Grease = Gross

The whole thing started when she and I decided to take the boys to a large bookstore downtown to pick up a Christmas gift for my cousin.  We drove all the way out to the store without incident and I even found the perfect item on sale!  It seemed that things were going our way.  But then we had to drive home.  Thankfully the boys (ages 8 months and 18 months at the time) fell asleep not long after we had gotten onto the freeway. 

In the middle of our perfectly pleasant conversation we were faced with a crisis.  Much to my dismay the car shut off completely, leaving us coasting on the I-17 during the Christmas shopping rush.  After a frantic search for the hazard switch I pulled over in the only place available to me.  The first lane of the freeway sat on our left, the on ramp on the right.  We were squeezed into the the small triangle between them that you aren't supposed to drive on.

I tried several times to start the car with no success.  After the third attempt the car didn't even make a sound when I turned the key.  I dug out my cell phone and called my husband who said he would be right there to pick us up.  Thankfully we were only about five miles from home and not downtown near the bookstore.

Things went from worse to crap when both she and I started feeling ill due to the shaking of the car as the freeway traffic blew past us.  The heat pouring in through the closed windows wasn't helping either.  We had to get out of the car anyway so we decided sooner was better than later.  Not wanting to risk the majority of the traffic on the left, we both climbed out through the passenger side and pulled the boys out with us.

It seemed forever before my husband and father in law arrived.  Coincidentally they pulled up at the same time as the highway patrol who had finally stopped to see what the problem was.  Hubby sent us home in his car while he and his father took care of calling the tow truck. 
In all the time we stood there, two sleeping babies in our arms, not ONE person even slowed down.

Flash forward to yesterday.  It turns out that the timing chain had snapped and my husband was sure that we would be able to fix it ourselves.  You read that right...we.  I am the only one in the house whose hands are small enough to reach between the engine and that other dirty thing with screws poking out to take off the cover that housed said timing chain.
Once we got that cover off (and I had spent about an hour griping about how greasy and gross I was getting) we saw that yes, indeed, the timing chain was broken.  Not only broken, but stuck between two gears.  The trusty screwdriver finally prevailed and we got the broken one off.  I swear, I heard it laughing at me.

After this we went inside.  I cleaned up while he shopped around over the phone to find the replacement.  Since I had to go out anyway to pick up a couple of things, my husband asked if I would mind stopping at the auto parts store after 2pm to pick up the new timing chain since he had had to special order it.  No problem.  I took my best friend with me (the same one I got stranded with).  We took the boys to the toy store to spend a gift card that my son had gotten for Chanukkah and stopped at the pet store to pick up some ferret litter.  By the time we pulled into the auto parts store the boys were asleep so she stayed with them while I ventured inside.

At this point I feel it is important to confess that my knowledge of cars begins at "This is the gas pedal" and ends with "Don't slam on your brakes when you hit a puddle".  Nonetheless, I went inside, armed with the list that my husband had given me.  I found the silicone sealer on my own.  I even added a tub of Orange Cleanser to my cart, my confidence rising.  It didn't last.  I couldn't find a wire brush and I had no idea what PB Solvent was, let alone where to find it.  I was forced to admit defeat and ask for help. 

The man who helped me was amused enough by my stupid questions but was unable to choke back a laugh when I received a text message, causing my phone to announce quite loudly that "Everyone I know has a big butt".  It's not the first time that my choice of alert tones has caused my own embarrassment.
 We finally get back home and my husband and I return to the task at hand.  The new timing chain was pristine and only slightly intimidating.  Again...didn't last.  We tried for about two hours to cram that stupid thing on.

We accomplished the following:
I cut my hand about twelve times.
He almost got a spring poked through his finger.
The timing chain, when finally on, didn't fix it.

It was at this point that I stepped back to survey the damage.  Not to the car, to myself.  I couldn't see my skin because my hands were so stained.  I had gunk under my nails that I could FEEL every time I touched anything.  My hair looked like I hadn't brushed it in a week.  I knew without a doubt that I would have to throw my shirt away.  I swear I could feel the little grease monsters with their red eyes and fangs chewing on me.
After a phone call to a family friend who knows a lot more about cars than we do it was determined that this problem would wait until next week.  

So I ditched everyone and went upstairs to take a bath.


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