2.11.2009

That's what friends' (husbands) are for

So today my car wouldn't start for the last time. The battery is dead.

Not just tired.

Dead.

But why would the battery on a car less than 4 years old be dead? Because I have Things, that's why. Things who like to turn on reading lights in the middle of the day. Things that can't remember to turn off said reading lights because they didn't need them on in the first place.

And my fancy-dancy mini-van with 16 cup-holders, 2 glove boxes, in-floor storage, fold-flat seats, tushie warmers, and a handy-dandy removable jump-seat (all graciously included in an ergonomic design for the comfort and convenience of moms everywhere) fails to incorporate any indicator that interior lights are left on when the car is turned off.

Sure - there's a beep-beep here if you leave your headlights on (handy when it's a drab day and you forgot you turned on the lights when you turned on the wipers, even though it's the law), and a beep-beep there if you leave your keys in the ignition (makes sense - you wouldn't want an unauthorized someone to drive away when you just stepped out of the car for a short moment - especially if that someone is a Thing), but there's no beep-beep to warn you that your car won't start the next time you try to leave the garage because your Things had an irresistible urge to push on the sparkly crystal/plastic reading light in the middle of the afternoon.

Kinda kills the comfort and convenience factor Honda was trying to sell with their re-designed mom-van.

But can't you just jump-start that battery? Why, yes Virginia, you can - and I did.

But then you need to devote an hour or so driving around (or sitting idle) to make sure the battery fully charges. Otherwise you just end up with a dead battery again.

And again.

And again.

Apparently I don't have an hour to devote. I guess I was just hoping the battery would magically repair itself without all that inconvenient car time.

But it didn't. And this morning I had a hair-cut appointment (it turned out very cute, thanks for asking.) But the car wouldn't start. And I was already late. We had to run - or at least Ellie did - I just walked fast and Sketch rode in the stroller. Very reminiscent of Boston living ... life on foot. But that only works when your destination is relatively close and/or your route doesn't require the use of the freeway. Luckily my fabulous new stylist lives just down the hill.

After school/nap time (the baby's, not mine) I planned to jump-start the car and head to Costco for a new battery. I had my wrench and my flashlight ready (by then it would be dark.) I loaded the Things into the car and hooked up my Black & Decker thingie.

I flipped the switch, waited a minute, then started the car.

Success!!

Well, yes - until my fried brain misdirected my impulse to open the garage door to prevent CO poisoning and accidentally instructed my hand to instead turn off the ignition.

Batteries really don't like that kind of psych-out. One false start and all hopes of making it to Costco were down the drain.

Did I mention Nate is in New York? And his car is in the SNA airport parking lot? And Thing 3 has her very first dance class early tomorrow morning?

Situations like this are precisely why friends have husbands. Thanks for sharing yours, Kimber. Watching Mike install the battery he bought and brought over only solidified the apprehensive vision I had of wrestling a heavy and uncooperative battery from the clutches of an unyielding engine cavity in the dark of a poorly lit Costco parking lot.

Thankfully no one had to witness (or act out) such a scene. Now my car starts when it's supposed to and the thingie I've been driving around with for the last week can be put back on the shelf in the garage.

And fear not, faithful readers. I've learned my lesson and have now permanently engaged the interior lights override switch. The Things can push on the sparkly crystal/plastic reading lights to their hearts' content and get absolutely no satisfaction.

3 comments:

MamiJo said...

Great post! Are you still blogging from the library? My 2005 Honda-Odd did the same thing for the same reason. OK so they figured out to switch everything off after the doors remain open awhile since the chumplings didn't remember to close them, but the lights?!?! The timing on my battery failure was particularly bad- 3 days after the birth of #4 and Mark had left on a plane for DC that morning. My mother was here and she had to figure it out with my neighbor's visiting stepdad.

merathon said...

cecily-- sorry but i was laughing at this post, only because i've worried about the same thing happening to US! my kids love to turn on the reading lights as well, but amazingly, they've never been on long enough to drain the battery. i agree that there should be a warning beep for that! my car automatically turns off the headlights if i leave them on once i lock the car. why can't it do that for the interior lights?

Snow Family said...

I am so sorry Cecily! But, There is an OVERRIDE switch and I never knew??? This is MY life... always running on an empty battery b/c of some light left on or a DVD left running while I ran groceries inside or something! I love that Black and Decker thingy...I need me one of those.