Monday, September 08, 2008

Beauty and the Buick!

Today was Mark’s first day back at work, and my first day back to work (funny how that all “works” out!).

My day started out with errands: bank, post office, and then to the gym. But I never made it to my Pilates class. Instead, the red light surfaced on the display panel of my Buick, followed by the smell of burning rubber, and then another red light warned me that the engine was heating up.

Oh, did I mention the power steering went out while I was trying to veer off the freeway into the shopping mall? That was way too much fun! Do you have any idea how hard it is to crank that wheel when the power steering goes out? I used both hands and still had a hard time. And then I prayed that the brakes didn’t go out at the same time. I was screaming out the window, “Help,” just in case I hit someone by accident!

Crank…crank…crank. Pant…pant…pant. BREATHE…PRAY!

The Buick glided right into a corner parking spot and then she died under the shade of the pine tree.

Thankfully, we have AAA (doesn’t everybody?). But first I had to call Mark on his cell phone (at work) to find out my cell phone number (I never can remember my own number), so I could give it to the man at AAA who was waiting to hear back from me.

The man sounded like my father, “Are you in a safe location?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah…lots of shopping here!” I responded.

“Can you give me your precise location?” he asked.

I told him I was at “pole #45” near the Bon-Ton department store, and asked him if I needed to stay with the car because the shopping mall was calling me!

He chuckled and said, “I have someone dispatched already, and they’ll be there in 20 minutes!”

“Oh no, that’s not enough time to shop.” The poor man already hung up.

I stayed with the Buick until help arrived. The young mechanic looked under the hood, closed it just as quickly, gave it a nice pat (like it was a dear family member) and announced, “It’s the belt!”

My first thought was “which one?” He didn’t know that I was a mechanic’s daughter. My guess was it was the serpentine belt, but I pretended like I didn’t know a thing (mechanics like it better that way). They like to do their own diagnosing of car stuff.

Since Mark is only working half days this week, he was on his merry way to pick me up. I told him I could manage to call him every day about the same time so he could leave work early!

Tonight our Buick is spending the night away from home; hopefully, in the company of other cars in need of repair. We miss “her,” but she’ll be back good as new…we hope!

And we PRAY she doesn’t cost as much as Mark’s new hip, but then again she’s not nearly ready to burnout (I have plans for her next month and she needs her beauty rest!).


Greg C said...

That belt shouldn't be too much but here is the kicker. You see belts usually just don't smoke. They usually just slip a little and start to squeal and then they get replaced. If a belt starts to smoke it usually means that something it is trying to turn isn't turning. So what could have siezed up you might ask. I would bet the alternator, water pump or the power steering unit. The people I work with would replace the belt and then turn it on and watch it smoke and then decide there is something else wrong. Heck what am I telling you all this for, you are a mechanics daughter. You probibly already knew all that. Best of luck to you.

Connie Pombo said...

Thanks, Greg! Yep, my first thought was the alternator, too, especially when I smelled the smoke. But since it was Mark's first day back to work, I said, "No worries, just the 'belt.'"

Today, we'll get the verdict. Yikes!

Knowing a little too much about cars can be dangerous (especially when my hubby knows absolutely nothing about them). When I was growing up--while my friends were babysitting--I was cleaning head gaskets and running parts for my dad.

I still talk "shop" with my dad; I love that part!

When I go home (California), I can spend hours and hours with dad in the garage; I love organzing his tool BOXES. But there's not much organizing to do; he's obsessive about keeping everything in its place. I was his first mechanic's helper, handing him tools underneath the hood of the car.

This sounds like a book to me..."The Mechanic's Daughter." Umm...I'll have to think about that.

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Oh my goodness, what a frightful thing. I dread the thought of losing control of the car. I spun out once driving home from work (before Jared was born). It was on a narrow icy road in Philly. Thank God there was nobody coming the opposite way at the time. Thank God you are okay too. And too funny about the mechanic's daughter stuff - I had no idea you were a car buff! Love it! I gotta tell Jim about this - he's a car buff too!

Connie Pombo said...

I picked up my ol'girl tonight. Yep, it was the serpentine belt; my daddy would be so proud! It was time for her inspection anyway, so we killed two "belts" with one stone!

I made it to the gym late tonight...never again (I usually go in the morning), and the crowds were horrible. They had aerobics in the pool and every machine was taken. Oh, and then there was the "McCain/Palin" traffic at Franklin & Marshall.

Phew! I'm glad to be home.