A praise in the midst of all my whining:
After getting the estimate of $1500 to fix the AC on Carissa and BJ's car (which her condition renders a need, rather than a luxury), Karen and I figured we could just lend them our minivan indefinitely, only to find the AC had suddenly gone kaput in it, as well! We took it in to the same place, and braced ourselves to hear the same figure for our own AC repair.
On the contrary, we were blessed to hear it was only a case of depleted Freon, which cost a mere $105 to remedy. So now Sis and Beej are able to drive around Lynchburg in our nice, cool Grand Caravan. Thank you, Lord!