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August 03, 2006

I managed.

I cannot believe this is happening.

So I walked out of the library with my stack of books, got in the car, and... it didn't start. The battery and oil (oil? the oil was changed last week) lights were on. Okay. I conclude that the battery is dead. I fish around in my purse for my AAA card, only to discover that it expired on June 15. Oops. I'm quite sure they didn't send me any renewal bills or anything, but now that I think about it they might have me still listed under my ex's account so the information would have gone to him. Oh well. I decide to call them anyway and ask if they'll renew my membership on the spot and come help. But... the number doesn't work. You know, 800-AAA-HELP? Verizon tells me that no such thing exists. Huh. Now what?

I go into the library foyer, pondering my options. I notice that there are a few capable-looking people around, so I call and leave a message for a friend, telling him that my car's battery is dead and please call me. Bingo. Someone looks up and asks if I want her to jump it. She is incredibly patient with my ineptness with the whole process. It takes a bit, but we get it going. She and her friend give me instructions: let it run for a while before you go anywhere. Make sure you're somewhere with cables before you turn it off again. I need gas anyway, so I go to the full serve place around the corner and warn the guy. "Before I turn it off, I want to make sure you'll be able to get it back on if the battery's dead again." He assured me they would, but it ended up having absolutely no trouble starting up again. Had it just been a fluke? I'm not sure.

So. I managed. I'm proud of myself. Sure, I didn't have the jumper cables (must remedy that) or the knowledge, but I didn't panic. I made a mental list of boys to call to come save me possibilities to pursue. I admitted to the kind stranger that I didn't know what I was doing, and I learned from her instructions. (Yay for fellow library patrons.) I coherently explained what was going on to the gas station guy. And yes, I will update my AAA membership immediately.

Okay, now the real test: off to see if it will start again...

Posted by Kat at August 3, 2006 06:23 PM

Good for you. Once a car has been jump started, driving around for 30 minutes is enough to recharge the battery.

Posted by: Kat at August 3, 2006 07:28 PM


Posted by: peninah at August 3, 2006 08:01 PM

Oh, that sooo bites. But now you've done it! You know how!

And it's always a good idea to admit ignorance where one has it. This took me until I was 40 to learn, I think. You're ahead!

Posted by: Liz (the crazed weasel) at August 3, 2006 08:43 PM

I had this happen a month or so ago - turned out my 1997 had its original battery. Whoops. I have a very compact set of Eddie Bauer jumper cabes that have excellent instructions with them and take up no room at all, if you're looking for recommendations.

Posted by: Chris at August 3, 2006 08:50 PM

Ack, you shoulda called me!

Your oil light is oil pressure-- if the car's electrical system is on, but the engine isn't running, the lights will come on. That used to happen to me all the time, it turns out the alternator brushes were worn down and the battery didn't charge / didn't stay charged long enough.

Posted by: ali at August 3, 2006 09:53 PM

Yeah go you ! DO keep that boys to call list in your purse though, right along side your knitting ;) And get one of those roadside assistance kits with cables and flares and a flashlight and first aid kit and stuff. Be prepared. I don't have one of those. But i keep mixed nuts in the car as an emergency protein stash. . .

Posted by: aisling at August 4, 2006 12:41 AM

Oh, Kat. Glad things turned out well. Has it started again?

Posted by: Erica at August 4, 2006 01:10 AM

One time, I needed a jump, and I asked a boy to help me, and he didn't know how to do it, but I did. Empowering!

And yes, you should have cables.

Posted by: AmyK at August 4, 2006 01:18 AM

Well done you on not panicking and getting it sorted out.

Posted by: mrspao at August 4, 2006 03:24 AM

Good resourcefulness, Kate!

There should be a punch-out label on the battery that indicates when it was installed. They only last four or five years, so you might want to get a new one before winter comes, which can't be too soon for me.

As a matter of fact, we can look at it next weekend and I'll bring my handy-dandy battery terminal cleaner too.


Posted by: Dad at August 4, 2006 10:24 AM

That happens to me a lot. Sometimes it's the connector. You should let your mechanic look at it just in case.

Posted by: Ivy at August 4, 2006 11:21 AM

It sounds like your car is exacting revenge for something. I would definitely recommend carrying jumper cables.

Posted by: Defulct at August 4, 2006 01:37 PM
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