Friday, March 4, 2011

The dead carcass.

Thursday middlest girl and I worked on the dead car residing under the carport. It would not start, and I was sure the death was due to a dead battery. Since I was on a lifting restriction of 20 pounds, I needed help lifting the battery and middlest was kind and gracious enough to help, with only the slightest roll of her eyes. 

We had to work on the car Thursday, because Friday a snowstorm was expected. This being western New York in the dead of winter, we usually expect snow. Upon hearing we were supposed to have a storm, middlest announced, “Why do we get all the snowstorms when we are off school?  I think the teachers and the weathermen get together and conspire about this.” I assured her there was no conspiracy as we drove to the auto parts store.

Upon arriving at the store, the Sales Associate asked if I was sure the battery was dead. Not once commenting on why my 13-year-old daughter was lugging around the bazillion pound battery instead of her muscular, and quite good looking, father. Since I had measured the voltage with a voltmeter and it read 6 volts when it should have read over 12 volts, I said I was 99.999% sure it was dead. I paid the king’s ransom for the new battery, and lugged it out to the van. Well, middlest lugged it out, and still no comment from the dignified Sales Associate. 

Arriving home we, I mean she, put the battery into its new home. I tightened it in and went to start the car….nothing. Dead. Ugh. Immediately I suspected the battery. Yes, it was new, but when in doubt, I always suspect the battery. Primarily since it is the easiest thing for me to identify under the hood. Voltmeter in hand, I checked the battery. 6 volts?! It should be 12 volts. Now that was suspicious; it was brand new.  I checked a few other batteries, and a 12 volt power supply, and the meter read 6 volts for all of them. I deduced I had a problem with the voltmeter; no worry, I have two other voltmeters. Of course, I know one does not work and I do not know where either is.

Middlest asks, “What shall we do now?”  I reply, as any wise father would, “Have lunch.” She had cold pizza, and I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  While eating I tried to remember the last place I saw my other volt meters. I could not remember, they were lost—and my wife was not home to ask. Wives and mothers, my wife is both, have that amazing knack of knowing exactly where lost items are. The other day we lost power at our house; I started to mumble something about checking the battery. My wife rolled her eyes. Shortly after that, the power came back on. I am sure my wife found that too.

Without help, all alone, I started to look for the missing voltmeter. While looking, I kept talking with myself about it being easier to fix the broken one, but reassuring myself I would need one to figure out the problem with the other, I kept looking. While looking, I found a bunch of other stuff I forgot I had lost. Neat stuff. Shiny stuff. Stuff that distracted me for hours, until eventually I completely forgot about looking for the other voltmeter and about the dead hulking shell of a car under the carport.

That is until middlest asked me, “Whatcha gunna do about the car Dad?” Car? What was she talking about? Until after a few minutes of staring at her blankly, she said, “We left the hood open, shouldn’t we close it?” Finally, I remembered what I had been looking for and why. I mumbled something about calling the garage to have them fix it. She said, “Don’t forget to close the hood.” Me? Forget? I have a mind like a steel trap. I gazed around the porch, wondering what I was doing out here and what all these neat shiny things were in all of the boxes.

On Friday I was looking for my cordless drill and found the two other voltmeters. I was so ecstatic I totally forgot about the drill for a couple of hours. That is until I found the charger for the drill’s batteries in my room as I was looking for something else (I do not remember what I was looking for).  I got the drill out, and put the batteries in to charge. With any luck, I will not forget to bring the drill with me when I visit my brother, which is why I was looking for that in the first place. The car is at the garage, they haven’t called me yet, I hope they haven’t forgotten. 

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