A comedy of errors
Muse #126 - it's not a breeze in the park
It all started when my wife wanted to play ping-pong or as we call it formally - table tennis. She suggested retrofitting the deck dining table in some way to play on it, but one thing led to another and I was on eBay’s Kijiji (the popular Craigslist look-alike used products website here in Canada) looking for options.
Now I found a few tables that could be potentially bought. But before committing, we needed to answer the question of how to bring one home. So, the next step was dimensions. Most standard table sizes were 9 feet x 5 feet which folded down to half that size for storage or transport.
Well, it is easy, now just measure the minivan. Our trusty 2009 Honda Odyssey. Well, it wasn’t that simple. The van had been idling in the garage for the last two months since most of the family is working from home and I had undergone surgery in April and was not allowed to drive until recently. The battery was now bone-dead. So neither the sliding doors nor the rear lift door in the back would open.
Easy breezy. We could fix the van within an hour or ninety minutes, tops. So, it diverted to this project. All I had to do is put the car in neutral, wheel it out to the driveway by pushing it and then I could hook another of my car’s batteries through a jumper cable and the van would be working again. Not that fast, said Mr. Murphy, who was running and hiding around us all day.
The minivan would not shift gears. It was dead indeed. So, had to wrestle with a small lever to release the shifters manually and pushed the minivan out to the driveway. Oops, problem solved. But no, not yet. Could not find the jumper cables. Where could they be?
The search for the jumper wire started with the cars themselves, but I could not find them in any of the storage pocket areas or with the spare tires. Then the search went to all of the garage storage boxes, the rear garden shed, and finally, there was indeed a jumper cable in the basement storage area. Voila!
Not too fast again said, Mr. Murphy. I parked the car as close as possible on the driveway to the minivan, but the cable wouldn’t reach. It was short by a couple of feet. This cable could be used to jump only when the cars face each other. But, but, did I not have another longer cable available. The one that I bought exactly to solve this problem last time? Where the heck is it?
Is it in the garage storage racks above? A trip to the basement brought the 3-step-stool to search the storage racks. Once I climbed up and started looking - there was no jumper cable to be found but what is this puddle on the racks? It was a leaking can of winter wiper fluid with a puddle of green fluid all around. Stop the work. A new emergency project now. Removed everything from the racks and with the help of my daughter, who was now seconded to the cleaning duty, everything needed was wiped down. The defective container was transferred to another partially empty container. And this diversion project took the better part of 45-60 minutes.
So where could the longer jumper cable be? Let’s check the cars again. And voila, this time it was indeed my lucky charm. The minivan had a storage pocket at the very end on the left side and there it was - the longer jump cable. Problem solved.
Two cars now side by side with their hoods open, jumper cable installed between the batteries. Tried to start. Nothing. It was deadly silence. Like the upcoming just released Quiet place II movie. Ok, what now?
I had to bite the bullet and call CAA (the Canadian version of the AAA) for a professional jump. No cost as we had a membership, but it took an additional half-hour when Tom from CAA battery service came in and used two of his powerful battery packs to help start the minivan. Problem solved, finally. Just run the car around for about 45-60 minutes to bring the battery levels up from 1.2 volts to 4.6 volts, then it will all be good. (Later on, I found that these tables wouldn’t fit the automatic doors that finally worked, but that is another story)
After leaving the car running for 15 minutes on the driveway, we then decided to take the car around for a spin to recharge the batteries quicker. As I was driving to reach a freeway entry point, the dash said “Low fuel - range 0 km”. What the heck was that? Fill gas. Easy. Right?
Now the problem was we could not switch off the car to fill gas in a gas station as the battery is yet to be charged. I happened to remember that we had some gas at home for the lawnmowers so drove back home to use this to fill up without switching off the engine.
The rest of the day was uneventful. We had a wonderful drive around for an hour including up to the Hamilton Mountain viewpoint with a pause to fill the gas tank on the way back (this time we could switch off the car and start it) and everything finally ended 7 hours from the time we started the small project to measure the car’s back door size.
From an expected Easy Breezy day in the park, it ended up being a comedy of errors - a day fully filled with a ton of potholes and was more like crawling through the mud. But, in the end, all’s well that end’s well. And Mr. Murphy finally went home happy after a hard day’s work and a job well done.