Can We Sing?

San Jose - Sunday, March 31, 2002 - By: Kevin McIntyre
I hadn't driven in six weeks and when we went out at 8:30AM February 1 for my Vet appointment - and 35º, my batteries were dead as dead can be. Long story short, $75 for a tow truck, a ride IN my van on the back of a flatdeck to the Chevron, $80 for a battery we made the doctors office only three hours late.

Since then, I haven't needed to go anywhere. Saturdays we just hoofed it to Albertsons four blocks away and have used Safeway and Albertsons home delivery.

Not to mention I just never found this wheelchair comfortable: to much rearward rake. So we adjusted the axle mounts an inch higher, got my seating position back to comfortable - and thusly adjusted the tiedown bars on the chair an inch higher: it wouldn't fit the van. Last weekend a guy Sandra works with who does body and mechanical work on the side took my chair, redid the tiedown bars [which fit perfectly] so today we figured out of here by noon, hit Frys Electronics, Office Depot - home. Well, I hit the bathroom, five minutes later hair, shave, shirt didn't smell to bad - I'm done. 2PM we go. [women take longer]

Batteries? Dead as a doorknob! This time I request a tow truck that'll fit in the garage so we can hook it directly. I'll tell you now - there is NO WAY a gas engine can boost a diesel. Just can't be done! So, I tell Miguel to hook it up and we'll meet him at the Chevron.

We get there at four, they closed at two, Abdul and Mohammed at the soda counter didn't even know their names let alone directions to an open service station [or the nearest Camel On A Stick] so I tell Miguel to drop the van - another hint: 5,000 lbs of van on the back of an F350 tow truck causes the front axle of said tow truck to leave terra firma. Seriously.

So we drop the van and he & Sandra go off in search of a new replacement battery [last time we replaced the one under the hood, not the one in the frame rails mid section of said van - underneath]. They go, I'm there in the parking lot looking VERY Caucasian, and feeling suddenly very alone. Half an hour later they get back and he dives under the van to make the swap. I don't even want to think about changing a battery laying on your back having to lift the mother and not drop it on your face. But he did it. Must remember, this battery is taller than the stock one, the retaining bar didn't fit - must buy bungee cord.

For those scoring at home: $75 for this battery, $150 for the labor and since the battery said "Delco Freedom" [and lived nine full glorious years] we set it free - just left that puppy where it sat along with 20 lbs of good Saskatchewan mud. Off to Frys. Cost me another $180 to get out of there, at $1.60 exchange rate. Screw Office Depot, we got home at 7:50.

Should I drive more often than solar equinoxes? Maybe. Should I buy one of those permanent mount marine chargers? Could be a plan. In the meantime join me in song:

No body knows the trouble I've seen,
No body knows my soooorrrr - oooowwwwww.......

[Not to mention coming home on First Street, speed limit 45, guy in the left turning lane, stopped for the arrow, suddenly decides when I'm 30 feet back of him to wander into my lane. 5000 Lbs of van in a violent lane change is not a pleasant ride let me tell you. ]