A clack and a bang
Yesterday after radiation, I drove directly to our autobody shop near my parent’s house. As if I didn’t have enough going on with radiation, cardiac issues, and childcare logisitics, my car started making a loud (LOUD!) clacking noise that was very ominous. I prayed the entire time I was driving it. The mechanics, Chatty and Boss, told me that the repair would take several days and, anticipating it was inside the engine block, thousands of dollars. Ugh. Did you catch the plural on the thousands? The unexpected expenses of 2012 just keep rolling in.
Chatty went to do one more diagnostic; I heard the distinctive clacking and then a big bang, and he returned with a six inch metal disk in his hands. The disk for the air compressor sheared completely off and failed as he was watching. If I’d been driving, this could have been catastrophic to me, to my car, or to another vehicle. Phew. Thank you God.
They wrote up the estimate for the air compressor and associated labor and parts. They assured me that this fix would cheaper than their initial “thousands” recommendation. However, the total came back as $1,726.88. Um, so not much better. I got that crappy stressed feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Can I drive it without the air compressor?” I asked, hoping that Brad and I could digest this together before we had to ante up.
“Yes, it is drivable. But you don’t have any air conditioning.”
Air-conditioning, schmair-conditioning. It’s October. “How many miles can I drive without doing more damage?”
Boss answered thoughtfully, “Best case is you could drive it for the rest of it’s life with no A/C. Worse case is the clamp comes off while you’re driving and your engine fails, but I don’t think that will happen.”
I looked back and forth from Chatty to Boss. “So, essentially, I can leave here today with no A/C, and no danger to myself or other vehicles, and decide later whether to replace the part?”
Chatty and Boss nodded and I drove home, grateful that I did not have to spend another huge un-budgeted chunk of money on an unpredicted expense.
I’ve had my car for more than ten years. It has been a part of every life event that has taken place during that time: I picked it out with my dad, it took me to work at a job I loved, it was the car of choice for countless road trips, it brought each of my precious newborn daughters home from the hospital. I love my car; it has served me well.
Yesterday my car scared me with a loud clacking noise. The end result is doable: it is safe for my family, and I can live with no A/C (remind me I wrote this in July, okay?)
I’m finding strong parallel with my own situation over the past week: my heart has been projecting loud symptoms that are uncomfortable and scary, kind of like the clacking in the engine. But, in both cases, the result is relatively benign. The message is: carry on, warrior. Keep going. This is not a catastrophic end. Chin up. Adjust, make changes, listen to the experts. Do today well.
Me and my car are kind of in the same boat. We’re a little worse for wear, but we’re still going.