Thursday, February 17, 2011

All woah, no go

This morning I decided it'd be a great time to go to town. It snowed yesterday, and today was supposed to be pretty clear til the afternoon, then more snow was coming. I wanted some paint, some primer, and better caulk. And then the truck wouldn't start. FUCK!

I will admit that I texted G to see WTF to do. When the brakes went out, I snapped into my "what's the next rational step" crisis mode, but today? WAAAAHHHH. Hands flapping in the air, totally helpless. G was like "call the dealership and they'll send a tow truck" and I got back on track.

I thought maybe it was the battery, but that truck was dead like a dead thing. The window I'd left half-down two days ago wouldn't roll up, the doors wouldn't lock or unlock, and it was clicking. There was a strange clicking noise coming from behind the freakin' glove box when the key was not being turned. As soon as I turned the key, the truck got quiet as a grave.

Anyway, it was weird. I so desperately wish this was a "hahah Funder is bad at trucks" story, but it's not. I called the dealership, who gave me the number for Ford Roadside Assistance. Once I got through the "are you in danger do you want us to call 911!" voice tree, a pleasant dispatcher confirmed all my info and gave me a 45 minute estimate. I ate some scrambled eggs, sulked briefly, and packed the iPad and some crap in a bag.

The tow truck showed up in 30 minutes. The truck was so dead he couldn't get it out of park, so he had to disconnect the linkage (?) to yank the truck out of the garage, but he was pretty pro. We rolled out through the snow (yes, it was snowing) and headed to the dealership. The service guy at the dealership is from Middle Tennessee so we got along great, and he thought maybe the alternator had died. He plopped me down in the waiting room and I reread most of the latest Dresden Files novel.

About 3 the service guy came and got me. There is something worse wrong with the truck - they can't get it out of park. They hooked the linkage thing back up, and got power to it to crank it, but it's stuck in park. WTF. Truck. I had your woah fixed less than a week ago. You are two years old, which is entirely too young even in planned-obsolecence 21st century America for you to die. You have not even reached 27,000 miles (as far as I remember, because you wouldn't light up at all this morning.) I'd like for you to both go forward and stop, when I ask, within the laws of physics.

Anyway, Middle Tennessee gave me a loaner car. Hah! Stupid Future Ford gave me a lame Yaris rental; this dealership gave me one of their very own Fusions. At least the turn signals and stuff are in the right place, but it's still a car and I don't like it. It's like a foot off the ground with tiny windows and front wheel drive and I bet it won't tow more than 1500 lbs and it sucks.

Still, I was so grateful to have wheels again that I went straight to my favorite pizza place and bought a pepperoni and pancetta pizza, then stopped at a grocery store for a bottle of bourbon. Then I drove home in my tiny perilous car and had pizza and a drink and life is not so frustrating or bad right now. :)

They've changed the forecast every 30 minutes since I got home. It looks like tonight's forecast is "a hell of a lot" south of Reno and "quite a bit" up here north of Reno. They won't get my precious truck fixed before the roads get plowed, but it's still pretty annoying.

A note on the difficulty of moving around the US and buying liquor:

So I'm from Mississippi, which has some of the most regressive liquor laws that I'm aware of. You can get beer anywhere (unless it's a dry county), but wine and liquor have to come from package stores (see above re: dry counties) - and package stores only sold liquor, no mixers or cups or ice. I lived in Virginia, which had state-owned ABC (alcoholic beverage c-something) stores - same idea. Tennessee was downright progressive - the liquor stores also sold "big" beers, and, IIRC, grocery stores sold wine. When we moved to Ohio we were hysterically amused by the shockingly liberal liquor laws - Kroger had a liquor aisle! And you could buy liquor on Sundays! So we were kind of expecting it when we headed west to Nevada - you can buy any kind of drink you want, any time of any day, from any store at all here. I used to go a hairdresser who'd offer me beer or wine while she cut my hair!

So after years of "if you want to drink, you have to go to the package store for the liquor and then next door to the grocery store for the mixers," you'd think it'd be really easy to pick up some whiskey in Reno. It's technically simpler, but there's a whole new level of complexity - if everyone sells everything, you're basing your decision primarily on price and quantity. I could get airline bottles of Maker's Mark for $7 a pop at the gas station, or I could get a 1.75 liter at Costco for $35, or I could find a grocery store and get something in between for an in-between value. I ended up stopping at a grocery store and paying $45 for a 1.75. It was worth it to get home quicker in the snow - everybody else had the same idea, and 395 was horribly backed up and slushy.


  1. loaner cars: I "fixed" the dealer years ago so that they will only give me APPROPRIATE loaners now: I took a muddy rottweiller (friend's dog)with me to pick up the loaner.

    They looked at me + Tonner, looked at the lovely leather-interiored Lincoln town car (!!!!) loaner, and said, "how about a nice Suburu station wagon instead?"

    They CAN be taught.

    RE: liquor laws, they are crazy. In the Swamp, liquor sales are only at State liquor stores, and they don't sell beer or mixers. However, most liquor stores I know are located next door to a grocery store that does sell all that stuff. We voted in the last election to leave the arrangement "as is", so I guess most of us like it this way...or at least, we figure that we can cope with it pretty easily!

  2. Aarene - but they only offered a no-frills Ford sedan to start! And they made me promise no pets. I gotta ease them in to my lifestyle.

    I can't say I miss the liquor-then-mixers life, mainly because I swore off the mixers. ;)

    As an update to the "grrr snow" part of the post, I was looking through my old Flickr pics and found this: gonna die in Mississippi in '09. Let's contrast it with the latest update today: yawn in Nevada, '11.

  3. Glad Middle Tennessee guy treated you right - makes me proud! :)

  4. At least you had Harry Dresden to keep you occupied!

  5. I have realized that there are few things that are as frustrating as a new vehicle that won't start.

    I'm sure most of us have driven old beaters at one point in our lives and every time you got in that vehicle, you prayed it would start. When it did, you were like, Yahhh! Having progressed to newer vehicles, your mindset just isn't like that anymore. So when you get nothing when you turn the key, it's like a mind-meltdown.

    I grew up on a Reservation. You can't buy alcohol on them, but there is conveniently located stores on every road leading off the Rez. LOL. I purposely chose a college in WY because the drinking age was still 19 and then moved to a dry county in Alabama. Felt like I was back on the Rez! Colorado is lack. Lots of liquor stores and you can buy beer in pretty much all of the convenience stores, but it's 3.2. You can only get high-point beer at a liquor store.

  6. I always marvel at the liquor laws in the States vs Canada. When you think it's the pits where you live, think about the great white north. We can buy liquor, international wines, and small quantities of beer from a government run liquor store, beer from a beer store in quantity,some provincial wines from the grocery store and international wines from government wine stores. We can buy most of the above on Sunday. Mixers can be purchased at grocery stores. I'm sure you know this, but it will make you feel better. Needless to say we do try to stock up in the winter.

  7. Hi Funder when you come on holiday to England I'll show you lots of Tolkien places and a supermarket that has every type of drink spread over a couple of aisles. But we'll have to go in a truck with 130,000 miles on it (only failed to start twice and that's because it needed a new battery) and you won't be able to bring your gun.

    I do hope that you get your truck fixed.

    Can you have a still in your shed and make moonshine?

  8. BEC knows what I'm talking about. Trucks of a certain age one expects some occasional issues from. Two year old trucks are expected to work all the time!

    Got it back today. New battery (free under the amazing warranty) and I'm rolling again. Note to self: when the voice activated Sync thing goes out, check the battery/alternator instead of just grumbling about it for three days til the truck won't start. Sync died last weekend and I didn't want to take it in and sit in the dealership for hours to get it fixed - turns out it wasn't getting enough juice from the dying battery to do its thing.

    QHH - interesting! I didn't know anything about liquor laws in .ca, thanks!

    WHP - deal! It's a sign of maturity and character for an older truck to not always want to start. ;)

  9. OK, but what about getting it out of park. What was that about??

    I'm in the same state are Aarene. Only where I live the liquor stores are not next door or even in safe walking distance of the grocery stores. Not that I drink anyway, because then I cannot see well enough to walk. Having double vision sucks. I miss out on all the fun.

  10. Car troubles frustrate me like nothing else (except maybe computer troubles). Sounds like a rough day.

    I think liquor laws are rather silly (except regarding drinking and driving). I spent a lot of time in Pennsyltucky this summer and they are really lax. It was quite a different world.

  11. Poor Funder and your stupid truck! Hope tihngs get fixed up and there is little to no cost (warranty?).

    And hell yes - pizza and al-key-hol always, always makes things better.

  12. I feel your pain! I'm no mechanic (guns, no problem!) and everytime my truck dies, it's a source of major frustration and dread over how bad the repair bill is going to be (I have a Ford F-250 diesel).

    Two years is WAY to short a time for things to start dying on your truck.

    Extreme cold is a real killer, especially on batteries. When I was in the Army, it was a real pain getting vehicles started in extreme cold, especially the diesel variety.

    It's amazing what ether can do for a quick, but somewhat hazardous start-up.

    Hope you get your truck back soon- I hate driving cars too... :-)


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