Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Expensive Zoo Trip!

Yesterday morning, Brian had the day off and we decided to head to the zoo again!

Well, we were on the way up to Portland (we live about 45 minutes away), and we talked about the clutch and how it needed replacing. I even had called the local dealership to see what it would cost (about $1200).

Brian mentioned doing it himself over a long weekend to save us the money...and then we hit Portland, and our Subaru just blew the clutch out on Highway 26 just a few feet from the exit to the zoo!
In a cloud of smoke, our plans for the day were changed!

I sent a text message to my sister-in-law Julia who lives and works nearby, and she offered to come get us. She looked up a Subaru dealership for us and as we turned the car around (we were dead in the zoo fire lane), we limped it back near the highway entrance and stopped.

I had barely turned on the emergency flashers and parked the car, when a Portland police officer stopped and asked if we were ok. I told him we thought the clutch was dead and that we needed a tow truck. He said he'd call for me, since it would be faster if it came from PPD, and he set out a flare for us!

I had just been to the zoo with Nora on Friday by myself, so I told Brian to go ahead and go on into the zoo with Nora, and I'd deal with the tow and the dealership. I called Julia, who gave me the address, and then she reminded us that my Mom's car was parked at her house since she went to New York to visit my brother, so we could borrow her car!

Within a couple of hours with Julia's help with picking me up at the dealership, I was back at the zoo with Mom's car, and we were able to enjoy the zoo a bit together, before we had our lunch in our regular spot.

We decided to wait for the car to be done, since they said they could be done by 4 p.m. We drove Nora around town til she fell asleep, then just kept going a bit so she'd have a short nap in the car before going to Julias to wait for the car. We got it at 4:30, then went to dinner with Julia at Red Robin, where Nora tried her hand at the driving video game (the beauty of toddler entertainment is that it is free...) and THEN we headed home!

We were really grateful we didn't break down in the middle of nowhere on the way to Portland, where there are several spots with MILES of open space, or on I-5 in the left lane or something during rush hour downtown. Now THAT could have been expensive or even dangerous with Miss Nora in the car!

All in all, it was about $1100 ($950 for the repairs and $150 for the tow). But like he said "It needed to be done."

The car drives totally differently and better now. It's truly amazing. I had no idea it was in such bad shape until it was fixed.

I know we should probably be more upset about it, but really with some of the things my friends are going through, like a loss of a friend to cancer and another friend who's struggling through a messy divorce, it's really just not that big a deal to me. I miss the money out of our dwindling savings account, but it's not the end of the world.

Moving on...with a new clutch!

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