Thursday, January 22, 2015

Doornail dead...

Around 11:00 ish this morning, I abruptly awoke assailed by overwhelming nausea.  I crawled to the bathroom, weak and dizzy and, yes, grumpy, and downed some Zofran.  Then, I lay on the floor and writhed until the nausea subsided enough to at least get back in bed.

My bathroom floor is dusty.  I cannot see it or the sink.  I think not being able to see dirt on white surfaces unless my noses is inches from the surface means something.  I don't know what, but something.  Like the color white is broken in my brain or something.

Back in bed, I checked my email and received rather distressing news.
I have been weeping ever since.

Although Mary suggested I just ... huddle ... with Amos today, I thought that I really ought to get a jump tonight, in case getting a jump is not all I need.  I mean, I wanted more data on the car problem so that I could know if I was going to need more help than Tim could give.  It turns out that "roadside" assistance includes your garage, so I got a free jump tonight from Liberty Mutual.

My battery was dead.  Doornail dead.  So dead that even after charging it for 15 minutes whilst we talked, when the service man tried to stop and restart the engine, there was only enough juice for the beeping alarm that indicates the key is in the ignition and the car door is open.  No blinking light for the car alarm.  No clock.  No door locks or window movement.  And certainly no engine start.  So, technically, I received two jumps tonight.

He told me about all the bits of the car that drain the battery: car alarm, computer, radio, clock.  Whilst he was talking, I remembered that, when I went to fetch prescriptions last week, my clock was wrong.  It was at 1:00, which, it turns out, is the default setting once it loses and receives power again.  So, actually, I did have a warning about the battery, but my cheese-hole brain couldn't grasp onto it.

The service man told me about something called a battery tender.  That is this device you plug into your garage and into a connection that sits on your battery and keeps it at 12 volts.  Given that I have yet to hit 74,000 miles on my 2004 vehicle (translate that I am just not driving anymore), even with a new battery, he thought having one might be a good idea.  Perhaps not right away, but after a year or so.  He suggested that I at least start the car once a week.  And he also noticed that one of my back lights (there are four) is out.

I know I drove my Highlander last Friday for prescriptions, but, before that, I am not sure when I last drove.  It could have been the last prescription run on December 31st.  In any case, the service man said that to be as utterly dead as the battery was and so difficult to charge, I must have left something on last Friday.  That worries me, because I am usually so very careful about shutting down my car.  After all, I might very well be the last person on earth who still sets her parking brake (something that seems to annoy folk who drive me around in my vehicle).  I am wondering if, perhaps, I need to make a sign for the inside of the garage door that tells me to turn off everything in the car and lock the doors (which won't lock if I've left a door ajar).

The need for another sign distresses me.  SIGH.

Just to see how quickly the battery will return to its doornail state, I went ahead and drove around for 30 minutes to get it all juiced up.  Actually, Amos and I went ahead and drove around, because he's been wiping the tears from my face most of the day and I didn't want to be away from him.  The service man doubts I will be able to start the car on the morrow, but even if I can, I will need a new battery fairly soon anyway.

The thing to know about buying batteries, which I did not know until the service man schooled me, is that when you pick one out, you need to look at the date sticker on the battery.  For example, if you buy one that has 01/14 on it right now, it will already be a minimum of one year old, for no one is really sure if the sticker is applied when it is shipped by the manufacturer or received by the store or when, exactly, in the manufacturing process the sticker is applied.  The point is that the date is not an exact representation of age, but approximate.  So, choosing a battery off the shelf with the latest date sticker is key.  Or, alternatively, to ask the installer to show you the battery options before one is popped into your car so you know you have a relatively newish sticker date.

I bought a new battery the day before I moved here, December 22, 2010.  My battery sticker date is 10/10, which means that it was manufactured in 2010, but does not mean that it was done so in October.  In any case, my 5-year battery is, by sticker date, at 9 months shy of its expiration, if not closer.  Couple that with little driving and ... voilà ... it should be no surprise to me that I need a battery.  I used to know these things, have these things on a vehicle maintenance schedule that I kept without even writing it down.


However, even through my tears, I am able to admit that my $25 a month car savings account that I established last year, which has now earned $0.88 in interest and is at $250.88 balance, means that I can purchase a battery and a brake light without stressing over the finances.  Just the need and the work to get it in.  I will say, being an old fart and all, I am astounded that batteries are so bloody expensive now.  I remember buying them in the $40 range.  I know that last one I bought was $79.99.  The best matches I've found online, not including that "core" fee and installation, are $109.99.  GULP.  I asked Tim if he'd pick one up and put it in because 1) I am lazy and overwhelmed and don't want to go weep at GoodYear and 2) if I have to pay an installation fee, I'd rather pay Tim.

When I was lying on the bathroom floor this morning, even before that distressing email, I had this distinct thought:  I've had enough of this.  I haven't really thought that before.  Usually, I am only trying to survive from one moment to the next.  But, seriously, I have had enough of overwhelming, crippling, violent nausea.

I'm pretty sure, even though I didn't use the monitor, that the culprit was my blood pressure, having been lying down so much.  Making the transition from horizontal to vertical is becoming harder.  Lately, I've been trying to have a mini-salt-fest around midnight, along with Gatorade, to help with my blood pressure.  But I didn't last night.  I had my beloved Honey Nut Cheerios because I am also sick of being sick.

I would like an ear-ectomy.  I mean, I would still like to be able to hear, but I am tired of having painful, itchy, stuffy ears that are not enough to really complain about but bother me night and day.  And I am tired of sniffing and dripping, even though it is not very often or very much.  I was all ready to make the grand announcement that my sore throat had ended, but it is feeling sore again.  At least, when I blow my nose from sniffing, it is no long bleeding.  And I am coughing much less.  However, my right ear hurts more and my right jawbone joint thingy hurts like the tendonitis in my elbows.  Hence, another reason for eating lots of oatmeal and Honey Nut Cheerios.

Why is it that the milk from Honey Nut Cheerios has to be so very tasty?

So, I have a plan:  Tim will purchase a battery and bulb and bring them to my house.  Tim will replace the battery and bulb. I will write him a check.  I will transfer money from savings before he gets home to cash the check.  And my car will be perfectly fine afterwards, not needing anything for the rest of 2015 but an oil change in May and tire rotation (free) in December.

The plan for me?  I'm afraid that I will keep on weeping.  And wishing I had lettuce so that I could drown my sorrows in pulled pork tacos.  The five days until my new budget cycle already feels like five months.

No comments: