A frustrating day. Thank goodness I had nothing urgent booked.
I woke up this morning with a list of things to get done. One was to get my car inspected. In Texas one must get one's car inspected before the registration can be renewed. Seems easy enough. There's Chevron gas station down the road that does state inspections. Usually takes twenty minutes; tops.
I answer my urgent (?) e-mails, read the news, have breakfast, walk the dog and now I'm ready to tackle car stuff. I find my proof of insurance, along with the paperwork for the registration and head out to the car. Which does not start...
It started yesterday but, to be honest, I seem to remember that the car was a bit hesitant to turnover. One of those realizations that only hits you when you are confronted with a ton or so of useless metal a bit later. The starter motor made the feeble sound commensurate with a dying battery and, after several attempts, went mute altogether. Crap. Battery. Time suck.
I borrowed Belinda's car and drove to my friendly, somewhat convenient, Costco to buy a replacement battery. Oops. My Costco membership had expired. Goodbye another $50 bucks. Now, newly re-upped and in good standing, I followed through on the battery purchase.
Upon returning home I Googled once again, "How to safely replace a car battery." Then, intellectually armed, I grabbed my tools and popped the hood of the Honda CRV. The battery inside described itself as a "100 month" battery and yet, we were only 26 months into its service, as of today. This was my second "100 month" Honda branded battery but have only owned the car for a total or 36 months. By my rough estimate Honda still owes me another 44 months of battery-ism. But given their track record I am happy to suck it up and replace it with a different brand from Costco. At Costco, when one of their 36 month batteries gives up the ghost earlier than expected (or promised) they just give you another one. Honda, and most everyone else "pro-rates" battery life. Which means they'll give you some small percentage credit for your next faulty and too expensive replacement.
So, I jostle around in the heat and humidity and change the battery. But wouldn't you know it? Honda uses some sort of clamping structure on the negative terminal that I've never seen before and, try as I might, I can get it quite tight enough to stop from moving easily if I pull or push on the cable. Something new to fix....
But the car starts right up and finally I feel as though I'll be able to make progress, get the car inspected and then registered. Today.
I drive over to the Chevron station and hand the keys and my proof of insurance form over to the grumpy mechanic. He drives off in my car and comes back a few minutes later. "Your car failed." he said. "Wha?"
"Did you just change the battery?" he asked.
"Well yes..." I stammered.
"When you do that it erases all the emission information. You fail the test."
"But what can I do now?" I am baffled. Is this a permanent condition? Will my car ever be inspectable?
"You need to drive it for 50 miles or so and then come back and we'll test it." says the mechanic. Then he adds, "You owe $18.50 for today."
I pay up and then get back in the car. I won't be getting my inspection today. Well, I guess I could drive around in circles and then head back but it seems a bit pointless. Instead I take the old battery back over to Costco to get a $15 cash payment for recycling my old battery. I eat a slice of pizza and it's pretty good. Then I decide I've already wasted the whole morning, why not drive to the Honda dealer and see why the heck the negative battery clamp won't tighten.
Two mechanics work on it for twenty minutes and figure out the brilliant and complex engineering that will keep the electrons flowing. And I am home by 2 pm. About $150 dollars poorer and still no closer to having a car with an inspection or a new registration sticker.
I think two things. 1. Thank God I didn't have a big shoot scheduled for this morning. 2. There's always tomorrow...
Car stuff sucks. If I had a personal assistant this is the kind of crap I would make them do. Then I'd have more time to read all the new product announcements from Photokina on the web.