Sunday, September 7, 2014

Alero, the sweet lemon

My Alero has been kind of a lemon--but more sweet than sour since she is over 15-years-old, on her third set of tires, and still makes 27 miles per gallon.

I now pay more for the registration paperwork than I do the property taxes on this thing, but hey, she still works, and I'm not too proud to drive a tin can.

The Alero is not fun to sit in though. A towel covers the driver seat’s innards so they do not end up hanging from my rear. Switching from AM to FM or to change to a CD requires pushing the button three times. But oh, one thing works quite well: the cassette tape player.

Many other items; however, are out of commission or close to it. Here's the list.

The trunk lid requires a key and refuses to open with the remote or the inside lever. The plastic liner on the edge of the trunk is gone. Between my golf clubs and Brittany’s getting yanked in and out, it would not stay on anymore, so I duct taped the thin indoor carpet liner to the metal frame.

The cabin is far from sound proof with leaky windows—especially in the back--that is why she is a tin can. The sunroof stopped shutting, so we disconnected it. The back two windows are disconnected too because they did not know how to stay where they belong either.  
The driver’s side window started all these window issues in December 2006, a couple months after I married Chris.

What does love have to do with it? A snow storm, that's what! Fifteen inches in Oklahoma when it was all said and done, and I've got pictures to prove it.

Never a shy one around a camera, a 12-year-old Brittany with Pepper--ready to move to Kansas.

We traveled to Bartlesville from Cheney to sign for the closing on Chris' house. The road conditions turned a regular 3-hour trip into a 6-hour adventure. This time it was mother nature expanding the time frame--unlike my trip this summer in 2014 when I turned a 9-hour trip into 12. Read my blog post entitled, On the Road Again--Alone, for more about that nightmare.

Chris at his house in Bartlesville on the day of the signing.

Luckily for us, Brittany's grandpa and Chris had moved their belongings in a U-Haul to Kansas the day before, a Wednesday. They returned to Oklahoma that night. The plan was for Chris to come up with his pick-up on Thursday with the last of their belongings, and after I was done with school, we would drive back in the Alero for the signing, which was on Friday. Brittany's grandparents would see to it that she would wrap up things at her school.

But on the Thursday morning of the trip, even before a lick of snow hit the ground, Cheney Superintendent Brad Neuenswander made the no-school call. That was how dangerous and plentiful the storm was predicted to be. When I called Chris at 7:30 in the morning to say that he had better leave now--with no snow on the ground--he thought I was crazy.

Not the case when he finally got here late morning and told me he had hit the ditch due to ice near the the Belle Plaine exit on the turnpike. He was able to maneuver his red Dodge pick-up right back up out of it. Good thing no one was traveling too close behind him either. I could have been a widow before my husband even officially moved in.

What does all this have to do with the Alero? Ice and snow, that's what. On our drive back to Oklahoma, Chris had to keep opening the window, grab the blade, and knock the ice off the wipers.

Ready to head back to Kansas in the Alero--to finally live together as a family.

We arrived Thursday night in good shape, but the last 10 miles from Dewey to Bartlesville took an hour. The closing was postponed from Friday to Saturday, and Brittany never had school those last two days.

After we arrived back in Kansas on Saturday afternoon, the driver's side window kept sneaking down. It did not want to stay up. And I had no garage, so we taped a blanket over it.

So on that first Sunday, with my family finally together, we crammed into the pick-up to go to church. Large speakers took up the small back seat area, so Bee and I held the groceries on our laps on the way home from Wichita. Oh, the memories of beginning married life. 

We had to fix that window, of course, or no mailbox stops, fast-food drive-ins, or ATM stops for us. In the years that followed, the back windows began to slip too, so we disconnected them.

But that was the beginning of my car, only 7-years-old, turning into my tin can rat trap. I think she got her feelings hurt when Chris purchased a brand new Honda Accord later that month. Suddenly, the Alero was not driving us around like she used to, the Honda was. And the Honda is a smooth, quiet, luxurious ride. Brittany and I used to accuse her dad of loving the car more than us.

But I understand his affection for his car. I will probably cry when the time comes to retire the Alero. But for now, I'm hoping she makes it to 20-years-old like one of my dad's other Oldsmobiles. 

Chris with his Honda in December of 2010 when she is already 2-years old. 


  1. Melodie, It's amazing how we develop relationships with our cars! Years ago when I was very dependent on my old car, I felt that I'd been betrayed by a friend every time it broke down. You are blessed to have such a good friend in yours!

    1. I am glad you can relate. I have similar feelings about my billfold and sometimes my purse!

  2. P.S. That was a comment from Liz :)

    1. I figured it might be you. Thanks for letting me know.