First, this is partly my fault.
When I met my ex-husband, I drove a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle, sky blue. It was then 1976. I usually took good care of it; vicariously, through a VW repair place Rusk Motors, in Worthington, Ohio. Every 80,000 miles, I would bring it in. They would hoist up the front of the car with a forklift, slide under and unbolt the engine, replace the old tin cans with some rebuilt ones (I think they are called cylinders), feed the squirrels, and put it back in. I was good for the next 80,000 miles.) At that particular moment, however, I was working three part time job and going to OSU. I needed a new muffler and could not afford it. In an effort to impress me, my future husband bought the famous “How to Repair and Maintain Your Volkswagen Beetle for the Complete Idiot.” He propped up the car in the gutter in front of my apartment in the pouring rain and replaced the muffler. Thus the part about becoming my husband.
This unfortunately led to two side effects:
Because Volkswagens were so easy to repair, he became so overconfident of his ability to fix cars, that for the rest of our marriage, he fixed every car we had, no matter how long it took or how long we were stranded. He never bothered to take a class, read another book on auto maintenance, or ask for advice. He fancies himself the Macgyver -Survivalist- auto mechanic who can fix anything with some cardboard (gaskets) cookie sheet (under car protection from stuff that flies up from the road) duct tape, binder clips (those things from the office supply store that hold papers together), and old bicycle tires (belts).
The second effect was that I became my handle: stunt driver mom. I learned to jump out of (and put out) cars on fire (3), handle cars whose wheels had fallen off while driving (2), and get the car safely to the berm after blowouts or rods thrown while driving down the freeway (uncountable.) I have spun wheelies in traffic with 3 little kids in the back seat because of his monthly routine of bleeding the brakes. Thus he became my “ex.” (I used to wonder if he was intentionally trying to kill me, but people tell me he was not.)
Now, we live our separate lives, 6 miles apart, and the three kids are in college.
Actually, there is a third effect: middle son is an aspiring stunt driver.
Okay, so my son needed a car. His salvage-title rebuilt Chevy Contour was so bad, he was afraid to drive it in the dark or the rain. He is a 23 year old part time college student with a full time job. I had noticed that stuff always broke during final exam week or when a major paper was due. It was wasting tuition and endangering his future. He was looking for a car loan to buy an $8,000 late model used car. I pointed out that with the financing deals and the first few years maintenance included, he might be able to afford a new car for a similar cost of ownership. He found one that fulfilled his needs, (room for big dog, ability to go on road trips) and asked “Is it worth $8,000 more?” We calculated the financing difference and I asked, "Is it worth $100 a month more to know that for the next several years, if anything goes wrong, it is NOT YOUR PROBLEM?
My son purchased a leftover-at-the-dealer 2012 Toyota (something that looks like a toaster.) He loves it. That was a month ago. He cannot bring himself to tell his father that he bought a new car. It would be a repudiation of everything his father believes.
How does he tell him, how does he go visit, he used to see his Dad every few weeks.