The Last (and First) Ride of the Blue Lemon

13 years ago today I married Tenor Mom on the best day of my life. 13 years ago tomorrow we left for our honeymoon, a Caribbean cruise that remains one of the best trips I have ever taken. And 13 years ago next week we returned from the cruise, ready to drive home from Vermont to Maryland in our new car.

The car was owned by the elderly mother of a friend of a relative, and we were assured that she never drove it, it had low mileage, was a good model, never had any problems, and was basically the best deal we were ever going to get. So we took it for a test drive. Now, thanks to the misadventures from an entirely different story we weren’t really able to pay much attention to the test drive as my fiancee’s face was swollen up to the size of, well, two of my fiancee’s heads, and we were only a few days out from the wedding. So we were distracted. And she could barely see. Anyway, I drove the car around the block and it seemed fine, so we pooled all of the money we had been given for our wedding, and we bought the little blue car.

When we returned from the cruise we loaded it up to the gills with wedding gifts. Thousands of dollars of stuff that we needed to get back down to Silver Spring, along with our friend McCrim. She grew up with us, but now also lived in the DC metro area and needed a ride back south. It was a lovely Labor Day Monday morning as we pulled out onto the highway, the three of us and our presents, as we began the journey home.

The journey did not last long. The problem with the car became evident as we made our way down the interstate. The windshield wipers didn’t really work. The fluid did not squirt. The radio was fritzy. Not all of the windows technically “rolled up and down,” but I think the biggest problem we had was when we noticed that the brakes did not work any longer. This was a terrifying moment on the highway that I navigated us through with skill and aplomb, and it also didn’t hurt that the engine died too. So there we were, somewhere in New Jersey, on the side of the highway, on Labor Day.

Guess how many car fixing establishments are open on Labor Day! No, really, guess! Did you guess zero?! I hope you guessed zero! Now, to be fair, the tow truck guy was working and he came and towed the car to a garage that was closed and we left it outside. Now we just needed to find somewhere to spend the night. And also we had no money, because we had spent it on the stupid car. And this was also the moment we discovered that the doors to the car did not lock in any meaningful way. And it was full of all of our wedding stuff.

Let me tell you, I think we owe a huge debt of marital gratitude to McCrim. Simply by being present as a third party I think she held our nascent marriage together. Because of her presence my wife and I were not able to fully express our rage at the universe in each other’s directions. Thanks, McCrim! And sorry you had to miss work on that Tuesday.

The car could not be fixed. Future car buyers of America, here is a tip for you. If someone says that their car is never driven, that means it has been left to rot. Cars need to be driven. Even around the block every couple of days. The car we bought I’m sure was a fine vehicle, the last time they drove it. And then it sat in a shed for two years, deteriorating away. We did make it home eventually with our stuff, that was not stolen, but the car was a total loss. We called the seller and demanded our money back, but the money had already been spent, and we had no contract from this private seller. We got screwed.

13 years later and it is clear that the tale of The Blue Lemon will go down in history as a warning to future generations. Luckily our marriage survived that incident, along with many other incidents which you will continue to hear about I’m sure. Happy Anniversary, Tenor Mom! Whatever our problems, let’s just be thankful we don’t have that car anymore! :*

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Posted in Anniversary, Car, Misadventures.

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