More Vehicle-Related Trauma

Yesterday, my first Valentine’s Day as a single person since 1997, my neighbors were greeted with the sight of my car being towed out of my driveway.

Not exactly how I planned to spend the day.

We’d had yet another lake effect snowstorm. All of the local weather outlets always say that these storms will affect Berrien County, never my county, and they always end up hitting my county the worst. I just expect now that I will be shoveling even for storms my area isn’t supposed to get.

So I went out yesterday to shovel. Of course, it was also really cold (single digits) and I’d actually meant to go out and start my car on Sunday but I forgot. I finished shoveling, came in, then felt the car keys in my coat pocket. I’d once again forgotten to start the car. I almost decided not to bother but then I shrugged, put my boots back on, and headed out.

I turned the key and … nothing. Just clicking. I was sure it would start on the second try, but no. The car absolutely would not start.

I sat there, stunned. This was actually a scenario I’d asked Dave about back in 2018 when I was panicking, after he was first diagnosed. We had a different car back then and it was giving us a lot of trouble, so I asked him – what would I do if he was not here, and the car wouldn’t start? I can’t even remember his answer, to be honest.

I surprised myself by not freaking out. It helped that I really had nowhere to be. So I came in and went to the AAA website. I was hoping I could do this with the minimum of telephone interaction. It turned out to be really easy to request service using their website. They said it would be 45 minutes, and there was even a little map showing the progress of the person coming to help me.

As I waited, I did a search on things that could be the problem. Battery and alternator were the main results, and I figured it probably just needed to be jumped. But just in case, I wrote down the address of my mechanic (and then searched to see if AAA will take your car to the mechanic of your choice, or only one that is AAA sanctioned). This was all completely new to me – I’ve had AAA for 7 years and never used it.

The time on the website was down to 35 minutes and then it changed back to 45 minutes. Apparently it took 10 minutes for someone to respond to the call. So I figured I had time for a quick lunch, and then I hung around by the phone.

With about 25 minutes to go, the phone rang – a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and struggled through the call. (Seriously, the phone is hell for me. I hear them talking but it just doesn’t make sense to me, so I have to wait for the captions to catch up.) The guy said he was here to look at my car and I said, “Here? Like right now?!” He sure was! The website was very wrong about the progress of his travel, it turns out. But no complaints – he was very early instead of very late.

He tried to jump the car and it would not start. Now I was freaking out. He asked where I wanted the car towed, and I gave him my mechanic’s info and then asked what I should do. Should I walk to the mechanic’s? He said no, just call and let them know the car was coming. Then they would call me when the car was done; I didn’t need to be physically present.

So yay, another phone call. I suffered through that, and Tom said he’d be on the lookout for the car. My girl (I call her Nellie, she’s a 2012 Nissan Sentra) got loaded up and driven away around 2 pm.

Then I just sat and fretted. I couldn’t really do anything because I wanted to stay right by the phone (it is a voip captioned phone that sits on my desk). I started really freaking myself out by thinking, what if the car can’t be fixed? How will I look for a new car, when I can’t drive to look at cars? (I still don’t know the answer to that horrible potential situation.)

The shop closes at 5 and by 4:30 I hadn’t heard anything, so I figured I wouldn’t hear until the next day. Then at 4:45, Tom called. Another struggle through a conversation, but I figured out that he had put a battery charger on the car for a while, and then it started. They tested the alternator then, and it was fine. But the battery tested bad, so I needed a new battery. I was just so freaking relieved that it was fixable that I didn’t even care what it cost to fix it. Just fix my car, please!

Tom said it shouldn’t take long, and I said, “You mean … it will be done today?” And he confirmed that. Then I said that I had to walk over (figuring I would leave right away to try to get there by the time they were done with the car) and Tom said, “Oh no, I’ll come and get you.” I said, “Are you serious?!” and he laughed and said yes. So about 20 minutes later, he called again and said he was on his way.

He picked me up, we drove to the shop, I paid for the car, and the whole horrible thing was over about 4-1/2 hours after it started. What a way to spend Valentine’s Day! On the other hand, I was so busy worrying that I didn’t spend one second feeling bad about being alone on that day.

So many things to be thankful for! That I have AAA, that it was a fixable problem, that I found out on Monday (when my mechanic was open) and not Sunday (when he isn’t). That he actually came to pick me up! That I could afford to fix this without any real financial burden. Yes, it sucked that it happened at all but gosh, what if I had been out somewhere by myself and the car didn’t start when I got ready to drive home?! I mean, it could have been so much worse.

I will be honest, I’m getting some PTSD where the car is concerned. I would be happy to never drive again, because this stuff is getting to be too much. But I got back on the darn horse today – I went out for a long drive and then went shopping. But if I could have a few months free of any kind of vehicular situation, that would be swell.


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on February 15, 2022, in Grief/Bereavement, Not Related to Hearing Loss and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Another success to chalk up! Thank God for AAA and a great mechanic who goes the extra step for you … but really… huge kudos to you! Proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank heavens for such a great and honest mechanic, those are rare indeed. And glad to hear it was nothing more than the battery, if it’s got even a little bit of age on it, the cold weather just does them in. And we’ve certainly had our fair share of that this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly, my mechanic is a huge source of comfort to me, lol – and also because I can walk there if I need to, since I don’t have anyone to take me to pick up my car if it’s at the shop.

      The AAA guy said the battery looked old and I know we never replaced it (we got the car in the summer of 2018 from my Mom, bless her!!) You are so right about the cold weather, it’s been a heck of a winter so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Boy, I understand completely about the phone causing severe stress! I will avoid it at any cost, except to talk my kids. Even then, it makes me nervous.

    I too had chronic battery problems, but AAA (as you know) is worth the investment. They are very good about showing up in a reasonable amount of time. I’m surprised the jump didn’t work. But with those kind of temperatures and an aging battery, it probably was holding no charge at all.

    I’m glad you can look at it as something to be thankful for. I learned some years ago that being able to turn a “negative” into a positive can be extremely powerful.

    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim, it is such a relief to hear that you do the same thing with the phone! So many CI users act like it’s no big deal, but it is a major struggle for me. I’m glad I’m not alone (although sorry that you have this stress too).

      Between the old battery, cold weather, and the fact that I haven’t been able to drive the car more than once every week because of the terrible weather here, I suspect that all played into the battery issues.

      We have another snow/ice storm coming tomorrow and Thurs. and I’m really hoping I can get out and drive on Friday, just to keep the car moving. The other problem is that they really don’t plow my street, so there’s tons of snow and ice on it. My driveway goes uphill, and I can’t get any speed when I’m on the street approaching my driveway (if that makes sense) because of the road conditions. I have to drive slowly, and then I can’t make it up my driveway. Yesterday and today I had to back up and keep trying to make it up the drive. Super fun – ha!!


  4. My dad tried to raise me being independent with my car. It never stuck. When I was at my mom’s for five weeks over the holiday, I goofed and didn’t use the car. The battery was the original. Long story, short, I had to use AAA too! My story was so similar! Major struggle on the phone, followed them on the map, he was early, etc. I ended up with a new battery as well. You better believe I went out once a day after that to start the car, usually when I went to check the mail.

    I thought about you yesterday, knowing it was Valentines Day. Love, prayers, and virtual hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Denise, that is just crazy! You’re right, it’s like we were AAA twins! We have a big storm coming in tonight so I am going out driving today, haha. I don’t think I’ve ever thought so much about my car before in my entire 42 years of driving!

      Thank you for the prayers, love and hugs … and all of it is going out to you too. ❤


  5. I totally understand the stress! I have major car phobia caused by my dad trying to fix up old cars that would inevitably leave me stranded with blown hoses, a broken axle, a blow out. It is all so stressful! Thank goodness it was an easy fix!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was riveting, and I am SO VERY GLAD that it all worked out. And Tom came to get you!!!! That is wonderful!

    I am wondering, now, in the situation of needing to buy a new car if your current car was undriveable, if the dealership would send someone to get you? Might put you at a negotiating disadvantage, but… maybe not. ALSO, it is possible to buy a car completely through email, so maybe that is a better option!!! I think there was a post on The Toast some years ago about how to do it, and my husband and I did it with my car last year. The only thing I needed to be present for was a test drive. They even said they would deliver the car to me, if I wanted them to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?! I have a gift card to a bakery in town, and when it warms up and I can go for walks, I’m going to use it to buy Tom and Adam (his helper) some treats to surprise them, for all the help they’ve given me. I will walk over and drop them off – no car this time, haha.

      And also – THANK YOU for the car-buying suggestions! I had thought of none of those options, my mind just switched off when I tried to puzzle it through. You are my hero! It also made me realize there’s a couple of car dealerships in my tiny town, close enough for me to walk to. Funny how I never even thought of that until I read your comment. Or maybe I can hire you and your husband to buy me a car through email – LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You did good! If I were still driving, I’d freak if my car didn’t start. I’m in a new town and I don’t have my brothers near by…um, yeah! Lol. I’m so glad you ahve an honest and reputable mechanic! Hugs, girl! So glad it was not more serious.

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