#23: Jump starting a car

Posted by Megan on October 16th, 2011
This week, fate intervened and I stumbled onto a new experience without any prior planning. It was actually poor planning, or at least poor late-night mental function that allowed me to try a new, and previously highly intimidating task…. Twice!

Chili dog decided to upchuck his dinner in my car on Wednesday night. This was incredibly untimely, as I was so busy Wednesday evening and night, I had no time to address the dog vomit festering in my back seat. By the time I was done working on my totally awesome work project (I’m not being sarcastic, it IS fun), it was way, WAY beyond my bed time and I couldn’t muster the energy to decontaminate the toxic wasteland that was my backseat. Interestingly, Chili has an uncanny ability to extricate substances that resemble his name. I wish we would have named him Oreo!

The culprit. Even after depositing the contents of his stomach in my car, he’s still ecstatic to meet you!

Thursday was another craze-tastic day and I returned home at around 9 p.m. The “situation” had already been avoided for nearly 30 hours. It was bad! I turned on all the lights I could muster as I detailed every crevasse of my car. I sprayed and febreezed and vacuumed and scrubbed. About an hour later I was satisfied with the clean job. I quickly shuffled upstairs like a zombie.

The next morning, when I went to start my car, the battery was completely dead. Evidently I had forgotten to turn off all the lights I had illuminated during the Hazmat deep clean. I was running late so I had no choice but to take my husband’s car. Brad was out of town at the time, so thankfully I had a backup vehicle.

The battery leech.

When I arrived home several hours later, I contemplated waiting for Brad to arrive home later in the evening to jump my car for me. Then it dawned on me – I can do this myself!

I’ve had my car jumpstarted plenty of times. It’s the hazard of driving a somewhat old-ish car. If you’re wondering what the bonuses are to driving a somewhat old-ish car I’ve tabulated them for you:

  • You’re less likely to get a speeding ticket (although I’ve had three, so this theory might be flawed)
  • Insurance is less expense (although if your dad/husband pays for it, insurance is free)
  • People don’t try to drag race you (this one is legit, I’ve never been dueled to a street race)
  • If your dog pukes in it, it’s ok

But the thing about jump starting your car, is that there’s almost always someone else there – since they’re offering up their car battery’s power and all. So, every time I’ve needed a jump in the past, the other person has just done it. Playing dumb is a good trick if you’re also lazy like me!

Thankfully the illustration helped ensure I had found to correct lever. I didn’t want to accidently launch my parachute or turbo chargers!

 This time I was going to do it myself. I found step one to be the most difficult: Find how to open the hood. It took me at least 10 minutes to get both cars topless. (fill in your own cheap joke here). I retrieved the trusty cables from the trunk. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if I had any in my trunk… but of course my Dad had stashed some in there for me. Even at almost 30, he’s still looking out for me.

I knew these colored cord things were in my trunk for some reason…

I attached red to red, black to not-red. Started up Brad’s car – then started mine. The vomit-comet started right up! I was literally giddy with excitement. It feels liberating for me to do something myself that I would normally ask someone else to help me with. Does this mean I’m going to start shoveling my driveway or cleaning the gutters? Fat chance!

It took a little bit of deductive reasoning to determine which thing was my battery. Yes – that is the level of car competence I’m started with. This is one of the only downfalls of having an amazing dad and husband.


Gimme some of your battery love!


Who says white girls can't jump!

I let the puke-mobile run for a little while, then shut ‘er down and returned to the house proud of my new independence.

A few hours later it was time to pick up Brad from the airport. I climbed into my car turned the key and….. nothing. I was too distracted jump starting my victory lap (pun intended)  to turn off the pesky lights that drained my battery in the first place!

After picking up Brad (in his car of course) I was able to practice my jumping abilities again. I was sure to turn off all lights, close all doors, and give my car a stern talking to.

 The good news is: my car is functional again. The bad news is: there’s still a vaguely funky smell lingering. Thanks a lot Chili dog!

You can’t be mad at a sick puppy for too long. Chili and I are friends again.

  • © 2011 Megan Steil