Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Know enough to be Dangerous

A little back story about my recent car troubles:
It all happened about two weeks ago, on a busy street in Citrus Heights...
I was heading in to pay rent (late) after picking Thing 1 up from school and was waiting to turn left. I saw my opening and went for it, only to find I had no power. I had stalled out in the middle of oncoming traffic, halfway through my turn. I didn't panic; I put her in park and tried to restart her. Nothing. Still, no panic. I go to neutral and roll back a bit (did I mention I'm on a hill?) and get back into the turn lane. I try to start her again with no luck. Maybe I can roll through the turn...oh wait, I'm ON A HILL! Now, the panic starts to creep in...
I call Mr. Clean, who's in the middle of his day and tell him the situation in a voice tinged with the panic I feel steadily rising.

His response: "Flag someone down & get off the road. Then call Grandma."

OMFG! How logical.
I might be 600 miles from my hometown but there's still help to be had where I am. I waste no time flagging down a wonderful pair of Good Samaritans, a Clark Pest control worker and a middle age, upper class lady in her Mercedes-Benz. No Shit. AND she helped push my car. I couldn't believe I was in Sacramento for a second. I thanked them, of course, but how do you properly thank someone that helps you a situation like that? "Thank you!" just doesn't seem to be enough...

I'm now stuck right in front of my property management company so I walk my not-so-happy self in there to pay rent and get back to the problem at hand: how to get me, the Things and my Jeep, back home? I call Jay's supremely awesome Grandma Sue & Help is on the way! Grandpa Carl shows up to get us home & long story short, we towed her home later that night. And then she sat. For a week. In our driveway. Meanwhile, we tried appeasing her with gifts like a new neutral safety switch, a new MAP sensor, an idle air control valve, in lieu of spending money on taking her to a shop because, let's face it, mechanics love to screw with you.

After spending WAY more than a diagnostic would cost, a friend recommended her dad. Great. Now if we get screwed by our mechanic, we lose a friend too. NOT TRUE! Turns out, her dad actually knew something and the fix ended up costing a 1/4 what we'd already spent. All this trouble from a busted rotor...As in Cap & Rotor?? Yeah. That's an ego bust.

Lesson for this day: "Always start with the basics" and "Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!"

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