25 November, 2006

It's not stolen, but it's not our's either....

So yesterday was The Day After Thanksgiving. Not really for us since we're not celebrating until tomorrow, but for the rest of America. Since we're having company on Sunday and since we'll eventually need one anyway, I thought I'd drive Luke in to work and brave the madness that is 'Black Friday' shopping to get my hands on a $4 coffee maker at Walmart. Well I got there at around 7am. I had zero luck finding the coffee maker, but did discover that the best time for grocery shopping at Super Walmart is at 7:30 in the morning on a Friday. The grocery section was almost completely empty. I actually could go slowly and didn't have to fight my way around seven other carts in the canned vegetable aisle (all those people and their GREEN BEANS!!)

After the Walmart run, I headed over to the opposing Mart of K to check for leftover Thanksgiving themed goods. No luck, but some cranky shoppers piling their carts full of every battery-operated children's toy under the sun. Away with battery operated toys! Away with them all! Then, as extreme fatigue was setting in, I headed home.

After a relaxing afternoon reading, doing laundry, and doing a bit of prep for Thanksgiving Dinner, I drove back to pick up Luke and our 46 cent bottle of hospital issue Tylenol (ah, the perks). Back to Walmart to finish the shopping and pick out a turkey (and the now $10 elusive coffee maker from the morning visit). Then over to the mall to check out a few sales for Luke.

So far this all sounds rather uneventful, doesn't it? Well you just wait!

The 'check engine' light has been on in Luke's car for about a week already (you can see where this is going to go, can't you?). This has happened before and we've had it checked out multiple times and nobody can figure out what's wrong. Well, to our dismay, this time it actually meant something. Not quite halfway home, the brake light and battery light both came on. Then the gauges were gone. Then the ABS brakes were gone. Then the headlights started to dim. We were just at Quaggy Joe (stay tuned for an upcoming post on that one) so we pulled in. Luke called his Dad for a diagnosis: the battery or the alternator. We had just gotten off the phone and the car started again. So we headed back to town. Luckily we were at the part of the drive where you're going 55 and then there's this big downhill stretch. Good thing cause the car died near the bottom of the hill, but we had just enough 'steam' to park in the Rob's Convenience parking lot.

So after a very long and confusing phone call with a VERY inept AAA representative, we decided to leave the car where it was and call the hospital. Well thank God that Luke works with such great (and LOCAL!) people. Nikki was there in less than 10 minutes to pick us up. I had never met Nikki. Funny, funny girl. She's the evening receptionist in x-ray. The Lowly Secretary. (So we discussed the underappreciated status of secretaries nation-wide. Ahhhh secretarial bonding.) To the hospital we go. (All this in what are now subzero temps at night - but hey! At least the turkey was starting to thaw!!)

Back at the hospital, Nikki set about using her exceptionally handy secretary skills to try to find us a rental car. Felicia, whose Dad just happens to be a mechanic, set about finding out which Cowlett we should leave our car in the care of. [This is a funny story in its own. Felicia's family knows all the Cowletts. There are 35 of them listed in the phone book. Our car was parked at Rob's which is a convenience store AND a garage. Across the highway and down not even 200 yards, is Rob's brother Alan's garage. I can just imagine Rob thinking we used him for his parking lot and then this morning his brother comes over to tow the car across the highway...] Anyway, we are assured that the car is now in good hands. It might even be fixed today. (It did turn out to be the alternator.) Holly efficiently filled the roll of moral support and jokester.

Now you may in fact be wondering, 'How did you get home afterall?' Well, it just happens that ALL Nikki's calling was in vain. No place in town will rent you a car after 5pm, so Felicia to the rescue again! She just happened to have dropped another coworker - Jill - off at the airport a week and a half ago. She also just happened to have Jill's truck key. So Nikki drove us up to Jill's and we got her Jeep. (Keep the heater going full-blast at all times - otherwise it'll overheat; and hope it doesn't rain because it might not start if it's damp...)

So we drove home. In a not-quite-stolen Jeep. And did I mention Luke was driving all the while without a license? (He forgot it at home.) But the point is, we made it home, Luke had a vehicle to get to work in this morning, the girls at work are VERY resourceful, we're making new friends (although perhaps not with the WHOLE Cowletts family), and hopefully by Monday, our car will be fixed.

I'm not sure why it is that we seem to be constantly plagued with car troubles (at least with Luke's cars. My little Linda the Honda was, of course, perfect). If it's not one car it's another, and buying a new one hasn't helped to date. On the other hand, if constant car troubles are the worst thing to befall us in this lifetime, I guess we're doing okay.

What's the moral? When the check engine light comes on. Don't wait till you break down halfway home to figure out what the problem is. :)


Anonymous said...

perhaps a VW would be the answer to your woes. They work for us....

bren j. said...

wouldn't it be nice if we all could enjoy the privilege of owning a volkswagen. sigh....maybe someday. i'd settle for another honda though.