Oct 122007

Hi, BerthaSpouse here. I just saw Bertha’s post about “Care and Maintenance of Your New Car 101.” I think there may be a detail or two that Bertha has overlooked.

So when Bertha inexplicably pulls the van into the mud flats from hell (and I elect not to repeat here my utterance when I saw what she’d done), I pop the hood on the van and take a look. The dipstick shows some sticky black gunk I hesitate to call oil, and the radiator is entirely empty. Bertha notes that she has been seeing green puddles whenever she parks the thing.

This is, of course, hardly the first time we’ve had maintenance problems with the van. Changing the oil was a novel concept when we first did it after 50,000 miles or so. Also, I once pulled an entire uneaten order of french fries from under the passenger seat. They were solid green. I didn’t mention it to Bertha, I just got some tongs and relocated the nasty things to the trash bin.

So when I discover that once again we have been running the van without oil or coolant, do I react by screaming “you crazy fool, why did you tank the engine?” No I do not. I react by saying, mildly, “okay, well then let’s go find a gas station and get some water and antifreeze, because you know, maybe it will help the engine run better.” So we drive around and find some coolant. It doesn’t exactly match the type called for in the owner’s manual, but what the hell, how much more damage can we do at this point.

On the way home I’m kind of hoping that the overheating problem might just go away now that we have coolant again, but no such luck. So we finally get the thing home and go to bed. The next day, one might imagine me coming home from work and ranting and raving about the financial loss from the blown engine, blaming Bertha for it, etc, etc. (That’s what a control freak would do.) Do I do that? No I do not. Instead, I take time off work to come home, pick up Bertha, drive way the hell from RTP over to Capital Blvd, and buy her a brand new $18,000 car.

For the record, I am a saint.



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