Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And the latest update is...

Had a little adventure today trying to leave Binghamton.

The car I drove doesn't have a functional "dinger" (warning chime I believe is the correct terminology but everyone I know says "dinger") for leaving the lights on. When I got to Binghamton yesterday I'd had them on for visibility but it was a bright shiny day and I never noticed. So they got left on.

For 20 hours.

Can you say "dead battery"? Oh, so very dead.

Bad words, bad words, bad words.

So my very good friend Debi Clarke from the Diocese of New Jersey agreed to give the battery a jump. Actually Debi said I could use her car for the jump because she knows nothing about cars and in many ways would be perfectly happy if cars didn't exist. That was fine because routine stuff like jumping batteries was something I learned early from my dad.

First problem - Debi has never actually popped open her own hood and isn't sure how to do it. Now this may sound like I'm picking on Debi but the truth is I looked at the owner's manual, looked where it was supposed to be and I didn't see it either! A black plastic handle up against a black plastic wall just kinda disappears. Eventually we figured it out together.

Second problem - The battery in her VW (Jetta I think) is actually HIDDEN! It's in a weird place (behind the engine compartment just below the passenger side windshield) and it's actually covered with a sliding panel! There is a symbol for the battery impressed into the panel but again - black on black. We figured it out.

Third problem - Note I said it's on the PASSENGER side of the engine bay. The only available slot next to my car was on MY passenger side. Yep, jumper cables came up about 18 inches short.

At this point I began to laugh. I sent my lady wife a text telling her my departure was being delayed and why. I could hear her laughter right across the state.

So now my good friend Kep Short, also of the Diocese of New Jersey, pulls his car up. The hood pops open, the battery isn't hidden and IS on the traditional side and all is good. As my battery charged a little Kep took a second look at his own engine bay and discovered the last tech to work on it left one of those rechargeable flashlights sitting just behind the air filter. Had probably been riding around that way for a couple weeks maybe?

All this as Binghamton drizzled on our heads.

Car started. Deb and Kep headed east. I headed west. The rest of the trip was wonderfully boring.

On another front I've hooked back up with the football pool I did last year. I won't bore you with too many details but the first week went OK. I got 11 out of 16 games right. I picked the Colts, Chargers, Lions (against a rookie QB!), Titans, and Bengals. The Colts, Chargers and Titans are probably anomalies (not positive about the Titans) and the Bengals and Lions are probably going to be just awful this season.

After week one I'm listed in 20th place although places 18,19 and 20 were all identical. But 20th is still much better than where I spent most of last season. This coming week looks like a complete field of landmines. Maybe I'll get lucky.

Good to be home.



Lamont said...

I went to Warren yesterday to use a gas card and purchase cheaper PA gas. After I drove across town to my mother-in-laws and parked in her driveway, I went into the house for a few minutes to say hello. Ian drove up to her house a few minutes later and came inside with a worried look on his face, saying "you need to come look at your car."
You guessed it - my car was on an incline of the drive and gasoline was gushing all over the blacktop. Kinda like a purple swirly river of $$$ rolling down the hill.
I got my car back to J-town to have the leak repaired.
So much for free gas eh?

PS. Glad your car trouble is over!

Questing Parson said...

Other than that, how was the traffic?

DaYouthGuy said...

There was no traffic to speak of I'm happy to report. The advantage of driving in the middle of the day through mostly countryside highways.

StLouisJohn said...

Awwww....JP, you poor guy! You should have called! I could have walked you through the procedure for a VW.

Next time you do this (hehe) and the only thing available is a Volkswagen...or some other vehicle where you can't find the battery, do the following:

1. Look all over the place for a "remote terminal." It's usually covered by a cap marked with a "+" symbol. Sometimes, though not always, the cap is red in color. Flip open the cap, and connect one of the jumper cabled to the post you will find. :-)

2. Clip the other end to the "+" post on the dead battery.

3. Clip one end of the other cable to the engine block, or some other clean metal part on the car with the good battery. Often the hood latch area provides a nice spot. This is the negative ground connection.

4. Clip the other end to a similar location on the car with the dead battery.

5. Start the car with the good battery, let it run a bit, then start the car with the dead battery.

Doing it this way keeps sparks away from the batteries of both vehicles, and keeps you safer. :-)



DaYouthGuy said...

NOW you tell me! LOL.