The Backstory: Last Saturday (August 28), my car wouldn’t start. It made that *akakakakak* noise that indicates low-start up power or however you put it. Low Battery. That’s it (sorry, I’m still a little flustered). Since #2 was here cutting grass, and my father taught me well about many things, I had jumper cables and #2 was able to jumpstart my precious princess car and I went on my way. I figured something had drained the battery- a light left on, something. Tho, due to the obsessive nature of German Engineering, my car doesn’t really allow that sort of thing to happen. Whatever. While in town at my thing, someone needed a ride to the Toyota place to pick up his truck, and I offered.
Again, *akakakakakak* and I had to ask for help. Fortunately, there was an abundance of men around, of the sort who kind of live to rescue damsels in distress and widows and the like. Also, I had the aformentioned jumper cables. By now I knew something was up and drove to the AdvancedAuto place, thinking perhaps a decent car charger was in order. I considered having the helpful men (mostly of the Rescue DiD&W type) diagnose the issue, but they were backed up 5 deep helping others with their issues. Not just in line at the register, but lots of cars in the parking area with hoods up and greasy people scratching their heads. Not wanting to wait or be a bother, I bought the charger and made it home (I’d prudently left the engine running while in the store, this being East SmallTown, Ga and pretty sure no one would take it), hooked up the charger per store-guy’s instructions and let it charge all night.
Sunday morning…*akakakakak*, and a friend who stayed over the night before made noises that sounded like “alternator” and “do you have a warranty” and “that’s not good.” She gave me a ride to church, where I figured an hour or so of singing and a sermon on the Wisdom of King Solomon could only be a good thing and would take my mind off the issues. All shops closed on Sunday anyway, so fretting was pointless. However, me being me, and desperately requiring contingency plans for peace of mind, I arranged to borrow #4’s truck, by taking him to school (for a while I’d forgotten he had one, and that I could use it, that’s how flustered the whole thing had me), and discussing with #2 about following me to Savannah in his (well, mine, but he’s borrowing it for now…see how flustered I was? I’d even forgotten I have a truck) in case the issue with my car was something so serious that it would need to stay there for several days.
If it had to stay there for more than a few hours, I was going to sell it. I don’t do cars with problems. I even looked it up on Kelley Blue Book.
Now for THE REST OF THE STORY:
Ok, so the car wouldn’t jump start. I was assuming it would, since it had over the weekend. He was going to follow me. But, no starting. None. Plus all the stuff on the dashboard was blinking and the warning lights like “WARNING! AIRBAG FAILURE!” stuff like that was going off. It was all indicative of a complete electrical disaster (in my mind). The car was probably scrap metal. But I would get it to the dealer nonetheless because I had a warranty that covered electrical failures.
So, how do we get it there? Tow it. I have a truck, we’ll go to U-haul and rent a car dolly and tow it there. How do we get it on the dolly? We can’t drive on. I know! The driveway has a mild downhill slope! We’ll let the car gain momentum and roll up on the dolly! I’m so smart! I feel like a Real Problem Solver! Himself would be so proud! Except…
(tell me you didn’t see that coming)
It only made it halfway up the dolly and the front bumper got caught on a thing and to roll it off would, essentially, snag the front bumper and rip the whole thing off. Because it’s a plastic car. I decided, I don’t care if it rips off. It took an hour to figure out how to get it up that far. We were the 3 Stooges (that is, #2, his girlfriend, and me) spending sweat and energy and a mild and incomplete understanding of physics trying to get the damned car on the damned dolly and I might have even used some words and called the car unladylike names.
We came up with the plan of driving to the school to borrow #4’s car to push it up onto the dolly. Only, plastic car+steel car=plastic rubble. So that idea, after much mental machinations and uncertainty, was scrapped (ha..i made a pun!). I decided to just withdraw some money from savings and call a tow truck to take it to Savannah.
Many phone calls later, the first place sent all its trucks to Louisiana. The second one only did impound towing but recommended the first place. The third and fourth places were discontinued numbers. Finally, the fifth place was just a guy named Neil with a truck who was bored.(the guy, not the truck tho since the guy was bored the truck also may have been) I explained the situation and he offered to come out and help get the car onto the dolly for a small fee (much, much less that the cost of taking it to the dealer). He got here 10 minutes later, looked at what had happened and the 3 frustrated people, and said “Well. This is an interesting situation.” With tears in my eyes I begged him to not make fun of me and to fix it. He did fix it, with ease and an apology for a scratch on the driveway (good heavens.) When I asked what compensation he required, he shrugged and thought for a second, and named a number so low I felt like crying again. “Meh,” he replied. “Make it out to me and I’ll by a nice lunch for myself.”
So, after a degree of high-blood pressure inducing trepidation, the car was delivered safely (Go me!! I drove all the way to Savannah *AND* through the thickest part of Abercorn Traffic! While towing something!) to the dealer, and left with my phone number so they could deliver the news that it was toast, and did I want them to take it behind the barn and shoot it for me, or did I want to do the honors myself. And we went to Green Truck Pub for therapeutic burgers. Halfway through the meal, I got The Call from the dealership.
traffic on Abercorn dr
“It’s a dead battery”
So, after an initial self-flagellation exercise for spending so much money and sweat on a dead battery, I decided it was to be a Learning Experience and worth it. Upon collecting the car from the dealer (after they installed a new battery, which better be damn fine battery given the cost), I discussed it with the person behind the counter. She said “well, given the situation, if you’d bought a battery from some place, you would still have to bring it here to get the computer reset, otherwise all your lights would stay on and one of the sensors would work” So I decided it was worth the effort we’d gone through. I can call Neil to help get it on the dolly and buy him lunch, I know I am capable of towing something down the treacherous Abercorn Street, turning onto Eisenhower and into the crowded and narrow-laned dealership lot. I learned that it takes 5 mechanics to remove a car from a car dolly (1 to drive it, 1 to push, and 3 to point and laugh), and that sometimes it really is worth it (especially when you’re a car-ignorant widow who always expects the worst) to let someone else figure these things out. I’ve always known that Green Truck burgers are therapeutic, and the more therapy you need, the better they are. I’ve also been reminded that people are basically decent, and willing to help. We stopped at Krispy Kreme on the way home for coffee, and Girlfriend (who’s from Long Island, where they are uncivilized and don’t have Krispy Kremes) announced she’d never been in one. The woman behind the counter looked startled, and bagged her up a hot one, because she opined that such a situation was tragic and needed to be rectified. Of course, those of us who know (what a hot Krispy Kreme is) understand that she was basically handing Girlfriend a bag of legal crack.
So yeah. What started as a day full of frustration ended with satisfaction. everyone and Girlfriends were here for supper, and there was food and laughter and all those things that make for a proper end of the day.
Life is good.