Thursday, May 31, 2007

Greta, you're working on my last nerve

2002 New Beetle. Spring Green. Named Greta. Love that car. Wanted a Beetle since my sister and I played road trip in my grandmother's garage in her old Beetle without a battery when I was a kid.

Hate this car. Electrical issues. Sometimes decides that it just doesn't want to run. Has croaked near Brenham twice. (If she wants some Blue Bell Ice Cream, she just has to ask) Luckily both times were in good weather during the day. Battery burns out. A lot. And I'm talking about a connector that is burned. As in looks like charcoal. Professional and personal mechanics have been working on this intermittent problem.

I was at the Galleria at about 8 this evening in the parking garage. Turn on the car and the battery warning light comes on. Service manual (as in the detailed one that mechanics use) is in the car but I can't figure out where the info that I need is. I have the windows up and no a/c on. I am starting to sweat like crazy and decide to roll down the windows before I lose juice. It's still about 90 degrees outside at this point.

Since my on-call mechanic wasn't nearby and I sure as heck don't want to be stranded in a freaking parking garage (I saw that horror movie), I drive out onto the street. This also means I can get a signal to my phone (which also has a low battery; unrelated but annoying and freaking me out since it keeps squealing at me). Get in touch with Ryan.

He asks where I am and he tells me to drive to Central Market and pop the hood when I get there. After being stopped at every single freaking red light on the way, I pull into the parking lot and pop the hood (leaving the engine on). After wrestling with the cover to the battery connections, report to mechanic that it is indeed fried. Sorry, Tilly, no yogurt tonight since I can't go in if I want to leave my car running. I was also going to buy dinner there.

Drive home. Fiveish miles seems like 500. Goal is to follow route that has the most well-lit areas to pull into should my car crap out. Ryan is still on the other end of my phone that I have on my lap on speaker. I turn onto my street, make it across a major street, through the first intersection (no stop sign, thankfully). Slow down at the last stop sign, within sight of the house and ABS warning light flashes once. We call this the You're F*&%$ed light. Gun it through the intersection and the light comes on steady. I'm able to pull into my driveway, open the garage door and start to cry. Tell Ryan that I am okay.

Because it's habit, I lock the car. Push the button to unlock but forget that if you do that and then don't get in after a certain period of time, it locks itself up again. Go inside and let the doggie out to pee. Convince Ryan that I am indeed safely home. Go downstairs to get purchases out of trunk. Can't unlock door, although the red light saying that the alarm is on is still flashing. Reach through open window to see if the hatchback latch works. No dice. I do a Dukes of Hazard and climb through the window and push the (non-electric latch) to pull the back seat forward and get my stuff out. Climb back out the window.

Go inside and order a pizza. It took about 2 hours to quit shaking. I'm almost to the point where I think it's funny. Or at least has funny aspects. It could be much, much worse. It was still fairly light out, so I wasn't panicking as much as I could have. I could get away with driving with only my running lights on (although any policeman who pulled me over would have been driving my @ss home in his cruiser). This could have happened at school. In the ghetto.

Driving Klaus to school tomorrow. We're thinking about getting a new car for Ryan after our trip in the fall. We're debating which car to keep. I think Klaus may win. And I'll be driving a station wagon. Yeehah! Actually, it's a really nice car. 94ish BWM 525iT. Ryan fixes it himself. He even replaced most of the front panels that were plain primer color for about 2.5 years after a minor accident that he had. After an unsuccessful eBay purchase of car parts (I guess it's bound to happen once in a while), he found a junkyard on the east side of town. He said he was driving through the place in a vehicle without any doors, one guy has no legs, once they get the pieces they want, they hold them as they drive back. Ryan said he felt not at all out of place driving home through the barrio with a fender strapped to the roof of his car.

Okay, that got me starting to laugh about this. And I haven't even started drinking. Yet. ;)


Kelli in the Mirror said...

Wow, there are so many things to comment on in this post!

You feed Tilly yogurt?

You're taking a trip in the fall? Where are you going?

And most importantly, does Greta being sick affect your coming to visit next weekend?

And of course, that sucks about Greta. My parents are having some similar issues with their beetle. It will all of a sudden decide that it doesn't recognize their key.

Ann Marie said...

I heart Toyotas.