Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vehicular Mastitis

Last Wednesday, I was (yet, again) loading and unloading strollers into the back cargo area of my Suburban, when I discovered that the carpet was really wet. I was pretty sure nothing had spilled in there but was pretty perplexed as to where that water had come from. Everyone knows it doesn't rain in California. Word is that it hasn't rained here since April.
So, the water wasn't leaking in from outside of the car. Where was it coming from then? I mentioned it to the husband on one of our video conferences from Iraq. He says it could be a condenser coil or drainage line from the rear air conditioning.

Oh. Really.

So, what do I do about that, I ask. He tells me that I will just have to swing by the Chevy dealership and have them take a look at it.

Anyone will three small children knows you don't just swing by anywhere. I think the husband is picturing himself driving over to the dealership, parking the car, unbuckling his seatbelt, getting out of the car, and swaggering into the service department. At which time, he would tell them he was there to have the car looked at and they would suggest he fix himself a cup of coffee and then get comfortable in the waiting room with a magazine.

Anyone with three small children knows that the scenario would go a little differently. The oldest of the children would buckle herself into her carseat. I would fish the middle child out of the front seat where she was busy turning the radio volume full-blast and the windshield wipers on. Meanwhile, the baby would be headed down the driveway into the street, dragging her bunny behind her.
Once all of the children were secured into their carseats and we were in-route, I would alternate handing back juice cups and pretzels, while trying not to run off the road. Once we arrived at the dealership, I would remove my seat belt and begin the unloading. I would go around to the rear and manhandle the akwardly cumbersome double stroller out of the cargo area and on to the ground and pop it open. I will push it around to the baby's door, unbuckle her from her carseat and re-buckle her into the stroller. The oldest child will be out of the car and practicing cartwheels in the parking lot. Meanwhile the midle child will have to be fished out of the front seat once again, where she has been turning on the turn signals, and turning the air conditioning to full blast (which may very well have gotten us into this pickle in the first place). Middle child will be buckled into the front seat of the double stroller and we will head towards the service department. I will manhandle the double stroller up onto the curb and the oldest child and I will akwardly enter, while trying to hold the door open and maneuver the double stroller in the doorway at the same time.
We will enter the building and when the nice person in the service department offers me a cup of coffee and a magazine while I wait, little does she know that she will wish she had asked me to wait outside, once my children start terrorizing the waiting room. Because anyone with three small children knows that they don't do waiting rooms well. They don't do waiting rooms well when they are waiting to see Elmo, for crying out loud. They certainly aren't going to do waiting rooms well when they are waiting for some silly car repair!

So, the thought of having to take the car in for service makes my stomach hurt. I left the back hatch open for several days in order for the carpet to dry out, only closing for a short trip to run errands each afternoon. On the third day, I realized the carpet is still wet, so I channel my inner-Jayne (Jayne being my good friend who is the definition of an independant, capable woman - she can do anything!) and take a look at the car and see if I could figure out what was going on. I open the back hatch and remove a piece of plastic molding so I can lift up the back edge of the carpet and see what is going on. This, my friends is about as far as I got. I figured out that the carpet was still quite wet and the padding was pretty wet too. I used the wet/dry vac to suck up as much water as I could, and I called Jayne. She came over and between the two of us, we managed to find yet another use for a 12 pack of beer. Car repair. Who would have known?

We propped up the carpet and pad with the beer in order for air to flow between so it could dry.

Look, here is Jayne!
But, we didn't think that was going to happen very fast. So, if the twelve pack of beer wasn't redneck enough, we added the leaf blower to speed up the process.

I would love to be able to tell you that no beer was actually harmed during this car repair process, but I am sad to inform you that one of them got away from us. It rolled down the incline of the driveway and into the street. I raced after it. (I am sure any neighbors watching think I am a total lush as I am running down the street after a runaway coors light). I caught it and brought it back to the garage when I realized that it had a small puncture hole in it and a fine mist of beer was shooting out. Hey - another use for beer - could be used as a mister in hot weather!

Now, you are probably asking at this point, where does the mastitis fit in? Well, Jayne went home and did some research on the computer to see if she could find anyone with similar air conditioning issues. She found lots of message boards with postings about a/c problems in Suburbans, but fortunately my a/c was working fine, just the water problem, which narrowed it down. The issue seemed to be a clogged drain line, and one poster mentioned a nipple (yes, a nipple) that could be found behind the rear wheel well. And that it could be squeezed to release water built up in the drain pan.
So, I drove over the Jayne's house and she looked under the car, and would you believe there is indeed a nipple under there?

And, she squeezed it.

And out came about a gallon of water! So, she diagnosed the car with vehicular mastitis.

Just a little clogged nipple.

She opened it up with a drinking straw and the darn thing seems to be working fine. I am leaving a puddle of water beneath the car everywhere I go. But, who cares! After all, I spent little time, no aggravation, lots of laughter, and no money! The carpet is dry now and I am hopeful that the straw repair will hold until husband returns from Iraq!


cherrygarage said...

Oh Missy... You are fantastic.. I can picture the whole thing. Cannot wait to see you. I'll call you once we get to San Diego!

Kim said...

That is one of the funniest and most informative posts I have ever read...and I would have done it exactly the same way! I am all about figuring it out myself!!! You go,girl!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the morning laugh...I am with you car repairs are the last thing I ever like to deal with...


Broken China Treasures said...

Congratulations on the repair! More power to women and their ingenious-ness (sp?)!!

Anne said...

OMG! Bless your heart! You and Jayne are both troupers! I enjoyed your post very much, and I am so glad you got your SUV's nipple troubles under control. Hmmm--I think the Coors or Black and Decker folks ought to use your amusing story in a TV ad! Thanks for the laugh. Thoughts and prayers are with you, your hubby and those precious young ones.

Jessica Levitt said...

Thanx for that. I needed a good laugh before bed...

pickles*and*co said...

Oh my! That is hysterical!!!!

MoziEsmé said...

This is hilarious! Are you serious?!

Steph said...

Hi, Missy! Found you by link under 5 min for mom. That is the funniest post! And how creative you two were...only to research it and find an even more creative way to "relieve the congestion" of that mastitis. You had me laughing so hard!

MaryRC said...

Just dropped in from Lelly's blog. What a GREAT tale! I love and relate to every bit of it!