Tag Archive: minivan


Saying Goodbye to the Blue Belle

There are times in life when you have to say good-bye.

A recent family photo with the Blue Belle.

Our blue 2000 Chrysler Voyage Minivan finally died about a month and a half ago. The Blue Belle went with us hither and yon. To Texas, eastern Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri and all points in between.

She took many kids to youth group and on camping trips. There were times we had to over-stuff the poor girl. But she handled it all well.

We knew this day was coming though I lived in denial. My husband predicted her death for the last two years. I had told him to stop because she had surpassed so many of his deadlines. But, still, there were signs. A few years ago the hatchback stayed closed. Something was stuck deep inside and it was not going to open.

In the last year or so, the car would refuse to start, especially annoying when I had all of the kids with me. So I bought a wire brush to clean off the corrosion around the caps on the battery. That sort of helped.

When jumps from friendly strangers no longer worked, it was discovered a little shaking and pulling would click the starter back in place. Then magically, the car would start again. I even asked for a new starter for the girl as my anniversary gift.

But one morning, she wouldn’t start at all. The dashboard lights went on but nothing else happened. Shaking didn’t work. Jumping didn’t work. Nothing happened.

To be honest, we were wondering if one of the u-joints was going bad. There was problem with the brakes. It sounded as if new brake shoes were needed. Who knows if the various belts were about to go. We just knew it was time to say goodbye.

That's right! 324,007 Miles.

We had gotten a lot of use out of the Blue Belle despite her rusted-out parts and crack in the windshield.  We loved her even when the heat stopped working or when the air conditioning knew one temperature – artic cold.

We loved her for being able to hold all of our stuff.  For being able to separate kids and stop fights. Even when it was clear that her time was done, we still loved her. So we made the hard decision.

My husband took off the plates, I called the insurance company to take her off the rolls. We cleaned everything out, including the tollway transponder.  And then we called the Lung Association. They take cars for auction. The money goes to help their programs to help people stop smoking and kids with asthma.

Monday morning, before my husband drove me to work, we rolled it to the front parking space, made sure the paperwork and the keys were in the glove compartment. When my husband brought me home, it was gone. The oil stains are still there but the greatest car in our family has now gone.

She has 325,000 miles. Perhaps it is time to say goodbye.

It has been a rough few weeks in our house. There have been a lot of changes. Our big blue minivan has finally died. Our 18-year-old no longer lives at home. The youngest child does not want me to walk with him to kindergarten. Adding insult to injury, my favorite radio station has moved my favorite talk host around. And it only leads to ostrich-like behavior on my part.

I have felt so sad and blue and unable to do the simple things I must do. Putting out the blog, going to work and doing the regular writing jobs help me focus and keep busy. Can’t go crazy when you are trying to write 500 words of perfection on a daily basis.

I have been you-tubing singers and bands I like. I was listening to REM, each song feeling more personal than the last. And then I remembered that

Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog statues, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA; Photographed by Charles M. Wrenn III.

they did Shiny Happy People with the Muppets. I had to hunt that down and was rewarded with a big smile. That’s when I noticed a bunch of other Sesame Street videos on the queue. How can you be sad when monsters and kids are dancing?

Well, there are plenty of reasons for me to be sad lately. We made our 18 year-old son move to his father’s house at the end of July. It is a decision that makes me wonder about my parenting abilities and the mistakes I have made. On the other hand, I know I have made the right decision, especially when it came down to the rest of our kids being able to live in a calm house. The difference is dramatic.

For right now I feel awful. I keep hoping I did the right thing and that the lessons he will learn in the next few years will propel him to a better place. In truth, I am not sure and have days, hours, minutes in which I believe I have made a huge mistake. Yet my friend, Lois, assures me that sometimes you have to be tough and follow through on that decision. Then the trick is making them live with your boundaries once they come back, she says.

Harry Ron And Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Picture from IMDB.com

To not think about all of this stuff I have been back on my Harry Potter reading task. After the 18 y.o. left I began to clean his room he shared with the other boys. I threw out at least two bags of garbage that included packaging for socks and underwear.  I found the fourth book so I’ve read that and book five. I cried when Sirius died and everything changed. I felt happy for Harry when Moody and Lupin came to tell off the Dursleys.  Now I am working on the sixth book, realizing once again how Harry can get obsessed and stubborn.

As I work up to the seventh book, I wonder what I will do when that is over. My friend, Heather, returned Jane Bites Back to me and I have already read it through. Heather also returned my old fashioned 35 mm camera so I might take the canisters of film we found in the refrigerator and have a little fun.

Picture by Ladyheart

Maybe it will take my mind off of the fact my 5-year-old has asserted his independence by telling me in no uncertain terms that I am not to walk him to school. No way, no how. Today as they walked to school, I took the time to take spent bloom heads off of my petunia basket, which looks to having a ton of blooms in the next week or so. I watched as far as the trees would allow and had to hope no bullies would dare mess with my littlest guy.

Then again, they do not know about his right hook.