Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm too stubborn to set it afire or drop it into the lake.

Max is in the shop again; that would be the nickname for my wife's 1995 Maxima GLE. We have other nicknames for the car right now but as this is a family blog, we won't display them here. Let's just say that a few of them would make a teamster blush.

On Saturday, we went and picked Max up from our mechanic following the repair of the latest rendition of "I fall to pieces", where the idler pulley/belt tensioner decided to fall off on my wife's way home from work on Thursday night. It started fine and we were rushing back home to Ajax as we were going out with Mr. and Mrs. Skibum.

Partway back home, Pam calls me as lights on the dash went off. I had her follow me off to a side street and I immediately checked for the just installed pulley and new belt; both were still shiny and new looking and running correctly. I did not want to risk the delay going back to the shop with it and just wanted to rush home, get ready for the evening (we were going to dinner at Il Fornello and then seeing Dirty Dancing at The Royal Alexandra Theatre), and deal with it the following day.

So, we started back and I zipped along the highway with Pam following me. I admittedly drive faster than she does most times so I was almost two exits ahead, practically home, when she texted me that she was dead. Now, those that know me know I love concise information that gets to the point; they also know that I prefect that information to be relevant and useful. My dear wife has a penchant for giving me neither until I am pulling out what little hair I have on my head. So, imagine how I was greeting the text on my phone of "I'm dead." Really? Interesting. Still managing to text in the after life I see.

So, after more texting and another phone call, I finally figured out exactly where the car died and went back to Whites Road to then head east again to pick her up. Pam asked me if I was going to do anything with it and I asked her, "Like what exactly?" We were now running late to get home, get changed and be ready to go so I just wanted to get back and get it done. As expected, we had to make them wait on us for a few minutes while I put clothes on and DW put on her face, as she says (she is quite lovely without the layering, I assure you).

After a nice dinner, and a decent show, we were dropped back home. We changed and headed back out to the highway where I found a tow truck driver's card stuck on the driver's door. Uhm, sure, thanks for the toothpick bud but we are covered both by my limited knowledge of cars (thanks Dad) and by our CAA Plus membership (thanks Dad). We own an inverter and a decent battery charger with car start function so we connected an extension cord into the truck where the inverter was and ran it forward to the car and charged the battery for 40 minutes while we listened to music and caught a short nap. The nap was interrupted by another tow truck dude knocking on the passenger glass, scaring the crap out of us (even though I expected a tow truck person or a cop to have stopped). Nice enough guy, even though I told him no thanks, and he confirmed we should only need an half hour to an hour to charge to give us enough juice to get home off of Salem; he also suspected, like I did, that the alternator had finally given up the ghost. We got the car home around 1:30AM and I put the battery to charge overnight.

The next day was brutal. We woke up later than planned because we were both tired and our colds were started to affect us (more mine than hers). We were late getting out to the Auto Show as we planned to be at the doors when they opened and ended up there after noon. The timing also nixed our plans to head out to the west end to see my Dad and cousin. Before we left, I started the car without issue with the charged battery and took the positive cable off the battery pole; the car died immediately. SIGH. We need a new alternator as this one has (insert expletive here) died on us. I just put the charger back on and we headed out. I called our mechanic on the way home and told him what happened. He felt bad and wished we had turned around to bring the car back the day before. I explained we had plans (and I was tired of being late for these folks) so we would just deal with it on Monday. He said it was okay to drop the car (AGAIN) on the back ramp and push the keys through the door as before. So, like we did Friday night, we drove off to the garage in Scarborough with the hopes of favourable traffic and lights in order to make it all the way. As it was twlight, I did not have to turn my headlights on at all and made it all the way in with power to spare. Only once did I drain it faster as this (insert different expletive here) idiot nearly ran into me as he swerved to miss this (one more expletive please) taxi driver who cut into his lane coming out of the gas station at McCowan and Ellesmere.

This morning we popped in to give him the power steering belt we had also bought as we did not want to take anymore chances with anything but he assured us that the one currently on was like new and did not need replacing. Pam dropped me downtown as I am taking a TCP/IP course this week (yes, I know, but I still don't get it all). Hopefully, as our mechanic says, the car will be ready this afternoon in time for me to be able to leave downtown, pick it up and meet Pam at home with enough time to turn around and head back downtown for our George Clinton concert at 8PM. If not, we will go and get it in the morning on the way to work and class.

The car is not a bad car despite all of this unscheduled drama. It's just an older car with high mileage (over 300kms) that wasn't maintained meticulously by any of its previous owners. So, things are starting to creak under the strain and we happen to own it during those times. I still love Max and will keep it as my own (soon to be modified) ride when Pam gets the minivan of her dreams. Currently that is the 2008 Kia Sedona LX Premium but realistically will probably be a 1998-2002 Ford Windstar/Grand Caravan or Voyager/Montana or Venture or Silhouette.

I will let Pam blog about how this further affects our timeline. Sigh. Life happens, eh?



thrice said...

Sorry about all that. It makes me appreciate mass transit.

Pam said...

It's the perils of living in the east end suburbs and working in the west end of the city. :) If I had the option, I'd probably take transit, at least part of the time but it will take me 90-120 minutes each way. If I worked in the downtown core I'd definitely take it. Maybe I'd actually have time to read a book. :)