She needs a car.

Perhaps you will recall MONTHS ago when I complained of car troubles with my little 2001 Jetta? Something about a timing belt, blah blah blah, $900 dollars, gag gag gag, having to spend the night in St. George, humph. Well since then “Jet Blue” as I like to call him, has been nothing but TROUBLE. And if you aren’t accustomed to getting a VW or other German car fixed, it’s expensive and it’s a chore. Especially because in Utah you can’t take your car to the Ken Garff VW dealer because they are spawns of Satan, lie, and when they change your oil plug they might not put it in correctly and it could possibly fall out and leave you stranded in Point of Rock Wyoming on a cross-country trip. And when you call to tell them about this, they won’t care. MOVING ON.

Eric kept trying to tell me that once a car has a certain number of miles on it you just have to fix things. He said, “Cars cost money babe, it’s not a one time purchase.” And I said, “But I don’t want to spend money, babe! I won’t have any left to make another purchase!” And then he would no longer allow me to accompany him on trips to the shop because I would pout and get depressed and occasionally accost mechanics.

But what started as routine “fixes” turned into ridiculous problems, and thousands, and thousands, and yes I could add four more thousands, of dollars. Every mechanic saying: “This COULD fix it, this SHOULD fix it, but you never know with these VW’s.” However, even though we were handing over our money time and time again, it was never long before the damn “check engine” light popped up again and I was sent down another rage-filled spiral at my car that any 16-year-old girl would kill for.

Somehow we got Jet Blue across the country to Philly. But after a couple weeks the little guy just kind of gave out. We took him to three shops out here before finding “Chris.” Chris was a good guy, an honest guy. Chris pointed to all the things in our engine/car that we got ripped off on. Thanks Chris. Chris told us he’d try to fix it but he didn’t want us to spend any more on that car cause it wasn’t worth it. So Chris attempted to cheaply fix the problem twice before giving us the bad news: we needed a new transmission.

I know nothing about cars, but I’ve found that if I have heard of a car part, then it’s usually really really expensive. Unfortunately I had heard tales of these, how you say, “transmissions.”

Now Jet Blue could run, and most of the time he’d start. But what happened is he went into what they refer to as “Limp Mode.” Which sounds like a euphemism for an erectile dysfunction I know, but cut Jet Blue some slack. He wants as much vroom as the next guy, but I guess he just can’t handle a gal like me.

Eric and I went online to look up 2001 Jetta problems and apparently the car is some kind of lemon. They all have TONS AND TONS of problems after about 100,000 miles, (ours started at 80,000) and they frankly aren’t worth the money it takes to fix them. Information that would have been useful 8 MONTHS AGO. Or perhaps 8 YEARS AGO! Now I know why all my high school friends had Honda Civics, THEIR CARS ARE STILL RUNNING.

Long story made LONGER, we decided to sell Jet Blue for what we could out here, and be done with him. Even if we forked over the THOUSANDS to fix his transmission Chris said he wasn’t even sure if that would do it. And we wouldn’t feel safe driving him back across the country.

The rest of the process had a shocking similarity to when I sold the dog. (Remember when I had a dog?) And we didn’t get that much more for the car then we did for sweet little Pony.

BIG SURPRISE a man called SO EXCITED and said, “Oh! My daughter will love this car!” We told him everything that was wrong, but he said he was confident he could fix it, and drove down from Baltimore last night to claim Jet Blue for yet another naive 16-year-old girl.

Even though it was rough at the end, I’ll always remember the good times we had. That car saw a lot of BYU coed action. He saw a lot of Poway High School action…He helped me TP a lot of houses, do a lot of creepy “drive-bys.” He was there for me when I needed a place to be alone, a place to cry, a place to break up with boyfriends, and place to fall in love with my husband.

So we said our parting words, and then Muhammad and two of his very nice friends from Baltimore handed over a very small wad of cash, and I watched him putt-putt away into the thick Philadelphia night air.

Something about selling a car, not getting any money for it, and not having enough money to buy a new car, well something about all that, made me feel very grown up. Usually I feel like I’m pretending to be an adult. But that transaction, at least for the night, made it seem real.

Now that the car is sold we’ve decided to drive home to Utah in Eric’s truck (our only car is a two-seater, sigh) on Sunday. A week sooner than we had planned. So I guess you could say a week early, a car short?

Pardon the french, but I found this ecard from my favorite ecard site, and I wanted to send it to myself:

I’m sorry too.

May he go with God.

I will be accepting car donations until…well…until I get a car. Ha!

Love all of you almost as much as I loved that car,




  1. Debbie

    Okay…is this the only way I can find out what is going on in the lives of my children? I know you are sad, but this gave me a good laugh this fine summer morning. The picture of you and Blue was perfect!!! Remember, all shall work out for the best.

  2. Tim and Sara

    Awww, this is sad. 'Member my golden Volvo? With the defroster that didn't work? That I still drove through Park City blizzards, with Kristine wiping the windowshield while I hung my head out the window like a dog? I got $500 for that sucker.

  3. Amanda

    Thank goodness my parents leased my 2001 Jetta. It too was a dud. And I only had it for 4 years. Our 1999 Passat is the same story though. It never passes state inspections. The check engine light is always on. Boo.

    Oh, and thanks for being there for Ethan's first beach experience. We loved seeing you and Eric just one more time this summer!

  4. david

    not to be a smug bicycle advocate right now… but…

    this is all the more reason to own a bicycle and use it as transportation. you can still have a car, but a bicycle is so much more fun, cheap, healthy, and easy to fix.

    also, as a recovering VW owner… you said it yourself. go toyota/honda.

    always and forever.

  5. Alison

    David, remember how you live in LA? Where is doesn't snow? Or rain? Just checking. LOVE YOU! haha, I will be biking it for a while though, as a car is not in our foreseeable future…oh brother.

  6. david

    nope, i forgot about that.

    people don't bike in LA because "there's too many cars" or "drivers are crazy" or "i don't like the noise" or "i will sweat too much."

    no matter where you live, there's always some excuse not to do it.

    people bike in all kinds of weather. just sayin' excuses are like…

    that thing.

  7. Bek

    you're funny. i love reading your posts. just fyi.

  8. Alison

    i love you bek. thank you.

  9. Elle and Jared

    Oh no! Was my comment too racy to make it?? Or maybe you didn't want to offend your real mom? I'm embarrassed…

  10. Danielle

    OKAY I could have typed that story (albeit not so well as you did). I have a 2000 Jetta (also blue!) and it's dying a slow death. This last time the check engine light went on we said ENOUGH. It's on hospice now… we're just enjoying the time we have left with it. Even if the air's been out since May, I'm still going to miss it when it's dead and gone.

    Do you mind if I link to this post from my blog? It's a private blog, but my friends (who know my story with my VW) will get a kick out of reading your story because it's so similar to mine.

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