Today I had to drive all the way down to Blue Springs to get the water switched to our name for the new house. Exciting, and also super frustrating since it takes all of five minutes for them to do it, and I had to drive an hour and 20 minutes round trip to do it.
But the real issue today was the heat. Yes, it was hot outside. But it was also hot under the hood of my Jimmy. Really hot to be exact.
As in, the temperature gauge was hitting the red line and screaming “Red Line!!” at me and I saw steam coming out from under my hood.
Ok, the gauge wasn’t screaming out loud, but I swear I heard that in my brain, so I’m sticking to that story.
Good thing I was being a half-way responsible driver and paying attention to such things, right? Well, by paying attention to such things, I mean immediately turning off the A/C and pulling over as soon as I got to a half-way close parking lot to where I was going. Not responsible as in I actually knew what to do when I saw the steam.
I didn’t know what to do at all.
So I freaked out a little bit.
But only on the inside, I promise.
On the inside, I could feel myself shaking a little bit as the adrenaline sunk in of almost having to pull over on I70 when it was 90+ degrees outside.
Outside, I was cool as a cucumber as I pulled in the lot, parked, and shut off the engine immediately, grabbing my belongings and hopping out of the car as I started to dial my phone for help.
I wanted to call Hubs, but he was at work and doesn’t always answer right away since he’s often in a meeting or helping someone else on the computer and away from his phone.
So I wanted to call my dad but he was at work and doesn’t always answer right away since he’s a farmer and often has his hands full with cattle or corn or something.
So I took a chance and dialed my dad. I knew he was done with harvest and had been working around the shop yesterday so I bargained that he might be able to answer, and he did! It went like this.
“Hi, I have a problem.”
“My car overheated. I’m in Blue Springs and there’s smoke or steam coming out from under the hood.”
“Ok, where are you?”
“No, are you off the road?”
“Yes, I’m in a parking lot.”
“I think it’s steam coming out of the hood, but I don’t know what to do. Pour water on it, open it, what?”
I think the conversation then calmed down some as I came to understand that my car wasn’t going to explode in a steamy fire or something. Ok. I’m not a mechanic, but I’m pretty sure I knew it wouldn’t do that. But it didn’t hurt to hear it from someone who REALLY knew it, you know what I mean?
I also called Hubs at work, and he answered right away, too! Hallelujah! And he agreed that we should get it checked before I tried to drive home. So I called AAA. (Thanks, mom and dad for paying for that!) and went on about the five minutes worth of business I had to do in City Hall. Then I set out to waiting for the tow truck guy to get there.
Spoiler alert: He was late.
In the meantime, I decided my phone was about to die and that would make this all that much more overwhelming and awful so I trotted back over the building I’d parked my steamy car behind and made my way to the first office I saw inside with someone in it. I knocked and a nice, older man answered. While I explained my situation and that my phone was dead, he offered me to use their phone. I said I’d actually really like to charge mine if he didn’t mind.
He didn’t mind.
So I plopped myself down in a chair and pulled out Wyatt’s charger I’d been using in the car and waited silently and awkwardly for about 10 minutes for my phone to fill up a little more on battery. Then I thanked the nice man and headed back outside to find some shade and keep waiting for the tow truck.
When he finally got there, he opened the hood and said this.
“You’re not low on water, at least not much. I can add some, but I’m not sure what that will do. There’s got to be something else wrong with it. You want me to tow it?”
No, sir, I don’t want you to tow it. I want you to tell me what’s wrong with it.
But I realize that isn’t really his job.
So I took his suggestion to drive to a little shop a few blocks away and have them look at it. On the very short trip there, Jimmy got super duper hot again. He was steamy and smelled awful. I felt awful. I was steaming, er, sweating, so I probably smelled awful, too.
The people at Fleming Auto Center were very busy. Dangit. But also very nice after I explained to the nice man at the counter that I could wait for them to work me in this afternoon, but I’m not sure what to do as I think (because my dad told me so) that I just need water in the radiator even though the tow truck guy who recommended I come here said I didn’t need any.
So he went out and looked for me. And instead of just looking at the little plastic reserve tank, which had plenty of water in in, he opened the radiator. Thank you! And said, “Wow, youare bone dry.”
So he added a gallon and a half of plain ol’ water, and my temperature gauge stopped screaming “Red Line!” “Red Line!” at me every time I nervously glanced over at it. Woo hoo!
And the nice man who carried 2 jugs of water out to my hot car on that hot afternoon didn’t charge me anything at all. He did say, “Keep an eye on it, now, and pull over to let it cool off if it gets much over 210.”
I didn’t tell him I was going to watch it like a hawk the entire way home and call my husband to come get me because I was tired of dealing with this on my own if it so much as climbed a line or two closer to that 210 halfway point to the red, screaming line.
I did thank him, and assure him they would be the first place we’d visit with car trouble once we move down to Blue Springs. And then I got the heck on the road home.
What did I learn?
1. It’s hot.
2. I should have worn my hair up today.
3. ALWAYS keep spare hair ties stashed everywhere. My purse, the cup holder in the car, the pocket of my shorts, the glove box, my wrist, Wyatt’s wrist, wyatt’s shorts’ pockets, the wrists and pockets of random strangers…what?
4. Trust my instincts. If something feels off. Pull over even if you’re almost there. If I’d waited an extra block to turn in, steam might have literally come billowing out from under my hood, drawing major attention and worse, hurting my engine.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Yes, I won’t become fast friends with every strange man I come in contact with, but today, I didn’t have the option to be overly cautious, shy, or embarrassed to speak up. Both nice strangers today didn’t have to help me, but I needed them to step up and do the right thing, which they did, and I’m so thankful they weren’t creepy or scary or rude to me.
6. Jimmy’s getting old. Put “buy a new car” on the top of our next major to-do list.
7. I can handle stuff like this. I made it all the way down to Blue Springs on I70, which I hate, and dealt with all this crazy, quite calmly, for the most part on my own. Then I made it all the way back home on I70, which I hate, keeping one eye locked on my temperature gauge the whole time, dealing with lunch hour traffic. I didn’t need someone to come save me because I was able to keep it together and just do what I needed to do. Maybe I’m growing up after all.
I mean, a girl can’t rely on her dad, husband, and AAA for everything, forever, right?
But I’m definitely thankful I can call them when I need them.