Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The magic number is 900

Yesterday I wrote about how excited I am for our upcoming move out of our renovation project and into an apartment with solidly intact walls (HGTV if you want a 100 year old house to do a show about...i know a good one. wink wink nudge nudge).  This is something I have been trying to make happen for about 6 months.  Because we wanted to stay close to our house, studio and Parker's school, we were limited in our search area.  And, taking on another monthly expense was something we had to really plan for financially in order to make happen.  So in many ways, we had to just wait for the right thing to come along…and it finally did.

In the weeks leading up to this move (which is now under 2 weeks away, yay!), both my car and Jeremy's car have needed major repairs.  We started with Jeremy's, taking it in for an inspection, only to find it needed over $900 worth of work.  Neither of us drive nice cars.  We drive old cars.  Repairs go along with not having a brand new car.  We decided to go ahead with it, thinking my car had just had $1200 worth of work a year ago, $500 for all new tires 3 months ago, $200 for two new tires two months prior to that (yes…my tires we sliced on the street by our studio twice in 5 months) and surely…surely my car would not need any more major repairs for a while.  So we repaired his car then made an appointment to take mine in for its inspection.  I felt really on top of things because I was a full 2 weeks from my inspection expiring..typically, I'm the one on the last day possible begging the mechanic to inspect my car before it expires. 

The day we had planned to bring it, we went out to leave and it wouldn't start.  Of course…of course it wouldn't start.  We had it towed to our mechanic who told us the timing belt had snapped.  Not too big a deal if we had any other car but a Volkswagen Golf where every repair is 100 times more expensive than a non-Volkswagen!  $500 for the timing belt and another $400 to make it pass inspection.  Here's the clincher.  Because of how the fine folks at Volkswagen engineer their vehicles, when a timing belt snaps on a Volkswagen it often busts out all the valves on the engine.  This means when your timing belt snaps, you most often have to replace the engine.  Sounds like intelligent engineering if you ask me.  I feel like Volkswagen should be replacing my car for free because of their idiocy.  Do you know how much an engine costs?!? More than my car is worth and more than we can afford to pay.  So thanks to Volkswagen's ridiculous engineering we are now down to one car….a pick up truck.  Three of us barely fit in a pick up truck. 

I'm trying my hardest to take this all in stride.  Both Jeremy and I are all over the city on any given day.  Between work (J. has a new job), studio, Parker's activities and the rest of life we really feel like we need two cars.  But, we can't buy a new one right now…we can't even buy a used one right now.  So, I'm taking all of this as a forced opportunity to scale back our reliance on cars.  I'll plan my days around the public transportation system.  Organize all of Parker's after school activities and sports around the bus stops, we'll coordinate a schedule to share the car…we'll be more creative.  It will be fine.  We are probably too reliant on our cars anyhow.  Really, I'm up for the challenge.  It will likely mean I go into the city more often, too.  I rarely drive downtown…or to any other part of the city because driving in Pittsburgh sucks.  If we ride the bus, we just hop on, the bus flies through traffic on the busway and we'll be to our destinations without a hitch.  And, many of Pittsburgh's buses are electric...which is better for all of us.  Glad to be in a city that has a decent public transportation system.  And it seems likely that it will not cost us $900 to take the bus.


  1. don't be so hard on your Golf, nearly all cars will get badly damaged if the timing belt is neglected :(

  2. It'll work out but I feel your frustration (/agony). We are pretty much a one-car family -- we still have a 2nd car but it can only be driven 'locally' (to the supermarket 5 minutes away; it will probably not pass the next inspection) -- my husband and I use public transportation a lot (trains) but these have plenty of their own 'issues.'

    Fortunately, Moop bags make it easy to carry everything you need to carry on public transit 'adventures' in every kind of weather!

  3. So sorry to hear about your car woes. My '98 Honda Civic goes in for an inspection on Monday, and I'm nervous!

    I keep hoping that Zip Car will continue to expand to more neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.


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