I wasn't going to post about all of this for many reasons, but in fairness to myself (and to those of you kind enough to be interested in reading this blog) it all should be documented. No, I haven't been stewing over that salesman through the whole hiatus. ;)
About a month ago I picked up Debbie from the airport. On the way to her house my car started smelling really odd. It didn't smell like a fart or anything, it smelled very chemical, kind of poisonous. Debbie thought it was the area we passed through, but I was certain it was my car. After dropping her at her house the smell got so bad it made me feel ill. When I told Dave about it when I got home, he thought I must have been overheating the car, even though the temperature gauge remained in the usual spot toward the middle but on the C side. My car has had a very slow leak in the radiator for about 3 years which would have cost about $800 to fix so alternatively, we've just been filling it up every 2 weeks or so - and Dave had just a few days earlier done the maintenance on the car so I was pretty sure it hadn't run low.
The smell continued on and off every time I used the car. We watched a Doctor Who episode where there was this fancy new car device that was supposed to revolutionize the way we drive, but it was really an alien scheme to take over the world. At the right moment, the aliens set off the device and toxic fumes would go into the car and kill the occupants while the car locked the doors and wouldn't let the occupants out, or the car would drive itself off a cliff or something. That's how I was feeling about my car. It was not overheating, still, but it was just poisoning me as I drove. It was so hot, though, it was difficult to go without using the a/c. We had various theories from friends, one which was the thought that I didn't use my a/c enough so that it was just clearing out its cogs.
I made it to Carmel and back, even through some terrible traffic, and the fumes weren't so bad on that journey. I made a couple of trips after that where the fumes were an annoyance but not sick-making. A week ago Saturday, Dave was with me as we went to go pick up a rocking chair a kind Freecycler was giving to me. I get motion sickness on the gliders that are what most people buy to rock their babies. I can't use the gliders at all, but a traditional old-fashioned rocking chair is fine. I was amazed to learn that those traditional rocking chairs are actually difficult to find in adult sizes. I found a few online, but didn't want to spend the $100-$400 for one sight-unseen since I wouldn't know if it was comfortable. The few we did see were either hideously upholstered or they were more of a novelty that didn't rock so much as give little jolts and I guess they were more form than function. So, I was getting one for free, and by the way we eventually got it home and it is beautiful. I love Freecycle. :)
We made it about 3 miles from home and I was driving on the freeway, just 1 mile from our exit, and the car stalled as I was changing lanes. It was a little scary since I was in a pocket of heavy traffic, but I was able to get the car pulled over and restarted. I blamed it on my own driving skills, thinking I somehow killed the car when downshifting - but on the freeway? It was odd, and I've never done that before, but I didn't want to accept that my car, whom I affectionately refer to as "Betsy," was dying. Dave didn't want to proceed to our exit so I went off the very next exit and pulled in to the first gas station. Dave checked the water and a few other things and he still thought the car was overheating, though the temperature gauge was still working but showing the car was fine. We got back on the road and within about a minute, a whole pile of steam blew out of the vents as the heater coil blew. Apparently, in my car, it was made of plastic and since the car is about 15-years-old, the plastic just wore out - helped out by the 110 degree heat.
My theory, however, is that we were in a sort of bad area in 110 degree heat and I was 6-months pregnant. It was fate.
We kept driving but the car stalled every 2-3 blocks. We decided to try to make it home but we were in the San Jose Triangle, which is a lot like the Bermuda Triangle - we were lost. It took us about an hour and a half to make our way home in this manner, which was only about 6-8 miles. I don't know how cars work, but Dave said the radiator also blew at the same time. Anyway, the entire damage would cost more than the car is worth to have it professionally repaired. We can't really afford another car right now. We were really hoping Betsy would hang in there another 2 years so we could hopefully get the new VW diesel hybrid. I'm not satisfied enough with the cars currently on the market, but in about 2 years or so there are many options that please me.
Dave's been fixing Betsy in his free time, which isn't much these days. He's replaced the radiator but the heater coil is a huge job. He's going to have to remove the entire front panel to get at it. Ugh!
This whole "rough week (and a bit)" actually started a few days before Betsy died, when Dave was involved in a 3-car accident driving to work. His car was rear-ended. His car was at the front of the line of 3, though, so the damage was minimal, but still landed the Jaggie in the shop for nearly 2 weeks. When Betsy died we were without a car between the 2 of us. Dave was able to borrow a car from work for a few days and then the insurance company of the person who caused the accident paid for a rental car which Dave and I have been sharing. We returned it yesterday and got the Jaggie back. In the meantime, there isn't much I can get up to these days since I'm not allowed to walk anywhere (will get to that in another post) and have no car for driving unless I take Dave to work in the morning and pick him up in the evening. I did that yesterday so I could make my OB appointment (went great, btw) and will do tomorrow so I can go to the breastfeeding class at my clinic - I wonder if they'll have me try to breastfeed anyone. Hmm, scary thought!