Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some days it pours!

My car is about as reliable as Professor Fate's, here: from The Great Race.

Yesterday ended so well. I spent an hour on the phone lining up homeowner's insurance (by combining it with my auto insurance I save $$$!), talked with the current owner of the house (he said the loan officer had called him to say she anticipated being able to close in three weeks), had a halfway decent dinner, drank less than usual, and got to bed on time with the anticipation of being at the new house early to sit in on the home inspection.

But today went, ehm, differently than planned.

I was supposed to be at the inspection at 9:00 AM. Actually, I was going to get there half an hour early and take some snaps of the interior.

I waded through another one of the torrential downpours we've been getting (sure hope we get out of this weather pattern before it turns really cold!), got in my car, turned the key -- and nothing happened. We've all had these moments, I know. I'm just saying. Why do these things always happen when you have to be somewhere unusual and the weather is hideous?

There was no electrical power at all -- couldn't even unlock the doors by the switch.

I swam back through the growing typhoon and called the home inspector. After all, I had the keys and was supposed to let him in. No answer. Left a message. Then called Triple A.

This was a little bit worrisome because I had it in my head that we'd canceled Triple A on all the vehicles after my mother died. Fortunately for me, it turned out I'm still a member.

Long story short: I got hold of the inspector, he swung by to pick up the keys, and in due time the mechanic came, did a battery test (it passed) and started the car. All's well that ends well, right? I can even make most of the inspection, right?

If you believe that, you haven't been paying attention!

I was crossing the river into W_________ when the car suddenly died. We're talking D-E-A-D dead. I'm shooting along the bridge at about forty miles an hour with no power steering or brakes, nothing. The window immediately started to fog up so I couldn't see where I was going. Couldn't open the windows to let in air.

I coasted along as far as the car would take me, then turned onto the shoulder. Actually, I was pretty lucky, ending up at the bottom of the off-ramp, just a couple of hundred yards from a credit union. This was vital, because I do not own a cell phone. I don't like the telephone at the best of times, why would I want to carry one of the bloody things wherever I go?

To call for help, obviously.

It was another forty minute wait at the credit union, and when the tow truck pulled in, it was driven by the same guy who started the car back home!

Towed it to the dealership, they gave me a ride to work, where I arrived soaking wet but grateful. After all, it could have been so much worse. Actually, I had just one moment of real despair during the whole experience, while I was cooling my heels at the credit union. It struck me that I didn't have anyone to call.

Oh, and the house? Seems to have passed the inspection with flying colors. I'll let you know about the car!


  1. Oh, man! Yup, I had a very similar two-AAA rescue afternoon a couple of years ago. Here are my two guesses:
    1. Battery -- it can die in midstream (a rainy day one) if a cell or two have gone bad.
    2. Alternator -- Always happens on a crappy day, not just to make it crappier, but because the weather taxes it. Just like it taxes the battery.
    3. Backup guess -- Fuel pump. I had one go in a blizzard, coming off the I-95 ramp onto Rt. 1 in Scarborough. And where was I headed? K-Mart. Why? To escape my parents. I was only 17 at the time.

    Do update us!

  2. A car is a car is a car. It always will choose the wrong moment to take a rest!


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