It was just going to be a routine oil change. But it always starts out with something small, doesn’t it?

I made a list about a year ago of 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 25 . One of them was using chopsticks well, which I’m on my way to having down. I may or may not have started writing a book, but we won’t know that for a while. I’ve been reading  two books at a time and making sure it’s the last thing I see at night, not my phone or computer. Since I’m doing so well at these, I should have added “Learn to sing like Adele” and “Cure all disease.”

Instead I put things like this:

13. Learn how to either a) change a flat tire, b) change my oil, or c) be able to label all the parts of an engine and know their function in relation to the others. Maybe all three.

So I haven’t learned any of that. I learned how to check my oil in Driver’s Ed, though, so when my little oil lamp sign started turning on in my car when I slowed down (only when I slowed down though), I figured it was worth checking.

Ah, no oil registering on the dipstick. For you who are less car literate than me (never fear, dear one, that doesn’t mean much) that means that there wasn’t much oil in my car and that my engine could be very crabby. It probably means more, too, but like I said, not super car literate.

So I drove my dad’s car to Minnetonka and back and scheduled an oil change for before work the next day.

“Don’t let them talk you into anything else,” my mom told me when I left the house.

“Oh, I know. I’ll stand my ground,” I told her, assured that I would only spend $19.99 and only get an oil change.

I walked into the place with my hubris and my high-heeled ankle boots, all certain that I’d be driving my car out of there in an hour with just one service performed. The man who worked up front was so kind and got everything all set for me. So I sat down with my book to wait for it to be done.

He came back to me after about fifteen minutes. “When was the last time you had an oil change?”

“It’s been over six months, I know.”

“I’m asking because there was almost no oil in there, and it was dripping.”

There was a leak.

“I’ll get an estimate for you.”

NO! I was going to be stalwart and not get wheedled into anything else. But you don’t get to plan leaks. And as long as you know the people you’re working with are honest, it’s best to fix leaks.

So I talked to my dad, and he said to get the leak fixed. Just calling was admitting defeat. Um, nope, I can’t evaluate this one on my own. I guess I’ve got a little ways to go before I can just waltz into a car repair place and know what’s going on. I may never get there.

At least I could pay for that. That wouldn’t be too bad. Of course, the man came back with a longer list and a bigger total, but he told me some things could wait.

He said if I took care of the whole list I’d get 50,000 more miles out of my car. That got my attention. But the total for everything wasn’t going to fly, so I said, “Fix the leak, and we’ll do the rest later.”

I didn’t mention that maybe someone a little less expensive might do the rest.

So me and my high-heeled boots left my car and my keys (and the sandwich that I accidentally left in my car, which was now high above the garage floor) and walked a couple blocks over to work. And it wasn’t that bad.

So this is about a) rolling with the punches, b) not being able to control … anything, and c) taking advice when you need it. Take your pick.


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