By Lonnie Cruse
Hubby and I recently bought a new-to-us car. It's a 2006 KIA LX van and I love it. Or I will love it, once I learn how to operate it. And I'm not talking about driving it. That's a breeze. I mean operating some of the gizmos and gadgets that came with it.
Right now I own the cleanest car windshield in all of Massac County, and I kid you not. That's because every time I start the car and try to put it into gear, the windshield wipers go off. And that's because I keep forgetting that the actual gear shift is now located down below the heater/air conditioner, at the bottom of the . . . um, what is that thingy called? Oh, yeah, the dash board. Don't get me wrong, I like it there, at least I like it there when I remember it's there.
Speaking of the windshield wipers, it took me two whole days to learn how to turn them off after I accidentally turned them on, and another whole day to learn how to make them go the speed I want. Hubby spent one entire trip over to Paducah learning how to turn off the wiper on the rear window. And NO, we don't have an owner's manual for the car . . . yet. The dealer had to order one for us. Meanwhile, we struggle to find out how things work, or how to turn them off, once we've turned them on, accidentally or on purpose. How hard can this be, you ask? Have you ever driven anything that was made in this decade?
Recently I drove the van into town for the very first time without hubby or anyone else along. Within a few blocks I noticed that the "passenger airbag is NOT operational" light was on. And it wouldn't go off. I'd not seen that light on before, and believe me, I looked that baby over carefully when we test-drove it. Instant panic. I mean, one of the things on my "must have" list when buying this vehicle was a passenger air bag. We didn't have one in the last two cars, and I was having one in the next one, or else.
Okay, calm self down, maybe I could fix it? Hubby's truck has a place where you can turn the passenger air bag on and off, in case he is transporting someone under the age or weight who could tolerate an airbag opening on them. Maybe this van had the same choice? When I returned home from my errands, I looked the car over from stem to stern. No switch or key hole for turning on the air bag. Now what?
I insisted hubby call the Kia dealer immediately if not sooner and schedule a time for the necessary repair to be made, because according to the warning message pasted inside the glove box, if the airbag light stays on and/or blinks continually, the owner has a problem. We were scheduled to be there the next afternoon at two P. M. central standard time.
Thankfully, hubby drove the van that same night to pick up a friend and noticed that the light was on while the passenger seat was empty but went off as soon as our friend occupied that seat. The airbag turns off automatically when the seat is empty! Who knew? Okay, those of you who drive cars that are newer/younger than your children can stop laughing now. I'm just praying that we don't have to take the van back into the service shop until the mechanics stop laughing.
One of the main reasons we requested an owner's manual is because we didn't have one with the last vehicle. And we never did completely figure out how to operate the radio and the clock built into it. Twice a year, when daylight savings began and ended, the problem of the clock became nightmarish. Trying to figure how to reset the clock so it wouldn't be an hour off. Don't even get me started on trying to tune in our favorite radio stations.
Because this van is a slightly cheaper version, we didn't get all the bells and whistles that some vehicles have. No DVD player, but hey, our grandsons each have their very own, courtesy of Grandma and Christmas. And no GPS system came with it, but I got one of my very own one Christmas. What WOULD we do without Christmas gifts?
We did, however, get a van that gives me the ability to completely turn OFF the air conditioner on my side. The vents on the last car wouldn't shut all the way, and hubby and I had many *discussions* about the temperature in the car. And he can turn the heat off on his side, if need be. Aaaahhhhhh. Less arguments. Better marriage. Who knew they made stuff like that in newer cars? Okay, everyone but me.
This van also has eight or ten cup holders. Now cup holders may not be an urgent need of yours, but they certainly are for me. I broke the only two we had in the car before the last, and Hubby broke the only two in the last car. They flipped out of the arm rest and if you leaned on them at all . . . well, you get the picture.
AND I now have a place to put my purse (on the floor, between driver and passenger) without having to balance it on the ashtray because Hubby insisted the arm rest be down at all times, even when I was driving. Urrrr. A gal needs her purse to be handy. That's a given. And I have some elbow room with out whacking elbows with Hubby. And we don't ride like sardines when friends join us and I wind up in the back seat.
All in all, I love driving a car that was made in this decade. I just hope the local college will give me a break on tuition when I sign up for classes. They do have a class on how to operate windshield wipers, don't they?