BECAUSE DECEMBER ISN'T CRAZY ENOUGH ALREADY, we thought it would be a kick to throw in major car repairs for both vehicles! You know, just for shits 'n' grins.
The first one, you may remember, went down week before last, when my charter bus Suburban's oil gauge malfunctioned, requiring the replacement of the entire instrument panel "cluster" (which, every time the repair guy said it, made me want peanut clusters or something sweet). My good friend E hooked me up with a good deal and a complementary loaner car, so it was about as pain free as any repair could be that costs the equivalent of 400 iTunes. But the repair was worth it, because not only can I be sure that my oil pressure isn't off the scale, I also know how fast I'm driving (as the speedometer, which broke two years ago, was part of the "cluster" that was replaced). No more driving by relative speed! Huzzah!
But that's not all! The week before that bit o' fun, Soup Husband Curt was involved in a domino-type fender bender, wherein a charter bus large SUV rammed into the car behind him, which then bumped into the back of the Jeep. He was okay, and the Jeep was driveable, but the back was visibly banged up and the exhaust was bent and hanging down. Fortunately, the driver at fault had insurance coverage, and the good people of USAA agreed to cover the full cost of repairs AND a rental car in the interim.
So, last week Curt took the Jeep to the very same autobody shop where we had taken it five years earlier, when it was stolen and driven around DC for almost a month before being recovered. The damage then was way more significant, and the autobody shop made it look good as new. In the ensuing five years, there have been bumps and nicks and scratches and some rust, and the tailgate rendered itself unopenable (shut up, I think it's a word) to all except Curt, who developed this Fonzie-like maneuver, wherein a well-placed thump to the lock would cause teenaged girls in poodle skirts to come running the jukebox to play tunes from the 1950s the thing to magically open. He was truly the only one who could do it.
He brought it home last night and guess what? the bumper is as good as new, the exhaust is new and even I can open the tailgate, with one hand! My only regret is that we couldn't have somehow claimed the accident broke our air-conditioning system, which quit working right before last summer's record heat, causing many sweaty commutes for Soup Husband Curt (bless him).
The only cost to us was a little time off work for drop-off and pick-up. That's it! Thanks, USAA!
Considering the magnitude of repairs to both vehicles, I think that when the total cash outlay is prorated over both vehicles, the Soup Family can chalk this one up in the "win" column.