A Simple Machine and Turning 100!

100 blog posts and counting! Thank you for stopping by.

Miles run today: 8

Words written in my novel so far: 29,180 (there was some slash-and-burn and rewriting)

Blog posts written since I started this blog in January: 100!

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to every one of you who has chosen to follow this blog or just stopped by once and a while. As a writer, it’s nice to think that someone out there in the world is reading some small thing I’ve written. I appreciate all of your comments and support. And happy 100th blog post, Writing by the Numbers! Yippee!

I think I’ve said it before, and so has my mental soul-mate, James Dyson: Things should work properly.

My problem, of course, is that I expect them to work properly in a forever kind of way. Whether it’s cars, can openers or human bodies, I am dismayed when things cease to function. Why, world? Why?

As my good friend pointed out the other day, you are only healthy and bouncy and fit until you aren’t.

And in a weird parallel to a car-obsessed teenage boy, my car issues distress me far more than they should.

Let’s go back, Wayne’s World-style (doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo), in time: Our minivan, a vehicle which was helping me overcome my car trust issues, began showing its age earlier this year.

First there was the tire pressure sensor, which has never worked on our minivan. Never.

Then, the check engine light came on, which actually only means that the knock sensor is broken. I alternate from being completely paranoid and sure that the car will blow up at any second to oddly detached, imagining a memorial service with a poster-sized photo of our minivan propped up beside my collection of ashes.

This spring, the door latch for the hatchback broke. No trips for us! My husband sent off for the part and fixed it.

About a month ago, my kids and I were headed out on a routine visit to the library. We walked out to the car during a slight drizzle, and I pressed the button on my key fob to open the side door. It opened obediently, and my kids hopped in.

I glanced back at my son, like ahem, please close the door. He gave me a Look.

It was the Look of Impossibility. That door was not closing. Not on its gentle runners, with the click of a button, not manually, with a gentle shove. Nope. Not happening.

And the drizzle? You guessed it. Monsoon season began. Rain was driving its way sideways into the minivan.

I rushed out, summer rain drenching me within 1.3 seconds. I pushed the door, I pulled the door, I beckoned it into its appropriate place. Uh-uh. A crack the size of the Nile allowed water to drip-drip-drip inside.

Later, when I came back outside to work on it during a more manageable deluge, I got it closed. My husband said I did it exactly the wrong way.

Trust me on this: there was no right way except closed.

So now, there is another sensor on the dashboard that screams at me: POWER DOOR.

What this really means is: NO POWER DOOR.

I started calling it a Serial Killer Vehicle. You can get in, but you can’t get out.

This might have been the point when God started laughing at me, like “Woman, you think this is bad? You really are naive.”

A few weeks later, the kids and I were packing to leave for my parents. My husband, vascillating between a “Yippee! I get time to myself!” and “Awwwww, I’m going to miss you guys” decided to detail our car as a going-away treat.

As I stood in the bathroom, packing toiletries, he came around the corner with his hands behind his back.

“OK. Don’t freak out,” he said.

I’m freaking out I’m freaking out I’m freaking out. “OK, I won’t.”

My hands were also behind my back, the fingers crossed. Raise your hand if you wouldn’t be freaking out. Hey. You there, with your hand in the air. You’re lying.

“So. I was cleaning the car, and I was being really gentle, and I wasn’t being rough or anything… and, um…” He brought his hands out from behind his back. There was a broken door handle in his hand.

“What’s that?” I asked, still comfortable in my ignorance. The little broken door handle didn’t look like such a big deal.

“It’s um… the door handle for the sliding door on the other side.”

“The what?!?! The other side?!?!? I’m freaking out I’m freaking out I’m freaking out!”

“Yeah. I was afraid of that. Now listen…” he said.

And he walked me out to the car and showed me how we’d have to open the sliding door from the inside.

As the kids and I set off on our adventure, I told them that when they were little, I worried that someone might try to open the door and jump in. But now I’m not worried. Ain’t nobody jumping in our car. Our minivan is like a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Or something like that.

As parts continue to fall off of our car, I feel nostalgic for stuff like teleportation and astral projection and stuff.

I am exactly like the Highlander (the TV version, although the movie was campy-good, too): destined to watch well-loved simple machines around me crumble and die.

As the hunky immortals with the Scottish accents once wondered onscreen: How can you risk your love on something you know you will outlive?

I’m sure I’ll get over it. I’ll move on. But not before another few car parts fall off as future fodder for my blog.

Ode to My Things

O, can opener,

O, key fob,

O, computer,

O, car with so many vexing moving parts,

Why can’t you be like me:

A simple machine.

29 thoughts on “A Simple Machine and Turning 100!

  1. Amy Mak says:

    Oh dear, but you do have such a way with words! Congrats on the 100th post. Your conversation with your husband cracks me up and I think I would get claustrophobic and freak out if I knew my kids and I couldn’t get out of the back…yes, my mama mind starts spinning into terrible places 🙂 Good luck…!

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    Absolutely congratulations on 100 posts, and I’m looking forward to many more. 🙂

    But, um, the door failures? Those would be more than I could take, too. I would be thinking how bad would this be if we needed to exit the vehicle quickly in an emergency? Would they decide now’s the time NOT to open?

    I’d be leaving new car brochures in obvious places or leaving dealership web sites up and running on my husband’s computer…. 🙂

  3. Andria says:

    Anne- Congratulations on your 100th post! I’ve been enjoying reading about your life and looking forward to the next 100.
    Can’t the dealer repair the door problems? Probably not cheap, but not the cost of a new car.
    My car is 9 years old and a new one is not in the near future. I went out and got a new stereo today, so that I can get CD’s out of the player and not just in it. It talks to my iphone and as soon as I get in the car it starts playing whatever was last selected on my phone. Very cool! however that is all I have figured out. Have to look at the manual to answer the phone, or even turn on the radio.

  4. 4amWriter says:

    Yay for 100 posts! Very sweet. Um, car problems always freak me out because I am so inept in handling them. When we had our minivan, we ran into the same kind of problem with the door getting stuck wide open. Luckily it never happened when we were in the middle of a monsoon!

    My latest car problem is my VW Passat didn’t pass inspection because it needs 4 new tires. Okay, so that’s like, what at least $500. In the meantime, while we go hunt in junkyards for tires, I am borrowing my mother’s Landcruiser, only to find out the A/C doesn’t work.

    Today was 98 degrees and I was in the car the better part of 6 hours today running around like a sweating chicken with its head cut off.

    Hard for me to say whether or not I’d pick A/C over a door that works…I’ll have to get back to you on that one. 😉

    • annewoodman says:

      Yikes. This summer, I’d pick A/C. My first car (the one my family got when I was 4 and handed down to me at age 16) didn’t have A/C. In Atlanta. In the traffic. Horrible. Apart from the whole tire/engine thing, it’s become one of those non-negotiables.

      I’m sorry to hear about your car woes… I second your ineptitude. I seriously wish I’d taken some car mechanic classes in high school or something. I need to develop some mechanical expertise. Although, as you mentioned, that would not help with four new tires.

      I wish you the very best of luck in getting around town… maybe what I wish for you is cooler temperatures as well as a functioning A/C!

  5. Ravena Guron says:

    Happy blog special number of posts thing-ey! I hope your blog has a great day! Car problems… I’ve never had any, because I don’t have a car 😀 My bike never fails me though 🙂 (Do you really run so many miles in a day?! Oh my gosh!)

  6. Kathleen says:

    Love this one, Anne. Love it!

  7. Daryl says:

    Girl, you are many things, but a simple machine is not one of them!
    As for the car doors, don’t worry, I can fix it–in my own Dyson way.
    You also forgot the “indestructible” rabbit wine opener–the one that stopped working. Should I be worried?
    Congratulations on the 100 posts. They always make me giggle at work.
    Keep them coming, and cheers.

    • annewoodman says:

      Oh, yeah. The wine bottle opener. I forgot that one. It should have been at the top of my list!!! Have you noticed they all share a theme? We aren’t able to get things open. Hmmm….

  8. David Gentry says:


    I am so proud of you. I love your posts. Neither Pam nor I can believe we have read 100 of them. Have you slipped some by us? Are they all retrievable?

    Love, Dad

    • annewoodman says:

      They are all there, Dad. Why don’t you and Mom have an Anne Marathon, just like a Twilight Zone one or an X-Files one? Or even like Star Trek, with the Trouble with Tribbles? It could be really fun. Or not. ; )

  9. Way to go on the 100th post. I always enjoy reading them.

    As for car problems, I am not a car guy. Nor will I ever be car guy. I enjoy driving them, but working on them is for someone else to take care of, especially today’s machines. There are just too many things that can go wrong.

  10. Your car is cursed.

    I had one of those cursed cars. It leaked so much stuff, I had to park aluminum catering trays underneath it to collect all the juices. And one time when I was halfway through a car wash, the passenger window shattered. All I could do was brace myself for the rinse cycle up ahead.

    • annewoodman says:

      Whoa! The rinse cycle sounds like a ride at Disney! But maybe only in retrospect?

      Mine has been a good car… It’s just getting old. It’s done its time. It’s wanting to enter a senior living facility. I get it. But I’m needing it to do marathons. Maybe we’re just not on the same page.

  11. Melissa says:

    Yea!!! Congrats on the 100 posts! You are approaching veteran status…just a few hundred more.
    Do we need to stop by after dropping the eldest off at college? Let “Car Guy” fix everything mechanical…Ha Ha Ha…I’m laughing because I can see the insulted look on your husband’s face 🙂 Thanks for the giggles!

  12. thepoelog says:

    Congrats on 100! You don’t look a day over 99.

  13. OMGosh. I just passed 100 too! But your blogs are so awesome I figured you’d been doing it for at least a couple years and had about 400 but I’ve never had time to read them all. Fun times recently, though, got to keep the B’ster and had a couple days out of town on a girl trip.

    On the dead car: Hubs refuses to buy cars. He seems to take it personally; the salesmen are out to get him, or perhaps he feels as though Cicadas are trying to jump on him. Best of luck on that.

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