Yesterday (Aug. 24th) could have been one of my really bad days.
But it wasn’t.
Some background: our 2018 Malibu seems to be sick. I’m not sure what to call it, but its disorder is that, whenever I turn the engine off, a message pops up on the dashboard read-out that says, “Shift to Park.” Sounds like an easy fix, right? Just shift the car into Park. The problem is that that gear selector is already in the Park position. I always put the car in Park before turning the engine off, as most people do. So, why it keeps insisting that I still need to put the car in Park is beyond me. (Actually, I’ve had that problem looked at, and once a part arrives at the service department of our dealership, it should be remedied.)
That being the case, I was hesitant to drive it to New Jersey yesterday morning when I was to take wife Evelyn to an appointment.
Some more background: Evelyn is scheduled for an endoscopy with her New Jersey doctor on Thursday, August 27th. Because of our current coronavirus situation, the doctor requires a COVID-19 test prior to the procedure, and the procedure can only be done at one of their facilities. So we had to drive an hour and a half to Cherry Hill, NJ, where she could have the test done as a drive-through procedure. (We pulled up to the front door of the building and a technician, dressed in paper gown, cap, gloves, etc., came out. The swabbing took 30 seconds, tops. Then we headed back to Delaware, another hour and a half drive.)
Now, back to the Malibu (don’t lose me here). Because of the way it was behaving, I was hesitant to drive the car to New Jersey, so we took our 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan instead. After we got back to Delaware I dropped Evelyn off at home, where she began self-quarantining so she wouldn’t contaminate herself before the endoscopy, and drove the van to Sam’s for gas and groceries, followed by a stop at Walmart for additional groceries (I parked in a space that was shaded by a tree so the van wouldn’t get overly hot, since I had a tray of chicken thighs from Sam’s and wanted to keep them as cool as possible.)
Now, when I say a stop at Walmart, I mean a stop.
When I was ready to come home, I turned the ignition key and … nothing. All I heard was that deafening “click,” the last gasp of a battery that had finally given up the ghost. A message appeared on the dashboard that read, “No Fuse.” My first thought was that perhaps the battery in the fob had died, so I called Evelyn, who came in the Malibu to let me try her fob. Of course, it didn’t work either.
We decided that it was imperative that we get the groceries home, so we unloaded the van-full of foodstuffs into the Malibu and agreed to leave the van in the parking lot until we could get help. Upon further thought, we decided that, since we’ve been paying AAA for our membership all these years, it was time to use it. So I called roadside assistance. They assured me that someone would be there within the hour. So I told Evelyn I would run the groceries home (Walmart is only five minutes from our home) and then come back to wait for AAA with her. At least that way, I could put the chicken in the fridge.
As I was driving out of the parking lot, my phone rang. It was “Thomas,” who said he would be there in five minutes! So, I hung a U-ey and went back to wait with Evelyn for our roadside rescuer.
Sure enough, Thomas, a pleasant and qualified young man, drove up in his AAA tow truck moments later. He started to give me my options (jump the old battery, replace it immediately with a new one, etc.). I said, “Let’s cut to the chase. Do you have a replacement on your truck?” He did. So I bought a new battery then and there. (Turns out that the dead battery was the original one from when we bought the van — are you ready — eight years ago! That battery didn’t owe us a cent!)
But, now, here’s the thing: we had driven the van that morning to New Jersey, where the battery could have gone kaput anywhere along the 160-mile trip there and back. For that matter, it could have conked out in the parking lot of Sam’s, which is farther away from our home than Walmart. But, isn’t it amazing that, after all those opportunities, it didn’t die until I was closest to home and, as it turns out, closest to where Thomas’ garage is located (he informed me of that once he arrived)?
Don’t tell me that God isn’t always watching out for us. That’s the good that came from our van incident involving the battery.
Oh, and by the way, the chicken was fine once we got home.