Breakdown

I have had my Chevy truck for six years, and any change in the drivability does not go unnoticed. I noted the engine did not start with the usual enthusiasm, there was a lack of power on the highway, and the usual smoothness was gone. At first, I thought it was due to the “barely legal” octane booster I was using. The check engine light went out, but it came back on a few days later. Something was definitely wrong. After a horrendous drive home in rush hour traffic, I took the car to the shop. The problem was a misfire in one of the cylinders. So ok, I thought the problem was either the spark plug, the wire, or a bad coil. The shop is not far from mom’s house so I figured I’ll stay there and ask friends to give me a ride to work.

Not having my car for two days left me feeling unsettled and lost because I had to adapt to a change in routine. I learned that’s where my confidence comes from. I need a routine. Everything needs to be pre-planned and mapped out in my head, and take any variables into consideration. When that routine is gone, I feel like I’m grasping for straws in a dark room. It can be a scary feeling, and it often leads to anxiety, which causes me to feel scatterbrained. I took Wednesday off, but I went to work Thursday and Friday. I didn’t want to use up three personal days for nothing. I had a friend drive me to the main office, and my co-worker picked me up there and drove me to the office. The irony is that both of them own a Nissan Versa hatchback. Being a six footer, I was surprised I count fit inside, and have a decent amount of leg and head room. A nice little runabout. Yesterday afternoon, my supervisor gave me a ride to the shop in her Mercury Mountaineer. It is a nice truck, but too much truck for me. Taking the bus to work was out of the question. I would need maybe five buses, it would take all morning. Just getting to the main office require three buses from mom’s house. I did that last summer, and I was not looking to do it again.

The car was ready, thankfully, but there was bad news. I did not need bad news because I was still feeling unsettled. They needed to replace the plugs and wires for a grand total of $454. The initial estimate was $260. For a moment, I wished I had the Versa rather than my truck. I could have fallen apart right there, but somehow, I managed to hold it together. Will I have enough to cover it? I still owe for all the work from last year. I gave her my card, crossed my fingers, hoped and prayed for all I was worth. The card went through. So hooray, I got my car back, but I am so broke now. It was an “ugly win,” but I’ll take it. I am just happy that my car is back and I’m glad I did not wait until today because the shop is closed for the Memorial Day weekend. I shudder to think what would have happened if the card was declined.

But something still bothers me. I remember last year when my truck was in the shop for a fuel pump issue, I bought new plugs and wires for them to install. Bought them at Auto Zone. And they go bad within a year? Maybe I should have spend the extra money for the Duralast Gold. Oh well. Can new plugs and wires go bad in a year? I guess anything is possible. Then I think about the time when I needed a new battery and I wanted one with more cold cranking amps for the brutal winters here. A few months ago, I went to a parts store to buy a new battery, and they offered free installation. I was a bit surprised to see that the battery that was installed at my shop had 650 CCA amps, which is standard for my truck. I bought one that was rated for 700 CCA. I didn’t make a fuss about it though. The car always started, even in single digit and below zero temperatures. In the meantime, it feels great to have my truck back. No sad face.

I am so grateful to everyone at work who helped me out during this stressful time. I am so lucky to have a very understanding supervisor. And I was thinking of quitting if I do not get this position that I applied for. There are not many employers that understand what their employees go through in their personal lives. In the meantime, I plan on enjoying this Memorial Day weekend, and honour those who make the ultimate sacrifice so we can be free.

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