The Neon is Dead, Long Live the Neon!

Well, it was bound to happen sometime. Our beloved 1998 Plymouth Neon, with a whopping 226,000 miles, decided to retire … on the side of the highway … with a smoking clutch.

There will be a moment of silence before I call the tow truck …

This recent act of automotive entropy is one of many age-related economic issue I’ve had as of late …

  • We replaced the 11 year old push mower after it refused to start (clogged fuel line, I think … the “Trouble Bubble” fuel primer bulb doesn’t pop out after you push it in).
  • The riding mower is eating belts like a Tasmanian Devil in a Home Depot commercial. Is it too late to buy astroturf? Will the horses mind?
  • The 2001 PT Cruiser, my “baby car” with a mere 132,000 miles, needed a few lingering maintenance issues fixed. After looking at the bill I wasn’t sure if I was fixing a car or buying groceries for Optimus Prime.
  • My home video editing system needed an upgrade … this is paid out of a different pocket than the home expenses, but it’s still weird to spend that kind of money on one computer.
  • Oh yeah, I’m still building a barn … slowly …

I’d like one of those recovery.gov signs on my front lawn, because I think I’m doing more for the local economy than any single highway project. Plus, unlike the stimulus plan, I’m spending money I actually have on these improvements.

Suzan and I already planned to replace the aging Neon, so the car shopping is almost at an end. It’s not the kind of thing that will break us, but it’s more than I’d like to spend in a single month. Whatever we do, it’s all going to work out long term.

That “long term thinking” has been on my mind a lot lately … no matter if it’s cars, computers or relationships I like long term. The computer I built has room for more hard drives, more memory and enough headroom in the power supply to take it. The cars I buy are purchased with a 150,000 to 200,000 mile mentality. The house I live in has more space than I needed when we built it, and that has served us well when friends needed a place to stay.

Over a decade in the same job, almost two decades with the same woman, friends that have stayed with me for years … not everything in my life is aged, not everything I had five or ten years ago is here today … but I try to make things last.

So the Neon will be remembered fondly, even if it’s last image was that of a dented economy car with the still lingering smell of burnt clutch hanging over it like Pigpen’s dust cloud in a Peanuts holiday special. It’s automotive successor has a lot to live up to, but it will have a home with a lot of well worn companions in the garage.

Gotta go, I think the fridge is making funny noises …

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