've got the car and it doesn't have any. Gary informed me that the first thing he wants to do after we buy it is take it to some auto body place and get it an inexpensive paint job. I agreed with him and asked if we could paint it powder blue. He frowned and said no. Apparently powder blue is not a manly color. Maybe we can strike a compromise. He can paint the car any color he wants if I can have a horse.
In the meantime, the image below represents (sort of) what we have.