I am so devastated I can barely breathe. I have struggled, fought, planned, made happen SOMEHOW so many things over the last 8+ years and now…well, now, I’m at a loss as to how I move forward. I am out of resources, ideas, and, at the moment, strength. Overwhelmed does not begin to cover it.
So, in my last post, I said I was in survival mode and would be gone for a bit so I could make things happen. I did that, quite successfully, I might add. Lance found a job, steady work, something that is scheduled to last a year. WOOT WOOT! He’s not earning as much as he would like to but it’s still good money. The commute ends up looking like 2-ish hours each direction, but, hey! It’s money, right? Something is always better than nothing.
I also found a job working in a wireless company call center. Training is 12 weeks. The pay took a few minutes, and a few self-talk sessions, to accept since it is severely less than I am used to making. It’s consistent work, though, and that means a lot. There is also room for advancement, benefits available, paid time off earned, wireless discounts, so, overall, not such a bad deal.
The work is something completely new to me and I have found myself a bit anxious about the learning process, how much we are learning in such a short time, the whole newness of it. Change always seems to screw me up at least a little bit, but I’ve been determined to make this work. I even have started to find hope in it, looking toward the future with this company and what that might bring. There is still another 10 weeks of training left, but I’ve started thinking this may have been a great change in my life. Maybe we would finally be able to get up on our feet. Fingers super crossed.
Then, last night happened.
My son had spent the weekend at a long time friend of his. My son’s friend is a Marine and stationed in Hawaii, so they don’t really get to hang out much at all, which is sort of a bummer because they have been friends since 1st grade and are pretty much like brothers.
Anyway, we needed to pick up my son. I was going to be the one to do this, so was trying to set up a time with my son that would leave me with a little bit of last-minute down time before starting the work week. My husband decided to go pick up my son for me so I could just stay home and relax…I love that man. He headed over, grabbed my son, and Google Mapped his return drive. Google said the normally quickest way was completely backed up and routed him a different way that was much longer in miles and would end up being only 3 minutes shorter. The normal route usually only takes about an hour, and Maps was saying it was going to take 2 hours and 15 minutes. My husband decided to take Google’s advice and started heading south. His car is really great on gas (Not Prius great but still impressive).
About an hour before my son and husband would have been home, I get a call from my husband. I figured he was calling to update his ETA since I was waiting to put the enchiladas I made in the oven so they would be ready about the time they got home. I answered the phone happily only to hear a defeated response from my husband. Uh oh.
“The car just died and I have no idea why.” Crap. I knew he had plenty of gas, so didn’t even ask the gas-related questions. He said he still had lights and all the other power items, but the car just wouldn’t start, again. None of the dash lights had come on either right before or when it died, so no help there. I told him I would just start heading that way. If he got it going before I got there, great! I’d just turn around and head back home. If not, we would just have to figure it out. I threw on some slightly warmer clothes since it was starting to cool off, hopped in the car, and headed toward the freeway.
As I was heading toward the freeway, my car felt like it was driving a little weird. Not engine wise, but handling wise. I wrote it off as I was just tired (which I was) and I tend to get a bit over-sensitive to the movements of the car when I get tired. Onward I drove.
Once on the freeway, it seemed like the weirdness in handling was a bit more pronounced. Was I getting a flat tire? Did I need to get an alignment? Did I lose a weight on one of the tires? I would need to check all that out, later, is what I told myself. My husband called. He was stressing out pretty bad and needing to brainstorm with me. As we are talking, I hear a humming start in the rear of the car. Oh god no.
I know that sound. I’ve heard it before. And then, it got a little bit louder. Uh oh. I told my husband I thought I had a wheel bearing going out. Just as I told him, I felt one of the back tires catch a little bit, then release. I told my husband I needed to pull over. I wanted to make to the next exit, but the tire caught, again, then released. It didn’t feel like I would make it to the next exit. That wheel bearing was going to lock up. I pulled over, hung up with my husband, and just started crying. How could this be happening? Both cars on the same day??? Please, no. I called my best friend.
Through my tears, I told her I was stuck on the side of the road with a wheel bearing going out. She knows a bunch about cars, also, so asked some diagnostic questions. I explained what had happened and she agreed: wheel bearing. She would come rescue me.
Before she left home, my best friend called me back. She said that she was looking for the tow chain and tow strap she has so we could tow my husband’s car home. Mine was not an option to tow since the wheel bearing was catching. That would need a flatbed to move it safely. My thought is getting one car home is better than making it home without any cars. At least we might be able to save ourselves if we can get his car going again.
So, we towed my husband’s car home. It sits just off the driveway, waiting for us to try to fix it. I, of course, hopped online this morning to see what info I could find that might help us pinpoint the issue. One of the downsides is that we just paid bills, did a small grocery shopping for the week, and gassed up our vehicles for work. I think, between the two of us, we have about $25. Please, please, please let it be something super cheap!!
From the research I did this morning, it sounds like there are two things that are most likely to be the culprit for the vehicle failure: the crankshaft position sensor (CPS) and/or the engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS). Neither item sounds difficult to replace and the CPS is about $15. I haven’t looked up the ECTS price, yet. I’m hoping it isn’t expensive, either. One of us is going to either have to walk the 2.2 miles to the parts store or see if the bicycle we have here is rideable. It was having a few issues of its own the last time it was ridden and I’m not sure anyone has done anything to it.
I’m hoping its the CPS. I’m praying its the CPS. $15, about 15 minutes of work, and we could be on the road, again, though with only one vehicle. One is better than none. I think we will pull off the EGR valve, as well, and see if it has carbon build up on it, which could also be the problem, or at least part of it, though it isn’t strongly pointed to in the research I’ve done. Strongly mentioned a few times, randomly, but it can’t hurt to give that a shot, as well.
During training at work, you are not allowed to miss any days within the first two weeks, and any missed day of training after the first two weeks could lose your position on the team. I must have this car fixed today so I can get to work tomorrow or I am not going to have a job. To say I am in a panic is to understate my current emotional state.
I’m trying really hard not to just get stuck in the panic, but it’s pretty powerful, right now. If we don’t get the car fixed today, we both might be unemployed, and that is definitely reason to panic. I’m missing the Prius, extremely, right now. At least I know that car would still be going. But that is just wasted energy thinking about something that isn’t.
I can’t help but wonder if the universe isn’t saying something to me, though I am as clueless as always as to what that might be. Both cars down in one day, less than an hour apart. That leaves me wondering what it is I can do from home to make money, fast. Super fast. Or even at all. I don’t know. I’m just going to try to swim through the panic, attempt to get my husband’s car back on the road, and hopefully, keep us moving forward from here. Keep your fingers crossed for us. I’m not feeling super confident of the outcome on this one.