Saturday, September 19, 2009


My car has regained lawn ornament status.

It died yesterday afternoon, thank God at the bank o' mailboxes up by the front of the trailer park. It was, to say the least, a hell of a surprise. I hadn't been having any trouble with the car, that day or at all last week or in recent memory. (Hey, it's 14-years-old. Trouble is to be expected.) So to get in and turn the key and have absolutely nothing happen was a bit of a surprise, to put it mildly.

The landlord helped me get the car home. We tried jumping it, and I was able to get back enough juice to roll up the windows. So it's probably just a dead battery. I jump-started my cousin Becky's car a couple of times in the recent past.

But when I have a problem like that I think alternator as well, as far as possibilities go. So while I was sitting there waiting for the landlord to come up from the back of the park to give the car a shove, I opened up the glove compartment to dig for the warranty for the repair work to the transmission and new alternator that was done about a year and a half ago. I didn't think it was there, but it gave me something to do.

It wasn't, but a lot of other crap was. Buddy Bucks, the current insurance card as well as a couple of old ones...the usual detritus.

I also pulled out a sheet of paper from a little Lisa Frank notebook that Bobbie had a couple or three years ago. I wasn't sure what it was, so I unfolded it. It was an address, a set of directions. With Rob's handwriting on it.

You'd think, more than a year after the divorce was final, that all his stuff would have been successfully sifted out of my stuff. And 99% of it has been. But there are odd things here and there. I recently made Linda a dress using a pillowcase he left behind. A black work sock or two lurks here and there. A book. I refuse to give back the photograph of the battle group he was once attached to; I rather like it.

That paper's the only thing I can think of with his handwriting on it. There's a time finding it would have hit me like a punch to the gut.

Not anymore. It's just a strange little thing to find, a reminder of a bygone era. One I'm rather glad to be past, to be honest.


the pistolero said...

I've found those things from the bygone times too. Now and then I hear them on the radio. Funny how they sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Word verification: sumskin. Yeah, for real... ;-)

TBeck said...

The battery is the most likely culprit. Most auto parts stores will test it for free to determine if it still has a charge. The next suspect in the lineup would be the starter. It's usually fairly easy to remove and parts yards will sell them for 50% of MSRP.

SpeakerTweaker said...

I'm with TBeck on the battery. Any idea when the last one was?

If you can get it started quickly, and the battery light (which is actually an alternator light, not a battery light at all) stays on, it's the alternator. If it takes your fourteen friggin forevers to jump it off, but the alternator light goes out right after you start it, the battery is almost always the culprit.

Drop me a line if you could use a hand. I'd be happy to help!


Mark said...

When you said you jumped your cousins cars in the past that popped a bulb above my head.

What kind of car does she have? Does she have a non factory stereo?

I had to replace an alternator after jump starting a friends car who had a fancy thumpty thump radio with an amp. When I hooked up my battery to his his badly grounded amp fried the voltage regulator on my Cutlass, requiring me to replace the alternator.

and how old is the battery? I replace mine every 4 years, as they usually by that time are only putting out 70-85% of their rated amps.

Sabra said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I do figure it's the battery--it's just a matter of waiting til the heavens and my bills align and I can afford to buy another one (in about a week).

Mark, Becky's stereo is factory. Her vehicle is an underpowered little Chrysler minivan.

My battery and alternator are both about a year and a half old. The car has actually sat for at least six of those months, needing one thing or another done to it.

Mark said...

Hmmmm, let me see what I can work up. I might be up your way next weekend, if so I might have a decent battery for you. I'll send you an e-mail