Yes, I know it's been about forever since I had a new blog post. Sadly, I was shipped off for 2 1/2 weeks to do some proposal writing...so I've been out-of-pocket and snowed under for awhile. The first two weeks of my sojourn were away in Maryland, with a quickie weekend back home. AND when I flew in to the B'ham airport for my quick trip home, my car wouldn't start. It acted like it wanted to start, it was trying to turn over and everything...then...nada. Note: try not to get mugged or raped in the Birmingham Airport parking garage because those emergency call boxes are bullshit. Bull. Shit. I had to try THREE different ones to find one that worked. Once I got someone, they took their merry little time getting to me. I had them try to jump the car off, hoping it was the battery, but it still wouldn't start.
Me: Okay, so I guess I'll have to call someone to tow me. Do you have any recommendations?
Surly Security Person: Ain't none of 'em 'round here got a tow-truck that can get in the parking garage.
SSP: You'll prolly have to find someone willin' to push your car outta the garage. And none of the local companies is willin' to do that, lemme tell you.
Me: I can't be the first person to have a car that won't start in this parking garage.
SSP: Probably not.
Me: So what have other people done?
SSP: Hmmm...that's a good question.
Me: Yes, I thought so too.
SSP: I don't rightly know.
Very helpful, asshole.
Luckily, I've been back and forth on the phone with Jeff during most of this, and we have a friend who owns a body shop and a wrecking service. (insert plug for Skinner's Body Shop here). Jeff called Greg & he got someone to come from Oxford to Birmingham to get me. It took an hour for them to get there...and sure enough, the flat-bed wrecker wouldn't fit inside the parking garage. The guy tried himself for another 15-20 minutes to start the car (BTW, did you know Volvos have their batteries in the trunk? True story) but didn't get any better results. So he pushed my car out of the garage. Down two and a half levels and out into the open. Right about then, security showed up (they had totally abandoned the scene while we were getting the car out) & the wrecker guy (I think his name was Bill) asked him where he needed to go to get his truck around. Turns out you can't do that. Bill had to bring the wrecker around to the area just outside the tollgate thingy where you give them your ticket & pay for your parking. Then he came back and pushed my car up an incline and through the toll gate...THEN he was able to load it onto the wrecker. Yay, Bill! (or Bob...his name might have been Bob. Or maybe Jim. I should remember this because the guy was my freaking HERO at the time but I had taken a Xanax back when security was "helping" me earlier in order to control my urge to slap someone) ANYWAY...we rode the hour + drive back to Oxford and dropped the car off at the only auto-repair guy in town that works on Volvos.
God, I hate cars. I mean, usually, I love my little red zippy-zoom Volvo. I just hate cars when they won't act right. It is NEVER convenient to get stranded. And we rely on the damn things so much. But like my Granny used to say, "If it has tires or testicles, it will eventually give you trouble." (my Granny actually never said that...my Granny was a saint who would have fainted dead away before she ever said anything like "testicles" outside of medical context. I think it was Annette who I'm really quoting...but sage advice always sounds more sage-y when you quote your grandmother. Plus, that shit is TOTALLY true).
I spent the rest of the weekend and following week trying to forget about my broken car (which was actually pretty easy since it stayed at the Volvo-fix-it place the entire time.) Turns out, there's a switch in the steering column that recognizes the chip in the key fob. I think it's called an "immobilization thingy." It's there to keep your car from being stolen in case someone copies your key. And hey, good job, because that car was going NO WHERE. Unfortunately, because it was a security whats-it, it took the repair shop several days to get a new one & install it. While he was at it, the repair guy checked the Volvo's computer log for any other messages and recommended I replace the spark plugs (yeah, I don't know what the flash-to-bang sequence was there either...but whatever). A mere $417 later, and all is well (and supposedly reliable) again.