Saturday, October 16, 2010

Making Choices, Zombie-Style

 Being a zombie parent, sometimes your choices are limited, either by circumstances or your darling little children.

We were supposed to go to a wedding today. Mommy picked out a lovely dress for Lucy, Jacob looked sharp in his new vest and pants. Directions were printed out. A card was ready, along with a gift certificate to the store where the happy couple are registered (we waited too late to go shopping to pick something out, whoops!). Everything seemed to be in place.

Except for last night. The family has been on the verge of recovering from a cold for the past three days. Last night, Lucy thought we were losing our sleep-deprived zombie state and had to intervene. She decided she couldn't sleep without one of her parents in her room. I spent the night "sleeping" on her floor. She was still ill in the morning and I was sleep deprived, so we started to discuss options for the wedding. The original plan was to have the kids nap on the drive to the church about an hour and a half away. It wouldn't have been quite enough nap but they usually are okay if they are healthy. We thought Lucy wouldn't get enough sleep to keep herself on the road to recovery, so maybe she shouldn't go. So the options were:
  1. We go anyway, hoping Lucy would sleep extra in the church or driving between church and reception.
  2. Just Daddy and Jacob go.
  3. Just Daddy go with Mommy caring for Lucy and Jacob.
  4. Nobody goes.
Option 1 seemed highly unlikely. Option 3 looked like it might be too much for Mommy, especially if Lucy didn't nap anyway. So 2 and 4 were the most likely contenders. In order to get me more sleep, Mommy would take the kids on some errands in the morning while I rested up.

I helped get the kids in the car. A serious problem manifested itself quickly when the automatic doors on the minivan wouldn't open from the key fob buttons. So I sat in the driver's seat and pushed the buttons to open the doors. Still no action. So I put the key in the ignition and turned it. That's all that happened. No lights came on, no bells started ringing, nothing at all. Seemed like a big problem with the battery. I noticed one of the automatic doors was slightly ajar, so maybe the interior lights were on all night.

Luckily we have jumper cables, so we would be okay.nIn order to jump start the van, we'd have to get it out of the garage. The new problem was the gear shift not changing to neutral. It runs on battery power, of which there was none. Consulting the owner's manual, we found the manual override in the dash that let us change the gear.

With the car finally in neutral, Mommy pushed because she didn't want to be responsible for steering out of the garage (a minivan is a tight fit for a one-car garage). After getting it out to the driveway, we drove up the other car. But the jump clearly wasn't working. A quick call to our favorite repair shop determined that it was probably a completely drained battery. The battery's six years old, so replacing was probably the best idea.

Extracting the battery was challenging too, since we don't have proper wrenches to loosen the cables. Phoning a friend worked out well. Thanks, BJ, not only are you a great source of YouTube videos but of great tools too! We got the battery out in no time, even though some of the nuts were hard to get too. A quick trip to the auto parts store procured a new battery and eventually a revived car.

Of course, by this point, going to the wedding was a moot point so we chose number four, though not by free choice. Sorry we couldn't make it to your wedding, Mike and Kimberly. The card will be in the mail shortly!

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