The $%^&*ing February automotive blues

Marc Lalonde
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Getting everybody around becomes logistical nightmare

parenting

Oh, the humanity.

Or the lack thereof, I suppose.

The February blues don't just happen to humans – a fact I am now, sadly, convinced of.  Our family vehicles also got the winter blues and decided to take some time off all at the same time.

It might have been a progressive experience, but yet the fact remains – when you have two kids going two different places and no way to get them there in the dead of winter, life can get a little complicated.

That happened to us last Wednesday, when our old minivan and our old 4x4 both started acting up at exactly the same time the other night, leading to a sleepless night for me and a whole lot of 'what are we going to do?' thoughts racing through my mind.

The answer turned out to be remarkably simple. One of the two cars' problems was relatively minor and required no substantive repairs, making me a very, very happy camper – but for a few hours last Tuesday night, I felt like the world was falling apart. It's not like it happened in May or June, when, worst-case scenario, my daughter can ride her bicycle to school and back, while I could potentially throw my son on the back of my own bicycle and take him to day care.

Not in February, though. It sure does make you appreciate the convenience of modern transportation, doesn't it? I suspect there are more families out there like ours, where two parents work and both cars get used during the day, making a massive inconvenience anytime anything goes wrong.

A few frantic phone calls and a huge favour from my sister-in-law later, I was able to get the kids off to their intended destinations, and by the end of the day, half my problem was solved. That is fine during the week, because my wife usually takes the train to the office (unless she has a meeting outside her office, then all bets are off), and the stress was relieved, if only for the time being. I still have one automotive issue to address, and because the 'check engine' light came on, I could be facing a hefty repair bill, which also stresses me out just a little bit.

Seriously, though, why February? I know it's cold, but it sure ain't -28C anymore, so I guess it was just my bad luck to deal with this problem now. It could've been worse, I suppose – it could've been late December, when most mechanics are closed, or I could've been stranded in a remote area surrounded by sketchy, toothless people who make cryptic references to fresh meat or some other terrifying  horror-movie scenario, but I remain convinced that the machines in our lives get the winter blues every bit as profoundly as humans do. Maybe I'm nuts – but that's a function of the winter blues, also. At least that's what I'm blaming it on.

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