Sunday, 13 March 2016

Life choices and cars.

After three wonderful years of glowing health, no money worries and good gardening life is taking a darker turn. As I am fond of saying, the Moon is not always full, the tide not always in. I had the good sense to thoroughly enjoy the bright time just passed, and it is only fair we get our share of the darker aspects of the human condition. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, so it goes.

I am oh-so slowly learning to only tell my own story, so details about other people are minimal. Let us just say that age is biting the spouse hard, which is not unfair in someone's eightieth year. A few years ago I wrote a blog about labour divisions in the empty nest.
Put it this way: these days I have to do the hunting as well as the gathering, and it is taking some adjusting.

In some ways ways I have been a spoilt rural woman.  I have been quite happy letting Old Dutch look after snow removal, the water system, the car and the electricity bills.
Now that it is up to me there were some tough decisions to make, and I spent the winter in a fog of indecision. Cars played a large role in various dilemmas.

The cherished 1995 Subaru Legacy has given us almost 9 years of loyal service. It had enjoyed a sheltered life in it's youth. When we got it it was 12 years old but only had 75.000 km on it, and was in perfect shape. I loved that car.
It is now a special needs car. Parts are getting hard to find. This posed serious dilemmas. Pay for repairs to eke another year out of it? Replace it? Go car free? 
If we lived in the village I would do the latter in a heartbeat. Dilemma, dilemma.  On short dark winter days when energy is low the car free option was quite appealing. The things eat money. Just hunker down and stay home. We could use the bus when it is available and help my best friend maintain her car in return for occasional transport.

It is not just about cars. It is about life being open with possibilities and professional development or giving up and letting old age close us in. With the dear old lady on her last rusty legs, or wheels rather,  I have been limiting trips into the village to once, at most twice a week. Apart from being hesitant to venture into traffic I did not dare to take it much farther afield in case it would give up the ghost far from home.
Without my own car I cannot attend the farmers' market as a vendor or make home visits.

I had been wondering if I should go to market or not, if I should invest in new gift certificates and brochures, do some publicity, some more learning, or just stop and retire from being a reflexologist. Instead of working to earn extra income and start driving out of town more I could just stay home and focus on being (even more) frugal.
I am happy to report the die has been cast in the direction of opening to possibilities.

Behold the perfect for me car! It is a 2004 Toyota Echo.
I used to be quite hung up on on needing four wheel drive and loved the Subarus. But then I remembered something. If the roads are so bad that 4wd is a must I have the option to stay home, duh!

I first heard about the Echo when a reflex client/friend showed up with one. In spite of not having four wheel drive it made it up our driveway every time, through mud or snow.  I loved the compact size and super fuel economy.  I had barely started investigating when I saw the classified ad for this car at a price I could afford. Called the number right away, left a message with the male voice on the machine. Who should call back but my old friend, who I had not seen since she retired and moved away. It is her car! It has been impeccably maintained by its only owner. 

I went online to check the average life span of an Echo. The answer: not known yet. If looked after properly they keep on trucking well past 400.000 km.

Now I will have to focus on getting some work in order to pay for it. That takes care of one dilemma. Market, here I come! Best of all I will be free to make some fun trips without breaking the bank or worrying about getting stranded. There are some fabulous nurseries in the Slocan Valley. Who knows, with practice I might start driving in cities again. Vancouver is a stretch but one can dream, and practice.

Here is a toast to open doors.


  1. So happy for you that you found a car that works for you & has been well taken care of. I hope it gives you many years & miles. We have some big decision on our car as well before May. Won't pass inspection (rust) so hubby's work car will be done. Now to decide to go back to 1 car with both our jobs (not sure how that will work out) and trying to add in a car for our daughter to get to work as well. Why do they have to be so expensive to begin with.

    1. Why do we have to rely on them for getting from home to eork is another question. Something is wrong with the design of this society. But then, I am part of the problem.

  2. It sounds like a lot of responsibility for you it must be quite an adjustment I feel for you and your dilemma and I pray that your little car will drive and dry for many years to come happy Monday

  3. Thanks Mel. I am seven years younger than my husband and not ready yet to just retreat from the world. I am very grateful for my strong back and sturdy chunky body, fat rolls and all.


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