Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

The following is a shared recap of the holiday weekend, brought to you by Ovaltine.

Wow, what a weekend. Jeff came in from Italy and he's got a story of his own. Let's just say 2 delayed planes, 1 missed flight (from Rome to the US, no less) and lost luggage. It was not a great trip. But check out his blog for that story.

Our (Kent and Lori) calamities began on Saturday when I went to pick up my grandmother. On the way home, a ding went off in the car and some warning lights went on. For 1992, BMW sure had their sh*t together. This car practically talks to you. It has a screen that spells out what's wrong. Now my grandmother is 86 and I didn't want to worry her, but the car was overheating, the power steering went out, and something was up with the brakes. I did turn the heat on full blast to cool down the engine, and I knew it was mostly a straight shot back to the parents' house, so I thought if I could just make it for these last few miles, I'll be okay. The last mile is all up hill and around a few turns, but I figured by then I could call home if anything happened.

Well, I made it up the hills alright, although the temperature needle was in the red. I parked the car in the driveway and delivered the precious cargo. Then I told Kent the scenario. Not the best present I could give him, I'll tell you that. We looked at the engine, and the serpentine belt had broken and the car is leaking antifreeze. Kent made a diagnosis that the water pump is broken. Ideas storm through our heads about what to do next, but it's about 4:30 in the afternoon, and we have family coming over for an early Christmas party. After we call around and find out that Autozone is open on Sunday, we decide to enjoy the evening and tackle the issue later.

Yeah, what a drag. When Lori returned from picking up her grandmother, and gave me the bad news about the car, I started freaking out in my head...with many different thoughts. The realization that the car "broke down" on a Saturday, and that very few shops would be open Christmas Eve, was almost devastating. Likewise, I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend with my in-laws. I also considered the challenges of acurately diagnosing the problem, finding the proper parts, removing the old-broken-down parts, and lastly fixing the car with new parts. Oh yeah, I was scheduled to work Christmas morning. I had volunteered to work Christmas day since I do not have my own children, and many of my colleagues do have kids of their own.

I examined the car, recalled a few stories horror stories from friends and family, deduced the situation and exclaimed, without hesitation...."I think that it neeeds a new water pump".

I managed to make a few phone calls and surprisingly enough, the local Autozone carried the part I needed. I put the item on hold for pickup on Sunday. Later that night, I called Autozone back to confirm that they had the part for my 1992 525i BMW. Slightly obsessive, I re-affirmed that that they were open on Sunday, and their exact hours. Lori says that I asked the store clerk the same question 9 times.

On sunday, Kent and my Dad went to Autozone, which I have to give a shameless plug to. Those guys are awesome. We've had trouble in the past and they freely give friendly advice and service. (They once changed a spark plug for my friends car when she blew it between Athens and Columbus.) So Kent gets the parts and he and Jeff begin to tear into the engine. I took one for the team and went to church with Mom. Kent can list the details of the car repair if he wants, but I will say that he did a great job. After Jeff figured out how the serpentine belt loops around everything (yeah for engineers!) the biggest hurdle was cleared. With the engine back together, we took it for a ride across the street in the new neighborhood. The needle quickly found the red so we drove back home. We checked the radiator and there was fluid in there which meant it wasn't in the engine. Kent opened the radiator cap and the car hiccupped and the fluid went into the engine. He poured more in and let drove it again. This time, the temperature needle stayed steady.

My patience tried, I knew that air gets into the coolant line and has to be "bled". This takes time, and can be a little annoying. The first time I discovered this was a little while back, when working on the car, and thinking that I was done filling the radiator with collant, I took off on my merry way. Rather quickly the temperature gauge shot up, (like Bill Clinton when Monica enters the room). After a hiccup or two, I figured out that the radiator was in need of more coolant. Seeing your needle on the red end of the gauge is scarry and not fun.

I knew what to expect this time and kept my happy face on. I was amped up as the process was coming to a close. Once I determined that the coolant level was safe, I grabbed the cell phone and went for a little spin on River Road / route US 50. I popped the speedo up to 70 mph with no hitches. Later that night I added a wee bit more coolant, and took Jeff on an errand to the airport. With all-systems ago, 85-90 mph was a walk in the park. (Dont tell my wife)

Today, Christmas day, we drove home with no problems. Looks like Kent diagnosed and repaired the problem. Maybe that will be his next career. After becoming mayor of course.

A vote for KENT is a vote for Lori.

LORI - Drink your ovaltine.

1 comment:

dmoney said...

Merry Chrsitmas!