ONDBEAT: 90th birthday party planning a hot summer challenge

Takata airbags, you suck bad and dangerous air.

As a sometime investigative reporter, I was oblivious when Dave, my favorite Low Country car salesman, rang up last week to convey both bad and good news.

The bad news, which came first, involved the latest rampant airbag recall on certain vehicular models, including mine. It’s going to take a good three, four, six or more months for them to be replaced.

The good news is he could help steer me in a different direction with rebates on top of rebates plus brand new payments on other wheels.

I bit the bait and drove down two days later to have an already needed electrical issue diagnosed and repaired. Instead, we wound up talking car-replacement turkey, the furthest thing from my budgetary plans and agenda.

One thing I learned last week is there’s also a premium on and scarcity of decent loaner cars, directly attributable to the Takata airbag recall.

But Ma’s 90th birthday party was just a week away in the Great Smoky Mountains. I needed my own decent wheels to get there.

I also didn’t want to be driving her around in an iffy nine-year-old sedan that had started not-starting in hot, humid weather, not to mention my newfound awareness about the sucky unsafe airbags.

Seemingly overnight, my previously prized peach of a car had morphed into a lemon.

My sisters and I have been striving to throw a fun family reunion that doesn’t involve any issues. So far we’ve had plenty.

On Sunday, my washing machine sprouted a leak and waterfall spilling onto the laundry room floor. On Friday, the Sears repairman found and solved the apparent problem — a Mini Snickers wrapper lodged between the front-load glass door and rubber gasket. That tiny metallic candy paper cost me $75 for a house call.

One of my sisters, meanwhile, has been writing about assorted occurrences of her own including the recent night a raccoon invaded and burglarized her home through the pet door and helped himself to a container of dry cat food. The nimble rascal even figured out how to twist off the lid.

As we banter and bandy back-and-forth via email about upcoming party details, my other sister marveled over all the Murphy’s Law stuff that’s trying to cut into our festive event.

“The frustrations both of you have suffered lately are mind-boggling — a flood from the washing machine, a Roomba eating itself, fights with a raccoon, airbag recall, glazed vision from compiling a family tree, flea infestation, no Rx cholesterol meds,” she wrote. “Is the cosmos throwing obstacles out just to test our mettle? We will survive and conquer.”

Here’s hoping big sister knows her stuff.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.