Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grease Monkey

Our second attempt at going to church was foiled by a sore, infected toe and nearly two weeks of extremely poor sleep. We got in the car to go and I looked over at Terri, and saw that she was turning slightly gray. I thought, "Hmm. Maybe this isn't the best idea...." and she said, "I don't think it's a good idea for me to go." So, we went back in the house and will try again next week. She's also trying some new medications which are making her feel funky, so it just wasn't meant to be, although we really wanted to go.

Instead, I decided to tackle the car situation. Terri's car, a beloved 92 Honda Accord, has had it rough the last few years. She (the car) got stolen twice a few years ago and was treated rather roughly by her captors. We were lucky to get her back both times, but she hasn't been the same since.

Lately, she's been sittin' out back on blocks, weeds piling up around her, with a dead battery. Well, maybe not exactly. More like just sitting there quietly in her parking place, waiting for one of us to have enough time/energy/gumption to get a new battery. I don't know if it's just that she doesn't get driven very much or if it's something like an alternator going bad... anyway, the battery was totally dead so I headed down to the auto parts store to get a new battery. The guy who carried it out to my car told me not to set it down on concrete. I'm glad he told me -- who knew??

I was very proud of myself and very thankful for all the times I stood outside helping my dad fix cars, because I was totally able to take the old battery out and put the new one in, with no problem at all. Car started right up. I was so pleased! I know it's not a major fix by any means but anything I can do all by myself makes me happy.

I also discovered that if I put myself in the right frame of mind, I kind of like car stuff. I already knew that I like doing household fix-it stuff, but I've always hated any sort of car issue. It just seemed so big and complicated and troublesome. A giant puzzle. But then today I thought, well, it IS just a big puzzle! That's all it is. You take out the pieces one by one and set them down in order, and then you put them back in reverse order and you're done.

So now, if it IS the alternator or something like that, I'm wondering if I can fix it myself. I would feel like such a stud if I could do that.

I came back inside, all hot and sweaty and dirty, and said to Terri, "Car's fixed. Get me a beer, honey." (joking, of course, because we don't drink... diet tonic water will have to suffice).

As I get older I am so grateful for all the things I know how to do and don't have to pay someone else to do. It's just how I grew up, and obviously some of it sunk in. Thanks, Mom and Dad.


Anonymous said...

You're welcome!

Tammie said...

i wouldnt have a clue how to change a battery. if my car died and jay wasnt around, id totally be hoofin' it. i dont even pump gas. but im special (retarded) that way. id be totally comfortable living somewhere where i didnt need a car and could walk or take public transportation.

why couldnt you set it on the concrete? would it drain it or something? (i just asked jay and he said he didnt know, or else i wouldnt even be bothering you with my silly automotive questions.)

Daphne said...

I don't know why -- the guy just said that "concrete and batteries don't mix". I get the feeling that he wasn't entirely sure about that either. Whatever -- I put it on the dirt and it worked fine! In fact, I should go out there right now and make sure it still starts up...

(PS: no need to pump your own gas in Oregon -- they're all full-service stations! It's great.)

Stefanie said...

Good job on the battery! My dad's a car guy too and my sister and I were always helping in him the garage. He made sure we could change a tire, change the oil, change the spark plugs, and change the battery (never heard anything about batteries and concrete though I think the guy was putting you on since the battery is sealed it shouldn't matter). And even though I can't necessarily fix other issues, I am pretty good at diagnosing them. As you say, it gives one such a feeling of empowerment.