Driving my Cares Away

Yesterday, I had to complete yet another very unpleasant task at the bank.

I’ve learned these past 18 months since Dale’s very unexpected lay-off from the good job from which we expected he would eventually retire – that there is something worse than paying bills – not being able to pay them.

Yet, when I hopped in my 1988 “Baby Blazer” and drove off into the sunny but cool day, my cares melted away.

We Americans have long had a love affair with our cars, and I’m no different. When I was a younger woman, I wanted, more than anything, a “Baby Blazer,” those smaller Blazers Chevrolet used to make.

In 1988, we bit the bullet and for nearly $400 a month for 4 years, which was a lot of money for these 20-something newly weds, I got one.

She was my first and only automobile love.

She’s been through a pretty bad crash (one of my friends thought I just might kill the person who hit me that morning – are you reading, Pam?), an attempt to steal her from the parking lot where I was taking night courses to finish my degree, and Dale has had to put in a new engine.

My Baby Blazer and her stereo made the days driving into a job I hated at a company I hated even more, a little more bearable, and the drives home in her helped me de-stress. She taxied our two girls and their friends to volleyball practices, football games and took us on our vacations. When my beloved late mother and I needed to go to the grocery store, or Mom wanted to go to Hobby Lobby (her favorite store), the Baby Blazer got us there. My mom even made a tiny dream catcher for her rear view mirror for safety and luck.

During the summer of 2007, she transported Dale to and from KC while he commuted back and forth after we sold our home there and before he received word on the job here.

Today, she rests, most days, in one of our garages. The new car smell has been replaced with that sort of musty, old car smell that upholstery starts emitting, but aside from a couple of little rust spots, she looks much the same as she did the day we drove her off of the new car lot 22 years ago this summer.

But on those days when I need to get to an errand in town, she still has the power to help me de-stress. Yesterday, I heard a song from “her” era on the radio and began to sing along. I got to thinking about all of the places she had taken me, in the good times and in the bad times. Those bad times didn’t last then and my Baby Blazer helped me put our current stresses into perspective that these times too, will pass.

I started thinking of the lessons learned in the past 18 months when things haven’t gone exactly as planned. I realized that the quote that’s floating in the back of my mind about not being able to truly enjoy the good times without having a few bad, is true.

The stress at the bank faded and it felt like a good day.

By the time I met up with Dale to spend a little time with him before his second shift began, I was prepared not to lament over our business at the bank, but to show him the magnificent landscape he can see from the parking lot where he works. I was ready to tell him that a ride in my Baby Blazer in these beautiful mountains on a puffy-white cloud day could almost erase any cares from our world.

But before I could say any of that, his cell phone rang and on the other end was some of the most hopeful news we’ve heard in months. I can’t share it with you just yet, but hopefully, soon. If all goes well, all of the pieces to our Living Large vision will soon be back in place.

When you are stressed, what is the one thing that can help take you away?

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19 Responses

  1. Ruby Jones says:

    my dream car is none other than the Porsche 911-:,

  2. Charles Cox says:

    my dream car is the Ford GT. that car is truly a muscle car with lots of horsepower’,-

    • kerri says:

      That is definitely a muscle car, Charles. When Dale and I first met, he had a 1967 Chevelle SS. We loved being in that car!

  3. S.A.B.L.E. says:

    Kerri,
    I loved hearing your story about your vehicle, and the others that have special attachment to their vehicle. I’m still driving my 94 Nissan King Cab with 379K miles, and going strong. I call her Gertrude. Most everyone knows Gertrude. It’s fun to look at a new vehicle now and then but don’t want the payments. Some time ago I decided, that a new vehicle was like a pair of new shoes, they look so nice but then there is something comforting about that old comfortable broke-in pair.

    Like you, I could not go car-free, too long of a drive to the office and hauling home 500 lbs of feed would be a real trick.

    As for de-stressing, being outside, whether working about the farm or just enjoying some morning coffee while listening to the birds or watching the sunset or stargazing. Spending time with the critters is good too.

  4. Christine says:

    I go for a walk in the woods and enjoy nature or sometimes work in the garden anything to do with being outside is great releases stress for me. 10 years ago I had a 1991 chevy blazer that I loved too, but started having to many problems and no money to fix it, so I sold it for a little bit of money to a young kid that was a mechanic, he could fix it for the cost of parts only. Sure do miss it. My siberian huskey loved riding in the back. Miss her too. Had to put her down march 26. 🙁 Praying that you’ll be telling us good news soon.

  5. Sandy says:

    I’d have to say “sitting on the porch” is my way of destressing.There’s something about listening to and watching the birds that just seems to put the day in perpective, so I try to do get out there a couple of times a week when the weather’s nice. Fresh air and sunshine are always good for the soul!

  6. Pam Spruk says:

    Can’t wait to hear the good news Kerri! I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you. My favorite stress reliever is simply a call from my beautiful granddaughters! Nothing makes a day better than a giggling 4 and 6 yr. old telling you about they are going to marry Justin Beiber!! My other “de-stresser” is simply curling up in the chair with my sweet dog and my honey. Can’t beat a good dog and a great man!!!

  7. Kristi says:

    I love to putter in my garden. I find that physical labor keeps my brain from thinking too much. There is nothing like being good and tired and the good sleep afterward.

    With regards to vehicles, I drive a 1992 Volvo wagon. She gets good mileage, is dependable, versatile and lasts and lasts. I hope I never have to replace her. The best part is everyone knows it is me when I go down the road and I get lots of friendly waves. She has quite a collection of stickers on the back side windows that would be hard to part with also. She is truly my dream car.

    What a fun prompt for all of us to pitch in on. Thanks for making us think!

  8. Vida says:

    Really glad to hear that you have good news….

    We still have our first car, a 1973 Citroen 2CV vanette. We bought it in Spain and it finally ferried us across Italy, all the way to Greece. We’ve gone on camping trips with this little truck, over the mountains of Crete and it has carried us faithfully back and forth the winding rooads of Pelion where we live now. This year we finally bought a new car, a SUV because the weather here demands it sometimes, but we are now in the process of restoring our little 2CV to full former glory. I love this car and I find it MUCH more comfortable than our new vehicle. Driving it is pure adventure and romance and it is incredibly fuel efficient! I get into it and I feel happy, I guess you could call that destressing…

  9. Kim says:

    Super curious about that good news! I’ll be back Friday, hoping for an announcement!

    I drove a little Geo Prizm for over ten years, but your Baby Blazer tale makes mine pale by comparison. We should all drive our cars until they drop; it’s so much more economical in the long run.

    • Thanks, Kim! I agree, I did a blog post on my former blog last year about the Cash for Clunkers program. While I saw the benefits of having more fuel efficient cars, as well as stimulating the bad economy, I couldn’t see literally killing this Blazer (they locked up the engines so they couldn’t be put back on the road) and going into debt when I have a perfectly good vehicle that still runs and is fairly fuel efficient. I would love to go Car-Free like Tammy over at Rowdy Kittens, but those trips into town would be a bit long! 🙂

  10. The news is very good and I’m hoping to get confirmation very soon. I’m about to bust! 😉 I agree with you that riding a horse is also a great way to de-stress. I’m glad you found something so liberating as an angst-ridden teen. How wonderful that it involved a magnificent animal!

  11. Kathleen Winn says:

    Oh Kerri- I am so excited about your “secret” good news! And- how wonderful that a beautiful day in the mountains could take you out of a stressful time. For me, I would say that getting on a horse and riding is the best way that I know of to deal with my stress. When I was sixteen and got my first horse, I was an insecure, acne faced, chubby high schooler. Learning to ride gave me a confidence I’d never experienced before. My horse was a sleek, black Saddlebred, high strung and very young. It took lots of work to reach a point where I could handle her spirited nature and ride well, but eventually, we became quite a team. Now, when I get on a horse and ride, I am sixteen again and I can feel troubles fall away with each hoofbeat.