Monday, January 16, 2012

Car Troubles and Independence being a Blessing in Disguise

This morning I had car trouble, again.  I brought it on myself though.  When driving home Saturday with a low tank of gas I chose to not get gas because the gas station was busy and I really don't have the patience to wait and fight for a gas pump.  It's not my style.  I return when it's less crowded.  Not always a good idea as I learned today.

So I went about my business and I stayed in Sunday watching ThunderCats and sewing a piece for Fluttershy.  This morning I got ready for work and hopped in my car and turned it on.  It turned on fine but made that awful crabby cold engine noise.  I turned down my block and the car started slowing down regardless of me pushing the gas, the steering tightened, and all the interior lights went on.  So as the car was slowing down I pulled in front of a neighbors house and called my job to tell them I was going to be late due to whatever happened to the car.  My first thought was "oh my god I ran out of gas, but I know it wasn't that low."  So my amazing boss drove the 20 minutes out to where I live with $20.00 of gas.  In meantime while I waited, I attempted to start the car to no avail.  So I tried cleaning the battery terminals thinking maybe it was a poor connection.  That didn't work.

So I called a mechanic I have recently used for maintenance.  I explained to him what was happening in the car and how I was thinking is might not be low gas because the starter was not kicking over.  I honestly thought I was going to have to get a tow.  He gave me a number of the tow company they use and explained that because of the fillers in gasoline it probably froze since the tank was low.  Since researching this a little more I learned that when he said water in the tank he was referring to condensation that is created when the tank is low.  I took down the tow trucks number just in case.

When my boss arrived (while I was on the phone with the mechanic) he said something about having his wife's car and wishing he had rubber gloves.  This way he wouldn't smell of gasoline on his hands all day at work.  Me being who I am and the history I have had with this vehicle went "OH!  I have rubber gloves in the trunk!"  The car gurgled a bit but started just fine once it had some nice warm gasoline to melt the icy lines and it has not had anymore issues of this nature today.

At work, one of the men from engineering suggested I pick up gas line antifreeze.  I was unaware a product like this existed and since leaving work I picked up a four pack.  So throughout the rest of this month and February I will be popping one of these in the gas tank each time I fill up.  I am not having this happen again.

I bring this up in a blog because after being so crabby all weekend and then having a rough start this morning and having it turned around by coworkers that helped me in my time of need makes me very grateful and humbled.  From my boss leaving work to help me, to the guy in engineering that is always covering me putting the tail end of an order together when I am late, to the guys in engineering that let us borrow the tank, for working at a place that has these kinds of services available, and for my two amazing friends Justin and Teresa that offered to come and get me.  Neither of them work with me.  I didn't reach out to either of them.  They reached out to me and that means a lot to me.  I get very wacky when my car breaks down because I don't like feeling stranded and being a single independent female makes it worse.  I always think in the back of my head if something happened to me who would know?  I don't go home to anyone.  It's similar with car repairs and such since I can't carpool to drop the car off and have work done while I work.  So I tend to expect to always be stuck figuring things out on my own.  I don't expect people to reach out to me or even be remotely available at eight in the morning.  It meant a lot.

I had written a blog that I did not post last week about experience and independence.  I saved it but canned the idea of posting it because it was too "I know a lot so let me toot my own horn" for me, but when it comes to car issues I am very grateful for the background I have.  I am very independent not because I chose to be but because I have to be and I have had to be that way from a young age.  Regardless of how harrowing the reasons for that is it's still had a positive impact on me. 

I am handy with tools.  I can build furniture, including Ikea.  I can take apart computers and electronics and put them back together.  I can hook up an old school stereo and TV equipment.  I can even hook up DJ equipment.  I dated a DJ for a few years and I learned a few things going on gigs as I am not the girl that sits on my butt watching everyone else work.  I can jump start a car.  I understand how to change a tire but I can't actually do it because I can't lift the tire.  I know how to add antifreeze to the car without burning myself (I topped of the antifreeze today actually).  I can change a car battery, learned that at Auto Zone which is a cute story.  My car battery died, I had it jumped and went to Auto Zone to get buy a new one and sheepishly asked if they could install it or tell me how to.  The cashier, a female, asked an older man who took both of us outside and taught us both how to change a battery because he felt it is something us girls should know how to do and he is right.  Its ridiculously easy to do as well.  A friend of mine recently paid to have hers replaced and installed at a dealership.  My jaw dropped.  Why pay someone to do something you could do yourself that is so simple?  She didn't know how nor does her husband.  AUGH!

Since having the car I have now, I have learned all sorts of tricks with the fuses and headlights.  Who knew I would be playing with fuse boxes?  In my car I keep a battery jump, a air pressure pump (though I need a better one), basic tools, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and in the winter a shovel and heavy gloves among other snow things.  During a snow storm two years ago I almost got stuck in a parking lot when someone who kept a shovel in the car came over and helped dig me out.  Since then when ever it snows, I shovel my way out of the house and put the shovel in the car and then I have it if I get stuck.  I highly suggest everyone to do this.  It's been so helpful.

Anyway, had I not had the upbringing I did I highly doubt I would do these things.  It's pretty gratifying not having to rely on AAA (which I really need to join ASAP).  The point is, as I keep saying, everything happens for a reason and in a way this is me counting my blessings.  Who would have thought years later I would think of my struggling as a blessing in disguise?