So yesterday I posted my 100th piece on Left of the Dial and the minivan broke down. Are those two related? No, not really, I just wanted an excuse to mention that I’d hit the century mark. Thank you, thank you, one and all. Well, slightly more than one. Thanks to the thousands of you who read Left of the Dial every day. Okay, not really thousands. Hundreds, really. All right, not hundreds either. Dozens? Certainly dozens and usually scores. Scores? Score!
Anyhoo, the minivan. So Top Management’s driving around the neighborhood returning some of the thousands (hundreds? scores? dozens?) of dishes, pieces of pyrex and tupperware containers we’d accumulated over the weeks of scamming free meals. And as she pulls over to place a thank-you note in someone’s mailbox, she notices that the engine starts revving and revving, although it’s in park and should be purring like a kitten, the way it normally does. Looking down at the dashboard, she sees the Check Engine light is on.
So she comes home and mentions it to me. And being the automotive whiz I am, I spring into action, and grab the owner’s manual. It informs me that, if the Check Engine light comes on, I should make sure the gas cap is on securely—keep turning it until it clicks three times. Which I do. It seems snug as a bug in a rug but I keep turning it until it clicks FOUR times. You know, just to be sure.
Okay, now here’s the good part. The booklet says that if the gas cap *was* the problem, it will take up to three days of normal driving for the light to go out. Which seems extreme to me, but what the hell do I know?
Oh, but that’s not the good part. Here’s the good part. Right after that "three days" stuff, it says, "It is not safe to drive the minivan if the Check Engine light is on. Contact your dealer immediately."
So. You need to drive it for three days to see if the light will go out. But it’s not safe to drive the car at all, so don’t do it.
That’s just awesome.
So Top Management calls the dealer, and they say, oh, yeah, right, we need to see it, so bring it in right away. We can take you…let’s see…in six days.
Because, you know, when you have four kids, you can go for almost a week without a car. No sweat.
Top Management tries to explain that that’s not really so doable. But no, that’s the absolute soonest they can squeeze us in. Our kid’s neurosurgeon’s the best in Virginia and *he’s* more available than that.
[Tangent: Top Management just learned from The Boy’s ENT, Treebeard, that both The Boy’s tubes fell out, but only partway, meaning they were just scraping the hell out of his inner ears. Because, you know, he doesn’t have enough problems with that part of his little body.]
Okay, asks Top Management, well, the manual says it’s not safe to drive the car—is it going to be okay to drive it all the way into town in order to get it to y’all? Because we live about twenty miles away. And the dealer says…well…yeah, that’s gonna be tricky, all right. Yeah, that’s not really a good idea.
So, WTF? Are we supposed to teleport it there? Take a magic carpet ride? Get one of them black helicopters we sometimes seen zooming over our heads, zapping nearby cows, to give us a lift?
Cancer, heart defects, brain abnormalities, deafness: these things suck. But it seems like it’s the little things in life that really get you down.