Monday, February 15, 2010

Penn State Jump Start

This past Friday I planned to leave my last class, take the bus to my car, drive to our apartment building, park along the street while I finished packing, load the car, and drive home. I found a few kinks in my plan.
I left class about 15 minutes after it ended (normally @ 12:05) because I was talking to my prof about Marie Antoinette and the necklace affair. (it's a class on the French Revolution and Napoleon) Anyway, I finally left and walked down to the closest Blue Loop bus stop. I watched a squirrel run around in the snow on top of a bush while I waited for the bus, the third one to arrive was a Blue Loop. I hoped on and settled in for the ride around campus. It dropped me off near the long term parking and I walked the rest of the way up the hill towards the lot. As I walked along the parked cars on my way to Shamrock(my car), I noticed other students clearing off their cars. Luckily I kept an ice scraper in my passengers door and had remembered to bring along snow-playing gloves and was wearing boots. I clicked the key fob to unlock the doors but nothing happened, she does that sometimes so I manually opened the passengers' side door and dropped off my bookbag and picked up the ice scraper. Luckily, much of the snow had melted and only the trunk and windshield really had piles. I cleaned most of it off but because there was so much snow along the drivers side and the front I couldn't really reach the middle of the hood (I'm short btw).
I decided to back her up and then finish cleaning the hood so I tried to unlock the driver's door but it wouldn't work. I climbed through from the passengers' door and pulled on the handle to unlock it, then went back around and hopped in. I kicked off the snow from my boots, took off the mittens, stuck the key in the ignition and turned. Nothing happened. Period. Nothing. Not even a failing attempt at starting. Absolutely nothing.
Drat. Now what do I do? It's about 1pm, I was hoping to leave by then, I still had to get back to York and meet my mother at Sam's so we could get supplies for the apartment. Well, let's think about this. The doors wouldn't open, the car won't start. I think the battery is probably dead. What do you do for a dead battery? Jump start the car! I have oil, phone books, an emergency bag of chips, napkins, plastic fork and spoon, spare tire... all sorts of things in my trunk. No jumper-cables.
I had seen a guy cleaning off his car and pushing away his snow with his sneakers, I think I'll walk back up and see if he's still there. I did and he was. I asked him if he had jumper cables and nearly gave him a huge hug. He had just put them in his trunk the weekend before! :)
I helped him finish cleaning his windshield, hopped in, and directed him towards Shamrock who was patiently waiting to be brought back to life. We opened our hoods and got out the cables. He double checked online with his phone to make sure we did it right. We hooked up his car with engine running and then attached the other ends to my battery, waited a few minutes and I tried the ignition. It worked!!!!! Shamrock was alive!!!
I drove back to the apartment, i would rather not have stopped but I had to get my bags and I'm not about to leave my car running unattended with the keys in the ignition, I love her too much. I parked and called Daddy, he said that I should be ok since I had driven for about 15 minutes, I had to hurry and get back out to start the car.
I turned off the car, plugged the meter (this was difficult because I had mostly Canadian coins in my jeans pocket and hadn't realized it)and ran inside. I started packing like crazy, trying not to forget anything. I took the first load out, my laundry hamper (laundry at home is free and I don't have to wait for a machine) and my bookbag. Next I brought out my hanging dress bag (I was going to a Yacht Club Ball in MD) and my little rolling suitcase. I hurried back upstairs, signed on to check some last minute email, had some leftover mac and cheese (it'd be a while till I could have dinner and I knew I couldn't stop on the road). I took the last load down, my computer bag and purse. Loaded the car, hopped in, turned the ignition. She tried, it didn't work.
Now I'm somewhat pissed, my car is loaded, the meter is running out, I need a jumpstart. There's a gas station beside my building so I ran across the road to the two cars who were filling up. The first, a girl, didn't have any jumper cables but she did have a card for a company that would come do it (I didn't have much time to wait so I told her I'd ask the other guy first but thanks). The guy with the Jeep had jumper cables! :) He drove over and parked hood to hood with Shamrock. Same process, hook up his car while running, hook up Shamrock. He revved the engine a few times, wiggled the clamps a little to get a good contact and Shamrock came to life again. I called Daddy, Mommy and Paul, texted my roommate, best friend, and my brother. I was on my way.
Luckily I had filled up the gas tank the last time I had driven into State College so I had a full tank, I drove directly to Sam's in York where both parental units met me, Daddy had already bought a battery and put my name in the queue. I handed the guys my keys and went shopping for soda, granola bars, and beef jerky with Mommy while Daddy watched them install the battery in an effort to 'learn something'. We checked out, picked up the keys, loaded Mommy's van and I walked towards Shamrock. She started!!! She had come back to life and been saved :)
Thank you to the two Penn State students who helped a fellow student in need without ever even exchanging names or asking questions and to Sam's for having car batteries and installing them on the spot.

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