Leaving Athens was not easy

After spending a week with one of my best friends and getting to decorate, write and organize (3 of my favorite things!), and having great moments with him and our other friends that will last a lifetime … of course leaving was not easy. Tears and hugs abound as I won’t see Chris for a whole month (a long time after seeing him every day for a whole week) … but  I digress. That’s not what I’m talking about now.

When I say leaving Athens was not easy … I mean literally. I asked Chris to back my car out of the too-tight parking space for me so I could go. I should mention this is not actually my car; I have a convertible that has a hole in the top (not good for a 3.5 hour road trip in the winter), so I had driven my father-in-law’s car, a Mercedes S500 (great car – but a very large car compared to my BMW M3 that I normally drive.) As Chris got in to back the car up, we realized the car would not start. Because the battery was dead.

My first thought, of course: Call AAA. That’s why we pay for them, right? Of course, Chris is a guy, (a stubborn guy) and a dead battery is no cause to call AAA … we’ll just jump it! Except, the car is flanked by a gate on one side, and a vehicle on the other, and there is a concrete wall in front of it. The hood is not accessible at all, so how would we even get his car close enough to jump it? We’ll call AAA, I repeat. But no, Chris has another plan. We’ll push my car, out of the spot, back it into another spot that is sort of across from my spot (meaning steering necessary), then pull Shaun’s car up to jump it. Or we could call AAA.

Fine, he says, we’ll call AAA. We go upstairs to get a signal on my phone so we can call, and Shaun is playing Rock Band on the couch. Chris tellls him what happened. “We can just jump it,” Shaun says. Explain dilemma about accessibility. “No problem, we’ll push it.”

These boys …

I call AAA and put in a request for a jump. The dispatcher says she will call back with an estimated time of the tow truck driver’s arrival. Meantime, we go downstairs to check out the car, and Shaun drives his car down “just in case.”

They decide pushing it is no problem, so that’s what we’ll do. I cannot back up well in normal circumstances (i.e., car is running) and Chris explains this fault of mine to Shaun. No worries, Shaun will steer and Chris will push. What should I do, I ask. I’m told to walk away to where I cannot see what is going on (presumably so I can get signal so I know when AAA is coming, but we all know better.)

I walk outside of the parking garage and wait. AAA calls and says it will be 45 minutes to an hour. No problem, I don’t mind waiting. I go in the garage to tell them and they have actually managed to move my car. I watch them glide it into the spot, and it’s a better parking job than I could have done had the car been running (which isn’t saying much, but still …)

I must mention how impressed I am by their super-human strength and ability to lift the car up and place it gently where they want it (OK, I promised them I’d make them sound really strong.) We might not need AAA after all.

We lift the hood and look for the battery. That’s when I saw this, underneath the hood:

Oops. Well, what is there to do but laugh? So laugh we did. The trunk had been easily accessible this entire time. Shaun turns his car around, so his hood is now next to my trunk, and we proceed to empty out my trunk and search for the battery (easier said than done; we had to consult the owner’s manual in order to find it!)

Then jumper cables out and about to be hooked up, when Chris noticed that to connect the cables to the battery also meant touching the cables to the carpet, which he was somewhat nervous about … What if the car catches on fire? The two start discussing what to do in case of the car catching on fire, when I step in and insist we wait for AAA. No fires to my father-in-law’s car today, please.

A few minutes later the tow company sent by AAA shows up (early, for the record). The driver asks us to pop the hood, at which point we tell him the battery is in the trunk. “Um, yeah, I know,” he says. “But sometimes Mercedes has a hot spot for the battery in the hood.” OK, we’ll shut up. …

Turns out there was not a hot spot in the hood, so he did use the trunk. And his portable battery thingie (love my official term for this?) didn’t give it a charge (“Your battery is really dead,” he told me), so he ended up using Shaun’s car after all. So it turns out backing the car up really wasn’t a bad idea, after all. Guess Chris and Shaun really knew what they were talking about!

The driver told me not to turn the car off for at least an hour and a half or else this could happen to the newly charged battery, so I ran upstairs for a last-minute bathroom break and another goodbye to JC the cat, then made my ever-so-graceful sputtering exit out of the parking garage and back to Charlotte.

Thanks Shaun and Chris – you are my heroes!



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