Girls don't know cars, I guess

Some background: When I was in high school, my dad taught me how to use jumper cables, how to change a tire, how to check my oil. My father made sure that I would not be helpless with my car. My husband has known me for 13 years. Although he has not actually seen me change a tire or use jumper cables, he is aware that I have done so on numerous occasions. The important men in my life know that I am not an idiot about my car. So, when I made my way down to the lowest level of our underground parking garage to leave work on Friday, the car would not start. I turned the key, and the engine did nothing. The interior lights came on, the radio came on, the heat came on, the "bing-bing-bing" warning bell that dings when you only click the key far enough to turn on accessories but not actually start the car came on, but the engine did not. It did not do anything. It didn't try to turn over, it didn't click, it did nothing. I got one of the guys in the office to attempt to jump start it (just in case the battery was just low enough to have power for accessories but not the engine) but still nothing. I called DH to tell him that the car would not start, since this meant that I would be late (possible very much so) getting home.
Me: Hi, honey. We have a bit of a problem. The car won't start.
DH: What do you mean the car won't start? [I gotta ask: are their a lot of meanings to the phrase "the car won't start"? 'Cause I think it's a pretty straightforward statement. MK]
Me: I turn the key, and the engine doesn't do anything. I've got everything else, though, lights and radio and all, but the engine won't start at all.
DH: So, it's making that "zhjjj-zhjj sound?
Me: No. It's not making any sound.
DH: The battery must be dead. You should try to jump it.
Me: I tried already. The battery isn't dead. If the battery was dead, I wouldn't have any radio or lights or anything. I think it might be the starter or the alternator. It's not the battery, though.
DH: I think it's the battery. What are you going to do? Are you going to call Triple A? I have to be at band practice at 8:30.
Me: I'm going to call Dad and ask if I can borrow the station wagon, and I'll come home so you can go, and wait until Monday to call Triple A.
DH: OK. Call me back and let me know what's going on. So I called my father.
Me: Hey, Dad. My car won't start, so I need to see if I can borrow the station wagon.
Dad: Your car won't start? What's wrong with it?
Me: I don't know, exactly. The engine won't turn over, doesn't even attempt to turn over, but everything else works.
Dad: What happens when you turn the key?
Me: My interior lights come on, and my radio and heat and all, but the engine doesn't turn over or make any sound. I tried jumping it, but it didn't work.
Dad: Do you want me to come look at it and try to start it?
Me: No. I just want to know if I can borrow the wagon. I'll call Triple A, that's why I pay for them.
Dad: Is the car in park?
Me: Yes, it's in park. I already checked.
Dad: Well, go check again, and try to start it. Then call me back. So, I went down to the garage again, and tried (again) to start the car and the result was the same as it had been during the previous attempts. And I called my father back.
Me: Hey, Dad. It still won't start.
Dad: OK, I'll come look at it.
Me: You don't have to come look at it. I just need to borrow a car. I'll call AAA.
Dad: No, I'll come look at it. Maybe I can get it to start. [You know, since the minivan is just being sexist. MK] Where are you?
Me: I'm at my office. Remember last week when Nic and I were describing to you where my office is? With the hotel on the one side of us, and the Vitamin Shoppe on the other, and the all-you-can-eat place is in our lobby level? That's where I am. So, my father came to my office. And he noodled around with my car for another 20 minutes before informing me that he was baffled. He actually used the word "baffled." And he agreed to loan me the station wagon, and told me I should call AAA when I came to work this morning. And as we came out of the garage, he says "Oh, you've got a Vitamin Shoppe right next door!" Yeah. Glad he pointed that out to me. We went and picked up the spare car, and he told me to drive carefully. You know, since I'm such a wild woman that I'm going to be drag racing the station wagon. We all spend the weekend theorizing. DH maintained that it was the battery. I maintained that the problem was the starter or the alternater. MrNic said maybe the starter motor, rejecting the alternater idea. So this morning, when I got to work, I contact AAA to place a service call. You can put in a request through the website, so I put in my location (including checking the box for "parking garage") and make and model of the vehicle, and my need for a tow (including checking the box for "low clearance")and in the "additional information" section, I noted the clearance for the garage and described which level I was on to make it easier to find my car. The dispatcher called me back to verify my information for the tow truck, so I mentioned (again) that the garage has a low clearance.
Dispatcher: Oh. You have a low ceiling. I don't have that information here.
Me: It's a 6'0" clearance.
Dispatcher: Well, our trucks won't be able to do that. You'll have to get a jump so that you can get the car out of the garage.
Me: I already tried to jump it. It didn't work.
Dispatcher: You only need enough to get you out of the garage.
Me: Yeah, well, we couldn't get it to start at all.
Dispatcher: So what happens when you try to start the car?
Me: The accessories get power, but the engine won't start, or even make a sound like it's trying to turn over.[I was tempted to simply respond "It doesn't work."]
Dispatcher: I can send a technician to see if he can determine a solution. Would you like me to do that?
[No thanks, let's just let my dead car sit in the garage while we discuss the low clearance.]Me: Yes, please. So the AAA guy arrived, and noodled around for about 10 minutes, including jacking up the car and poking around underneath it, and re-attached the starter wire, which had some loose. And my car works fine now. And the AAA guy didn't ever ask me if if was in "park" or whether I had tried to jump start it, or anything else to imply that I didn't have a clue.


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Who's Who

    Hubby- aka DH My husband since 1995. He is the head of the band department at a college prep school, and dabbles as a wanna-be pop star.

    The Princess- aka DD. Third grader at the local parochial school. Loves butterlies, sparkly things, the color purple and has recently developed a crush on one of the twins from "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". Is ready for her teenage years, having already perfected her exasperated sigh and dramatic eye-roll.

    Hoss- aka DS1. Kindergartener and resident spirited child. His aunt likes to call him "the evil genius" because of his penchant for letting a lack of intellectual stimulation lead him into mischief. Likes trucks, sports, building things and burping. His current favorite word is "underwear."

    Lil Joe- aka DS2. Born in 2003. Doesn't say much we can understand, but has mastered the important stuff ("eat!", "Wash hands!", "Want chocolate ones!", "Hockey game!") Likes to push buttons, much to the consternation of whoever is trying to watch a DVD. Firmly refuses to use the potty, despite evidence that he is physically ready to be out of diapers, indicating a level of stubborn that eclipses even that of his parents and siblings.

    Me? I'm the Mama. That's all you need to know.

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