Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whoa. Aaay!

I was just informed via a Facebook status comment that the projected low temperature for Minneapolis this evening (negative 20 degrees) is the same as the temperature on the top of Mount Everest. I think it's as good a time as any to ask... who wants to come visit?

While you're booking your flight and consulting Wikipedia to study up on Minnesota lore, I have a story to tell you.

Remember a while back, when I decided that my trusty decade-old Saturn was perhaps self-healing and invincible? (No? You don't actually memorize every word I type? Fine then; here's a link.) Well, it turns out that the magical powers carefree whims of my car's electrical system aren't limited just to the lights within the dash panel.

One night last week my touchy-feely coworker flagged me down on my way out of the parking lot. I thought perhaps he wanted a quick hug before I left, but no, he just wanted to let me know that my right headlight was out. The last time this happened, I did what most lazy busy and important single women do: I took it in to let the Saturn service center goblins replace it. It wasn't terribly expensive, and I was overdue for an oil change and hence was going there anyway. This time, however, I decided I would replace it myself. After all, I fixed my car's air conditioner and went all Rosie-the-Riveter on my garage door springs... How hard can a light bulb be??

Figuring out how to free the light bulb from the plastic casing around it, however, requires a well-lit garage or discretionary daylight hours, neither of which I had at the moment. I put the project off until the weekend.

The next night, though, I was waiting at an intersection, and I noticed not one, but two, headlights reflected from my car onto the uncharacteristically clean and shiny (for Minnesota in road-spray season) SUV in front of me. Hurrah! My headlight was magically fixed! The Saturn IS self-healing! Brilliant! So confident was I in my car's mystical powers that when a friend inadvertently tapped my bumper and broke loose my front license plate frame on Saturday, I thought, "Eh. No worries. I'll just leave it in the front seat and surely it will reattach itself on its own when I'm not looking."

Unfortunately, it is now four days later and the license plate is still sitting forlorn in the same spot I left it. Also, waiting behind another shiny car on my way home last night, I realized I was back to one headlight again. Drat.

I tried to decide what I'd done since the light went out, reappeared, and went out again, and I formed a theory that was actually slightly more scientific than "Magic!" Last week, when I thought the light was burned out, I opened the hood to investigate how to get at it. The next day, the light was back on. Yesterday, I filled my wiper fluid when I stopped for gas. Later that night, the light was gone. I decided the force of the hood shutting must somehow be tripping the light, so I tested the theory to see. Open hood, slam shut. The light flipped on instantly. Open hood, slam shut. Darkness once again. Not wanting to walk back around to the driver's side door to release the hood another time, I gave the headlight a firm but gentle pound with the side of my fist. Happily, that worked, too.

I'm convinced now, of course, that my fist can solve any number of mechanical problems. I'm a protege of the Arthur Fonzarelli School of Auto Repair and Maintenance. Now if only I could apply this same skill to the license plate dilemma.


plumpy said...

Things I did today (in between court appearances):

1) had lunch in the park in a short sleeve shirt
2) went to the beach
3) had dinner al fresco

Record highs here in SF. Sorry you're suffering!

NGS said...

When I got into my car today, the people on the radio said it was -21 with a wind chill of -41. It takes me 35 minutes to get to work and my poor car never warmed up. On the upside, the weather people do say this is going to be the coldest it gets in Minneapolis this winter, so there's hope!!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Not that I encourage you hurting yourself in any way, but a post about you punching your license plate would be hilarious.

Jess said...

How very bizarre. It must be slightly loose. I bet the next time you go in for some other kind of service, someone will be happy to tighten it for free.

lizgwiz said...

Have you tried leaving a roll of duct tape or some super glue on the seat next to the license plate? Maybe the car just needs a little help. ;)

I'm very proud of myself when I manage to figure out anything car-related. Recently I deduced (through my keen powers of observation, and my reluctance to go to the mechanic until I absolutely had to) that an electrical system problem I was having intermittently that I thought was going to require the tearing open of the dash to replace a relay was actually caused by a slightly sticking ignition--a little graphite puffed inside, and we're good. For now, at least.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I bet, if you do pound on that license plate hard enough, it will attach itself.

Mary said...

You know what else would be magic? If you pounded the side of your plastic, Tupperware Saturn with your fist, only to see the dent magically pop out! Amazing!

I did this many times with my Tupperwaremobile.

Courtney said...

Cool! Can you come give your Fonz treatment to my broken windshield? I'd really like for the large crack to go away.

flurrious said...

I sense that you don't really respect The Fonz.

On the news today, they keep showing videos that people in Minneapolis sent in to their local affiliate. One woman threw coffee out of her cup and it froze in mid-air, and one guy blew a soap bubble that froze. So far, my favorite is the unpeeled banana that someone froze overnight and used to pound nails into a block of wood.

Anonymous said...

Is the friend who hit your car handy or any kind of guy? If so, I think that have a weekend project.......

Stefanie said...

Plump--Did I hear you were maybe coming back here for a visit next month? No, I'm guessing I misheard. Or if I heard correctly, this post alone might change your mind. Sorry about that.

NGS--And just think how balmy 20 degrees will feel this weekend! I might just leave my gloves at home.

NPW--I don't know that it would be, actually. Now, a video post, maybe. ;-)

Jess--I know; that's actually what I'm worried about. A light bulb I'm pretty certain I could replace on my own. But if there's a short in there or something? Yeah, that's beyond my area of expertise. (Fonzie didn't teach me that, obviously.)

Liz--OK, HOW did you figure that out? I am duly impressed. First the refrigerator and now this. You are much handier than you let on, my friend.

Dutchess--If I put some superglue or something on it first, then I bet you're right.

Mary--Ha. Well, that I haven't tried yet. Thanks for the tip, though.

Courtney--You know, I think that might be one repair where the Fonz treatment might actually make things worse. Sorry about that.

Flurrious--OK, that is hilarious and of course I had to go look for it. The meteorologist on our NBC affiliate made a "bammer"! A banana hammer! Oh, the things we do to amuse ourselves around here...

Monkey--Sadly, no. But I'm convinced I can fix it myself. Just as soon as I can bear to be outside for longer than two minutes at a time.

Aaron said...

The first thing that popped into my head was "Wow, you're like Han Solo with the Millennium Falcon!", and then I immediately felt very sorry for myself.

Mickey said...

You got an out-loud laugh from me with that Fonzie reference.

The last time I had my oil changed they told me I had a brake light out. I took it home, checked it, and they were both working fine. Now I'm thinking maybe it's intermittent like yours. The electrical system in my truck does all sorts of goofy things, so I don't see why not.

And negative-20? It's 9 here. Maybe I should go put some shorts on.

Mickey said...

Also, I just saw the "Major Award" in your sidebar. I got one of those for Christmas! Well, the small tea-light version, anyway, and not the full-size lamp.

Angela said...

I think you should aspire to be a protege of the Arthur Fonzarelli School of Cool - no one was cooler than the Fonz! On the same side of cool (but further to the left), -19 today. There's no doubt in my mind - wimps should not apply to this winter!

Sauntering Soul said...

Wow, I'm going to have to open up my windows and put on my bikini when I get home tonight. It's 14 degrees here in Atlanta! Downright balmy.

I can't even comment on your car because I'm so impressed with your abilities I have no words. Seriously.

Poppy said...

I've been there less than three months and everyone at work already knows: NO TOUCHING THE POPPY!