Decisions, Decisions

I guess you could say Iím indecisive. I have no problem making snap decisions about things I feel strongly about. No, those I can handle. Itís the small, seemingly inconsequential choices which trip me up.

Food related decisions are often the hardest. Heck, I could ponder over a menu for hours Ė which is why, once I know I like something at a particular restaurant, I tend to stick with it. But sometimes, even deciding where to go out to eat can be painful.

And itís best if I do my grocery shopping unaccompanied. That way I can spend as much time agonizing over my peanut butter options all by my lonesome.

Itís not just foodstuffs that have me flummoxed on the shopping front. One day I dithered for longer than I care to remember in the body wash aisle, torn between the gentle scent of the ďTouch of SparkleĒ and the promised intense moisturizing capabilities of the ultra-rich shea butter with moisture beads.

Frankly, it was so traumatizing I considered going back to just plain soap.

Unfortunately, that too came in a number of varieties.

Even getting dressed in the morning can be a challenge. Iím fine if I pick out my clothes the night before, but if I leave that decision to my still sleep-fogged mind ... Letís just say, Iím not at my best before my first dose of daily caffeine. The best part of waking up is NOT, in my opinion, deciding what to wear.

All that said, Iíd like to stress that Iím not a complete basket case. Apart from these minor conundrums (which, admittedly, I seem to have an innate ability to blow out of proportion), I am able to handle most situations more decisively. Even those decisions which must be made on the fly. In fact, it is those types of decisions Ė when time is of the essence and the matter is more pressing than what Iím going to put in my belly Ė which are easier for me to make.

But sometimes, it is not the decision itself, but the action required after the choice has been made which proves more daunting.

Iím in the middle of one of those very situations right now.

It revolves around my car, the aging Ford Explorer which has been my primary means of transport for close to a decade.

Even though Iíve never come up with a cutesy name for her Ė and yes, she is most decidedly feminine despite her brawny 5.0 liter V-8 Ė my Explorer and I have been through a lot together. Weíve pulled off many a move, enjoyed the rays in the sunny Florida Keys, had our adventures in the Colorado Rockies, partied it up in the French Quarter and on the Las Vegas Strip, and eaten up thousands of miles of road along the way.

Weíve faced everything Mother Natureís thrown in our way, from gale force winds, blinding snow, glare ice, freezing rain and pea-soup thick fog to torrential downpours, tropical storms and, yes, even a hurricane evacuation.

But after 13 years on the road, my faithful Explorer is starting to show every one of her 136,000 miles. And not in a good way.

It started, I think, with a spot of rust above one wheel well. Then the paint started to lose its grip, leaving an unsightly bald patch on the hood. The radio knob has taken to popping off at the most inopportune moments Ė usually while Iím driving down the road and something truly obnoxious is blaring. The pleather on the center console, grown brittle with age, has cracked, allowing a rather unattractive tuft of padding to show through.

And donít get me started on the capricious behavior of the lock on the driverís side door. At random intervals it will refuse to open, thus forcing me to unlock the car via the passenger door and climb over to release the latch.

Then there is the exhaust. Rather than the quiet rumble I used to enjoy, my faithful friend is now up to a throaty roar. Kind of like a freight train. Frankly, itís a bit embarrassing. But on the upside, I donít have to worry about any wildlife inadvertently crossing my path. They can hear me coming a mile a way. (That, by the way, is a conservative estimate.)

As old problems get worse, and new issues arise with increased frequency, I know itís time to retire the old girl. But it just feels too much like betraying an old friend. So, Iíve been dragging my feet these last few months, unwilling to start car shopping in earnest and preferring instead to bury my head further into the sand. (I find it helps block out all that excessive noise.)

But now, unfortunately, I have no choice. My exhaust problems have started to mess with my engine performance. The trip to and from work is getting hairier by the day.

Again, there is an upside to this. Since my daily commute is more like a daily prayer session now, Iíve never been so in touch with my faith. Iím sure my aunt, Sister Kathleen, would be very proud.

Last week, after we barely limped into Tyner Ridge Garage for our scheduled appointment, I knew her days were numbered even before I saw my faithful mechanic shake his head sadly.

Could I eke a few thousand more miles out of her? Sure, he told me, but Iíd probably need to take out a mortgage. And what would be the wisdom of that? Lets face it, if Iíve got to invest a small fortune, it should be on a new vehicle. Or at least, new to me.

Sheís been a trooper, but itís time to finally put her to rest.

I guess that means, let the car shopping begin.

Which, letís face it, will probably be even harder than buying body wash.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.

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