Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Jun. 22, 2013 - 12:14 p.m.



NewWifey(tm) and I have been married for almost 12 years now, and during those 12 years two things have not changed: embarrassing - and occasionally injurious - sexual escapades, and our cars.

This story is not about a sexual escapade.

Two weeks before we were married, NewWifey(tm)'s Enterprise-class carrier of an Oldsmobile Cutlass station wagon, in which she'd crossed the country more times than I have teeth, sent the connector rod under one of its quart-sized pistons right through the engine block and out the front left quarter panel. The Cutlass was hauled off to the nearest incinerator, a Haz-Mat team spent 5 hours mopping up the slick, and NewWifey(tm) was left standing on the shoulder of Rt. 23 in rush hour traffic while indifferent New Jersey drivers honked and gave her the finger as they drove by. She hiked the 5 miles back to Dangerhouse in her house slippers, which she was wearing because she was only making a run to the post office to mail out the very last payment on the Olds. It was all hers now! Yay!

When I got home that afternoon she was sprawled naked and face down on the living room rug.


"Hey, babyyyy! Missed me, huh?" I said. "By the way, where's the Olds? And...are your feet bleeding?"

She didn't look up.

"You don't have a phone in your studio, right?"

"That's right."

"And you can't have a cell phone on, or text or anything?"

"You know I can't. I'm on the radio. Where's this going?"

"I want you to get a new job. Start mucking stalls or smuggling child brides or something."


She then launched in to the tale of what happened to the car, and how nobody in this godforsaken backwater corner of the state including the local constabularies would give a lady in distress and house slippers a lift home, and how she was going to kill them all once she got a new car and could get to them.

So a half an hour later we went out and bought a new car.

It didn't take very long since we really only had one option: Ford. At the time, NewWifey(tm)'s father worked at a Ford factory. One of the perks (or union strong-arm extortions, if you want to look at it that way) of working for the company was that he and every member of his family could buy a new Ford on their "A-Plan". The "A-Plan" price is substantially lower than what normal mortals pay for a Blue Oval. If we didn't have that, the best NewWifey(tm) and I could hope for on our budget was a 4th-hand Daewoo Nubira.

We drove off the lot in a 2001 Ford Escape, the newly introduced 4-cylinder baby brother of the wildly popular Explorer SUV. It was so new, in fact, that we drove the display model off the showroom floor since the dealer hadn't actually received their first shipment for sale yet.

I have to admit I was hesitant about buying a small SUV, or for that matter any Ford at all. I'd always had sports cars. Foreign sports cars. Parking a boxy American pretend off-roader in my driveway was like admitting to my neighbors that, yes, now that I'm married I do need to feel like I have a penis again. And a bigger one, at that.

But 12 years on I can say my misgivings were misplaced. Our Escape has logged over 200,000 miles - hard miles - and only ever really failed us once, when a clutch bearing went and NewWifey(tm) was stranded on a rural cowpath in the Ozarks at 3am while driving home from her folks'. (I swear, it's her). Other than that though, the hard working little 1.9 litre hamster wheel in that thing has unfailingly dragged our trailer to motorcycle events up and down the east coast (often pretty far off-road and up steep hills), through the 8 foot snow drifts we get 4 months a year, and back and forth to various outlets laden with so much crap for NewWifey(tm)'s "projects" that it looks like a low rider sometimes. In fact, after all this time the only complaint I have is that the seats are so uncomfortable they should be banned by the Geneva Convention. I think they were designed by Dick Cheney. On a bad day.

NewWifey(tm) is planning on taking the Escape to her mom's again this summer. Since Dad died last year a few projects that need doing down there haven't gotten done, and NewWifey(tm) is gonna play the Good Daughter and go do 'em.

But before she heads out she had to fix the Escape's exhaust system. And by "fix", I mean "replace". Twelve years of hard livin' (and road salt) have taken their toll. The pipes, cat, and muffler now have more holes than Nichole Brown Simpson's body. For the last two years muffler tape and wrap-around soup cans were doing a good job holding it together, but after this winter pretty much all the original metal dissolved to the point where even duct tape doesn't work. And when duct tape doesn't work, you know it's hopeless. Unless she intends to drive from NJ to Arkansas with open header pipes like a Sopwith Camel, and just as loudly, it had to be an entire exhaust system replacement.

I knew enough not to say something stupid like "I'll call the shop and set up an appointment." Our marriage vows explicitly state that in return for me doing all the cooking, she must fix things and submit to my monthly sexual advances. Not at the same time, of course. I mean, I'm not unreasonable here.

So last weekend NewWifey(tm) ordered an entire exhaust system for a 2001 Ford Escape XL from our local parts store, and Monday night she picked it up.

When I came home Tuesday this is what I saw on the garage floor:

Then I bent over and saw this:

And when I saw that, I knew my presence was neither desired nor appreciated. I reflexively sprinted to the farthest corner of the house and braced for the searing tapestry of obscenities that always accompanies a NewWifey(tm) project. Swearing is an essential tool for her, much like hammers or emergency blood clotting agents. And like every other tool in her work box, she doesn't settle for second best. When NewWifey(tm) lets loose, it's at 110 dB and pretty much non-stop for the duration of the event. And that's when things are going smoothly. For some reason NewWifey(tm) just cannot remain focused on any large undertaking unless it's accompanied by a relentless torrent of purple faced invective.

Since I didn't want to be anywhere near Ground Zero while that was going on, me and Casey holed up in the guest bathroom playing Green Spikey Ball til it was safe to come out. Which ended up being about three hours later.

Three hours later, then, a now not-purple faced NewWifey(tm) proudly showed me this:

Look at that beauty! New hangers and everything. And she only broke one nail. Now THAT'S a woman.

Of course, since this is NewWifey(tm) we're talking about, two minutes later she decided to test her handiwork by slinging the Escape full bore down the mountain to the liquor store for a bottle of celebratory Bacardi 151. I think it was a success - none of the neighbors' windows shattered as she drove by.

Right before she pulled out of the driveway I snapped this. NewWifey(tm) in full victory flush:

Couldn't even take the time to trowel the grime off her face before hustling to the booze that was her due. That's my baby.

She did trowel before fulfilling the other part of her marriage vow later that night, though. I can't believe it'd been a month already! This whole marriage thing is turning out to be a pretty good deal, it seems. Maybe I won't try to Escape....




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