Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tough Love

We have a problem in our house.

Actually, the problem resides on our driveway.

My husband's truck has been a thorn in our sides all summer long. Our bank account isn't liking it all that much either. It has needed repair after repair after repair.

And the reason it has needed so many repairs this past summer, I believe, is because it is weak.

Let me explain.

See, my husband comes from a long line of "take care of your car" people. Ok, well, I only know his parents, but still, they really take very good care of their cars. They get them maintained according to the manufactures guidelines, vacuum out the inside gunk that accumulates, wash it by hand, get it rust protected and take care of any rust that starts up. Plus, they also come from the land of owning cars that were made within five years of the current date.

I come from a very different upbringing. Our cars were on average 15 years old when we got them, lasting another 5-10. The doors on these cars were as long as some cars now (gotta love the cars from the seventies) and we had these cars in the 90s. Some even had holes in the floor. One car, my favourite, started without a key. Love it! They weren't maintained well, oil changes were infrequent, rust took over the undersides, but they always got us from A to B over to C and back to A again.

There is one reason and one reason only why those cars lasted as long as they did.

Tough love.

I grew up in a family where both parents were self employed, my dad a contractor and my mom baby sat kids at our house so she could stay home with us. They worked hard and as kids, we never knew that money was ever an issue. We always had our needs met, and while we didn't have all the fancy new clothes or toys on the market, we had more than other children. It was only as an adult that my mom said there were many times that they were on the door step of social assistance, only scraping by.

Because of the lack of money flow we always had used cars. And if a car had an issue, most of the time, my parents ignored it as long as they could. And after a few choice words, some yelling, slamming of the hood and hits of the steering wheel, things usually fixed themselves. Our cars knew better than to act up. Tough love.

We took the same approach with any large appliances in our home. Eventually, after ignoring the issue long enough and a couple of fits of frustration, things would usually clear up again. Tough love.

I have taken this "ignorance is bliss" mind frame with me through the years.

Our fridge, it leaks at the back and you have to keep a bowl on the top shelf to catch the drips. After two years, it miraculous stopped, no bowl needed anymore.

Earlier this year, I decided to give the fridge a good cleaning, leaving the door open the whole time, without turning the fridge off. I had no clue you were supposed to turn the fridge down when cleaning it. The fridge over heated and stopped working. (I know this show's that I hadn't cleaned the fridge before this, and my lack of any common understanding of general house keeping. I know. There is a reason I needed books about it.)

I left it for a while thinking it would kick in and start working again. After about two hours, with no humming to be heard, I called my husband and told him what happened. I was looking for a way to get it to start working. After all, he's a plumber. He knows everything!

His solution was to buy a new one. "But this one works perfectly fine! We don't need a new one, this one needs to start working again!" I said in to the phone, totally exasperated that he would suggest such a thing. "Um, hunny, it doesn't work. That is why you are calling me. Look online for some sales and we'll talk when I get home."

After we hung up, my determination got the better of me and I walked over to that fridge to give it what-for. There is no WAY this fridge was getting replaced. I threatened the fridge with its life, saying that if it didn't start working again, it would be taken to the curb, stripped of all it's dignity, and its door. "You better start working again buddy, because this is the end of the line for you if you don't! There'll be no repair man here, just a screw driver to take the doors and shelves off." Tough love.

And wouldn't you know... tough love worked. I kid you not. My best friend will attest to this because I was chatting with her online throughout the day during the whole ordeal.

Tough love. It works!

Back to the reason of this post. My husband's car. I kinda started rambling there.

His car hasn't experienced tough love. It has be coddled and cared for to the extreme and now is as emotional as a woman in menopause. And it is all my husband's fault. He takes it in every single time there is something wrong with it, it doesn't know how to just work through the issues and move on. Yes, I'm giving the car human qualities and calling it a he. If it were a she, he'd be a whole lot tougher.

Seriously, this car needs a back bone.

But this is the end of the line. It's tough love time. From now on baby, you get the refrigerator treatment. If you act up, to the curb you go, where people will pick over your parts until you are just a frame. No more trips to the mechanic. No more. You have bled my bank account dry.

Tough love.


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