As you know, my car was broken for FOUR months, my husband The Barrister fixed it, I had it back for 24 hours, and then it broke again. I had thrown some clothes on to take the kids to school, stopped real quick at the grocery store and then the car wouldn't start back up again! So, I grabbed my groceries and my dog (who likes to ride in the car when I take the boys to school) and walked home. Luckily I don't live too far from the grocery store.
I then proceed to call The Barrister and my mother...no, I wasn't crying but I was very frustrated. The Barrister was in court in Dallas, so he couldn't help. My mom drove right over. We got the car to start again and brought it home. Then we figured out the problem was with the alternator, through a quick diagnostic test my stepfather talked us through on the cell phone. See exhibit A below, my mom on the phone with my stepfather:
Here is my mom performing the diagnostic test, where we hooked up jumper cables between our cars, then my mom had to undo a bolt...and the car promptly died, therefore identifying the most likely suspect as the alternator. She is removing the bolt below:
See this pretty, colorful little information sticker on the battery where my mom was removing the bolt? I don't know about you, but all I could focus on where the words "danger" and "poison" and my favorite, "explosive." Now you see why I was taking the pictures...So, I get a little distracted at this point. Look at the pretty red bird in the tree next to my driveway? Pretty bird...
Oh, I guess I need to help my mom as she busts her knuckles on the guts of my car and handles explosive, very dangerous insides. Look, this is the alternator, which converts power from a gas engine to electrical energy for the battery. Pretty important little doodad. It took us a while, but together (ok, my mom did more work than I did, but I did climb up and help!) we got it out!!
And, this is the pretty, shiny NEW alternator we got at Autozone, where they were very helpful. I think they might have been laughing at us as we shared the story of how we removed the ugly alternator next to the dangerous stickers and busted our poor knuckles...Oh, and I somehow managed to touch one cable to a metal thingy and shoot sparks everywhere...not sure what I did but I backed away again at this point and started taking more pictures. :o) I'm so helpful!
The moral of this story is: Women CAN do car things (with a little guidance) but we would prefer the men do them, because it's awfully messy work, and I still can't get the word "explosive" out of my mind...I just don't speak car very well.
DISCLAIMER: This story is told tongue-in-cheek. Seriously. Where else would my tongue be?
This post is not complete without the requisite car joke:
Four Engineers and a Broken Car
There are four engineers travelling in a car; a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer. The car breaks down. "Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again", says the mechanical engineer. "Well", says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system." "I thought it might be an grounding problem", says the electrical engineer, "or maybe a faulty plug lead." They all turn to the computer engineer who has said nothing and say: "Well, what do you think?" "Ummm - perhaps if we all get out of the car and get back in again?"