Guess there's no sense denying the inevitable, but if you will, permit me a moment of reflection.
I bought the truck in July of 2004 to replace a car that was slowly falling apart on me. The car was free, and it lasted for three years before it came time to replace. Little did I know how useful the truck would be a month later when my marriage finally dissolved. I was able to carry most of my stuff away in one haul and had a place to store it while I sought a place to stay.
For over five years the truck continued to serve me well, moving me first west, then eventually south, with a lot of winter driving in between. I've hauled all kinds of things in the truck, from wood for or fireplace to the entire contents of my life to cute fuzzy chinchillas. Maintenance was performed when I could afford it, not when it was due (unless it was a dire emergency and absolutely HAD to be done).
And now, it's come to this: there's a problem that I can't diagnose, nor can I afford to get fixed; there's a host of other problems that need to be corrected to get the truck worthy enough to pass the state inspection; and there's no guarantee that any fixes would be long-term in nature until another major part fails.
Every week, I've been playing the "Fix It Or Fuck It" game, maybe clinging vainly to a false hope that the truck can be fixed and all will be well until we really can afford to get a new-to-us vehicle. Only problem is, the longer the problem goes untreated, the worse the truck seems to be performing, and the more likely we'll have no choice but to sell it for junk, get whatever we can for it, and put that toward another vehicle. But, no matter what, something has to be done by July.
I guess it's time to see what we can scrape together money-wise, and look around to find a decent vehicle that won't bankrupt us too horribly.
You served me well, Nissa. And thank you.