Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Miracle of the Malibu concluded and a promise.
Every time I say that I am going to write a two part story or explain something later,
I use every excuse in the book not to do it.
I don't know if the part of my brain that writes is a temperamental diva who only writes when the whim hits or a petulant juvenile delinquent refusing to do what they said they would do...
Either way I hate to break a promise.
So here is the conclusion to my Malibu Miracle Story.....
I hope it is worth the wait.
The Malibu was purchased initially for Todd. After stuffing his six foot three frame into subcompact car after subcompact car (all we could afford) we saved up enough money to upgrade just a little bit to the Chevy Malibu where the top of his head did not actually come so close to scraping the roof of the vehicle. It had a V6 engine much more powerful than what he had been driving the 40 miles a day to and from his office, much of it on fast moving freeways.
After just a couple of years of driving it, we inherited my Dad's big bright red Cadillac which he had purchased used and lovingly driven. Megan had turned 15 and was learning to drive and my Dad thought that it would be a good heavy safe car for her. It was definitely heavy but it was huge. It became clear that for the protection of the other drivers on the road that the smaller Malibu would be better to teach her in since staying between the white lines of the road was not an inborn quality.
So Mr. T did the chivalrous thing and let her borrow it for awhile....
It never became his again.
While he was suffering the jokes and snickers of his fellow coworkers for his "sweet caddy ride" , the Malibu was busy teaching, crashing and carrying the Winn kids. It suffered numerous hits from behind and two fairly serious accidents which threatened to "total" it. Because of the rear end accidents, the trunk never closed properly and so whenever it rained it leaked into the trunk giving a distinct odor that earned it's nickname of the Smellabu. Well actually to be fair the distinct smell also could have come from the constant flow of trash, dirty marching clothes, stinky shoes and left over food and drink that became it's fate.
But through all of that it ran.....
And most importantly kept my kids safe.
Even when it was viciously attacked by someone seeking revenge by pouring maple syrup in it's gas tank, it still kept running after much needed repairs.
Once when the check engine light came on when the youngest Lauren had finally inherited it's glory, we explained to her that since the car was getting so old it might just not be worth the money it would take to repair it. She would just have to share my vehicle.
Horrified by the thought, she prayed and prayed,
"Please let the check engine light go off."
And it did.
The very next day.
When Jack left on his mission he said goodbye to the Malibu because he figured for sure that it would not be there when he returned two years later. Jack always said the Malibu liked him best....but then so did Megan and Lauren. Each child has said that the Malibu was special to them...it's expired license plates hanging proudly on their bedroom and dorm room walls.
The Malibu forged on and awaited Jack's return from Guatemala still every bit as useful and stinky.
In fact it lasted all the way until the Christmas holidays when the whole family finally reunited at home for the first time in two and a half years. I think that it was then and only then that it could say it's final goodbye. Fitting since it really had become the kid's car.
And now with them all home and taking a final Sonic run together it gasped it's last breath. Jack said that it barely rolled back onto our street not able to get above 20 miles an hour. When he came to a stop smoke billowed from the tailpipe in a giant white cloud. It wouldn't even start. It just clicked clicked clicked, the engine never turning over again. It sat in front of the house on the street while we decided how best to get rid of it. The insurance had been taken off so there would be no towing it. We called junk yards but their offers seemed shady at best. Being the holidays we just plain put it out of our minds. Occasionally Todd would go out and try to start the engine.
Even the overhead light and power locks failed to work.
It was completely and utterly dead.
Then last week as I was heading out to a photo shoot I see a police car parked in front of the Malibu and the officer looking at it carefully. I kept loading my car praying that there would be no trouble. The police finally pulled up into the driveway and motioned me over.
He was very nice and even apologetic as he reminded me that the vehicle could not stay parked in the street and that an eventual ticket would be 500 dollars. I told him that I would immediately move it in to the driveway. We chatted some more and I realized that there was NO way I could move it into the driveway.....it would not start.....it was dead.
I then asked the officer if I could have until the next day to get it moved. I figured that Todd and I could push it up together into the driveway that night. He said, "sure".
Relieved that we were not getting a ticket I called Todd and told him that we had to move it that same night.
He said that he didn't think that the two of us could both move and steer it up the slightly uphill driveway. I bet him that we could since I consider myself freakishly strong for a woman..... at least for the short haul. I have been on the other side of plenty of heavy objects holding my own in moving. He still doubted so I made a bet on it. A sonic drink was riding on my ability to get that car up on the driveway without outside help.
Just Todd and I.
I even went outside praying that it would start and I could move it.
I put it into neutral and made a test run by pushing it about three feet by myself.
I was smug and could already taste my diet coke with cranberry and extra extra ice.
Todd came home and we went out in the dark to push. He kept reminding me that he thought that it wouldn't work. He put the Malibu in neutral and held on to the steering wheel pushing from the front door while I pushed from the back.
It would not budge. Not even an inch.
NOT EVEN AN INCH.....
How could this be?
Desperate to go to bed that night without worry of a police officer knocking at my door I came up with the brilliant idea to try and jump start it with the van.
Todd shook his head with more displeasure but knew that it was better to just humor me on this one. I really don't like interaction with the police. (story for another day) ((dang it there I go again))
We hooked up the two vehicles....
Not a single sound....not even the click click click.
We both sat in our respectable vehicles discouraged.
Todd unhooked the cables and closed the hoods of both vehicles. As I sat in the van despondent and aware that I might actually lose the bet,.....
a miracle happened.
The headlights of the Malibu turned on.
Astonished Todd sat down in the drivers seat and turned the key.
The engine started up without a single sputter.
We could not believe our eyes and ears.
I told Todd to hurry and pull the Malibu into the driveway.
He did and as it came to a stop a huge thick white cloud of smoke billowed from it's tail pipe.
It was the Malibu's goodbye.
The final gift of service to the Winn family.
I will never forget it.
Goodbye my four wheeled friend.
You were faithful and true to the end.
From all of us Winn's
We will miss you.