For Sale: Our little bruised coup

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

HE SAID: I met Little Red when I was 20 years old.

She was a sexy little thing, red, hot and smooth. She liked to play loud music and dance for me as we zipped down the road. She rocked.

Admittedly, we went a little too fast at first, even got in trouble with the law (three speeding tickets in a two-year span).

Then I grew up, had a son, and Little Red became a little less saucy. We bonded emotionally and my affection for her grew, though the sparks had gone.

But no more. Little Red has become a pretty big problem at the Miller household.

In the past month, my 1994 Ford Probe, which I have owned for nine years, has been in the shop three times. She left me stranded once, and I had to ask Callie to come pick me up at 1 a.m. when I was coming home from work.

At one point, the car died every time I hit the brakes, an unfortunate side effect to one of her electronic sensors going kaput.

My cute and talented wife says I need a different car. I tell her that I agree, then ask her where the money is going to come from.

She has no answers, not with medical bills, child support, a mortgage, credit card bills, clothing trips and food to account for.

Little Red is no longer sexy. But she's cheap. I own her outright.

We spent about $400 on her over the past month, which is a lot for such an old weary car. But I could spend that much in two months on a car if I was making payments.

It's time for Little Red and I to move on.

But I'm not sure I can afford the divorce.

SHE SAID: It is only in the rare emergency situation that Bob can coax me to ride in his car.

My grandpa, a retired car dealer, probably would have vehemently opposed my marriage had he seen Little Red before the deal was sealed. It's the type of car Grandpa would call a "puddle jumper."

As it is, we always drive my SUV when we visit family or take long trips. Or take short trips. Because you never know when that stupid little car will stop running.

Plus, I feel like one of the Flintstones when I sit in it -- like my feet are touching pavement because the car sits so slow to the ground.

Even Drew, at 8 years old and under four feet tall, has outgrown the thing.

And Little Red makes unseemly noises as she's coming down the street, like an emphysema-ridden smoker gasping for her last few breaths. There are springs sticking out of her seats, the locks don't work and -- whoa -- there's no CD player!

I've been advocating this split for a long time. I'm not sure who is more upset -- Bob or the guys at the local auto mechanics' shop who were banking on Little Red providing big bonuses this year.

Meanwhile, if you're in the market for a fabulous little red sports car, we've got just the thing for you.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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