I had car trouble today. The car I JUST BOUGHT. (Okay, the car my father-in-law gave me for free. Still.) But before I get to that, let me tell you about last month's car trouble.
LAST MONTH'S CAR TROUBLE or THE STORY OF THE RADIOACTIVE GREEN FLUID
So last month I am happily driving along in my big ass Ford Explorer, recently acquired from my in-laws, and the car I previously considered to be the Most Fabulous Vehicle In The World. It spent a few glorious years on the UW campus as my-future-husband's method of transportation. In fact, it may be the utterly breathtaking way he could slouch back, steer, and jab at the radio presets at the same time that made me fall in love with him in the first place.
But anyway, there I am driving up to Greenwood to meet my Way Cool Vegan Friend at a snazzy little vegetarian restaurant. (Yes, I said "snazzy vegetarian restaurant." We are so hip.) Of course, there is no parking near the vegetarian restaurant so I drive farther into the neighborhood and park in front of a house. I'm getting out of the car, congratulating myself on not having to parallel park, and- hmm. What is that little puddle snaking its way down the street?
I turn around and neon green liquid is GUSHING out of the front of the Explorer. And I am no mechanic, but I know that's not a good thing.
What's the first thing I do?
Me: I have a problem.
Me: Yes. The Explorer just threw up green stuff all over the street.
P: Oh, it's probably leaking a little radiator fluid.
Me: (Storing the phrase "radiator fluid" away for future use.) Um, no, not leaking. Gushing. As in, an entire bucket of green stuff was emptied onto the street.
Me: Uh, can you call a tow truck?
Then I call WCFW to give her the rotten news. WCVF, because she is that cool, treks down to the scene of the destruction with me to wait for the tow truck. And Phillip shows up not much later, just to strut his stuff under the hood, and decide that yes, we definitely need that tow truck.
But before the tow truck arrives, a deceptively friendly-looking man pulls out of a nearby driveway, creeps slowly towards us, stops, and rolls down his window. "You guys gonna clean that up?"
Phillip, myself, and WCVF stare miserably at the vast amount of radioactive green fluid trickling down the street and collecting in the small ruts and holes in the concrete. I'm a wuss, so I say nothing. It's not WCVF's fault, so she says nothing. But my completely awesome husband begins to discuss the myriad of ways we could possibly clean up the mess- and is Mr. Righteousness-sitting-in-the-car willing to help?
Mr. Righteousness: That's poison, you know.
Phillip: We don't have anything to soak it up with. We'll have to go home to get some rags. Do you have any rags?
Mr. R: You can't just leave that on the street like that.
P: Maybe we can flush it away with water. Can we borrow your hose?
Mr. R: I don't mean to give you a hard time, but it's irresponsible to just leave it.
P: I know there's some stuff we can pour on the concrete to absorb it, but I think we have to vacuum it up. Do you have a vacuum cleaner?
Mr. R: A poor little puppy is going to walk by and lick that stuff and DIE.
P: We'll have to leave it while we're getting stuff to clean it up with.
Mr. R: Do you want to be responsible for all the dead pets on this street?
ME (timidly interjecting): Sir, we've discussed the options and we're doing the best we can.
Mr. R: Well, the responsible thing to do is clean it up.
And he drives away shaking his head, thinking about the Horrible Irresponsible People who let their Horrible SUV gush Horrible Poison all over his Pristine and Perfect Street.
Oh, it was awful! I really did begin to wonder about all the dead puppies. WCVF had some rags in her car that she let us borrow before she escaped the scary green fluid madness and went back to the world where cars work. And then? The tow truck arrived. And what did the tow truck driver do? Pour MORE scary green fluid into the Explorer and tell me that no problem, I can drive it to the shop myself!
I was not particularly excited about this proposal, but Phillip's car is a standard and I can't drive standards (shut up) and if Phillip drove the Explorer to the shop I'd just be stuck there with his Subaru... So I sucked it up, got back in the Explorer, and drove four blocks before it began to overheat. I lurched into a church parking lot where the Explorer purged itself of the rest of the radiator fluid. All over the church parking lot. Which was also a basketball court. Where small boys were playing. Small boys who might lick up radiator fluid. Who could DIE.
We called the tow truck back and he only gave us twenty bucks off and it was a REALLY BAD WAY TO SPEND THE EVENING.
And now TODAY'S SUCKTASTIC CAR TROUBLE
Today I am driving to Puyallup and cheerfully noting that none of the people stranded on the shoulders of the freeway are me. Yay me! And then, with my exit nearly in sight, the battery light goes on and I lose power steering. Did you read that? I lost POWER STEERING. On the FREEWAY.
Fortunately I am one cool cookie and and I can talk on my cell phone and drive without power steering at the same time.
Me: I can't steer. The steering wheel is locked up.
P: You're kidding me.
Me: I have to turn! Wait a sec! *drop phone into lap*
Me: I'm back! I turned! I don't know what to do!
P: Are any warning lights on?
Me: The battery thingy. And the radiator needle is going berserk. DAMN THE RADIATOR!
P: Pull over!
Me: There's my exit! There's my exit!
I drive 3 mph down the 20 mph exit, pull over to the shoulder, and execute my next line of attack.
Most Wonderful Dad In The World: Where are you?
Me: The exit! Ten minutes away! Can't steer! Stuck!
MWDITW: I'll come get you.
And he did. Know what else he did? He drove the Explorer to the shop. Without power steering! Well, almost. He was late to a doctor appointment and left the last third to my mom and I who have about 10% of a mechanically-inclined brain between us. We assured him we could totally make it around the block to the shop and we did, after another 20 minutes and much yelling of "Can I go?! Can I go?!" and "You're clear! You're clear!". Also, my mom totally yelled back at the mean woman who yelled at me for partway blocking an entrance. Because my mom rocks.
It was the fan belt. And a turbine. Something about melting? And a turbine getting stuck? And the belt couldn't go around? I made them give me the turbine thingy so I could prove to Phillip that I wasn't making it up. I also made it back to Seattle in one piece, which is good, because I didn't want to have to sue the nice guy at the shop. But I am not driving anywhere tomorrow. The Explorer has to sit there all day and Think About What It Did.