Saturday, October 27, 2012

Except, It Wasn't The Battery

The saga continues.

After the day I had yesterday (read part 1 and part 2), I was ready for an easy fix. Keeping things in perspective, this is hardly a bump in the road, but it is a little bump. And it is tiring and frustrating.

The plan was to take the train then bus to go to the auto shop, get the battery changed, take the bus to the car and drive away. Except, it didn't happen that way.

The girls were picked up for school and The Boy and I headed out shortly after. I wrote down the address this time, charted my route online and noted which bus I'd need to take. It was blustery this morning. The raindrops had a distinctly frozen flavor to them and that first smell of winter filled my nostrils. It smells the same here as in Michigan. Cold.

Back on the Train
Photo Credit: Mark-Hobbs via Flickr
The train was late; nothing new. After we arrived in town we dashed into the mall to withdraw cash for the bus (thanks again, Mom) and made change with the purchase of granola bars and water.

The bus was late. Nothing new there either. I asked the driver if he stopped at my stop to be sure I was getting on the right bus. Yes. Good. Could he also please tell me when we were there? Yes. Good. They are so helpful and friendly here. In my former life in the US I was afraid to ask anyone anything. I don't know why. I have this unfounded fear of asking simple questions, especially over the phone. I guess I've suddenly recovered from it, because somehow in one day, several weeks ago when I decided to figure out the bus lines, I asked so many questions and had so many wonderfully helpful people answer them that it cured me. Mostly. 98%. (I still don't like to call and ask questions; I'm more of a face-to-face person).

We got off at our stop. There was no clear sign of any garage, but I chose the direction the bus had been heading and found it a block or so up the street. This garage had the battery, but they couldn't put it in for me since only authorized Renault service whatevers can. Two doors down there was a place who could do it.

Excellent. The attendant was busy, so I took the opportunity to take The Boy to the toilet. He was given the option to wear a diaper this morning, since I didn't know how long we'd be out or away from toilets, but he chose his underwear, so I went with it. My kid rocks.

Once out, it was my turn. The guy working the counter had one bright blue eye and one socket without an eye. No patch; no glass eye. That's confidence. In the movies, he would have been scary, but he was really quite nice. I told him what I needed. He said they had it. Then just paused. Uhhhh, "Can you change it for me?" I asked with a smile. Yes. Great then.

Except, it wasn't the battery. The key is dead. Nothing happens when he changes the battery; it still doesn't work. He says not to worry, just disengage the alarm and then use the key. I explain that it isn't the alarm, it's the immobilizer. I explained this to you in yesterday's post, so I won't repeat myself.

He says we might be able to deactivate the immobiliser. Where is the car? Hah. At school, friend.

So, now. I have a car. It works. The key doesn't, so I can't drive it. I am so ticked!!! Weeks of no car and now we're right back there! I guess we got what we paid for, but this is ridiculous. Why did we buy an old used car, you may ask? Because we have no credit here in the UK and therefore can't get financed. Same story, different country.

We'll have to have the car towed (100 pounds not covered by insurance) to a garage that actually can't do much for us. To get a new key takes 75 days!!!!!! Yes, 75! And 150 pounds. And then you have to have both key and car at the garage to be programmed together. So, 250 quid (that's slang for pounds, like "bucks" for dollars) and 75 days to have my car back and working. Seriously? Where are the hidden cameras?

I don't have the budget for that at this point, nor the time. What am I going to do without a car for another 3 months? I want to cry. Thank goodness the kids have mid-term break next week and I don't have to worry about getting them to school. Thank goodness my man will be home tomorrow (our 12th anniversary) so I can cry on his shoulder (though he'll be too exhausted for me to actually do so).

Thank goodness I have supportive readers and amazing children. The boy and I decided just to stay in town instead of taking the train back and forth again. He successfully used several public toilets today and I am confident we are now completely out of diapers during the day. Always find the positive things to focus on, right? And, with the money I saved on further train and bus rides, I arranged a taxi to pick us up from school and take us directly home. Which is why I had the time to write this while the meat for dinner defrosts.

Now (well, after dinner), I'm off to search the web for secret ways to bypass the most (insert bad words of your choice) anti-theft system EVER! I will reward you if you find one for me that works. Free proofreading and editing for a year or anything you want that I have the capability of providing!


  1. Oh wow! What a nightmare! You are handling it amazingly well. There is not growth without trials. I'm just trying to be motivating here...

  2. UPDATE! I am a super sleuth and found a way to bypass the immobiliser! It's tricky and sort of a pain to do before starting the car each time, but it works! Hooray!

  3. i find people in the uk so UNfriendly !! maybe it's just london ! especially bus drivers, they are w*#%&*s. I've had train driver close the doors on me, while my pram is in the train and I'm standing on the platform and my arm is stuck in the door, while looking at me. lol. Sometimes you just have to laugh (after yelling at them!)

    1. Likely it's just London... Big cities everywhere have chronically unfriendly people! But in the outskirts, at least, people are lovely! I can't complain about a single person I've encountered so far and I've been completely impressed with the kindness and consideration most everyone has shown.
      I would certainly yell (a lot!) if doors were closed on my pram. How awful!

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  5. There is a story u might find particularly interesting given your story, called Maggie Mab & the Bogey Beast. Maggie Mab is an elderly woman who can barely make ends meet but finds a pot of gold on her way home. She drags it along with her shawl but stops to look at her good fortune again & finds the gold has turned to silver. She continues but stops again to find the silver has turned into a lump of iron. Considering this still good fortune she drags it home. Once inside her garden gate she unwraps her shawl to find merely a stone, but considers this good fortune as well as the stone will be suitable for holding open her garden gate. The stone hovers & shakes & becomes the Bogie Beast, a scary mare of sorts, which scoops her up & flies thru the night trying to shake her to fall to her death & dives into an icy lake to which Maggie Mab says is a comfort to her tired aching feet & luck must have a way of finding her! The Bogey Beast returns her to her garden & says since not a word of complaint she spoke she should give her shawl a shake & disappears into the night. She does so & finds 3 gold coins, enough to buy livestock to support her living, to have a party to celebrate her good fortune, & the 3rd coin set upon her mantel to remind her that her positive attitude & bravery in the face of the worst imaginable did, in fact, result in great fortune! So chin up, lassy! Your fortune awaits you!

    1. Thanks for the story! I do my best to keep my chin up!


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