Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Friday: The Machines Revolt


Well, I overslept on Friday and got to the garage around nine, rather than around eight as I'd planned. The mechanic said that finding the AC problem and fixing it would probably take about an hour. I called Liz, back at the house, and we decided that for an hour, it wasn't worth renting a car. I headed off to a nearby chi-chi mall to browse.

An hour later, the mechanic called to say they hadn't found the problem yet. I called Liz. We decided to give it another hour.

Long, hot, sweaty story short: at 12:30, the mechanic finally found the problem, a failure of an obscure electrical part buried so deep in the engine that he'd had to trail bread crumbs behind him as he tracked it down. It would take another few hours to fix; I'd better rent a car. So one of the garage guys dropped me at the airport. I rented a car, drove home, and ate lunch with my sympathetic family, who'd been wondering if they'd ever see me again. (I should have just had the mechanic drop me back home as soon as I left the car, although it would have made getting the rental trickier.) Then we piled into the shiny rental, with its bodacious AC, and drove to the mall so Gary and I could buy a new fridge to replace our old one, whose freezer -- along with the car AC -- had gone on permanent strike.

Somewhere in there, the mechanic called to tell me that, checking out an annoying squeaking sound I'd told them about, they'd also found some brake problems. This would cost me another $400 on top of the $400 the obscure electrical problem was already costing. Was I okay with that? Should they go ahead and fix the brakes?

"Sure," I told him. "Brakes are good. I like brakes." What the heck did he think I was going to say? "No, sorry, that's too much money, I'll take my chances on broken brakes"?

We had the car back by the end of the day, which meant I only had to pay for one day of the rental. But between the car, the fridge, and the rental, we spent about $2,000.

Ouch.

Also, we'd been expecting the Coast Guard chaplain to call us on Friday to let us know whether Saturday was a go or not. He didn't call. We were puzzled.

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