Van Maintenance

Yesterday I had to have four new tires put on my van.  It cost me... oh, a little under a million dollars.  That's the trouble with All Wheel Drive.  Also with this county that doesn't understand the word Toyota.  There are about 32,000 people driving around the Bay Area with the very same van that we have.  Used tires are there in abundance.  But here there are none, and since we are driving to Canada on Monday, we couldn't exactly start our trip on our spare.

Did you know that you have to have four tires that are exactly the same on an All Wheel Drive vehicle? So if you run over something inadvertently, you must replace all of them?

I love my van so much that I want to marry it, though, so it's a worthwhile expense, even if it is unexpected.  The leather upholstery! The captain's swivel seats! The room for our friends when we travel together, which is, like, all the time, here.  I also found out that the strange noises it's making are a simple problem with the exhaust, inexpensive to fix and not urgent, and this makes me gleeful in a bulgy-eyed, hyper kind of way.

Don't you love a kind mechanic?  Sometimes I meet these people who just seem to LOVE their jobs, and they make my day, my whole week, in fact.  My mechanic yesterday was named Sam, and he suggested gently to me that the tire issue was a little more important than the loud noises our exhaust system is making.

"I know," I said.  "It's not really bothering us, so much, but I think it bothers people around us."

He shrugged. "They can turn up their music," he said.  And then pointed me to the nearest tire dealer and didn't charge me for diagnosing my car.

We leave for my home and native land on Monday, which makes me busy in a skin-popping, paralyzed kind of way. God help me.