Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So much for Miss Independent.

Yesterday on my way home from the gym the "low coolant" light flashed on in my car. [Awesome.] Well, everybody knows that the time to take care of a little automotive matter such as that is not immediately after turning off the engine so coolant can spew all over landing you in a burn unit. Taking my cue from Scarlett, I decided to worry about it another day. Which really meant, I'll take care of it in the morning before work because I'm always looking for reasons to get up even earlier than I normally do.

Of course I forgot all about it until 7:37 this morning as I was on my way out the door. Being the former Girl Scout that I am, I went into the laundry room and got the bottle of Dex-Cool (otherwise known as "red kool-aid for canines") and headed downstairs. Much to my dismay, my car did not magically transform into a red xc90 overnight, but tomorrow is another day and hope springs eternal. [I'm pretty sure the engineers over at Volvo designed those with me in mind.] Back to reality.

So I popped the hood and set about the arduous task of unscrewing the radiator cap. What? Just because I'm a girl you're surprised that I know where the radiator is in my car? I also know how to check the oil, brake fluid, and tire pressure, and change a headlight but I don't like to brag. Let's not talk about the fact that I drove an hour to my parents' house a couple of years ago when I was stopped in traffic and looked up just in time to see a RAT crawl out from under the hood and start running back and forth across the windshield. No way was I going to be the one to open up the hood to potentially find the other two blind mice camped out in there. Thanks, Dad. I digress. Again.

As it turns out, the radiator cap was a little more of a challenge to unscrew than I anticipated. I [very slowly] twist, twist, twist until suddenly it gets much easier to do so. I'm sure the fact that the top of the cap has now separated from the part that is still in the radiator has nothing to do with it either. So I sighed. Loudly. And then stood there. I imagine that I looked much like this except in my professional working girl attire instead of my weekend wear...
Then I got the bright idea that I would just try to twist what was left of the cap off with my cold bare hands. It was a great idea for about 20 minutes until I realized that I was getting nowhere fast and my hands were beginning to hurt. Really badly. One of my neighbors stopped on his way out and asked if everything was alright. My response? "Yep, it is! Just adding some coolant." Polite smile and back to work because this damsel was not in distress. Then I started really regretting my response because what happened if he wheeled back in at 5:00 this afternoon and I was still standing there "adding coolant"? Why didn't I just ask for help? Because I don't like to ask people to do things for me. Which probably explains why I was never the "Top Cookie Seller" in my Brownie troop.

All attempts exhausted, I did the smart thing by simply closing the hood and hopping in the car to go to work. The car that is low on coolant...meaning at risk to run hot...with a radiator cap halfway off. During my commute I call mom, resident problem-solver extraordinaire, and request that she drive to Athens to take care of it for me while I was at work. I kid!

Fortunately there is an auto parts store very close to work. So around mid-morning I went over to see if by chance they had any radiator caps for sale. I walked into the store with the broken off part of the cap in my hand and request a new one. After helping me, my soon-to-be-new friend Ruben informs me that "she" [nods toward said female who I happen to be discussing hair straighteners with] will ring up my item. I responded by asking if he had any suggestions on how to get the current cap off to which he said "you mean you broke it off in the radiator?" Um. Yes...

In a flash Ruben had on his blue work gloves and was outside to conquer the broken radiator cap. About 15 minutes, 2 sets of pliers and 1 screwdriver later the mission was accomplished. Suddenly I wasn't feeling as badly about my own inability to remove it myself. I mean, he's a trained professional right?

For those of you who are still reading in hopes of me finally getting around to the point of this story, I'm sorry to say that there isn't one. Unless it's that I'm [still] far too frilly for man's work.

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