Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And on the third day

Actually, it's only the second day, but Frenchie has risen again! Turns out, something did hit the car - in the fuel filter. So what I thought was oil spilling all over the road was, in fact, gas.

You're welcome, Modi'in.

Our mechanic, Oded (who is somewhat of an automotive celebrity here in Modi'in. I think he even has a fan club.) was able to get a new part the next day, and we picked Frenchie up last night. He seems none the worse for his little adventure; I actually think he secretly enjoyed it. Oded showed us the fuel filter, and the gash in it is pretty impressive. The mind boggles at what could have caused it.

The mind also boggles at how close we came to major disaster. Oded said we have such mazal (luck), because an inch or two either way and the whole fuel system could have been shot. Mazal tov!

In the end, optimism was warranted. Frenchie is home, pretty inexpensively. The cherry on top of our automotive sundae is, after all that, where I thought the car dumped a whole tank, we actually only lost half a tank of gas!

You're welcome, Modi'in.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Day in the Life of a non-Hebrew Speaker

You ever have one of those days when all the little individual items add up to make one bad thing that much worse?

Yeah, that was my day.

It started with the rain. Maimo wouldn't, er, do his business this morning, so I brought him along with me when I took Morey to the train, figuring we'd stop at the park on the way home, since by that time the rain had let up a bit.

We drop Morey off and head home. Two minutes later, I hear a 'thunk' that sounds like something hit the side of the car. Based on where we were (there is SO much construction in this city, I was neither worried nor surprised), I decided to continue around the corner where I was turning, and park.


The car died just as I made the turn. In the middle of the road. Next to two blocks of red & white striped "no parking" zones. He just would not start, and the sudden, overwhelming smell of oil convinced me that it probably wouldn't do much good to try. I did, a couple of times (what? You've never touched a freshly painted wall, despite the "Wet Paint" sign?), but my first instinct was right. I was able to roll a little out of the way of traffic, and up against the curb. I was hoping to roll back out of the turn, and roll down the main street a few feet to a legal parking spot.

Best laid plans and all that, blah blah. The curb was angled, and since the car was turned off, I had very little steering control, so the rear tire bumped up against the curb, and there she stayed. And of course, there is no one around, and none of the cars flying by me slowed down enough for me to even hope to get their attention to maybe help push me. I sat there staring at the perfectly legal and empty parking spots maybe 50 feet ahead of me. If this had happened only 10 seconds earlier, I could have coasted into a perfectly legal and empty spot on the main road. If it happened on 10 seconds later, I could have pulled into one of those spots right in front of me.

What to do? Call Morey, of course! He was on the train, so he made a few calls. The call to our mechanic went to voicemail, and when he tried our insurance company (we get one free tow), he was hurled into a Hebrew phone menu that went by so fast he couldn't even be sure he called the right company. He had to wait until he got to work, to enlist the aid of an Israeli co-worker.

Which would have happened faster if his train hadn't been delayed by 15 minutes.

I've now been sitting in the car - with the dog - for over an hour. I, too, have to get to Tel Aviv for a recording session. But since I was just planning on dropping Morey at the train, then heading back home, I am not dressed for Tel Aviv, I have no cash on me, nor do I have my bankcard. I also have no water, which by now both Maimo and I are regretting.

In the meantime, I take Maimo out for a quick stroll near the car; he does his thing, so we at least got one item on the to-do (to-doo?) list checked.

After another half-hour passes, I cancel my gig for today, and call a friend to ask for a ride home. Of course, she has a kid home sick today. But she's a great friend, and willing to drag her poor, sick kid out of his sickbed to come get me and the dog. Morey finally calls; while trying to figure out the best place to tow the car to, our mechanic had called and explained that one free tow is a tow to anywhere. It's good to know that had we been in Eilat, we could have gotten a tow home. I'd feel really bad for the tow guy who then had to drive a tow truck 5 hours back home, but hey.

So after Morey's co-worker gave a sob story about how the car was blocking traffic (well, it had been) and "his wife" was in the car, the tow company said they'd send someone right away. This, of course, was the Israeli "right away," but it wasn't too bad, especially given that I was starting to need to use the human facilities, and you. just. know. if I left the car to go to the shopping centre around the corner, that would be when the police finally showed up - to give me a parking ticket. Plus, I had the dog and that's... just... weird.

The tow truck shows up, and it figures - I can speak enough Hebrew to do just fine in a restaurant, or a supermarket, yet everyone always wants to speak English with me. I know not a single word relating to mechanic, tow, car repair, etc., (the best I can do is "my car is not working"), and I get the one guy who doesn't know a single word of English. He left, it started raining as Maimo and I waited outside, and stopped just before Kate came and picked me up. Her sick little kid got lots of doggy kisses, and less than 3 hours after the start of our ordeal, Maimo and I got home. We're still waiting to hear if Frenchie is dead in the water, given up the ghost, returned to his Peugeot maker or if there is a small modicum of hope. Sadly, I am not optimistic.

What I am optimistic about, however:
  • It was raining today!
  • I have a friend who was available to pick me up. And if she wasn't, I had backups.
  • I was able to move the car out of the flow of traffic, and not block the road.
  • We can get a tow to anywhere! Please God, may we never have to use it again.
  • Today's gig was with a long-term client, who has me doing a big project, so re-scheduling is not too much of a big deal. If it had been a one-off client, that would have been very very bad.
  • This happened while I was in Modi'in. It could have just as easily happened at 110 km/hr on the highway on my way to Tel Aviv.
  • Maimo is a rockstar. He could have been a right royal little pain in the tuchus, being stuck in a car, with no water, toys or food for so long, but he eventually curled up (with his head on my lap - aww) and sacked out.
  • Morey is an awesome rockstar. While I normally can handle stressful situations, there were too many factors that threw me - being in a no-parking zone, having the dog, having to get to a job, not having the language skills, not being sure what our policy covered... Morey handled it all with aplomb. I should hire him out.
Yes, this is what it takes to get me blogging again. Expect some "I hate Connex" posts in the near future.