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      Upgrades overrated~but appreciated

      Highway 36, just inside the Hannibal city limits where our 1998 Malibu hydroplaned and landed on its side. / Mary Lou Montgomery--Hannibal Courier-Post

      In our family, we run a vehicle until the wheels fall off. It's our philosophy on almost any purchase; don't replace something until it dies.

      That's why I've been hoping for the motor to blow or some vital part to break on our 1998 Malibu that has logged just under a quarter-million miles. I got my wish last week when my husband Rich hydroplaned just after crossing the bridge into Hannibal.

      Here's how the phone conversation played out:

      Rich: "I've got a little trouble here."

      Sarah: "What happened?

      Rich: "I had an accident."

      Sarah: "Are you OK?"

      Rich: "I'm fine."

      Sarah: "How's the car?"

      Rich: "Totalled."

      Sarah: "SWEET!"

      I offered to come get him, and THAT'S when he tells me that he's flipped the car on its side, he's trapped inside and is waiting for help to arrive. Geez, that'll make a girl feel bad.

      In my defense, my callous comment about the car had some merit. The air conditioner was busted and the gas gauge didn't work. The thing was a rolling junk heap, and we put 500 miles on it every week driving to Quincy. It was time for a new vehicle. But Rich is a faithful guy. When the tow truck rolled the Malibu into the sunset, Rich shook his head and said, "She was a good ol' gal. I'll miss her."

      It made me grateful that Rich doesn't go for the latest, greatest model of whatever comes along; otherwise, he might be looking for an upgrade on his wife ;)

      Oh, and as a side note, here's karma for you: until we get a replacement car, we're driving my dad's beater of a Buick. It's all banged up, the gas gauge doesn't work and--get this--it has 253,000 miles! BUT, the air conditioner runs, and in this heat, thank God for big favors!

      Take care~Sarah D.