It’s time to say goodbye

It’s officially time to retire The Tank.  I know, I know, it goes against everything I said about keeping it for safety reasons and transporting large numbers of smelly teen boys.  But it has a new noise.  A squealing noise.  A noise that announces our arrival and not in a good way.  And since there is only one working speaker in the car, I can’t drown it out with the radio.

I guess a noise is better than not running like last year when it left me stranded on the side of the road until I replaced its fuel pump.  I justified that a fuel pump was cheaper than a car note.

And we can’t forget the ski trip.  Ugh.  Why’d you have to remind me about the ski trip?

Skiing was something that we did as a family with friends each year, starting when the boys were toddlers.  We would load up The Tank and drive to New Mexico for a week of fun in the snow.  It was something that my kids mourned the loss of A.D.

In 2010, my brave Old Barbie and I decided that we were enough of a family for such a road trip.  We loaded up all of our kids and headed toward snow.  (Only this time, we headed toward Colorado because who really needed all of those family vacation memories in New Mexico?)

Before starting our adventure, I took The Tank to a mechanic and gave them an early Christmas gift.  Look under the hood and tell me what needs to be fixed or fine-tuned before our trip.  I didn’t want to be stranded on the side of the road with car troubles.

It was a very, very expensive gift.  But the peace of mind was priceless.

About five hours into our road trip, a light came on warning me that something was going on with my battery, so we stopped at a Wal-Mart and asked them to test it.  Yep, I needed a new battery.  No big deal.  We picked up some snacks and supplies that we might or might not have needed while we waited for the battery to be changed and then off we went again.

For about thirty minutes.  There’s that light again.

Luckily, in Texas, no matter where you are, there is a Wal-Mart within a 5 mile radius, so we stopped at a different Wal-Mart.  They told me that the battery was good, so it must be the alternator.  I left my friend and all of our kids there to entertain themselves while I went in search of an alternator.  I’m quite impressed.  My genius friend came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt in Wal-Mart.  They raced around the store shrieking with laughter for about two hours.  I’m sure that they didn’t look out-of-place at all.

With a new alternator, a new battery, and a several hour delay, we were back on the road.

And we had a wonderful vacation.  We skied.  We snowboarded.  We relaxed in natural hot springs.  We drove through the mountains enjoying the beauty.  We were victorious.  Who needed a man to complete our family?

On our trip home, about seven hours away from our final destination, guess what was blinking at me?  That freaking battery light.

I think that The Tank must have been upset with me by this time because we didn’t make it to a Wal-Mart.  We were, however, about 100 yards away from hotel.  A hotel with a pool.  The kids barreled out of the car and ran the distance to the hotel to swim.  Their vacation had been extended.

I was left stranded on the side of the road with car troubles.  Left to wonder how I was going to fix the car, not to mention my sanity.  You know when a man would come in handy?  When you need to push a Suburban that’s fully loaded with winter clothes and kid crap about 100 yards.

I called my insurance and asked them to send a tow truck.  When the driver asked where I wanted it towed, I simply pointed.  The look on his face when he realized that he was going to get $100 to tow The Tank 100 yards was priceless.

The next day when the dealership opened, the happy tow truck man got to tow it again.  It turns out that somewhere under the hamster wheel that powers The Tank, there is something called a t-arm and some sort of belt thing runs over.  Well, that t-arm thing broke and melted the belt and caused The Tank to stop.  (As you can tell, my engine knowledge stopped with the alternator.)

Since then, The Tank has run fine, with the exception of the fuel pump, and the power window motors, and new tires, and the battery last week, and this new squealing noise.  Okay, The Tank is falling apart.  That’s why it’s time to send her into retirement.

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