Friday, November 6, 2009

the price of freedom, part 1 of 3...

so i realized that i haven't yet blogged about

a very important event in the strader family world:
(a hush falls over the crowd. drum roll please.....)

after almost 7 years together, we are a two car family!
(the crowd goes wild, starting the wave in the counter-clockwise direction)


"technically" (i am using my air quotes here) we have had two cars before. 3 times in our marriage actually. but to say that we are finally a two car family and live up to the name would take a little story telling.

as i started writing this i realized that the story of the gremlin deserved a posting all its own.

so indulge me if you will.

second car, #1: (did that make sense? think it through. it will come.)

the gremlin.
dun dun duuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

ugh. just that picture gives me PTSD. and whole lot of it!

here is my lovely pile of metal, only think older, with more rust stains and an imaginary sign above it everywhere it goes that reads "THORN IN LYNSEY'S SIDE."

why? well, funny you asked........

back in the year 1999, pre-ben, pre-hatchback life i was enjoying this little lady:

except about 10 years older than this model, a black top and a little more orange-red than fire hydrant red. but still. sigh.

picture my hair blowing in the wind, blasting music as i breeze by you. the song of choice for this moment in the story will be air supply's "making love out of nothing at all" (outtanothingatalllll).

i drove my lovely cabriolet convertible in high school and while living for a summer in jackson hole. as that summer neared its end my dad took it for a weekend, admitting to me he was going to have to sell it and get more of a "snow-friendly car" to survive the frigid wyoming winters.

i watched with a tear in my eye (the left one, if you were wondering) as my little red, roofless wonder drove away. there was a small shred of hope that held a possibility of what might return in its place. i'm really not that car savvy or particular. i just wanted something that was reliable in the snow, ice, sleet, hail and moose poop. and kind of cute. was that asking too much?

i guess it was.

the "little hatchback that could" is what returned.

a slight gasp escaped my lips as my dad putted up through the parking lot driving the gremlin, but i set my shoulders square and decided to give it the ol' college try.

cut to, like 3 weeks later. for the first of 4 times, the gremlin broke down. and when i say "broke down," i'm not talking a lame refusing-to-start-on-a-bitterly-cold-day-i-have-to-call-a-friend-to-drive-me-to-work broke down.

i'm talking, i'm-in-the-middle-of-nowhereland-on-my-way-to-logan-from-jackson-driving-by-myself-up-a-canyon-on-a-hot-summer-day-with-no-A/C-when-the-gremlin-decided- to-growl-its-last-growl (or so i had hoped) broke down. with a trail of cars behind me, i crawled at a snail's pace with my white knuckles clutching the steering wheel. at the time i was heading uphill. the car repeatedly lurched, making some noises that i know the good people over at subaru did not build this car to make.

if you have known me long enough, you have heard my impression of this noise. though there were no witnesses besides myself, i can assure you that it is a dead on impression.

i did reach the top of the canyon's hill...i credit all of my prayers--said loudly to overshadow the crazy lurching noises--being answered to get to that spot. not only was i praying, but singing intermittently "CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN," pulling my best mother abbess impersonation in hopes of sending the gremlin some positive energy.

did i mention that this was pre-everyone owns a cell phone years? no, that isn't the same year that grandma beula was crowned prom queen. it was just a mere decade ago, folks. unbelievable, but true.

my thinking was that once it was fixed, the gremlin and i could discuss where this relationship was taking us and whether or not we were compatible as vehicle cohabitants. you think i am joking? i have had to have many heart-to-hearts with my automobiles. some airing in my favor, most of them not. (like 70/40.)

unfortunately i never had the opportunity to have that conversation with the ol' gal. because after leaving the auto shop with a new and improved gremlin (after the mechanic said to me "wow, subarus never break down!" i wanted to punch him.) , i settled into a false sense of security. i thought i had all the time in the world for my mano-y-mano chat.

a couple of weeks later i was again driving solo on my way to a wedding in utah when the gremlin gave me some more trouble. this time there was smoke coming from the hood and it was overheating. luckily i was in the heart of idaho falls and close to a wendy's parking lot. so i turned off the nasty beast and sailed in neutral right into a space where i sat for a good 2 hours waiting for it to cool down.

luckily this time i had learned my lesson and had borrowed my dad's cell phone. it was one of the newer models and looked a little somethin' somethin' like this:

"DAD! THE LAME CAR BROKE DOWN ON ME AGAIN!" i sobbed into the boxy receiver as my dad picked up the call.

"what's wrong this time sweetie? subarus just don't break down, you know." i sensed the exasperation in his voice. like it was my fault or something! i explained the symptoms. then he uttered the question that i still harbor resentment in my heart for:

"are you sure you know how to drive a clutch?"

my reply came out fast and furious.


silence on the other end. i contemplated whether or not i had gone too far. but as i felt my sweaty back from the hot summer air and looked at the steam rising from the hood to the clouds i did not regret my decision to take a stand. this. must. stop.

"well, sit there for a little longer and then give it another try." words of wisdom i tell you.

and so i did. like i said, after 2 hours, i started the gremlin up and made it to utah without a problem.

the third time it broke down is short and sweet. one winter morning in below zero temps, it just wouldn't start. got it fixed, endured another lecture of how subarus never break down. end of that one.

but the fourth time? a doozy.

i had moved back home from jackson and was living with my parents. driving into salt lake every day was always a gamble in the gremlin. it would shudder to life every morning until i gave it a pep talk to get a move on. that we could survive together one more day.

but one morning, there was a horrible snow storm. i had just entered the freeway, and was about 15 miles from my house when the car put-put-putted and du-du-died. no cell phone with me, and with some crazy traffic going on, i put on my coat and snuggled into my seat. flashes of my frozen, lifeless body came into my mind. this was the end of me.

yeah, that's a gross picture. sorry.

about 20 minutes later, a car pulled to the side. a sweet middle-aged couple had come to my rescue!

"did you run out of gas?" the husband asked me gently. i took his tone as him assuming that i was an idiot young girl. you know the kind, who think that the E on their gas gauge stands for Effort or are too flighty to notice the word "diesel" as they are absentmindedly putting gas in their car. of course popping gum as they pump. because we gals can't do two things at once, you know.

"no, it just died on me. and it's not the first time!" i replied, trying to mask the shrillness of my tone.

"oh i was just wondering because i was just telling my wife that subarus never break down," he said in a surprised yet cheery tone.

i inwardly rolled my eyes, muttered the gremlin's name in vain under my breath, and hopped into their warm car. they were so kind to drive me all the way down to my work in salt lake. and that wretched little car sat under 2 feet of snow.

that was IT for me. i refused to drive it anymore, and endured the other "gems" my dad found "fabulous deals" on from the side of the road. i didn't care, i had signed the papers and the gremlin and i were officially divorced.

so how does this apply?


once i dusted off my feet on the mats of that coche, it was passed down to my more than willing little brother, tyler. he couldn't wait to get his hands on it.


about a year into ben and i being married, tyler also wanted a divorce from the gremlin. and saw my husband as just the sucker to take the fall.

i clearly remember sitting in my parents' kitchen one weekend, while tyler pitched his sale to ben.

"i'll give it to you for five hundred bucks," tyler said.

"NONONONONO!" i protested. "that car will NOT come back to me! NO! i am putting my foot DOWN!" and probably stomped at that moment, to emphasize my passion on the subject.

10 minutes later, we were five hundred dollars poorer, and with continual promises from ben that i would never have to drive the gremlin, the title was passed over to us. truth? the thought to burn it crossed my mind.

he drove it back to rexburg and i followed behind him in our other car with a pit in my stomach.

but ben was in love. i don't know what it was about that dang car, but the fellas couldn't get enough of it. i actually had one friend tell me that if i ever wanted to sell it, to let him know. my response? "if it were my car, i would give you money to take if off my hands!"

anyway. ben happily drove it for, oh......

3 1/2 weeks? maybe 4? until it just stopped. would not go one. inch. further. so a good friend towed it to our driveway and there it sat for 2 months. until who decided to buy it off our hands????

my brother tyler.

for how much?

three hundred dollars.

i am not even kidding you. i really, really wish that i were.

he bought it back and sold it for parts. so within a month we not only lost $200, but ben pretty much lost his pride and core belief that he can make sound judgments when it comes to purchasing a car.

especially when there is a stomp from his wife involved.

however, i did my best not to gloat. i was just happy that the gremlin was now taken apart and shipped to new and separate homes and free from the bonds that had held me bound.

the gremlin. ugh. shiver.

coming up....

second car #2:

the night ben yelled at the top of his lungs,

don't worry, that story will be much shorter than this one.

for the direct link to the next part, go here:

the price of freedom, part 2 of 3.  

and the last part, go here:

the price of freedom, part 3 of 3.


Wheat Family said...

That is quite a history with car #1. I laughed my face off reading this. I can't wait for the "holy shizballs" story. I have heard divorce is messy and this car put up fight!! * oh and sneaky brother for being a total car salesman! *

Mills Family said...

You are freaking hilarious! I know you say that blogging is your therapy, but I think it might be therapy for the reader as well. You just made my day! Thanks!

Rachel Chick said...

Oh, Lynsey. I love you. You make me so happy!!

Brian & Chelsey said...

You are so funny! i love it! Oh cars....I had a Chevy No-Go myself...many stories there...Ben might even remember a few...So glad that i "divorced" as you say that dumb car! :) cant wait for your next story!!!

Marci Ward said... are HILARIOUS! That was the longest post i have willingly read! You are a great writer and I can't wait to hear "the rest of the story!"

K Harker said...

Ha, I love it! I actually remember you protesting to Ben not to buy that car back. I remember you saying you refused to drive it.
What a great story.
Let's hear the rest. I want to know what your newest second car is :)

Kristen said...

Hey There! I have been missing you and your blog! I am back and I was laughing so hard about the gremlin! Didn't we drive that to Jackson with the heater on and the windows down in MARCH? And as I remember it, we drove up there in May--you in the Grem and me in the Spirit. I was the one who broke down! You realized it a few miles later and came back for me! We loaded a little bit of my stuff into your car and continued on--sweet memories in that beauty!

ohmylanta said...

Hilarious story. And yes..... the picture of the frozen man is gross! :) We just recently bought a second car as well. Our friends are really happy because that means they don't have to drag us around town anymore. AHhhh Sweet Freedom.

Loralee Choate said...