The Gods of Irony are chuckling right now. Maybe a little more than a chuckle, as a matter of fact, it could be more in the range of chortles, cackles, or even guffaws.
This is our only car. We are about $600 away from paying it off. The warranty expired in March. And now we've got a van with a sliding door that won't shut. It reminds me of the movie Hot Shots (or was it Hot Shots Part Deux?) where Cary Elwes's character is about to fly on some dangerous mission and he breaks a mirror, walks under a ladder, has a black cat cross his path, and tells his wife that he'll sign the life insurance papers after he gets back - you know what's bound to happen to that guy. It's the same with our van - we were just asking for trouble.
I walked into the garage on Saturday evening, intending to go grocery shopping, but when I close the sliding door, it won't catch all the way. It almost bounces back open, but not quite - it's like it is half shut, not all the way shut but not going to open either. Huh, that's strange, I think, as I open the door and slam it shut again. Nope, no dice, so I do it again, this time with one hand on the handle and the other hand on the back end of the door that doesn't seem to be catching. As I slam the door, I give it an extra push from the back. No again. I repeat this with varied intensity, stopping every so often to examine the track, the closing mechanism, etc, trying to see if the problem is obvious (a binkie stuck in the track or something). I don't see the problem so I slam the door again. And then that heart-wrenching sound -
Yes, that is the sound of metal hitting the concrete garage floor. And, incidentally, the sound of the last two pennies in the empty vault after we pay for whatever I just broke.
I found a screw on the floor near the back end of the van door, you know, that place I've been pushing with all my might as I've slammed the door. Now that my Sherlock Holmesian detective skills have uncovered the offending part, I decide to investigate further. Ah, yes, now I can see the empty hole where a screw used to be, right there where the latch on the door is. Oh and what have we here, the other two screws that are still intact are, in fact, so jammed into the metal of the door that the metal around the screws has broken away! And behold! The delightful reverse-dent on the front of the door, a pimple if you will, where the entire assembly is starting to push through the door and break free into the world!
Put all of the clues together and what have we got? Elementary, my dear Watson! We have a perfectly good door with a broken latch that has been pulverized into near oblivion by two licensed drivers with no idea of their brute strength!
So I took the car to the Toyota dealership with the vain hope that the effortless repairs and rental car service that they touted when the van was sold to us would still hold true now that the car was out of warranty. After an hour wait and not a little bit of mocking by the repairman who I explained my problem to (ah, to live in his world, where car doors always close) it was explained to me that this is not a problem that they are able to fix and that I would need to take the car to an auto body shop. The dealership just happens to have an auto body shop in Orem, and would I like the information for that location? No, says I, we've been there before. You know, for that time we took a hammer to the windshield just for fun. (Honestly, if your door ever doesn't close all the way, Mr. Smug Repairman, you'll give it a little extra nudge too.)
By this time it was 10 a.m., and I had left Ryan at home with Brad and Zack, so I headed home to relieve him and send him off to work. The trip to the auto body shop will have to wait until Wednesday. That's how long it's going to take for me to stop feeling sick about the fact that, most likely, the entire door is going to need to be replaced. I guess that $600 payoff for the van can wait a little bit longer.
If you can handle the pain of car repairs, stay tuned for the Car Repair Saga, Part Two. I don't know if I'll be able to handle it myself...