Why Farmer Freitas' Wife?
Well, my husband loves to garden and my sister likes to call him Farmer Freitas....so you know what that makes me.
We're livin' it up on the U.P. - that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Punkie is 6 and LOVED Kindergarten! Isaboo is 2 and she's a smiley whirl wind. We also call her Busy-Isi. This year we welcomed little Lorenzo to our family.
Here is Part II - the best part
less pictures but I think more meaningful
Last Friday, Marley and I had big plans:
Go to the SOO!
The Dollar Store
Pick up Dad!
Go grocery shopping!
Big snow storm.
So before I shoveled the 1 foot plus of snow off the walkway and driveway...
I went out to see if the car would start.
Battery was dead.
I cried like the hormonal crazy woman that I AM!
I came back in the house and pouted...and cried.
And sent several text messages to Nathan.
He suggested asking neighbors and friends to jump the Black Pearl.
I was tired of asking for help and emotional and I was sure the battery was a lost cause.
We decided we probably needed to get it jumped and then go straight for a new battery.
Nathan worked on trying to see if he could take the early bus home so he could rally some help or something. But, he found that he could not.
Marley of course dried my tears with tissues and asked what was wrong.
(She is used to the this but usually I have no reason for my tears...or I don't want to tell her the reason.)
I told her that the car won't start so we can't go shopping.
She too was disappointed.
But continued to take care of me.
My mom called because she had seen the weather for our area.
I cried some more.
She said, "I wish I was there so I could give you a hug."
I thought, "I wish you were here to give me a ride!"
She made me feel better and told me to find something to do around the house, a project or just clean up one room.
She also told me to stop crying so much and scaring my daughter.
She's never scared. Not when I'm crying at least. sheesh!
So, Marley and I cleaned the living room and tidied the dinning room.
We swept the entry, kitchen and dinning.
That's the whole downstairs!
That felt good!
I can pretty much get her to do anything if I call her Cinderella and act like one of her step sisters.
She always replies with a low head, "Yes Anastasia."
And then she gets to work!
This was taken of Marley by Marley. On this infamous day in January.
I was just about to tackle the bathroom when Nathan texted me and said there was a battery at our local Napa, just right for our car!
Problem was, he would get home after they were closed.
I asked if Marley and I should walk over and get it.
Remember snowy, icy and COLD outside.
And Nathan informed me that the battery would be a solid 40 pounds!
I suggested the JEEP stroller.
Marley could ride there and then the battery could ride back.
Nathan agreed that might work.
He also offered that if we took the old battery with us we wouldn't have to pay a $12 core fee.
WHICH we could get back once we took our old battery in, but gently suggested that maybe I could take it out and Marley could walk both ways.
Marley got fully suited up in snow clothes and I bundled up and we went out to the garage.
Before I did anything I checked to make sure it wasn't going to start.
Marley suggested, "Lets be brave and just fix it mom!"
That made me smile and I said, "Well, we're gonna try."
I explained the whole thing to her. The battery, the stroller, the walk, the cold, and hopefully in the end it would be fixed.
(As she wandered around the garage she continually encouraged our quest with suggestions of bravery.
That actually helped me a lot!)
While I tried several tools in my attempt to get the bolts off of the battery, Marley suggested that we take the double jogging stroller our friends gave to us in September.
It was a really good idea. Then they could both ride in the stroller AND it has a giant plastic rain cover that would protect Marley from the wind and cold. The problem was it looked like it was buried in the corner of the garage.
I told her that was a great idea but it might be too hard to get to.
After texting Nathan several times about tools and such.
And saying a few swears in my head.
I stopped saying swears in my head and stuck to just praying.
I found the perfect tool and got the battery out!
It WAS heavy.
Then I proceeded to dig the double stroller out.
I actually only had to scoot some bins aside and then move a stroller and a car seat to get to it.
I hauled it out to the breezeway.
It sat there while I went out to shovel the walkway.
Marley came out and played in the snow for about 2 minutes and then got too cold and I helped her inside and put a show on for her.
I finished shoveling and set up the double stroller outside on the walk.
I tried to figure out the plastic rain cover.
I put the battery in one side.
Then I went in the house, we went to the bathroom, bundled Marley up in full snow clothes and she climbed into the other side of the stroller, next to the battery.
I can't get this picture to come into blogger correctly...so you'll just have to turn your head.
I grabbed some tissues because the cold was making our noses run.
Which is weird because it was also freezing my nose hairs.
We trudged out to the road.
No side walks in these parts.
The hardest part was getting the stroller over the small berm the plow makes at the end of our driveway.
I pushed and then I had to climb to the other side of the hill and pull the strollers front wheel until I got it over.
We started walking. Well, I did.
It was icy and I slipped twice but I didn't fall because of the stroller and it's heavy contents.
It was cold!
I hadn't put the plastic rain cover on correctly so it wasn't staying closed. Marley had full snow clothes on and a blanket but she was still cold!
I don't have any long underwear because....I just don't.
So my legs were COLD!
Round trip the walk is exactly one mile.
(I only know that because later when I was telling my sister all about this she asked how far away the auto store was and she wanted it in miles. I was pretty sure it was less than a mile. Later I clocked it.)
Thankfully, all the roads were plowed! When we got to the store the parking lot was not plowed... So, it was a little tough to get to the front door. It is a VERY small parking lot though. When we got there one of the workers (a VERY nice man) helped us get the stroller inside by holding all the doors open and even unlatching one of the double doors.
He said, "What can we do for you?" Just as he noticed a child AND a battery in my stroller.
I said, "We need a new battery."
He said, "Oh. I see that now."
The whole exchange took less than 5 minutes.
The man suggested that we leave the stroller where it was and walk around the store for a little while to warm up.
What a nice man.
We got peanut m&m's from there little machine.
We walked around and discussed tools and parts and whatnot.
We really only knew what we were talking about when we came to the broom isle.
Marley made sure to let me know that she wanted every single one of the those brooms for her birthday but especially the little one that was her size.
(She pretty much says she wants EVERYTHING for her birthday whenever we go shopping. When she says she wants something, I say, maybe someday. Then she says, maybe for my birthday or Christmas? I say, maybe. She is satisfied and we move on. It works for us.)
Marley got a gum ball on our way out and TWO came out!
It was cool!
I was able to fix the rain fly so it would stay closed better. And instead of putting the blanket ON Marley I put it behind her head to stop the wind from coming in the back of the stroller.
That was MUCH better.
We trudged back home.
Gnawing on our hard gum balls.
They were good but hard so half way home we both spit it out into the snow.
Marley went inside to finished her show while I tried to put the battery back in.
I did it!
I tried to start the car.
It started with gusto!
It sounded SO brave!
I was SO HAPPY!
I felt SO good!
I felt validated and empowered!
I was on top of the world.
But also very tired.
It was about 12:45 (good thing we had gotten an early start on the day) by this time and Nathan was getting off at 2.
We ate lunch in the house.
Then Marley settled into watching another show and by 1:00 I was out shoveling the driveway.
By 1:45 we were on our way to get dad!
We got dad.
We went to the bank.
Between the bank and the store the engine light came on!
Can you believe the nerve of The Curse!?!?!?
It's a good thing Nathan wasn't driving because I think he might have jerked the car into oncoming traffic.
NO! That's a little extreme and tragic.
But he was peeved.
I calmly suggested we stop at Advanced Auto and run the diagnostic and see if it's the same problem.
It was a new problem.
But, Nathan instantly had an idea of what the problem might be.
He said, "Ok, I'm going to research and probably order ANOTHER part and fix this but, this is the last thing I'm fixing."
He has said this before.
So I just laughed.
It seems he just can't let it go.
I'm glad...he'll know our car SO well we'll have it for decades!
Ok, maybe not.
But, I'm still so glad he is willing to try to fix things himself to save money.
The part is ordered.
Nathan is confident it will be an easy and quick fix.
THE CURSE WILL BE LIFTED!!!!!
How have we survived financially?
Well, we still haven't hit $300 in parts so considering the first repair was going to be be over $400 we are still ahead!
Also, since we didn't drive our car for nearly 2 weeks we had more money because we hadn't needed gas. We try to only drive to the Soo three times a week or less (one of those is for church) but still we saved money on gas...which went to parts.
And we hadn't eaten out. We try not to eat out much too but when we limit our trips to the Soo, it makes our days in the Soo LONG because of all the errands and we usually end up getting something. Even if it's just one eat out per week, that can add up.
And thankfully we bought our car with cash about 5 years ago so, we don't have a car payment on top of repairs. That's nice.
I realize that the curse has not been officially lifted and ultimately when it comes to cars eventual repairs are inevitable, but unless there is more DRAMA with the up coming repair, this concludes the saga of...
It was a long story.
Recap: our engine light came on while we were heading out of town for the weekend.
While out of town we got swindled by a mechanic who charged us big bucks just for a diagnostic.
Which, by the way, we have learned since, you can do yourself for FREE at most auto parts stores.
(We know! We've done it SEVERAL times since!)
He said we'd be fine to drive it back to the U.P. but we should get it fixed or our car would start stalling.
When we returned home, Nathan looked the diagnostic code up online.
He found it was an emission clog.
He also did some research and found it would probably be over $400 to get it fixed by a mechanic.
We decided to purchase the manual for The Black Pearl and Nathan found lots of tutorials online on how to fix the problem.
He felt that he could probably fix it.
He still has a full time job so it was a semi-slow process with lots of trouble shooting.
We ordered parts in phases.
The cheaper ones first, of course...maybe they would be the fix!
Then the more expensive one.
And all the while, lots of cleaning.
Lots of resetting the fuse to get the engine light off...only to have it pop back on.
That was always how we knew she wasn't fixed yet.
Thankfully we could still drive her.
Each time we would run a diagnostic to make sure it was still the same problem.
Each time Nathan took the car apart to clean, he would go further and further through the system.
One day, Nathan was tinkering and recleaning and taking apart and putting back together when he found THE CLOG.
It was so obvious and he was relieved and convinced she was fixed!
But then we started smelling gasoline fumes. Very subtle at first. Only I could smell it.
Then one day, Nathan came home after using the car and said, yes, we have a fume problem.
He did some research online to get an idea of what to look for and what might be the problem.
Then studied the parts manual.
Then took it all apart again.
He found a broken fuel injector.
We decided we couldn't drive her like that.
She was malodorous and in my condition those fumes were bad news.
Nathan ordered more parts.
Our good friend was kind enough to come and get us for church.
The part came!
Nathan fixed it!
(but only after breaking TWO 3/8 to 1/4 socket adapters :-(
Ours and our neighbors. Ooops!
don't worry we are going to replace it.)
But, our car was fixed!
For good this time!
No more problems!
Except then the battery was dead.
We have known since last summer that our battery was on its last leg.
It would die if Marley and I had the car off and the radio on, after only about 10 minutes.
Or it would just die if we didn't drive it often enough.
So, our kind neighbor gave us a jump.
(The last of probably at least three or four.)
I drove it around a little bit to charge the battery and then stopped at the local store to pick up a few things. (tortillas, cheese, sour cream...for burrrrrrritos!)
We hadn't been to the store in almost three weeks.
When I came out of the store, the car started!
Two days later (last Friday) Marley and I had big plans:
Go to the SOO!
The Dollar Store
Pick up Dad!
Go grocery shopping!
Battery was dead, again.
Big snow storm.
Becky cried like the hormonal crazy woman that she IS!
Stay tuned PART II on Thursday.
Don't worry it gets better.
NOTE: None of these pictures are mine...just googled images.
EXCEPT the first one.
That REALLY is THE Black Pearl with last winters salt ravages all over her...which is pretty much exactly what she looks like right now.