I have come to realize that since I'm not a very good writer, I tend to rely pretty heavily (OK, very heavily) on pictures for this blog. And although the new computer is up and running and doing great, neither of our scanners will work - hopefully it's not a Windows Vista incompatibility issue but something simple. And although we've got a lovely new camera (Canon digital Rebel xti - LOVE, love, love it!! And it uses the lenses from our old 35mm Rebel) and it has several hundred pictures on it from the last few months I haven't downloaded any of them yet. Also (details details) haven't downloaded the software needed to download the pictures.
So I'm pretty photoless at the moment and THAT is my excuse for not making any entries in so long. Even though there has been lots of stuff to write about - once I start catching up, watch out!
But I had a good news/bad news experience today and was thinking it would make a good story so here goes.
To start off, I have a new car!! Actually it's just new to me - a 2007 Toyota Rav4. I never buy new cars, it just seems to make so much more sense to buy well maintained used ones. And then I keep them forever. In over 30 years of driving, this is only the 5th car I've had. It's the 3rd Toyota and the other 2 were Hondas, and this probably explains why I've been able to put over 240,000 miles on each one and enjoyed every minute of it.
Anyway, I've had this car for about 2 weeks and it's fabulous. I can't recommend one highly enough, if you're looking for a combination good dog car/good city car. I am a home health therapist which means I drive to my patient's homes so I drive a LOT for work. And at least twice a week I am taking one or more Great Danes to a class, or a vet appointment or something so I need a good dog car too. Plus it's really comfy and well, just cool.
Until this morning... I left the house and was headed to my first patient, and was planning to stop and get some gas since I was running on fumes. Then as I'm tooling down the highway the Check Engine light came on!! And the Traction Control light!! And some other damn light, I think it had something to do with the anti-lock brakes but I'm not sure... and the Cruise Control quit working!!
I was freaking out - this would be an alarming situation anyway but in a car you've just bought it's really scary. I got the car "vetted" at a mechanic before I bought it but what if they'd missed something?? I've always had wonderful luck with used cars - what if my luck has run out???
(sidebar: oh look... instead of pictures apparently I'm inserting capitalized exclamations).
The car seemed to be running OK otherwise. My brain started to function again and I remembered that my brother had recommended the service department of a Toyota dealership which happened to be not too far from where I was.
I remembered this mostly because I was so surprised at the time... you see, my brother hates car dealers.
HATES, hates, hates hates them. You have NO idea if you don't know him. He's been buying and selling cars since he was 16 and long before the days of Edmunds.com (my personal Bible for researching and pricing cars) has been a ruthless negotiator and feels that all car dealers are scum. So for him to actually recommend a dealer is high praise indeed.
Problem was, I didn't remember the name of the dealer or exactly where it was. I called my brother's cell phone but had to leave a message. But I did reach my sister in law and asked her about it without going into details (I was still driving at the time and didn't want to start crying or something) and she told me. (It's Don Davis Toyota in Arlington TX if you're interested).
So I found it, and pulled into the service department. By now I'm really driving on fumes but had been afraid to pull into a gas station in case the car wouldn't start again!
The guy I talked to was great. The very first thing he mentioned when I told him my tale of woe was to ask if the gas cap was on tight. It was. Apparently a loose gas cap can freak out the computer and cause this sort of thing.
(Now we're finally getting to the title of this post... it's a Smart Car, get it?)
Fortunately it's still under warranty, so he said they'd check it out and would I have a seat in the waiting room.
Also fortunately, they had a couple of fairly recent issues of Time magazine there so I am now MUCH more up on current events than I was, say, this morning. For example, I now know where Darfur is (just south of Egypt, next to Sudan which is also just south of Egypt.)
I feel I'm ready for Jeopardy! Or Cash Cab, at least.
Anyway, fast forward TWO PLUS HOURS while I'm expanding my knowledge. The service guy comes in and asks me to come into his office.
Oh-oh. Oh crap.
But it's OK! Apparently, sometimes when the vehicle is really REALLY low on gas it can trigger the same kind of fit that a loose gas cap does. But although they'd heard of it, they hadn't ever actually seen that happen before so they had done a complete diagnostic. Top to bottom, inside and out and upside and down. And they found NOTHING WRONG. His exact words were "Your car is in great shape".
His next words were "You need to put some gas in it". and then they didn't charge me a dime.
So, bad news: A scary start to the day, and a shot schedule...
But, good news: My car is in GREAT SHAPE!!
I am willing to take the good news! Wheeeeeeeeeee!
And yes, I did put gas in it and will resist the urge to let it run on fumes in the future!
But as Ronnie said when I told him about this "It doesn't sound so smart to me!"