Wednesday, June 08, 2011

6/8/2011 Car trouble

Gabriel's soccer team is SO awesome in some ways and SO lame in others. No team party this year; just a "practice" today in which the coach would hand out trophies.

I was running late from work, so first I picked up Katrina, then zoomed home to get Gabriel's soccer stuff at home (forgot it this morning), then planned to pick up the boys and get Gabriel to soccer.

But the last left turn I made before getting home with Katrina, I thought, "that's odd, the clutch feels really light." I didn't notice anything as I pushed in the clutch in again to put the car in reverse to park in the driveway, parked, then pushed the clutch in one final time to put the car in neutral...and it stuck. The clutch pedal just stayed there, stuck to the ground!!

Uh-oh. I wasn't going anywhere.

I was stunned by my good and bad luck. Did my car really just become catastrophically undrivable, with no warning, in my driveway?! It could just as well have died a few blocks away, turning an amazing irony into a huge pain in the ass!! (Note to moto-geek friends: YES I know it's possible to drive it without a clutch, but this was no time to learn, tons of stop-n-go traffic.)

But there I was, in my driveway, with a now-undrivable car. And I had to get Gabriel to soccer practice!

However, we do have the purple pickup. I rushed Katrina into the pickup, then got the boys, and zoomed Gabriel to his last "practice."

But no one was there....did I get the location wrong? Argh, I couldn't check my email, because in my hurry I'd left my iPhone in my disabled car in the driveway. On top of it, the A/C doesn't work in the pickup, a serious annoyance in a truck with manual windows and a screechy little girl who hates wind on her.

I took the kids home, where I found Dave working on my car (just a hydraulic line problem, he can fix it this weekend). I checked email: the team's field permit expired, so the coach handed out trophies at 5:30 today, which had long since passed. Fooey. Not that I care about stupid "participation" trophies, but I'd have liked to make the one little stab at ceremony this soccer experience has had!

Just last night I was working (again) on my Death Valley writeup, which reminded me how grateful I was at the time to know I had a reliable car.

Our first day in Death Valley, we rescued a poor guy whose battery had died after leaving his hazards on for a flat tire (what a day that must have been for him). I had the jumper cables, a working car, and hand wipes for him afterward, and he was pretty relieved! It was 102 degrees on a very long stretch of straight road with nothing around for miles. Death Valley is no place to have your car die.

But I'd taken the boys on far more desolate roads than that, confident in the knowledge that my car is reliable and well-maintained -- Dave takes meticulous care of it. But when your clutch dies out of the blue, it's pretty unnerving.

Dave points out this is a minor, if odd, failure, and he can fix it. This car has always been sort of lemon-y for a Subaru, and this hydraulic line problem really isn't related to the car's construction, but still, it gets me thinking. Financially I don't have the stomachh to buy another car, but today half of me is ready to say "screw it!!"


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