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The SAAB 9-5 With Inferior Spring

We postponed the plotted, customary, essential North-going trip with one more day. Just a day. Maybe mom would be well enough to join me on the long ride North tomorrow. I've been packing prolifically. The living room's chaotic but in order - most boxes are full and ready to be carried to the car. Plants are still on the tables and windowsills awaiting last-minute packing. Food's still in the fridge and ditto.

This morning I was plotting to take a quick drive to the supermarket and shop a week's worth of food for my still somewhat sick dad, check the tires, refuel the car, and have it all ready to go tomorrow morning...

And it wouldn't start.

I turned the key. It almost started. The lights flickered. The engine sputtered but didn't start. I waited. I tried again. I waited. I tried again. I waited. I tried again.

I popped the hood. The oil was OK. Nothing seemed broken or out of place. I tried again. I tried again. I tried again.

Finally it did start! I rolled out of the parking space, and started down the driveway.

The engine stalled.

I started it again. I drove down to the street, the car started shaking, it stalled again...

I parked it by the curb, right before it stalled again. I started it again, parked better, and ran the engine on idle a while. Though it did not stall then it seemed like it might occasionally. It does not run well.

There's something wrong with the engine, though it ran fine last time, and that is an unavoidable fact. I had a moment of angst. Everything's ready. I'm ready. We've been delaying this trip more and more with each passing day, and now that it's finally almost time to leave... it's just not possible.

Potential backup plans? I've pondered the alternatives...

1. Book a flight instead.

In which case I need some kind of transport arrangement from the airport to the summer place up North - buddy Andreas might be able to assist there - he's heading to his place this Friday. Otherwise the best bet would be the bus, but it doesn't go all the way. The only cheap flight this Friday leaves Stockholm Arlanda at 5:55 in the morning. The first bus leaves Bro somewhere around 4:40. The first commuter train to the bus leaves 5:30 - if the car worked I could've gotten a ride there instead. It's about an hour and a half to the airport. The times do not align. The only viable alternative is thus a taxi. Expensive. Another alternative's a hotel near the airport. Expensive. Another alternative's another flight. Expensive too. And I'd be there just two days then, with questionable transport alternatives back to the airport as well...

2. Buy a new car.

Or more correctly an old car. I've gone through the local catalog now. Found a neat little Toyota Starlet from 1989 - my birth year! Most cheap cars have defects. Maybe this one does too. It has a rusted hole by a wheelhouse. The used car market overall seems a bit lacking... or expensive.

3. Rent a car.

Expensive too. Renting a car for one month would cost almost as much as buying one, and the allotted mileage with the cheaper rental alternatives wouldn't even cover the first portion of the trip. So it'd cost more, or not be a viable alternative after all. Then you'd need to drive it back again. Factor in fuel costs and time - two days there, two days back.

4. Take bus or train all the way from Stockholm.

That'd be more expensive than a flight, and time-consuming too.

5. Ask my nephew who's coming to visit next Sunday if he could borrow my big brother's car...

...instead of him taking the train, and if maybe we could drive it up North and back again, at which point it'd be shorter for him back home than it would be back to Stockholm - so he'd shave a bit off the return trip. I'm relatively certain my big bro needs the car though. They lead a busy life. Worst case though it wouldn't hurt to ask...

There really are no good alternatives.

Once someone is up North it's easy to fly there. Whenever tickets are cheap. Especially if you plan ahead. When nobody is, and when we have a car full of goods to bring with us, all of which wouldn't be possible to bring by plane... there really is no option. We need a car.

Today's a holiday here in Sweden, so there's not much we can do today. First thing tomorrow: call repair shops. We have a list of three to call; hopefully one of them can have a look on short notice. If not we'll have to contemplate our options again. Do we just buy a new car? Do we rent a car? Do we wait? How long do we wait?

If we do get time for a check-up tomorrow I'll be going with the car, dad will be staying home to oversee the air source heat pump check-up in parallel, and best case scenario *fingers crossed* the car gets fixed and the pump gets fixed and we're ready to take this trip the day after... by which time I'll be getting virtually no time at all up North before it's time to head back again, and work, and fly back up again. But then the car would be there, and so would the folks, and even if the main car breaks down again I have a spare up there. My lovely little bright red '95 Polo. Props Andreas. In times like these it's a pretty awesome reassurance to have around, I just need to take it in for a yearly check-up before it's allowed back in traffic again, it should be all good, it ran perfectly last year...

If no repair shops have time and all other plans falter maybe I can head up North and breath some life into my Polo instead, maybe I could drive it back South and up again, with all our stuff. That'd be expensive though.

I could leave it at the airport for the two day duration before I'm back up again, too. If I do book a new flight.

There are options.

None as ideal as it would be to head North in the car we already have here, but lately it seems you'd best be prepared for anything.

Have been looking around at new greenhouses btw. They're expensive too. Hope that wooden frame reinforcement idea and temporary sheets of plastic work fine for now...

Seems like I'm just blogging about depressing things this Spring, but that really is the kind of Spring it's been, thus far! Just one problem after the other. If ever there was an ideal time to just write and vent around here though why not now. That's what this place is for after all.

I did have a fun trip and visits in the midst of all this ongoing seasonal madness, though elements of planning collided there too. Wonder how things would've turned out if I had headed up in the beginning of May after all, maybe we'd have had the greenhouse fixed and an alternative car at the ready already, maybe it wouldn't even be broken...

Best let bygones be though. Whenever these initial travel issues settle maybe I can. Here's hoping tomorrow solves all.

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