Sunday afternoon I had a heart-wrenching call. My mother, Nana, had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance after feeling badly Sunday morning. The good news is that she is now stable and will probably be moved out of intensive care soon. There’s still not much to know other than her blood pressure had plummeted and her kidneys looked like they were failing, and in the meantime she’s been diagnosed with pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. She was pretty critical when she arrived and bravo to modern medicine and the Doctors and Nurses that worked on her!
Teresa had her King Arthur class party on Saturday and I cooked beer-brined chicken quarters and my flat bread. There were no leftovers from the party, surprisingly. I believe that’s the first time we’ve had a cookout/party and not had a ton of food left over.
Sunday we also got a call that my car, that we had loaned David, had died and was on the side of the road. I had fallen asleep down in the basement in a chair and had just made it upstairs. The phone rang, Teresa answered it, poker her head into the bedroom and said, "Are there any tricks about the car that David should know about?"
I groaned a groan that was a little bit louder than I intended.. "Coolant leak, probably oil leak, a/c doesn’t work…" I began. "That’s all I know why?"
I groaned again, rolled over and went back to sleep. Sunday we talked about it but I just really wasn’t in a mood to go mess with the car. Monday morning we got a call from the Hall County police so that decided it for us… we had to take care of it. We were planning on it, but probably would have waited a little longer.
David and one of his roommates had taken a look at it and saw that the alternator belt was missing. It had little threads flying off it during my drive to Chicago a year or so ago, but the past couple times I had checked it it didn’t seem like it was getting worse. Due to my very low use of the vehicle I believe that was one of the repairs I had foregone earlier this year.
When we got there we jumped the car and I disconnected the cables to see how long it would run without battery. It didn’t run long. I wasn’t surprised by this, but I was trying to gauge exactly how long to charge and how far I could drive it. We reconnected it, I checked that it was charging by cranking it again and turning it off and then we started trying to figure out how to get it somewhere.
Everywhere was too far… Teresa was negotiating with the insurance operator trying to find a close enough tow-truck to get it back over towards our house but that price was astronomical. I wasn’t surprised at this, either. I didn’t want to take it to a close-by repair shop because that would mean driving all the way back over there… but maybe David could pick it up.
I looked on my cellphone GPS and looked for a repair shop close enough to drive it or that towing wouldn’t cost a fortune. Teresa’s tow-call took probably 15 minutes or so, so I was reasonably confident I could get the car somewhere within a few miles. I chose the second-closest one (the first’s answering machine sounded like a private line), we drove the car to a Publix parking lot and we went to look at the shop to see if it had a night drop-box.
As luck would have it there was someone there cleaning the shop! I stuck my nose in and explained I had a belt off and asked about how long to fix. He replied, "Have it here in an hour and I’ll fix it." Yumpin yiminee! Deal! I cannot put enough !’s by these sentences. It made me very happy.
We ran back to the car, and I hightailed it down the road to his shop. I pulled in and he discovered that the tensioner was a bit stuck, but he worked it back and forth a couple times, then used two wrenches to move it up out of the way to get the belt on, and it seemed to break free a bit. It tensioned the belt on its own. We cranked it up and there was no squealing!
"Great, how much do I owe you!" I asked.
"How about $40," he said. My jaw hit the floor. It was going to cost 4 times that to tow it.
"Make it $50," I said, paid up and we drove it back to David. Amazing, on Memorial Day that I even found a shop open and to get it turned around that fast for that cheap. I’m stunned by the whole thing. Life variance, my poker friends would call it. Every once in a while you do hit your perfect card right when you need it. My GPS service on my phone absolutely paid for itself there. Paid for itself for this month, and the last 4 where I forgot I had it turned on and haven’t been using it.
The place was called Autoworks and anyone who lives in and around the Flowery Branch, Georgia area should absolutely use this guy as their mechanic. He’s at 6671 Spout Springs, Road. I only wish I lived closer so I could use him for more of our needs. I hope this brings in a customer or two.