Back story: Early in June my car started behaving oddly. Don’t ask me to embarrass myself to describe what it was doing, I could just tell something was off in either the transmission or brakes category. I had the day off so I scheduled time to have the brakes looked at, have the car serviced and, if that didn’t clear things up, to take it to a mechanic (which, in hindsight would have been the smarter option, but I was going with cheap not smart).

During my first appointment of the day, my transmission crapped out. On my eight year old car. Very bad ($$) news. Fortunately my car would still shift into reverse though none of the forward gears functioned. I was 3 blocks away from my mechanic and really didn’t want to wait two hours for a tow so I did the logical thing: I drove three blocks backwards to my mechanic a la Smoke Signals. Two weeks, many tears and a few thousand dollars later we had a shiny new transmission for my car! Just in time to take it to Seattle for Pride!

On the morning of July 23rd, we packed up my car, along with it’s brand new transmission, and headed to Montana for a family ruinion. There was going to be about 80 people there from my mother’s side of the family, most of whom Holly had never met, and many I hadn’t seen for 5-15 years. We were nervously excited about the trip as my family’s reaction to my coming out and Holly and my relationship has been deeply varied and complex. Nevertheless, it was going to be an amazing opportunity for Holly to get a look at the quirky and wonderful stock from which I come and for them to meet her.

About 10 miles from our destination my car begun to make horrible screaming/scraping/clunking sounds and proceeded to defecate pieces of the engine along the freeway.

No. Just no.

Thank God, a well placed freeway exit, my parents and AAA the situation was actually much better than it could have been. My parents were already at the destination so, less than a half hour later, my Dad arrived to give me hug and also show me the difference between my transmission (which is just fine, shiny and still sparkly-brand-new!) and my cylinder, which is very not fine.

That’s the hole my push rod made when it said “peace out” to the rest of my engine.

Since this happened, I have spent countless hours googling images of car engines and reading articles in the hopes that I will never again be the stereotypical girl on the side of the road wondering “what is this thing that fell out of my engine?” I recommend it.

**UPDATE: Check out this cool stop motion engine rebuild video!**

But enough of that, the very good news is we had an amazing time with my family. The was a single slightly awkward moment, but mostly everything was chill. A couple of my cousins seemed very interested in what we were both wearing which, along with who’s walking down the aisle, seems to be everyone’s favorite question. This led, as it often does, to a great conversation about gender stereotypes. Other than that, we participated in normal family things as if we weren’t the odd couple in the group. I find this both amazing and touching because I know that my family falls in many places on the “acceptance” spectrum yet we all managed to simply be a family, Holly included. I was so proud.

Brewer-Sutton fam + my seester
2nd generation Lewallens (cousins)
The whole crew!

MOAR Pictures!