My Novels

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Living Dangerously & Not Knowing It

I like to think I'm one of those people who tries to avoid problems, whether it's being frugal, saving for the future, keeping fit, eating healthy, being careful when doing anything that has risks, and always having my car serviced on time.

A couple weeks ago, I had my car serviced -- oil changed, a new fuel filter, tires rotated, and new brake pads put on at the suggestion of the mechanic at Express Oil Change. I'm a regular customer, never had any problems, have found their work trustworthy.

However, yesterday I had a truly scary experience with my car. I had taken the dogs to the nearby wooded park for their walk, which was fine, then returned to the car. When I tried to start it, there was the sound of the battery working, but the car wouldn't start. I smelled gas, thought I'd flooded it (something most drivers are familiar with), but did think the gas smell was awfully strong. Since it was so hot, I let the dogs out and we went back into the wooded area. I had my cell, and called AAA, thank goodness. The representative had a bit of trouble figuring out exactly what to tell the tow truck for location, since there is no physical address for that little park. However, there's a Walgreen's within sight, so she took that address and noted that I was at the nearby park.

Did I mention it was HOT? For a short walk, even in the early afternoon, the wooded park is great -- there's usually a breeze stirring and since the trail is completely shaded, it's nice almost anytime of the day. At any rate, the longer I had to stay there, the more uncomfortable I became; I didn't have any bottled water with me, but did have some for the dogs which I gave them. They seemed to be coping better than I was, because I was sweating and beginning to worry the tow truck might not locate us. Not another person was anywhere near, no one drove up to walk, so I was totally alone.

Of course, my sister/bro-in-law who live fairly close are in Florida this week on vacation, which meant I was pretty much stranded.

After about thirty-five minutes, I was about ready to walk over to Walgreen's and buy some bottled water...but the tow truck arrived. Once the guys checked my car, they asked if I'd run over something -- or into a ditch. I said no, but I'd had the car serviced/worked on just a couple weeks ago. One of the guys laid down and looked underneath the car, and discovered the problem: the fuel line had fallen off! Every time I had hit the gas peddle, gas was spurting out from under the car! They inspected it, said that it looked like the techs had not tightened the clamp enough on the gas line after replacing the fuel filter. And further, both were looking alarmed, upset and told me I was lucky the line hadn't fallen off while driving down the street -- because had that happened, a spark could have caused an explosion/fire! In other words, I could have been killed!

They said we should take the car back to Express Oil Change, and have them repair it -- free, of course. So that is what we did -- and by the time we got there (about 3 miles) I was very angry as well as shaken. I didn't care how I looked, hair plastered to my head with sweat, and told the techs exactly what had happened, the tow truck driver confirming it. Those techs were instantly aware of how dangerous it had been, looked almost freaked out! Said they'd get right on it, should be fixed shortly.

I took the dogs into the cramped waiting area, which was at least air conditioned with a water fountain, and announced to everyone waiting for their car to be worked on what had happened. I mean, here I had the dogs with me, and looked like a maniac, sweat-soaked hair, red-faced. I guess they would have thought I was nuts, looking like I did AND having two dogs with me there! However funny it all looked, no one was laughing when they found out what had occurred. Two of the women were quite alarmed.

We sat there about another hour, and finally the car was ready. The manager asked, "How can we make this up to you?"

I was considering asking them to fill my car up, since I didn't know how much gas had leaked out. But when I started the car, it looked like I'd only lost about 1/4 tank, and didn't really need any. The manager ended up giving me a bunch of "discount" coupons for oil change, tire rotations, etc. Frankly, I doubt I'll go back to that particular place, but there is another Express Oil Change in town too.

I was sure glad to pull into my driveway. And honestly, I was just too upset to make the long trip to my sister's house 70 miles away today. I called her, explained what happened...and she understood. I would have been imagining every little odd sound to be something wrong with the car, had I undertaken that trip. Also, this kind of heat (95+ every day) makes it dangerous to break down and have to wait on the roadside for assistance.

I will give a shout out to AAA -- the tow cost me NOTHING. It's well worth the yearly fee, and anyone who drives (especially women) should have AAA; it's truly a good roadside service.

Today the Internet has been down since noon. I called my service provider, and they said they were working on it. Who knows when it'll be back up? I will post this when possible.

In the meantime, today I have felt drained from that length of time in the heat yesterday. I have stayed indoors, managed to do some housework (mopped/waxed floors) and may do some batch cooking shortly.

And that's it for now.

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