Thursday, August 22, 2013

Start me up!

Star date: second day of school. I am picking the kids up after school this week and next week they are trying the bus. We'll see which works better for us since the nearest bus stop is a 10 to 15 minute walk from our house. Totally doable in the afternoon, practically impossible in the morning. 

Anyway, the school has a great system for releasing kids at the end of the day. Classes end at 2:35, then the bus riders are loaded and the buses leave, then those kids whose parents are picking them up are allowed to drive through the bus lane and pick up the the kids. I cannot stress enough how organized and well executed this process is. 

Today I got to the line at 2 pm. That put me about 8 cars back from the front of the line. It gives me a chance to listen to music and read or just chill out before I pick up the kids and the homework chaos begins. The temperature wasn't all that high today, but the sun bearing down on my black car with black interior started to make me feel like a roasting chicken within minutes. 

Since we moved here last March, I have picked up the kids from school every day. I don't like the thought of letting my car just sit there and run, especially for 30 minutes or more, but there was no breeze today which is really unusual here. I rolled down the windows when I parked and stood it until there was sweat rolling off me, at which point I turned on my car again for a couple of minutes to cool off a little. I kept the radio playing, like I normally do, and after I started sweating profusely for the second time, I turned the ignition switch on enough so that air was blowing out of the vents, even though the engine wasn't running. I figured warm air was better than no air. Or global warming the air around me. 

Well, the non conditioned air was helping about as much as hot soup, and since it was almost time for the car line to start moving, I decided to just go ahead and start my engine. 

My car, however, had other plans. All I got was, click, click.

I'm not automotive genius, but I knew that meant trouble. 

Luckily, my tendency for chronic over packing combined with frequently dying car batteries whist in Germany resulted in my having a pair of jumper cables in my trunk. I got out and asked the gentleman behind me in line if he'd give me a jump. He said yes, and pulled forward. We hooked up our batteries, I cranked my engine....and......nothing. Nada. Zip. 

Well, that's not good! 

Within a couple minutes, the car line started moving, so the gentleman helping me concentrated on waving cars around us. We agreed that maybe we'd just leave the cars hooked to each other for a few minutes and see if that helped. 

It didn't. 

Last year,  there was a lady parked almost exactly where I was parked today whose battery died too. No one offered to help her..they all just drove right by. I stopped and offered to jump her, but she said she had already called someone and they were almost there. On a normal day, there are probably 50 cars in that line and it's sad that none of them stopped. I was running later than normal that day, so I was towards the end of the line. After I picked up the kids, I circled back around and was going to wait with her, but she was already gone. 

So today, I can't say that I was surprised that no one in the line even looked at us twice. But I was surprised that there were two police cars with policemen nearby that were in my sightline and didn't even bother to see if I needed help, especially after the guy helping me decided he'd had enough, unhooked the cables from his car, and just drove off without saying a word. 

Thanks, man. 

By this time, I had called Robert and said as nicely as I could that he needed to come and help me. His comment: Well, what do you want me to do? My comment: I want you to come here and help me. 


Even if he couldn't fix it, he could at least take me somewhere to someone that could help. Plus, the kids had no idea what was going on. And, by this time, all the cars had passed me so I knew they would be the last kids left and they would be starting to freak out a little.   

So, I locked up the car and walked to pick them up. We walked back and I swear it felt like it was 100 degrees outside and even worse in the car. Luckily, Robert got there about 5 minutes after we got back to the car and had called a tow truck to meet us there. 

Just for kicks, he and I hooked up the jumper cables to his car (right as the tow truck driver got there - natch) and BOOM! My car started. Right away. Which makes me wonder why it didn't start when the other guy tried to jump me. 

We drove the car to Advance Auto and they tested the battery, alternator, and starter, which all checked out okay. So the only thing we could figure is that I drained the battery while waiting for the kids. The battery is still under warranty, so tomorrow I'll call the dealership and see if they will replace the battery. I left the radio on five days a week while I picked up the kids last school year with no I'm thinking that while the battery seems okay now, it's probably on the great downhill slide to battery heaven. 

Guess we'll be getting up early enough to make it to the bus stop just in case the car won't start in the morning. I cannot even put into words how much that thrills me.

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