Saturday, October 15, 2011

The last day of my car's life

Well, you know the cranky-arse feeling I had yesterday? It wasn't cuz I got up too early. It was cuz the fates had bad plans for me yesterday and the aura of those plans was implementing itself on me as forewarning. Yeah. Well, it could happen.
What happened? Well the long and short of it is my car blew a head gasket. (I didn't know what it was until later.) ON the freeway. With all the kids in the car. With no warning. Under an over pass. Just before an on-amp (which, if you're following this, you realize, it happened right AFTER a damn off-ramp!)  Going 70 miles an hour and it's an automatic. So, no power steering, no brakes, nothing. I was able to get it over to the shoulder w/o a) hitting anybody coming on the freeway and b) not get rear-ended by the hundred people going 80 miles an hour behind me.
But after that, with the exception of my kids, the luck ran out. I popped the hood, and found the resevoir for the antifreeze dry which it hadn't been when I left Yakima, and steam popping out. It's a closed system and I couldn't find a way to see if the radiator was dry as well. I waited for it to cool down to close to what the engine normally runs at, then tried to start it. I was only half mile from exit which was about a quarter mile long, then a quarter mile to a gas station and a McDonald's playland. Thought if I could nurse it to there, we'd be good. But, no. So I went looking for water/antifreeze. Found a gallon of antifreeze in the car. Put that in. (probably not the best idea :P) it sucked it right up, even with the car off, which I didn't know it could do. Um, nope, not a mechanic. I've changed fuel injectors, O-rings, clutch cable, clutch, spark plugs, oil, ran a radiator flush etc on an 80 something car like 15 years ago, but I married into a family that likes to fix their own stuff so have forgotten most of everything except how to change a tire.
When I pulled over it was just past 10:30 am. When I put the antifreeze in it was 11:30 am. Mind you, I've had three kids in the car, from 10 down to almost three. We had grand plans. After I ran around and did stuff I needed to do, some of which involved talking to my ex re our son in NM, and getting my meds from clinic, we were going to go to the Zillah McDonald's, have lunch, then do school there. Fun morning/afternoon for them, before I ran off to work at 2ish.
Anyway, at 11:30 the natives were getting restless so I let them get the kiddo out of his carseat. Thankfully I had gotten them crap food and ice tea at the gas station before we left. The one with only 50/50 antifreeze for same price that I could get straight antifreeze at another gas station :P
A few minutes before noon, when I tried to start the car with the engine was barely warm, it sounded B-A-A-A-D. I said, there's no way this thing is restarting. I got out to check it again and the antifreeze was pooled by the tire. I sighed and said, "Okay boys, we're walking!" (I'm not goin to go into the scary double dump truck that had it's wheels over the shoulder line...) We got out, got the stroller, tied the carseat to it, wrapped up the little one in lots of coats left in the car from the fair day (thank god!)
Did I mention that in all the times I got out to check on the engine/resevoir and oil, that no-one stopped? Did I mention that I don't have a phone right now? Yeah.
So we'd walked almost halfway to the exit ramp when a lady pulled over (at seventy she was nearly to the ramp before being able to stop and walked back to meet us. She let me use her phone and the boys and I crawled in gratefully! THANK YOU LADY WHO'S NAME SOUNDS LIKE MI-CASA (my house in spanish :D) to the woman with allergy and wind filled ears.
She took us to the McDonald's we'd planned on being at before noon anyway (irony that we were sooooo close!) and I bought the boys lunch and a ride  home arrived. Did I mention how awesome my boys were? They were saints! Awesome awesome awesome! I don't know how to express the dread and sorrow I felt at having to get my kids out of the car to walk along the freeway. I've been married to firefighters/EMTs and I've been one. Walking along the freeway is one level of Hell as far as I'm concerned, no offense Dante. But they were troopers! We left the car at 12:10.
So, that evening, we had a friend w/ truck/trailer who helped us haul the car back to our house. When we arrived at the car, it was tagged by state patrol. Do you know what time it was tagged for??????????????? For a quick recap-no cops, state, county, or local had stopped/driven by going east or west during this whole thing. And my car was tagged for 12:30!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH I SAW RED. I get tired of things ALMOST being okay.
So, instead of getting an electric fireplace for our freezing cold house with no heat since the pellet stove broke, we are getting a truck for 200 that has to have a new fuel pump put in. And god knows what else. There goes our gas bill. Triple! We were planning on getting for my husband and it would be no big deal for him to go ten miles a day in it, but as a run-around, two working people's truck?? I'm ready to cry again just thinking of it.
So, I paint real pretty and write real good (yes that was intentional!) Anyone have a car they want to trade for a little work? :P


  1. OH my, how many of my cars have died this ugly death. I am sorry about the demise of the vehicle, and I am sure you will find another "ride" soon.

    I like your blog.

  2. I hope so :( We looked into fixing the head gasket and on this car wasn't so much, so started tearing the engine apart...yeah, not fixing it.