Friday, December 05, 2008

Adventures in Biodiesel or How We Became a Push-Me-Pull-Me

So tonight when I got home from work, the message blinking at me on the answer machine was from Troy...he's stuck in the parking lot because his car conked out. Could I please come pick him up and bring the ~~~~~ (that's static on the machine just at the spot where he tells me what to bring)? I must have listened to the message 6 times and could get nothing better than some consonants lost in static. And, he added, his phone was dead, so I couldn't call him.

I decided to leave without taking the ~~~~~. Not a hard decision since I didn't know what it was. But on the way out I turned on my cel phone so I wouldn't forget later. (We don't get coverage til about halfway to town.) Except today...I'm barely 1/2 mile from home and I have 5 bars and a message coming through. It's Troy and loud and clear I can hear the he wanted an empty gas can. Ohhhh....that makes sense. So I turned around for the gas cans, found them in the garage, and off I went to my poor waiting and chilling husband.

I make it to town and am driving around the parking lot looking for him in all the usual places. Just then he calls me [he bought himself a new charger] and we figure out that I am at WalMart and he is at Target. Ohhhh.... so off I go to Target and find him easily once I'm at the right store.

We head off to buy some regular diesel and come back so Troy can put it in the tank and change the fuel filter and hope that it starts. While he's doing that I head into the Super Target for some pizza and bring back some mediocre warm "hot" chocolate for Troy. The poor boy is frozen.

The car does eventually start. Cautious Troy drives around the parking lot a few times to make sure it's ok. The car quits twice and that's that. On to Plan B.

Plan B is for my Corolla to tow his Jetta. Troy has tow straps and gets it set up. We are hoping my bumper doesn't get pulled off, among other things.

I have never towed a car before. Troy can't see out of his windshield [ice/frost]. We've got 25 miles to get home.

I learned a few things: 1. Corolla's aren't really meant for towing. 2. Christina isn't really meant to drive 30 mph for 25 miles. I mean that is almost school zone slow. Ahh! Except one spot when we turned onto a secondary road that didn't really have the ice and snow cleared off of it. And we started going down the first clear shoulders...icy looking road...then 30 felt like a roller coaster at Six Flags!

The trip went well, though. I mean, we didn't hit anything, or each other. We made it home. Traffic was able to get around us and didn't get backed up too far. No deer appeared and made it more exciting than it needed to be. The experience did make me think of the Push Me Pull Me in Dr Dolittle. Anyone remember that film (the 1967 version, I mean)? It was a two headed, or two "fronted" llama-like animal. No back legs, just two heads with front legs attached in the middle and going opposite directions. Anyway, I was obviously pulling Troy; but then whenever we had to slow down, Troy would do the braking and he would be pulling me [back]. It was a bit of an odd experience. Perhaps it would have been easier with some walkie-talkies or something, but I'm not sure I had enough hands to manage that, the steering and the shifting. (Yeah, and really fast shifting helps in towing too.) And don't get me started on keeping your speed steady; there's a reason someone invented cruise control! It's really hard to keep your speed constant. You can be pretty motivated, though, when there's a big car strapped to your behind, so to speak.

We saved the most exciting part for last: getting up the driveway. I had a fun enough time getting up the initial hill when I got home the first time, just in me in my car. Now towing Troy behind, we had to make sure we had enough speed to get up the hill, or at the very least to get Troy off of the highway, but of course not so much speed that we wiped out. With me controlling the speeding up, and Troy controlling the slowing down. And remember: no communication. Anyway, that all turned out great too, especially since there was "mysteriously" no traffic right then on our busy highway.

And if I may gloat in my marital bliss: this whole evening of adventure was accomplished with nary a snarky tone, unkind word, deep sigh, or hint of recrimination. How lovely.

I will say I am very happy to not have to go to work tomorrow after this long night. Troy will be driving the truck in to work and we will see how that goes. I don't think I will be towing that with the Corolla (although I seem to remember a friend towing it with his Taurus...) Troy will also be buying regular already-winterized diesel fuel for the car through the worst of the winter.  On the up side, this means there will be more fuel to burn in the oil stove. (This makes me happy.)

All for now, it's time for me to snuggle in bed and try to soak out the last of this chill. Take care,

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