Thursday, January 15, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

Our car would not start. Pepper took the day off to deal with the problem. AAA came and jump started it in 30 seconds first thing this morning. She drove around all day and it started every time. We had an appointment with the dealership, but it worked so Pepper did not take it in. This evening, taking Dori to Band, it would not turn over for me. Grrr... 

It was -3 and windy while I used my cheap jumper cables, I really was not happy. It finally started and I quickly drove up to Sam's Club to buy a battery. When I drove up a young mechanic was just moving a car out of the garage. I told him I needed a battery installed. He apologized but said they had closed 10 minutes ago. I did my best 'helpless girl' routine and told him I could not turn the car off. He sighed and said to pull the car in. I went to the front desk and paid for the battery. He looked tired and just rang up the sale. He said the car would be ready in 30 minutes. I thought that sounded like a long time... I was tired and did not want to wander around Sam's Club that long. But I didn't want the battery to die again either. I called Pepper and told her it was being fixed. She gave me... a shopping list!! It made sense to get Dill's cupcakes for school and batteries for his gift while I was there anyway.... but I really just wanted to go home! So, off I go to get the cupcakes and the batteries and the fruit roll ups that the little girl in Dill's class could eat because she is allergic to peanuts. 

After 30 minutes I am back at the counter at the Battery/Tire Department. My sweet, tired knight in shining armor/ mechanic came to the counter and said, "How do you turn off the alarm?" I said, "What? The alarm hasn't worked in 3 years!" Someone opened the door to the garage and I could hear the alarm wailing in the background. "Try the door code," I said and rattled off the number. While he went back to the garage I called Pepper to get other ideas and find out if the key pad to turn off the alarm was easily located. 

The door code did not work.

The car kept up its insistent wailing. Pepper came in my truck 20 minutes later with the key pad. I pushed it. The car went silent, until I opened the door. The wailing re-started. Pepper tried, then the mechanic tried. The store was closing.... the mechanic laid his head down on the steering wheel, I think he may have even cried. I knew he was thinking he should not have tried to help me. He should have stayed tough and said the garage was closed. He shook his head at the shrieking.

"Ok," I said, "Let's disconnect the battery and leave the car until tomorrow. I will have it towed to the dealership." My mechanic disconnected the battery... blessed silence. My ears still hurt. We decided to push the car out into the parking lot so I could get it towed first thing in the morning. Did you know that you cannot put the car into neutral if the battery is disconnected? My mechanic and I did not. So he reconnected  the battery.... the wailing immediately started again. I jammed the car into neutral, he pushed it back out of the garage. I stepped on the brake and put it back into park. The wailing stopped!! 

We both looked at each other, waiting for the sound to start again. It didn't. I jumped out of the car and apologized to the guy for making his evening so miserable. I had $10 in my pocket, so I handed it to him. He said he could not take a tip. I said, "This is not a tip. It is overtime." He said no. I said, "Please, go get yourself a beer with it... you really deserve it!!" He gave me a tired smile and without a word pocketed the $10. 

I'm worried about starting the car in the morning. It is supposed to be even colder. I sure am hoping the engine turns over... and if that d*mn alarm goes off.....    :(

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