Sunday, May 27, 2012

The best laid plans...

There were so many little things to get done yesterday so that Monday could start with a crash and a bang to lead us to the point of priming at the duplex.

However, the fates had another destiny planned for me.

You may remember that a few weeks back my van died. We took it to a garage while I was in Palo Alto. Yesterday, Julene called me from a store parking lot. The van was dead again with the same symptom. Happily, Randy was just arriving at work not far away and I was able to borrow his van to pull mine. After a phone call to verify with a friend* that it was indeed going to be worth shelling out $160 to buy a new starter from AutoZone, and after many fun adventures like being pushed hard down from the top of my street so that I had enough momentum to land it in my garage, but not so much as not to be able to turn (without power steering) or brake to a halt (again, no running motor, right?), I changed out my starter.

Sam and I took the old one in to AutoZone to have it tested before putting the new one it. The tests were at first conclusive, but then we discovered a loose wire and had to retest it to make sure. The starter worked better, but the machine still failed it. Then I insisted the guy test the new starter I had just bought. The difference in performance, not to mention the machine bestowing a blue ribbon on it at the end, made me feel better about the expense and the time.

However, earlier, I discovered that the starter wasn't in the right place--just underneath the driver's side where all the starters in my life have ever been. I crawled deeper under to find it on the other side from which I didn't have access because I had beached my van carefully to expose the driver's side.

As I lay under the van, I began to have visions of the whole thing coming off my central hydraulic jack and it was obvious that death by crushing and suffocation would be painful and too long not to mention the disconcertment of those around me when it happened. So I "did the worm" to crawl back out from under and bought a pair of jack stands at Home Depot where I'd planned to be buying stuff like sheet rock and lumber that day.

For all my whining and moaning, I have to admit that a starter is a simple thing to replace on a very big vehicle like a van. I probably wasn't under the car longer than 20-30 minutes all told and there were no puzzlers of the sort that sometimes happen when working on a car.

Oh, and to finish the story, the van starts up just fine... for now.

* P.S. The article at the link above about this friend I've sung with for 20+ years now is well worth the read.