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The Noise Sleuth

Have you ever experienced a weird sound in the car . . . a squeak or rattle . . . that you couldn’t find the source of?

If you have, then you’ll know the angst of driving along and having that sound randomly appear.

I had one of these noises crop up a month or two ago, and y’all, it started driving me nuts.

I know that’s a short trip for me, but c’mon . . . humor me, okay?

I really can’t pinpoint an exact day when I started hearing it, but all I know is that whenever I’d go over bumps or make turns, I’d hear what sounded like the seat belt in the back was hitting the inside of the car.

Back when I had children living at home, they wouldn’t always pull the seat belts tight  when they’d exit the car, so they would hang loosely and bounce around.

Being the fixer-upper kind of gal that I am, that was the first thing I checked, especially since Rooster and N had been home in March and had been in our car for two whole weeks.

That didn’t seem to be the issue, but that didn’t stop me from tightening them over and over again, in the hopes that I’d stop hearing that sound.

Eventually, I told the Mr. about it to see if he could hear the sound.

Crazy is a lonely land, y’all, and I wanted some company – or to be rescued from.

He commented that the sound seemed to be coming from the driver’s side.

Hello!  He could hear it too!  He was either crazy, like me (because the longer you’re married, the more you resemble one another), or his hearing was just as good as mine.

Sometimes, it would sound like there was a bottle of water rolling around back there.

Well, I tested so much last year that it wasn’t unusual to have cases of water in the back of my car.  I figured one of them had gone awol from the packaging.

I looked under the seats several times, praying that I’d find a bottle.

I didn’t.  I did, however, find a package of Pop Tarts under the back seat.  That must have been N’s from when they visited in the spring.


I found ways to pull up the back parts of my car and open up compartments that probably shouldn’t have been opened.

I checked under the spare tire and relocated some of the hardware that I thought was rolling around back there.

ALL of my attempts proved futile.

I’d reached the end of my rope and was giving serious thought to driving to the Toyota dealership to get them to check for me.

But first, I prayed.

Do not ever tell me that you can’t pray for anything because y’all, you most certainly can.

God knows when a person has reached her wit’s end, and this noise was it for me.

Today, that is.


I’d had an idea brewing in my mind that I acted on in the middle of my afternoon – right after I got home from a quick trip to the grocery store (and renewed angst over that noise, which was unbearable on the way home).

I had periodically thought about the middle of the back seat, so I went out and checked.

Sure enough, there was a place to connect a seat belt.


I got out the car’s manual, visited the index, and turned to the section about seat belts.

That is when the angels sung, y’all.

There was a picture of the seat belt port – located in the ROOF of my car – on the DRIVER’s side.

This was how it looked when I saw it . . .

See it hanging there?

Yep.  That had the makings for a teeth-grinding ride – especially for a person who doesn’t like repetitive noises.

I think that it got knocked loose when I was taking one of the dogs to be groomed or when we were loading/unloading luggage from our recent trip.  Heck, it could have happened when I was taking stuff home from my classroom for the summer.

I played with it a bit, trying to figure out how to secure it.

Go ahead and admire my talent.

I haven’t tested things out yet to see if the noise is, indeed gone.

I’m preferring to live in La La Land for a little while longer.

Actually, I was busy in the house the rest of the afternoon and never got around to taking the car for a test drive.  I’ll check in the morning, though.

AuburnChick Gets a New Car

I was going to write a post about my family’s Christmas happenings, but then an unexpected thing happened.

My car died.


The Mr. and Rooster were out shopping, and I was taking it easy at home, comfy in my sweats, when I received a phone call from Rooster.

They were stranded.  The car would not start.

This happened a couple of weeks ago, and it spent a few days in a friend’s shop.

This car has had gremlins for a year and a half or more.  To say we were tired of its unpredictability would be an understatement.

Still, my heart was broken.

Not because I loved the car.

I loved not having car payments for the last four or more years.


I picked up the guys from the mall, and we headed home, where I donned an outfit suitable for car shopping.

The frown was real.

Upset, I was.

The Mr. and I drove Rooster’s car, dropping him off at work.

We didn’t even know where to start.  All I knew was that I wanted an SUV because I’m short and need to sit higher.

Because we live in Podunk, USA, our options were somewhat limited.

We drove to the Mazda dealership first and test-drove a CX-5.

Honestly, I wasn’t impressed.  The one we tried out was watered down.  It rode very smoothly, but it just didn’t feel right, if you know what I mean.

Still, we asked important questions like, “How much will this cost me a month?”  That sort of thing.

I was nauseous the entire time the Mr. talked.  He does most of our car talking, you see…especially when we start discussing numbers.

I frantically texted my family, asking them to pray.

We wound up leaving without a new car and headed to stop #2, the Buick dealership.

They had lovely cars, but they didn’t have booklets to give out and instructed us to look everything up online.

Personally, I think that was a dumb move on their part.

We left.

Onward to stop #3…the Toyota place.

As we began inspecting the SUVs on display, I began to feel my heart grow lighter.

Then, we spotted this…

It was a 2015 RAV4 and had a gorgeous interior…

Of course, the technology grabbed my attention right away…

My nearly nine year old Ford didn’t have that…nor did it have a moon roof…

The salesman was a very nice, no-pressure kind of guy…young and easy going.  He showed me how to let let the back seats down, how to recline them (yes, the back seats actually recline!!), and how to set up a couple of other things.

I turned to the Mr. and told him I was starting to feel happy again and that I wanted to test drive the car.

He agreed, and after signing off on paperwork, we headed down the road.

What a smooth ride!  The interior was big enough that I didn’t feel claustrophobic but small enough for my petite self to handle.

The Mr. and I switched seats halfway through so he could get a feel for it.

When we drove it back, the haggling began.

So did my texting as I asked people to pray.

The Mr. and I had prayed before we began shopping, but the more prayers the better!

We finally got the dealership down where we wanted in what was a fairly painless negotiation and then signed our lives away…and least for the next known-to-me-but-not-to-you-number-of-months…and walked out the proud new owners of a new car.

Despite the growing knot in the pit of my stomach, knowing that my days of having a little bit of wiggle room in the old budget were gone, I was excited.

While the Mr. drove Rooster’s car back, I started calling family, using the hands-free, Bluetooth connection that I didn’t have BEFORE this car.



You know me and gadgets!

We ran home for a few minutes to feed the dogs, and I couldn’t resist another selfie with the car…

After dinner and a couple of errands, we returned home to find Rooster waiting for us.  After sitting down to do some reading about the car…

…Rooster and I set up the built-in garage door opener (it’s called something fancier, but I’m feeling new-car-stupid right now).

I’m thrilled about the car despite feeling a tad resentful that the choice of WHEN to buy it was taken from me.

I’m thankful, though, that my old car held out for so long and through over 175,000 miles.  Despite not being in love with it…ever…because it replaced the beloved Durango that I gave up when gas prices went through the roof (we were spending over $400 a month on gas just to drive Chicky back and forth to practices several hours away several times a week), I know that it is finally time to say goodbye to what I’ve called the Crap Car.

Oh, and you want to hear something funny?

We didn’t use it as a trade in because IT WOULDN’T START, and thus, we didn’t have it with us.

The Mr. and I went back to the mall to retrieve my hand-held garage door opener and, on a whim, he tried to start it.

It didn’t even sputter, turning over beautifully as if to say, “Neener neener.”

To which the Mr. replied, “I hate this car.”

It’s sitting in front of my house, waiting to be cleaned out, photographed, and put on Craigs List.

Meanwhile, I’m trusting the Lord to help me pay off a few bills quickly so that I can breathe a little easier money-wise with the new baby I brought home yesterday.

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