And here I was worried I wouldn't have something to write about tonight.
(Oops, forgot the title sequence... back in a bit.)
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Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...
Our eldest son (aka Pod One) returned from a Labor Day beach trip this afternoon. So MKK and the younger son (aka Pod Two) went to collect him from the church.
Not fifteen minutes later, as I was still worrying over what to write a Top Comments diary about, I get a call. "Sweetie, I broke the car."
Alright, it wasn't quite that succinct a declaration, and MKK drives a minivan, and the car for the most part is just fine. (More on what was wrong in a bit.) But at the time, my distressed wife only knew that her vehicle was half a mile from the church and in the process of making a left hand turn her car went from working just fine to instantly seizing up, all the electronics going haywire, lights flashing across the entire dashboard.
Worse, the power steering and power brakes were out. It was as if she was wrestling with one of those cars from the movie Maximum Overdrive where the cars come alive and generally don't like people very much anymore.
Then the minivan settled down and albeit at reduced power and with a lot of protesting screeching noises, proceeded the rest of the way to the church. Woo.
Except it still made dreadful noises, the power windows wouldn't roll up (forgot to mention the AC gave out too). Basically, MKK didn't feel safe driving the car home and there was no way to secure the vehicle overnight. What to do?
So I drove out to the church, where I found a couple of other parishioners helpfully trying to jumpstart the car....repeatedly....off cables connected to a big, honkin Yukon.
No no no no, I thought. A supersized SUV like the Yukon would have been able to start up MKK's car right away.
Yet the SUV owner was sitting in MKK's driver seat, turning the ignition over and over and over again. "I almost get it running," he laments.
OK, this is not working. Time to just call a tow. Get it home, get it in the garage...I winced...call another tow in the morning.... I'm calculating what I won't be spending $200 bucks on this coming month. Oh, then there's whatever repairs are forthcoming.
In the meantime Pod One, who had badly stubbed, sprained or perhaps broken his right middle toe boogie-boarding at the beach, is just miserable.
Pod Two is just glancing around nervously, as the church was locked up and he had to pee.
"Call the tow, MKK," I say. "It's Labor Day and we're at the back of the line."
Yes we sure were. My wife hangs up and says a tow truck is on the way.
I ask when? She said they didn't say.
So, about 40 minutes later, MKK calls again. "An hour, eh? Ok. Thanks." She loos at me blandly. "It's going to be an hour from now."
It's 5:30 at this point. I have yet to type character #1 of my TC diary. I send the wife and kids off to get themselves something to eat and (because I do this) unpacked my laptop and start writing...but I am writing about Things That Aren't Top Comments.
About half an hour later they're back with sandwiches. Consumption of noms, yay.
Oh, left out the fun parts about the car: At one point Pod Two and I are sitting together staring at the injured minivan. I ask for his account.
He says the car was running until his older brother popped the hood with his shoe and the engine cut out, just like that.
"That's almost certainly a coincidence," I reply. "Unless he jarred a wire loose."
Pod Two points. "You mean like that wire hanging loose right there?"
Wait, wut? I bend low to my right to look. Sure enough, something is hanging loose under the engine block. I move closer to investigate.
It's not a wire, whatever it is. It looks like a thick piece of stripping that had come loose....
And then it came completely loose, "it" being a band of metal wire-reinforced rubber, about an eight of an inch thick and maybe and inch across. The way I know it had metal wires inside of it is because how the matching jagged ends mated to one another, as if at one point...
I close my eyes. This isn't a bus cable. This isn't stripping.
It's the alternator belt!
MKK's car had run just fine until it catastrophically did not because the belt had begun to tear. She'd been lucky to make it to the church before the belt came off completely.
One mystery solved.
So eventually, at 6:30 the tow truck shows up. We're still planning on going home until the driver solves another mystery for us.
"Here pull the power window lever on the driver side, ma'am," he instructs MKK.
MKK does so.
He pries the top of the passenger side window (the rolled down one) and helps the window motor raise the glass to its fully closed position.
Suddenly, we have options. We can have the tow truck take the minivan to the place where it will have to be tomorrow anyway for repairs. We can do this all because of a closed window.
So we divert the driver to the shop, escort him there, pay him, and then finally finally get home.
So, for the price of three hours of my afternoon I gained this:
1. Validation that my years growing up in my dad's mechanic shop weren't completely wasted...though I was in no position to effect repairs
2. That I don't know jack about power windows, but that's okay I learned a new trick tonight
3. We wound up saving a hundred bucks with one tow not two...because we belatedly learned how to close a power window without power (or at least without much of it).
4. And we got Five Guys burgers woo.
5. And I got a Top Comments Diary out of it #Bonus
So that's my evening. Happy Labor Day to you, too. :)
Because Some Nights I Call It A Draw