What’s under the hood?

I’m relatively sure I’m not delusional, but the chirping noise that my car was making was, according to my husband, a figment of my imagination. In his defense, he listened to a lot of heavy metal in his youth, which can rupture an eardrum more effectively than using an ice pick to clean out ear wax.

My son heard the noise and made dire predictions of broken CV joints, ripped up spider gears, busted pumpkins, and total self-destruction of the transmission. In South Carolina, that would make my car a two-ton lawn ornament. When hurricane Irene came through, many cars were blown off their blocks.

Since I didn’t want that fate for my beloved, and totally paid-for car, I flew into action, and told my husband I was taking it to the dealer. That’s how we ended up in Jedburg, with one of his work buddies taking my car apart in front of his backyard auto repair garage.

“Put it in neutral,” he shouted from somewhere under the jacked up car. First of all, there were no blocks behind the wheels, the car had already drifted close to the garage door as it was jacked up, and this guy was trusting his life to gravity and my husband’s eye-hand coordination.

To remove my car from “Park” you must first start the engine and bypass “Reverse” with the gear shift on the way to “Neutral”. This proved difficult for my sweetheart. I watched in horror as he toggled it back and forth between reverse and neutral, before he was confident that he had it right. By some divine intervention, the car did not jump off the jack, pinning our friend’s skull to the ground, and totally screwing up the wheel bearings. Hooray!

In the end, our friend came through, and discovered that the only problem was a loose clip-on weight thingy used for balancing the tires. He removed it, the chirping stopped, and my faith in backwoods mechanics was restored. He didn’t ask a penny for his time, and neither did Gerald’s Tire and Auto when they rebalanced the tire. Gerald’s even left a long stem rose on the dashboard.

This morning my computer crashed. At least, when the computer tech jacks it up and looks under the hood, he won’t be putting his life in immediate peril, but I’m not letting my husband put it in neutral.