Monday, December 13, 2010

Musical Vehicles

We have invented a new game, Musical Vehicles.  It's annoying, expensive and a real Christmas-spirit-killer, but we just keep on playing.  The rules are simple: four family members, four vehicles, each person moves around the board of life until their car quits moving, then the other three players must move to the square occupied by the stranded player to tow, push and/or repair said vehicle, then play resumes.   If the "repair" option is required, the two players designated as responsible adults (also called parents) lose a turn and make a visit to the banker before they can proceed.  If they no longer own enough hotels, motels or heirlooms to pawn and appease the banker, they proceed directly to the poor house without passing go and without collecting $200 - but their car will probably break down on the way.

Our round of this not-so-amusing sport actually began before the kids left for college in August and has gone something like this:
  • Daughter's car burns up a coil, replace coil and housing, all is well. 
  • Daughter's car leaves her stranded along I-70  - tow, repair ANOTHER burned out coil. Assume first replacement was faulty.
  • During above repair, discover bad bearing in front end. Daughter temporarily trades bearing-less car for Dad's Mustang.
  • Parents hock computer, small kitchen appliances and lawn mower and Dad replaces bearings. All is temporarily well.
  • Daughter has "fender bender" in Dad's Mustang.
  • Daughter fears death.
  • Exchange repaired car and slightly-dented Mustang, all is well (except the ongoing argument with insurance - but that's a whole other game).
  • Daughter's car burns up ANOTHER coil (we're detecting a pattern) and once again leaves her stranded along I-70.  Tow to mechanic in Hays (where Son lives). 
  • Daughter borrows Mom's car and returns to college, parents share slightly-dented Mustang.
  • Son is winning - he now has two vehicles at his house while parents are sharing one.
  • Mechanic discovers issue which is causing scorched coils (hopefully) and repairs Daughter's car.  Parents hock the tv, the golf cart and one of the grandsons to pay for repairs - all is well.
  • Mom tires of hearing "All is Well" and hits town crier with a wooden mallet. 
  • All players gather on the "Thanksgiving in Hays" square, eat themselves silly, then return to their game-paths with one car per player.  
  • Thanksgiving break ends, Mom and Daughter roll dice for choice of cars.  Daughter wins and selects Mom's car because she (understandably) refuses to drive down I-70 in her car ever, ever, ever again!
  • As daughter prepares to leave, Dad discovers bad tire on Mom's car, so Daughter once again returns to school in Dad's Mustang while parents hock Dad's power tools and the other grandson to replace tires.
  • All players plan to converge on "Christmas in Topeka" square for family time and to swap still-slightly-dented Mustang (damn insurance companies!) and Mom's newly-tired car.
  • Slightly-dented Mustang has a very flat tire in the dorm parking lot - after 5:00 on Friday. 
  • Enter brother who changes tire and gets himself and Daughter the 50 miles to Topeka on the spare.
  • Next day, Dad draws a "Chance" card and randomly selects a tire shop in Topeka.  BINGO!  One of Santa's elves works there and repairs and mounts the tire for FREE. 
  • Once again we have four players, each with one vehicle - just not necessarily the vehicle of their choice.
Hopefully, this game will end soon. The Mustang is scheduled for repairs and will be returned to it's former beauty.  Daughter's car will eventually prove itself to be reliable and will return to college life.  Mom's car (for which Mom has a ridiculous sentimental attachment) will then escape from teen driver and return to it's safe, warm, coddled life in Mom's garage.  Ironically, Son, who is driving a fifteen-year-old pickup which is nearing the 200,000 mile mark, is the leader in this game.  And for the moment - all is well.


  1. The pattern in this wicked game is The Daughter. The Son should hope she doesn't need to borrow his stable old truck some day soon - it will never be the same again!!!

  2. UGH!!! I absolutely hate spending hard earned money on car repairs. I hope this game ends soon.

  3. Bumbles,
    As the son with the 14 year old Chevy pickup, with 194,000 mile, multiple dents, rust, one bad tire, bad alignment, loose steering, a bad rear main gasket, valve cover leak, broken grill, broken bug-flecter, been pulled over four times for a head light being burned out, and gets nine miles to the is still the most reliable vehicle we own and will NOT be driven by my little sister with the dream of being a NASCAR driver.

  4. FWIW - YOU put all of the dents in the pick-up (what dent?), your parents paid for new tires not too long ago, your friend broke the grill and the bug-flector, you were told a month ago to get it aligned, try fixing the headlights after the first time you get stopped, and you're right, it IS the most reliable vehicle. Apparently 4-wheeling can do almost as much damage as an aspiring NASCAR driver. Good point on keeping your sister out of it though - take a look at my Mustang!