I stepped out into the muggy morning air, lugging all my bags, and made my way to my car. Well, The Husband's car that I've been driving to work everyday. This way, the minivan is home in case there are any baby/kids transportation needs while I'm at work, and between you and me, I've been enjoying driving something other than a mommy mobile. Don't get me wrong, I love our minivan in a platonic - function over form kind of way. But driving his car makes me feel a smidge less soccer mom slumming.
Across the street, a construction worker says to me, "They broke the A/C," holding his hands out to his sides.
I laughed, "Yeah, seriously."
He pulled out his shirt away from his body, motioning towards the sweat stains. "What happened to the A/C out here?"
I smiled again, quietly wondering how long this A/C theme was going to last. Work a-calling!
I got in and started the engine...to the immediate sounds of...rocks bouncing around under the hood? Jiffy pop? Was this a prank? It sounded so not good.
I drove a short distance and as I accelerated, the rocks went postal. OK, definitely not normal. I made a u-turn and went back home, passing Sweatman as I went in to find my dad.
He came out and gave the car a quick test drive - of course, the sound had petered out and he shrugged. "Sounds fine to me." (This was not so convincing to me, nor reassuring. This is also the man who rushes so much to put anything with parts together, there are usually an unsettling number of random miscellaneous parts leftover, like washers and screws and stuff.)
Then our neighbor and a naturally talented handyman T came out headed to the Metro on foot. T could help us! We called him over and I offered to give him a ride to the Metro hoping that his ears could detect what the frig was the matter with the Jiffy Pop hood. He gladly got in and immediately chuckled, "Sounds like you need a tune up!"
As we drove, T became more and more fascinated with my potential car pathology.
"Do you hear that sound? It's probably a belt that broke and now it's rubbing against something. Can you picture it?" He is now very excited.
"No." (I am now less excited)
"Oh, I wonder what it is! Maybe we should just pull over now and I can look under the hood!" T was filling with mechanical glee.
"Oh, now I'm worried for this car! It could break down any second! I'm so curious what this is! Do you want to just pull over now?"
My plan was to drop him off at the Metro (a few stops down the line), then I'd stop at our usual car place nearby. If I could make it that far.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I pulled into the car shop and told the intake dude about the rock sounds. I went with him to take a look. Man started the car and popped the hood, exposing our car's underthings, underthings which I understand almost nothing about.
He stared. "Uh...I'm sorry to tell you this..." (CRAP) "...it doesn't look good." He pointed out a fraying belt and tried to explain how that was connected to other things but he lost me after the belt business. You know that Far Side cartoon with the dog who only hears blah-blah-blah-blah-GINGER-blah-blah-blah- GINGER? That was me and the belt. Belt, I know, as in important but often misunderstood fashion accessory. Everything else? La la la la la.
Short story as I gathered? The A/C was the culprit, but soon that belt would break and the car would overheat and overheating = fried car underthings. He estimated it would cost between $1700-$3000 to fix, but they wouldn't even get to the "deep dive" of diagnosis for a few hours.
Ugh! This car is almost 10 years old and has lived through biblical flooding, hitting a deer (one of the back door barely opens, but then only with 1 gigaton of obliquely-applied force), over 100,000 miles, and other calamities. We were planning to replace it anyway when The Husband got back. And the A/C was just repaired LAST YEAR.
So, intake dude and I both agreed that I should just hobble on home and park it until I decided how to dispo it - wasn't worth it to repair it at this point. Which meant hobbling on home with NO A/C in the insane heat. By the time I made it home, me and Sweater McSweaterson could have made a nice couple. Half my face had melted off and it was only 10am! But, sadly no time to freshen up much, had to book it in to work.
I grabbed the minivan keys, transferred my bags, and remembered how nice it was to drive the good ol' van...sometimes function over form is just fine. (Like half-melted faces cooling in the arctic A/C breeze.)