When we first got married, we had distinctly separate cars. I drove mine; he drove his. We never deviated from this unless we were in the car together. My car always seemed to be the weekend car and I was fine with him driving my car if I was in it. I didn’t really think about it then, but looking back, I realized that I could watch him when I was in the car. From the passenger seat, I could still control the radio, the heat/air conditioning or how the car was parked. (I have this thing about rolling the windows down when the car is in the garage. I want to be able to walk out to the garage and just dump the items for tomorrow’s errands into the front seat through the window. Now that we have kids, it helps to get the fast food/sports sweat smells out of my car, too.)

Okay, so I have issues. I want my car to be like I left it. It is my car!

After our children were born, whoever had the kids, drove my car. It was a lot easier than switching out the car seats or moving the double stroller. The rule still applies today since my car is the bigger vehicle. The only trouble is that I can’t watch what settings he is changing while I am not in the car. Thankfully, we never have an issue about moving the seat and the mirrors. Even though my husband is three inches taller than me, our legs are the same length. My parents are one foot apart in height, so that was always (and still is) an issue for them.

No, my issue is about him moving the dials and settings on my car to fit his tastes. I will find the radio switched to AM talk radio or blasting some crazy band that no one has heard of. He even changes the bass and treble settings. Really? Just to drive the kids to practice? The air control is always blasting no matter what the season. The view settings on the dash board always show his preferences – gas mileage vs. air temperature. He uses the trip settings and the cruise if he goes on the expressway – even if he is just going 20 miles away. I think he just likes to play with all the buttons and see what they do.

So that brings me to this week. Over spring break this year, we bought a new car for me. Actually, it is an SUV – a Suburban. With three kids in sports (for which my husband coaches several) and music (one that plays the cello) and two large dogs, it was the perfect vehicle for me and our family. This is our first SUV, coming off mini vans for 11 long years. The other night it snowed about three or four inches from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm. The plows were busy salting instead of plowing because of the promise of rain freezing to ice the next day. Even the main roads were pretty bad. My husband had a meeting on the other side of town so I preferred that he took the Suburban instead of his Camry. He left here with a big smile – alone with my car while it was snowing.

He came home telling me how much he loved my truck and that it sliced through the snow while the little cars (like his) were moving slow. I was glad that he and my truck made it home safely. The next morning, when I drove to school, I felt it dragging like there was snow stuck around the tires. I kicked some off in the driveway when I got home and then swept up the other chunks that fell off in the garage. The car sat in the garage all day until I had to pick up the kids again. This time, I could still feel the dragging. I drove around debating whether I should go back home and switch cars. I even stopped and walked around the tires to check it out. I didn’t see anything, but decided to go back home. My husband was standing in the kitchen and I made him come out and feel the dragging in the car.

I hate telling him there is something wrong with the car – especially after he has drove it. His standard lines are either “It wasn’t like this when I drove it” or “I don’t feel/hear/see anything”. So I get in the truck with him. Sure enough, it starts before we get out of the driveway. I said, “Did you feel that?” (Thankfully, my daughter was in the car the whole time, so I had a witness). He claimed he didn’t feel it. When we got to the corner, the dragging stopped. He drove around a few blocks telling me he didn’t feel anything. I had to admit, I didn’t feel it anymore either.

I must have looked a little perplexed when we got out of the truck, because he then admitted to me that he changed something last night and changed it back when we pulled out of the driveway. My truck has 4-wheel drive. I usually keep it in Auto, but because the Mad-Button-Pusher drove it last night, he had to change it to Low 4-wheel drive. That setting, I later read, was used for deep sand, deep mud or deep snow (3 inches?) The dragging I felt was the extra torque it was delivering. It says right in the owner’s manual – “You may never need this setting”. I guess that GM never met my husband.

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