Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why the irony??

This post is going to have very little, if anything, to do with running. Basically, it's just a bitch session on my part about the sad affairs of my vehicular situation. You see, I'm the not-so-proud owner of a 1992 Ford F-150. I've had the truck for about seven years now, and it has served me well on countless trips from Montana to Washington to Montana to North Dakota to Montana to Idaho to California to South Dakota to Montana and back to South Dakota over the years. Well, it has served me mostly well. There was the time when the transfer case went out in Williston, ND to tune of $2000 and the wonderful experience I had last summer en route to the Missoula Marathon when one of the fuel pumps died halfway there. Like a human, as it's gotten older, the creaks and groans have become more frequent. Let's just say that, at this point, it's best feature is the fact that it's paid off.

Recently, a bunch of little things have started to build up and bug the ever lovin crap outta me. There's the aforementioend fuel pump, which sometimes works fine, sometimes not at all. There's the sticky starter, which on random occassions requires that I crawl under the truck and beat on it with a socket wrench before I can start the damn thing (this really sucks when it's raining). There's the big ass crack down the middle of the windshield. There's the rearview mirror, which inexplicably just fell off a few years ago and still resides behind the seat. There's the CD player, which refuses to play CDs. There's the heater/AC temperature knob that fell off and now requires that I use a pair of pliers to change the temp from hot to cold and back. There's the heater itself, which until this past Friday, when I finally fixed it, only worked on high and made a horrible grinding sound when it did that (more on this later). And, last but not least, there's the 13 miles per gallon I get commuting 26 miles to and from work every day as gas hovers around $3 a gallon.

Last week, I seriously began to wonder if it was worth it all. Would I be better off trading the truck in for a fuel efficient, cheap used car? I started looking around and realized that the offset between paying for gas in my truck and making loan payments and buying gas for a 30 miles per gallon car would be pretty close, only putting me out about $70-$80 per month more than what I currently spend just on gas. Last Thursday night, my mind was virtually made up; I was going to Rapid City on Friday to trade my truck in for a 2004 Ford Focus. But, when I woke up on Friday morning, feelings had changed. I decided to think things over while I was on my 13 mile run. I do some of my best thinking when I'm running. It was while I was running one day a few years ago that I had a revelation that our first child, who my wife was about 6 months pregnant with, would be a boy. I was right. I was also on a run when the perfect name, Spooky, popped into my head for the Siamese kitten my wife had brought home (this was just before Halloween a couple of years ago). So, obviously, I'm inclined to go with whatever my endorphin enhanced running brain comes up with. Well, on Friday, I came to the conclusion that I could not envision myself driving anything but a truck just yet. How was I supposed to haul stuff to the dump or stuff from Home Depot or dead deer during hunting season in a Ford Focus?? And, I didn't really like the idea of taking on another loan and paying more money each month, even if it wasn't that much more. So, instead of trading the gas guzzling beast in, I gave it a reprieve and instead sunk almost $100 into it fixing the heater myself. Well, mostly fixing it, I should say. It worked on all settings and did so quietly when I was done, but still was reluctant to blow out warm air (a problem I was hoping to address this coming weekend).

The decision to keep the truck until some bills are paid off in a few years was made and I was comfortable with it. Until today. As I'm driving to work this morning, the stupid thing starts overheating, which is remarkable considering it was -10 degrees outside. I literally coasted into my office as the truck finally gave out. After letting it cool down, which doesn't take long when it's below zero, I managed to limp it to the mechanic, who informed me that a radiator hose, coolant flush, thermostat and about $250 later, it would be in working order again (relatively speaking). Things actually could have been much worse (knock on wood, cross your fingers and hope to die).

Isn't the irony just freakin fantastic? (that's sarcasm, folks). I decided to give the truck another chance, and four days later, it takes a big ole crap on me. So now I'm back to wondering: is it worth it all?

I need to go for a run....

Anyone interested in a slightly used 1992 Ford F-150?

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