Sunday, January 13, 2013
So the plan was this: fill up Gracie, buy groceries, buy primer and paint for spare room, come home, put away groceries, have lunch, prep for painting, prime walls, have dinner, watch a movie.
As usual, I procrastinated a bit. I wrote and posted a blog, played a bit of Angry Birds and generally accomplished none of the things on my list. At a little after 10 a.m. I gave myself the proverbial kick in the butt and had a shower. Probably not the wisest idea as the intention was to do some painting and that would, inevitably, require another shower later. Oh, well. It got me moving.
Showered, dressed and with a grocery list ready, I went outside to start Gracie. Gracie is my 13-year-old mini-van and on Friday she went in for an oil change. As part of the service, the dealer always washes the vehicles they service and so Gracie emerged with fresh oil in her veins all clean and shiny. On the way home we discussed her need for a transmission flush and I instructed her to hold on for a few more weeks. It’s a pretty expensive procedure!
Anyway, I parked and locked Gracie up when I got home. The temperature gauge was dropping in concurrence with the weatherman’s predictions of minus 20 Celsius. A bit chilly, but not too bad. I didn’t see any need to plug Gracie in as she’s pretty reliable yet at that temperature. There she say until I finally got organized enough to go out and do my errands.
As I approached Gracie, key fob in hand, I pressed the magic button to release her locks. I reached for the driver’s door handle and pulled. Nothing happened.
I pressed the magic button again, thinking that maybe it hadn’t worked the first time.
The door was frozen shut!
I pressed the buttons, locking and unlocking the doors a few times. Other than the familiar sound of the locks catching and releasing, confirming that the fob was working, this activity served absolutely no purpose. All of the doors were frozen shut!
I yanked. I reefed. I pulled. I swore a little.
Then, finally, the rear hatch gave and swung up and open. For the first time since getting Gracie, I noticed how far away the dash is from the back of the van. “Mini, my ass!” (No comments from the peanut gallery necessary.)
But there was nothing else to do except climb in and clamber over the seats and other detritus to get to the front of the van. Once in the driver’s seat, I started Gracie. She protested and I begged her forgiveness and encouraged her to give one for the Gipper as I really needed groceries, if not paint and primer!
She obliged a little less than willingly and I then turned my attention to the door. I pulled on the handle and shoved my shoulder against it as hard as I could.
The door flew open and the momentum of my push dragged me out with it. I grabbed the steering wheel just in time to prevent myself from becoming a humiliated – and quite possibly wounded – heap on ground. I swear Gracie laughed at me. Either that or her mature mechanisms were showing their age.
I left Gracie to warm up to the idea of actually having to transport me to and from my destinations and returned to the warmth and comfort of Alegria to gather up the bits and pieces I would require to complete my intended errands: grocery list, blanket (to colour match the paint), purse, phone, gloves… Well, you know.
Gracie is a valued and trusty part of my life. She may not be beautiful, she may not have all the bells and whistles that some vehicles do and she may not be the fastest or most popular make and model on the road, but she gets me where I need to go and back again. She’s not greedy; fuel doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Her insurance premiums are modest and other than a few quirks, she works just fine. Except for regular oil changes and tire rotations and other such maintenance, she doesn’t spend much time in the shop. (Touch wood!)
I do hope, though, that it warms up and her doors unfreeze soon. I don’t treasure the idea of crawling into the driver’s seat through the back hatch too often. Or I could just suck it up and walk! Spring will be here soon enough!