A Fool of Myself

Mastering the Art of French Mechanics

Last Saturday’s adventure with the car battery may not have been my fault. (Did I really leave my back hatched unlatched?) My battery was also dead Sunday morning, which leads me to believe that my car battery was just old and needed to be replaced. The arctic weather that hit the Ozarks in early January did not help the situation at all.

Chris and I should’ve replaced the battery on Sunday afternoon, but we chose to take naps instead. A good choice at the time, but I had a heckuva day on Monday getting around town. First, we had to jump start the Blazer in the morning, so I could go to the eye doctor. Since the car had started after my and Linden’s run on Saturday, I wrongly assumed it would start after my appointment. It wouldn’t. So Chris came and picked me up (because I was blocked in on both sides, and our jumper cables weren’t long enough) and took me to work. Thankfully, he had MLK Day off.

After work, we drove back into Springfield to jump start my car and then headed to O’Reilly’s to buy a new battery. I turned my car off because someones (Barron and Betsy) assured me that the guys at O’Reilly’s would offer to switch out my battery for me, especially if I was a woman by herself. But no. They just offered to carry it to my car, and Chris and I jump started the car again (#3) and took it home.

At home, we broke out the socket wrenches and unplugged the battery. Always unplug the negative terminal first; otherwise, you risk screwing up your electrical system. (For more instructions on replacing your battery, read this eHow article. It was really helpful.) Unplugging the battery took maybe three minutes.

Safety first. Fashion second.

But it took us an hour to unscrew the clamp holding the battery down. None of our sockets were both wide enough and deep enough to unscrew the bolt, so Chris took a trip to Walmart and bought a new 50+ piece socket set. Because just as soon as he would’ve bought a standard set, we would’ve needed metric. So now we have three socket sets: his set, my set, and our set. Once home, it took another five minutes to unscrew the bolt.

We took the old battery out and put the new battery in. Screwed the clamp down. Screwed in the terminals. Had we not needed more tools, this is a 10 minute job, tops. But since we’re talking about me, multiply that by 10 and you have a better estimation of how long it will take me to do the repair.

I had a weird Julie/Julia moment during this process. I made Chris let me do all the work (he was a helpful extra set of hands, though). I believe my exact words were, “Let me do it. You don’t have to blog about this later.” Unfortunately, I don’t believe any book entitled Mastering the Art of French Mechanics exists.

I debriefed my parents on this adventure after dinner. I think Dad is enjoying the thought of his daughter playing mechanic. I told Mom that I had to Google instructions for making the switch, and she reassured me that when Dad started out as a mechanic, he didn’t know what he was doing either. Apparently, when something really tripped him up, he had to spend half a day talking it over with Grandpa to figure it out. And I thought for all these years that going to coffee with Grandpa and Dad on Saturday mornings was just for fun…

So $85 for the battery + $50 for the socket set – 1.5 hours of my life I’ll never get back = I could’ve had a real mechanic do this for less money, less time, and less stress. Oh well.

Time to vote: Was this repair brilliantly creative? Or am I a gigantic idiot?



4 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of French Mechanics

  1. WHAT!?!?! O’Reilly’s didn’t change it for you! I would have walked in there and asked them to! That is crazy! Did you ask them for tools to do it? They should at least provide those!

  2. I was told about two years ago they were ordered to stop doing it because of insurance liabilities. If someone drove off and the battery cable came loose causing a problem O’Reilly’s could be sued.

  3. *tee hee* “Debriefing” always makes me giggle.

    *ahem* Brilliantly Creative because you stuck it out and got the job done, despite all odds. And because your picture and caption are awesome.

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