The Car that Launched a Thousand Tiffs

I suppose in every divorce there’s a moment that can be pinpointed as the moment of “the turn”. An argument that led to a lean that led to the end of a relationship. A change in religion that led to heated discussions that led to distance that led to separation. Traumatic events that caused a split from which there was no return. When you look back on the demise of our marriage, the root cause will be Elon Musk. Probably. It could also be crackers in bed. Or a refusal to wear hearing aids. But most likely it will be the car that will arrive at our home in a few weeks and is designated to be mine, but also to be shared.

Full disclosure, I’m not a good representative of sharing.  This is not new.  I often started first dates, when paired with a movie, with a declaration of separate popcorns.  I do not share popcorn.  Why would I?  A stranger’s hand in my bucket of butter?  Pass.  Also, it doesn’t have to be a stranger.  I also don’t want my husband, child, or best friend to leave their fingerprints on my kernels.  When I learned that it was status quo for parents to share water bottles with their children, I attempted a quick reversal of my decision to marry into a premade family.  I tried it once, passing the water bottle.  It came back to me with chicken nugget particles floating in cloudy liquid.  Um, no.

Second full disclosure, we’re not really on the path to divorce.  We’re just entering a sharing era that neither of us are quite comfortable with, in the form of The Great Car Juggle of 2021.  Trigger warning, I’m going to say the word “Tesla” more times than I’m comfortable in the coming paragraphs.

An amazing life stage is the one during which you don’t have any car payments.  It is a glorious time when you can stroll into the garage and know that everything that sits between the sagging shelves, random tools, and other clutter is paid for.  What isn’t glorious is when one of those steeds begins to falter on the regular.  What also isn’t glorious is when that same steed declares an imminent end of life before you are mentally prepared.  We have reached that moment.  Rich’s ride has gravitated towards its end of life.  Kym Kia has deteriorated enough to where we no longer feel comfortable taking her on long journeys.  Her groans and clanks have escalated to the point of being causing frazzles.  Sure, we could promote my car, Ferris the Compass, to the position of long haul driver, but he’s a bit cramped and rides a little rougher.  I love him, but not everyone else in the family does (read: nobody).  Plus, there are trips where Ferris feels the need for a rest break – just thirty minutes or so of choosing not to run at all while he regains his breath.  Ferris always steps back into the game, but when the restbreak happens while cruising down 95 it does cause a moment or two of what-the-shites.  

We have gone back and forth on solving this coming car crisis and had a solid plan in place for 2022.  

A Cyber Truck.

Right?  It seems so obvious if you know my husband at all.  He’s had a long standing fascination with all things space looking.  He’s had a long standing obsession with everything that Elon Musk eats, wears, breathes, and puts on the Tesla drawing board.  When that last thing became a sketch of an electric truck, my husband immediately sent a love letter of intent to Musk Headquarters, in the form of a deposit and the offering of our first born grandchild in exchange for a future Cyber Truck.  I paid little attention (rule one in marriage: just nod and smile) until 2022 entered our sights.  The idea of a Cyber Truck in our garage began to become more than an idea…and also, PS, that thing will not fit into our garage.  We started talking about money and financing and whether we wanted to re-enter the world of car payments.  The delivery date of the Cyber Truck was pushed further into 2022.  Our financing chatter began to coincide with the end of ten years of alimony chatter (well worth it).  Were the stars really aligning into an even spending swap?  What a way to end 2022!!

Except that Kym Kia has opted to retire earlier than planned and the Cyber Truck has opted to become a 2023 event…leaving us with an empty parking spot.  

Which is how the Model Y came into our lives.  

Rich used his magic powers to convince me that the road to happiness included ordering a Tesla Model Y to tide us over.  It would be my car, really, in the end, but we would use it as a Kym Kia replacement until the Cyber Truck arrived.  Smart thinking.  I started picking out exterior colors and wheels and interior colors – wait, where were all the colors?  Five?  Only five?  Two of which were Dook blue and State red?  Two of which were gray and darker gray?  Right.  Got it.  Colors were not Elon’s thing.  We’ve gone in circles on this.  Very small circles as the options were slim.  We’ve gone in circles on whether this was the right path to driving happiness.  Sooooo many circles.  I always landed on talking us out of this investment and Rich always landed on acquiescing in a Jedi mind trick.  I started weighing the idea of hey, we’re going to have a car payment anyway, does it really matter if it’s slightly more?  But did I want a Tesla?  The resale is basically a break even, so isn’t this like a year long test(la) drive?  But did I want a Tesla?  I can’t ever remember wanting a Tesla.  But did I want a Tesla?  I called our financial planning guy for a good old fashioned talk us out of this blasting.  He thought it sounded like a great idea.  Welp.

So the Model Y (my car) is coming in a few weeks.  

Which means the real arguments have begun.

We have had battles on bumper stickers (I’m pro, Rich is against).

We have had battles on personalized license plates (I’m pro, Rich is neutral as long as it doesn’t say Jyl, UNC, Luke Fan, or BearFarts1).

We have had battles on what accoutrements would reside inside the car (I’m all in – hangy things from the mirror, cute tissue containers, spare airpods, a hula girl on the dashboard;  Rich would like a sterile environment in case a need arises for emergency surgery). 

We have had battles a rather calm discussion, actually, about changing the horn sounds or back up noises without my input.

I have countered each argument with but isn’t this my car? so many times that it is now triggering, sending the kids and animals into hiding.  At least I’m mature enough to know when my absolutely valid retort is no longer welcome, right?

We have made some progress.   Yesterday, we named our car.  Did I say our car?  Yes.  I have listened.  I have tried to understand the five stages of grief that Rich will slip through when he is officially parted from Kym Kia.  I thought the incoming Tesla would be a distraction, but no.  And in fairness, he has dealt with a load of changes in the last few weeks.  He is already struggling with a new Duvet (I thought it was time to graduate from throws), new curtains (I mean….the duvet brought our bedroom to a new level…how could I not also add curtains?), and we did replace four out of fourteen shutters just yesterday (I’ve promised the other five windows new lashes as soon as possible.  

I also stayed off the roof today when I thought about just swapping out the rest of the shutters by myself.  

Real growth happening here.   

Next week, someone will come to install a magic box to charge Mr. Spacely.  I have done some this is a compromise shopping on Amazon for accessories that do not have “Musketeer” stamped on them.  I have also started poking around for cute tote bags in which I can load my accoutrements in and out of the car.  Which is really what my husband should have led with…

We’re going to get a new car but you’ll need a new tote bag for it…

I’d have signed the papers immediately!

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