Saturday, December 28, 2013

The evil cardboard box

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. This one was a little different than last year (see last year's post) in which we had the entire family together and it felt like when we were growing up again. This time we had Lance's new wife Jasinda instead of Logan, who is on a mission in Mexico City. Unfortunately for her that meant we expected her to fill in for Logan in all of our holiday traditions, from decorating his gingerbread house to putting up his Christmas ornaments, but she handled it like a champ. She even slept on the floor (well, okay, an air mattress) with the rest of the siblings on Christmas Eve night.

One of the gifts I was most looking forward to giving on Christmas morning was the new stereo Cole and I bought for Lance and Jasinda's 1987 Toyota Camry. Not only did we pretty much double the value of their car, but we also solved the problem of One Republic not releasing their new album on cassette tape.

Actually, I can't make fun of their car too much because, as Lance pointed out this week, my car ends up in the repair shop more often than theirs does even though I paid about ten times as much for it. Last week I was backing into the alley behind where I work and my car started making a horrible noise. I stopped the car and popped the hood and stared at everything for a minute. I don't actually know enough about cars to tell if anything in the mess of hoses and wires and metal thingies under there are broken, but this seems like the type of thing people do when their car starts making a funny noise so I thought I would try it.

Next I looked under the car and immediately breathed a sigh of relief when I realized there was a cardboard box caught up underneath and that's what was probably causing the noise. I took back that sigh of relief a second later when I realized there was a very long, important-looking pipe dragging on the ground. Even I could tell that wasn't what it was supposed to be doing. Fortunately with the help of a couple of friends I was able to get home, get to work the next morning and get my car to the shop, where I had to explain to the mechanic that it was a cardboard box that ripped off my exhaust pipe. No, I wasn't on the Interstate when I hit it. No, the box wasn't full of bricks. No, I didn't run over something else at the same time. No, I don't know why it happened. You're the expert here.

The mechanic was nice about it though. Car people are always nice to me. They were even nice to me the time I went to get my oil changed and the guy asked me to check my mileage and I wasn't paying attention and turned my car all the way on when another guy had already taken off the oil filter. If you were ever curious about what would happen if you do this, I can tell you: Oil shoots everywhere. Like a geyser. All over the floor. And the walls. And the car. And the guy changing the oil. Don't do it.

So, as we look ahead to the next holiday, I can tell you this: One of my New Year's resolutions is going to be to know slightly more about cars by the end of next year than I do now. It shouldn't be too hard.

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