Last Wednesday, Katrina’s check engine light came on just as I was getting ready to put all my worldly possessions into it and head to the Northwest. My roommate and Oregon traveling buddy, Kate, and I were scheduled to depart on Friday, so I didn’t know whether to cry or curse, but I knew I needed some help quick! I called the office at Jim’s Automotive in Glenwood and was relieved to hear they had a cancellation and could get me in by 2:00 the same day! Woo Hoo!
2:00 pm: As I settle into the cool waiting room, and listen to the churnings of the fixing-your-car business, I think how lucky I am to live in this small community where people care about your problems. I check messages and emails on my phone. I glance at a couple automotive magazines that hold my attention for less time than it takes to get from 0-70 mph. I wait….
An hour goes by and for some strange reason I feel like I need to be here, in this comfortable waiting room, because the mechanic will come in any moment and hand me the keys and say “it was just a loose gas cap” or “a little wire was off” or “the check engine light didn’t really mean to come on and ruin your vacation, it’s all good now”. But he didn’t.
3:00 pm: OK, so apparently it isn’t an “easy” problem to solve. The ladies working at the front desk, Leah and Jess, offer me an icy soft drink, which I politely decline because I am certain I won’t be there long enough to finish it. I pretend to organize my purse, read both local papers, the current issue of the Roaring Fork Lifestyle and stare out the window. I don’t want to start pacing yet, so I try to relax….
4:00 pm: Still relaxing, meditating, thinking about approaching the nice ladies at the front desk to threaten them with strangulation if they don’t tell me what is going on with the van.
4:35 pm: Meanwhile the owner, Jim, has been watching me as I patiently wait. He asks the front desk attendants if they have any news about the van. They give him the secret we-know-nothing look so he slips into the repair bay to check it out for himself. I’m still relaxing so I don’t follow him…but within minutes Leah is on the phone talking in code (do you have a #905GZ23@lmnop?) and steals a glance in my direction.
4:45pm: It is close enough to closing that I figure they won’t hold me hostage much longer. Maybe they liked the way I was dusting and organizing the magazine shelf?? No, I’m not angry, just trying to formulate my next move in case they don’t get me out of here soon!
4:50 pm: Leah and Jess are frantically answering the phone, leaving a few “I-am-so-sorry-to-tell-you..” messages and checking out other customers while I’m getting more nervous by the minute. I don’t deny their end-of-the-day routine, but wish there was a breather so Leah could finish the business with the parts house.
5:00 ish: Finally the phone rings, Leah takes the call and quietly asks questions about availability and shipping. She hangs up, types a few keystrokes into her computer and prints out the worksheets (yes, there is more than one!). In slow motion I watch her walk over and sit down beside me like a nurse giving bad news to a cancer patient’s family. My heart sinks a little as she explains why the check engine light came on: two temperature sensors need to be replaced. Good news: the parts are in Denver, can be here by Thursday, cost with overnight shipping, sensors and labor is around $500, and I’ll be able to start vacation on time – yipee!!
5:05 pm: But wait, there’s more! My heart drops as Leah hands me the other paper. She tells me the check engine light was my friend because it brought to their attention the growling noise (yes, I heard it too!) coming from under the van when they did the test drive. It turns out the rear driveshaft, or some part of it, is about to go. Leah says that I could probably get by without replacing the sensors, but a driveshaft is a different story. While she carefully explains the problem, the cost and time delays, my brain clicks and clacks through my options.
I was supposed to leave on Friday, reservations in Oregon start on Monday, the 12th; the new driveshaft won’t come in until Monday, why is this happening to me? What will Kate say? More importantly, what would dad do if he were in my shoes?
5:30 pm: It didn’t take too long to figure out I had to get the repairs done even if it meant cutting the Oregon trip short. Leah searched for the best prices, placed the orders and sent me on my way promising to get Katrina mended on Monday. Once home, I relayed the saga to Kate. She was very understanding and seemed a little relieved. Turns out she wasn’t quite ready to leave on Friday either.
When in doubt,
eat ice cream pack and label!
Follow along as Kate prepares to leave and Katrina gets a hip replacement and pacemaker.
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