Thursday afternoon my brother, Skippy, calls me up:
“Hey Rue!” he says. “Ya wanna go to this one thing I heard about at work? It’s in Friendship, Indiana and they got muzzle loaders and tomahawk throwing and bows and arrows and there’s all this stuff to see and it sounds real neat!”
He was excited about it, so I thought “Eh, why not?”. So I told him:
“Eh, why not?”
We figured we’d go on Saturday and my sister and her husband and two people from Skippy’s work went too. So all told there were six of us. Only the two people from Skippy’s work smoked, so they went in their own car and for some reason I got picked to drive the rest of us. But that was OK, since Friendship, Indiana isn’t all that far away.
Once we got there, it was pretty neat. I’m not sure what you’d call it, but it was put on by the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and on one side of the road, there was this “Primitive Area” where the people were dressed up like 17th and 18th century (I’m guessing out my… hat here. I really don’t know the timeframe they were dressing in. But I’m sticking with my guess.) frontiers people. There were tents (real canvas tents!) (and some teepees!) all over the field (lined up in tidy rows they way you’re supposed to set up your tents) selling stuff. After roaming around for, like, three hours, the total haul between the six of us were these two sets of magnetized hematite rocks that buzz when you throw them up in the air, and a strip of beef jerky. But it was fun strolling around looking at the stuff. There was a great big muzzle loading rifle range and the guns went KA-BOOM! when they shot, so that was neat, just because it was real loud.
Then we went across the street to see what was over there. More muzzle loader shooters. Only these people weren’t dressed up as anything special. Just regular people shooting their muzzle loaders. We poked around for a little while, and then we got to shoot a muzzle loader for free and that was that. (They were trying to entice us to join the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association by showing us how much fun it is to shoot muzzle loading rifles. We all took a pass on their kind offer.)
Then it was time to go home.
We all piled into my car (actually it’s the Little Woman’s car she drives to work everyday, but I was driving that day, so it counted as “my car”) and… nothing. Not that I was just sitting there. I was turning the key. But nothing was happening. That was odd. We got down to Friendship, Indiana no problem, and the Little Woman hadn’t mentioned she’d been having car trouble lately, but the car wasn’t going “vrooooom” after I turned the key. I was concerned.
OK, maybe the battery was dead. It could happen. I don’t remember the last time we got a new battery for this car, so the battery could be four or five years old. So I kick started it. (We could have jump started it, but we were parked in a field and to get the other car around would have been inconvenient, so I just kicked it.) Sometimes it’s good to have a standard shift automobile. With the kick, it started right up. So that was good.
The alternator will charge up the battery while we drive and then I could go to Sam’s Club and get a new car battery and replace the worn out one and all would be better. That was my plan anyway. The car had other ideas.
Down the road a ways, the car decided it had driven far enough and stopped.
I used some strong language and then Skippy and my brother-in-law helped push the car over to the shoulder.
This is where it was a good thing we took two cars to the thing. (I’m still not sure what it was called. The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association Big Shoot in Friendship, Indiana with Other People Who dressed Up Funny?) The guy from Skippy’s work was nice enough to drive me into Aurora, Indiana looking for a new battery. (By this time I knew it wasn’t really the battery, but most likely the alternator. I was in denial this was the problem, but I knew a new battery would make my car run to get it home and a new battery was cheaper than a tow truck.)
We stopped at this one car parts place. The name was “No Actual Parts Available”, which was odd since they just used the acronym and that’s the same name as a chain of other auto parts stores and I figured they were just asking for a lawsuit. But I don’t care if they do get sued and go out of business. They didn’t have a battery to fit my car. Why not? Well, apparently the terminals on my car’s battery are reversed. The positive terminal is where the negative terminal usually goes and the other way and the battery cables aren’t long enough to cross over and you can’t just put the battery in the car the other way. (Not hook the positive lead to the negative terminal, because even I know this would be a Bad Idea. Just turn the battery around so it was facing backwards which would put the appropriate terminals on the proper sides to hook up.)
Since NAPA… I mean “No Actual Parts Available”, which is a completely different store, couldn’t help me, we tried somewhere else. Wal-Mart. (The Wal-Mart in Aurora, Indiana is just as nice as you think it is.) Wal-Mart had the right battery, so I bought it. And a small adjustable wrench. (I was thinking ahead there.) We went back to the car (about 5 miles back), I changed out the batteries, the car started, we went back to the Aurora, Indiana Wal-Mart to turn in the old battery so I could get my $5 “core fee” back, and then went home.
How was this giant pain in the butt “about as well as I could hope”? Well, it didn’t happen to the Little Woman while she was trying to get home from work one day, so she wasn’t stuck on a busy highway all by herself. We also had two cars in convoy so there was already one there to help me with my dead battery problem. And… uh… that’s about it. But it could have been worse. That’s what I’m saying: It could have been worse.
And that thing we went to and had a good time at wasn’t the only good thing that happened that Saturday. On my way over to Skippy’s house, I passed a garage sale and they had a bunch of concretia. (At a garage sale? Yes. I didn’t question it.) That’s right. I got myself a Garden Gnome.
Now my garden is all gnomed up.