Today Princess Penelope embarked on her final trek of the summer from Mobile to Birmingham. At 10:45 she called me to let me know she was leaving her Dad's. At 12:45 she called to let me know she had stopped in Greenville at the midway point to get something to eat. Right on schedule. At 1:00 she called again to let me know she was about to get back on the road. At 1:04 she called again. I was not alarmed, thinking she was merely calling to let me know she was making another quick stop.
Uh-uh. No way. No how. Her car had died. As she took the onramp to the interstate, and accelerated to merge onto the interstate, the car died. No power. Battery light on. Oil light on. But no get up and go. She managed to get it to the shoulder, before it stopped completely. She called me, obviously panicked. I was panicking a bit myself. I was 30 minutes away from my house in the OPPOSITE direction, and not even in my own car! And my child is broken down on the side of the interstate 2 1/2 hours away. I did my best not to freak out and instructed her to call the police, explain the situation, and that she is only 17, and ask for assistance in getting to a safe place. That part worked out beautifully.
As my friends and I rode hell bent for leather to get me home to my car, I called my Dad to ask for his assistance in going to get her (mainly because in my experience, tow truck and mechanic types tend to treat women as though they only have one working brain cell). And also, he's a lot more likely to know if someone is being straight about the condition of the car. So we drive down to get her. And then go look at the car. We were hoping it was just the alternator (which I had replaced 371 days ago!). Dad took out the alternator and we took it to the local Advanced Auto Parts, where they ran a diagnosis and confirmed it was toast. So, we bought another one, getting a core credit for turning in the bad one. And went to replace the alternator. (Meanwhile, I'm on the phone with the manager of my regular car place wanting to know the alternator I had replaced last summer was dead already. He is SO not happy about that --- but in a way that is in my favor, and tells me to purchase the core back from the Auto Parts Store and bring it in Monday and he'll make that part right).
I would love to say that's its all rainbows and butterflies from there. But I'd be lying. The alternator gets put on. And the car is still a no-go. Time for a tow. We have it towed to a local place, which was unfortunately already closed (because it is now 6 pm). We leave the car and key in the drop box and head home. As luck would have it, my Dad is heading down to the beach Monday morning and will stop at the car place to talk to them on his way. Since he's planning on leaving town at 6 a.m., he should be there when they open.
I have no idea what the problem is, but the general concensus is that it may be the timing belt. Which I ALSO had replaced 371 days ago, as part of 100,000 mile general maintenance. My regular mechanic place doesn't know about that part yet. But they will first thing Monday. I had that ____ timing belt replaced last summer to specifically make sure this type of thing didn't happen!
I'm tired, I'm sticky and I'm irritated. And to top off this fabulous day, I come home to find that it had rained. All over the laundry I had hung out to dry this morning. Which, by the way, included the sheets from my bed! I am SO not dealing with that tonight. I'm sleeping on the couch!