Monday, January 5, 2009


You ever notice that you never notice the little oil change reminder sticker in the corner of your windshield until it is way past the reminder date? It's like the sticker becomes one of the parts of your windshield that you choose to ignore like the running cracks, bug guts and the grimey dirt the wiper can't quite reach. It's one of those things that only crosses my mind after being present when someone else mentions that they have just been for an oil change. I hear the words "oil change" and my heart starts beating super fast as I try to remember when I was supposed to get mine changed. Then and only then, do I check the reminder sticker, usually to discover that I am at least a month, if not two late!!!
I have a 2005 jetta and as far as cars go, (I prefer big pick up trucks,) I love it! I love it because it gets me from here to there on it's diesel engine and hardly ever complains. I love it because the trunk can hold my saddle, my grooming caddy, a bag of grain, a pink water pail, my tub of "emergency" winter gear, flashlights, granola bars, toques, mitts, snowpants, a vest, my farm coat and various ropes and halters. I love it because the console between the seats is the perfect place to stash a Venti starbucks and a handful of cereal. I love it because the backseat can easily store binders, books, doggy bags and treats, socks, loose pens and the recycling that spills out of the tub when I put it on the seat to be emptied. I love the seat heaters and the candy filled glove box. I love my car, but not like some people love their car. Not like the people who never miss oil changes, not like the people who armor all the dash at stop lights, not like the people that wash thier cars all the time and never sit on the seats with dog or horse hair on their pants. Nope, not like that at all.
The thing with the jetta is that it is a foreign car so everything about an oil change is EXPENSIVE! First there is the special, synthetic oil, then there is the air filter and all of the other things the mechanics insist on pulling out from under my hood to show me. They hold up the filter, show me all of the dust and stuff stuck in it and then suggest that I replace it. I always ask "how much?" and they always answer "100 bucks!" "How about next time" is always my reply to which they always respond with, "we'll make a note of it on your file." This verbal exchange happens the exact same way everytime. I must have at least 10 "notes" about my air filter on my file. It's not that I don't think I need one, it's just that I am lucky to have money I want to spend on the oil change, let alone an extra 100 bucks for this and 100 bucks for that! My extra 100 bucks has usually already been budgeted for something more fun, like, like.... hell, isn't everything more fun than a new air filter???
I usually go to Mr.Lube, the drive up oil change place where they change your oil while you sit in your car in the garage while they work on it. I find the whole process gives me anxiety. All the questions make me nervous, what year is your car? What size is your engine? How many kilometers? I DON'T KNOW!!!! I have way more interesting things on my mind than the year of my car, I forget everytime that it is a 2005. I also have no idea what size my engine is. I know that if I want to pull a horse trailer with a truck I need a 350, that is the only engine size I have ever paid attention to. How many kilometers? "hey buddy, just look inside my window, while your face is down here peering inside my bubble anyway!!!" At some point they always ask me to push on my brakes so they can see if the lights are working. This procedure is followed by the "please hit your left turn signal." Simple request, yet for some reason I get all nervous and can't remember which side the signals are on. If I don't turn on the wipers by mistake then I hit the right signal instead. The bottom line is: I end up looking stupid! Infact, even as I write this, I bet some of you are thinking: come on, are you serious? I am!
I successfully got my jetta's oil changed before Christmas so I should be good for another few months. I did put the wipers on instead of the turn signal, but I think the young man making the request thought it was least he giggled as much as I did about it. I also made sure to explain as soon as I drove in, that since it is Christmas, I will be getting only my oil changed, no filters or anything! He nodded and said he'd make a note in my file!

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