Sunday, March 3, 2013

Donna the Buffalo

So I think it's time to talk about the Volvo.
A year ago, I was car-less at college and it really limited my activities. I lost eight pounds when I got to college because I wasn't able to get to the grocery store very often. On April first, my mom picked me up at school and brought me home to surprise my dad for his big birthday. We celebrated with lobster races, and I drove my "new" '98 Volvo back to school to meet up with Christopher. We warmed up to the car as she was the reason we were able to begin adventuring. There were two bumper stickers on the back of the volvo when it came into our possession. One was a fish with a crown on it, and the other of a buffalo. Totally Ithaca.

The reason I got a car was because my parents were not just going to let me go to North Carolina for my externship without a car. Which in hindsight, was one of the best things they ever did for me because if I hadn't had a car, I literally would have been stranded on the top of a mountain, with a population of 142 residents. Once Chris got to Roaring Gap, we started to travel around the state of North Carolina on our days off. We visited Winston-Salem for some sights, Boone for some shopping, Charlotte for a Jason Mraz concert, and Raleigh for the heck of it. We went traveled many miles. And as you can imagine, the good old volvo needed some attention. Now it rained every single day that we were in North Carolina, whether it was for ten minutes or four hours. So, you guessed right, the window motor broke and the passengers back window would not go up. Chris- my very own engineer, drove to Walmart and got one of those drop cloths for painting, which is clear when you lay it down. But not when you fold it eight times. So for a couple of weeks, we drove around the club with what looked like a plastic bag duct taped to our back window. Now if you don't know anything about Roaring Gap Club, it is the retreat for families who have been members of the club for generations. And I will add, that the cars they drove were probably five times as much as the volvo, if you catch my drift. But never the less, Chris and I were happy that it no longer rained into the car. When we finally were able to get it fixed, we drove down the mountain to a repair shop and they worked on it for a bit. They then informed us that they were closing, they were able to get the window up, and we owed them sixty bucks. We rushed out to the car happy that the window was at least up. As we were driving away, I looked into the back seat, and the entire door panel was lying there, a brown box of the bolts in it. They had taken the door apart and put two by fours in the door to hold up the window. I burst into tears. Chris is used to this, I am perhaps sometimes a tad over dramatic, but I was making three hundred dollars a week at my job, and I had just spent more than a days work on a couple of two by fours. We arrived back at the lodge (where all of the kids who worked at the club lived). And the whole group piled outside to help Chris put the door panel back onto the door. It took them about twenty minutes. Granted this was only the first of my bad luck with the buffalo.

The car brought me safely home to New York where I was able to spend some time with my family before I was to head through Canada to Michigan to meet up with Chris and spend some time with his family. Luckily we made it to and from Michigan and then soundly back to school. Christmas was a little stressful for us. Chris decided not to go home to Michigan because he did not want any traveling hassles and we also were really stressed about school. So his mom was coming to stay for a couple of days in order to see him during the holiday season. We picked her up at the train station, got thirty minutes into our 3 1/2 hour trip upstate, and the car started decelerating. Chris pulled to the side of the highway and the good old volvo came to a halt. The tow truck arrived and we were escorted to a service station where they would not even look at the car because they did not have time to service it. From there we went on to another shop where as soon as the mechanic turned the car on, he knew. We blew the clutch. Turns out this is a pretty big deal, and cannot be fixed in a few hours. We tried to rent a car, but turns out you have to be twenty five in order to do that. So in tears I called my father and he told me that we would leave the car there over the break and that he would come pick us up. So we sat with the mechanic for four hours waiting for my dad to come and pick us up and then turned around and drove back home. Above is a picture of the volvo on the tow truck that day. When Christmas break was over, Dad drove us back to the repair shop where we were to pick up the Volvo in order to get back to school. The bad luck continued with a flat tire on the way to the shop. A series of unfortunate events if you ask me. The clutch is brand spankin' new now and works like a charm. But we had to return in order to get a new motor mount in a couple of weeks. We noticed when driving, that there was a distinct LOUD rattling sound coming from the dashboard, and assumed that it was just due to the broken motor mount. That only took an hour, but as we turned out of the driveway and hit 45 mph the rattling was still present. We circled back to the shop and they took a look inside the hood. Well, happens that the heat shield (the thingy that protects the dashboard from the motor) was broken. So they wrapped it up with some duct tape and a coat hanger and told us that unless we wanted to spend a lot of money to get a part that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, all would be okay. The car still currently makes a loud noise, and those who are passengers get a little nervous when it happens, but it's just normal to us.

Yesterday, Chris was in need of a hair cut, so we hopped in the car and started off campus. Only to have to pull right back into the campus drive to a flat tire. Now I know I might sound like a broken record by now, but all of this actually happens to me. I know it's pretty hard to believe, but unfortunately, it's real life. Luckily it was a pretty simple fix at Sears, and we got our oil changed in the process. The milage on that baby is around 220,000 and we are still rolling. We love our very own red  set of wheels that gets us where we need to go and gives us some freedom. Sometimes I get frustrated with the universe for giving me so many challenges, but my mom always says, "God doesn't give us anything that we cannot handle."


  1. That last picture was taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you're ever near it on a sunny summer day, go for a drive. It is an amazing experience we took advantage of often last summer.

  2. Tricia, I guess you and I are more alike than even Christopher can imagine! When it rains girl, it pours! And your mom is right! When you get through it and climb to the top of the mountain, you realize how strong you have become because of the "crisis". Glad that he is there to experience it all with you! :) Sophia says that she LOVES you guys! And she really wants you to bring the Red set of wheels to her house where you can park it in the garage and play barbies with her! (totally sophia)