YOU MIGHT be wondering who Gretel is. I do too; It’s confusing. Hmmm. Perhaps I should start at the beginning…
The summer of 2009, Melissa, Sean and I were in the rental car parking garage at the Munich airport. I had reserved a car with GPS (Navi or SatNav depending on which country my friends are from). Everyone knows what the GPS looks like, right? I was feeling pretty stupid because I couldn’t find it. I asked for help. The GPS was the size of a postage stamp and located in the rear view mirror. Yes, in the mirror. It turns out that she only spoke German. I was OK with “Die Route wird berechnet” but most people wouldn’t know what was going on. Eight years later Melissa still say “Rechts abbiegen” but I’m not entirely sure it’s actually part of her German vocabulary.
We listened to this German voice telling us “turn left” and “turn right” for several days. We eventually started referring to the voice as “Gretel.” Spring forward a few years to 2011. A friend at EUCOM found an abandoned GPS, used it for a short time, then gave it to me. It was made in 1996. The most recent maps are several years out of date. (OK for city-to-city trips, but when downtown has become a pedestrian zone, “she” goes crazy. Ask me how I know!) This little black box took on the Gretel name. Gretel was useful in the gold 1992 BMW station wagon (Combi, Touring, Estate Car depending on where you live). She returned to the US in 2013.
Gretel served faithfully in the US until heading back to Europe late in 2015. Gretel’s new car was a blue 1999 BMW station wagon (Same alternate vocab for the rest of the world). Somehow, Gretel’s name migrated from the GPS to the car itself. As most of my friends know, that car was replaced by a silver 2003 BMW station wagon several months ago. The name has moved on so the current car has become known as Gretel 2.0.
Yesterday, I spent five hours replacing the parking brakes (who thought it was a good idea to put drum brakes inside disk brakes just to park a car?) and rotors and pads on all four axles. The car stops. The parking brake is firmer. I’m happy.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of my Saturdate with Gretel. The next installment in the continuing saga will be replacing the valve cover gasket because 1) oil leaks are not allowed in Germany and 2) that occasional bit of oil on the exhaust manifold does not smell good.