“Where do we keep the Q-tips?” Bill will ask, rooting around a cabinet where the Q-tips aren’t, and never were.
“Do you remember where I keep my spare phone chargers,” I ask Bill, who, of course, doesn’t have the least idea.
But, worst of all are all of the issues we come back to. When we return to Denver, Bill always comes back to a lawn that looks like the jungles of the Amazon. He spends a couple of days cutting the grass that is so long it requires him to empty the bag about every seven seconds. I expect him to bring out the scythe any second.
However, this time our biggest obstacle was that MY YELLOW BUG WOULDN’T START. Oh, and when we got it started by charging the battery, why-oh-why was there a red flashing light on my dashboard. Flashing lights are never good. They bode serious trouble.
We charged up the battery and figured out how to refill the coolant in the bug which was the cause of the flashing red light. (When I say “we” I obviously mean “Bill”). And let me just tell you that none of this is easy when it comes to Volkswagens. They don’t just use normal radiator fluid. Ooooooh nooooo. That would be too easy. It takes a special, EXPENSIVE kind of radiator fluid that’s hard to find. And you can’t just go and buy a battery because it’s extremely difficult for anyone who isn’t a certified Volkswagen Mechanic to replace anything on a Volkswagen. Last time I bought a new battery it took a team of Walmartians way longer than it should have to put it in because of where the battery is located.
We thought we had the battery problem fixed. I picked up my granddaughter from school and met her mommy and sister for lunch. After lunch, I cheerfully climbed into my car, turned the key, and – well –nothing happened. Well, that’s not entirely true. There was a sad click click click, which is German for “reach in your pocket because this is going to cost you some big money, meine Frau.”
My daughter-in-law gave me a ride home, and Bill drove me back to my car, where he gave me a jump. The car started, and we agreed that, like it or not, a new battery was in order. He agreed to follow me to Costco to purchase and install said battery. What could possibly go wrong?
So there we are, driving down County Line Road, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the south suburbs of Denver. It’s 3:30ish, nearing rush hour. I stop at a red light at the MAJOR INTERSECTION of University Boulevard and County Line Road, and my car dies. I am in the middle lane, and the car was absolutely dead. I put on my flashers; Bill, who is right behind me, does the same. People are roaring up to him about 75 miles per hour before they realize he is at a dead stop. Apparently the red flashing lights don’t mean anything. Perhaps it involves the legalization of marijuana.
I called AAA, and they agreed to send help as soon as possible and to replace my battery on the spot. In about an hour. AN HOUR. I am stalled in the middle lane of an extraordinarily busy street as rush hour is bearing down upon us.
I said, “You do that,” hung up and called 911. A very nice cop quickly arrived. Then a second car pulls up. And a third. Pretty soon I hear the theme song to COPS. Bad boy bad boy, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
The nice cop stopped traffic on this busy street, which made all of the other drivers really happy, and allowed Bill to pull up next to me to again give me a jump. My car started. I prayed to the patron saint of crappy batteries, and successfully made my way to the nearest parking lot.
About this time two things happened. One, a tow truck appeared, and two, AAA called to inform me that they can put batteries in every other car in the world except Volkswagen Beetles. See my earlier paragraph. Apparently the Germans are getting even with the Americans for WWII when they designed the engine compartment of the Beetle. Payback is a bitch.
But Mr. Nice Tow Truck Guy suggested I call Sears – just down the road – to see if they were willing and able to install said battery, and they were. He was nice enough to follow me all the way there so that if I stalled out again, the angry drivers would have to deal with him. And he was big. Or at least his tow truck was. He deserved the big tip Bill gave him when we arrived safely and said our goodbyes.
As we waited for my car to have its battery replaced, I said to Bill, “Well, this is certainly not how I expected to spend my first afternoon back in Denver.”
“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition,” he said in perfect Monte Python manner.
As I write this, my car is safe and sound in my garage with a new battery that cost me a lot of money. But my car runs, and I am ready to be the babysitter when the new baby decides to come.
Just don’t tell the Germans. And Bill will get the scythe out of the storage shed and finish cutting the grass today.