Degrees, that is. Not right now, it’s actually 27° at the moment, this was last night.

Here’s the story. Yesterday morning I left for work. I hadn’t even gotten to the stopsign at the end of my road when the low fuel light went on. Typically, the low fuel light comes on with 55 miles left on that tank. 55 miles is a lot…when you drive less than 10 miles round trip. Also, weirdly, the “service engine soon” light came on as well. This has never come on before in this car, so I thought it was weird. I wasn’t too worried because it all seemed fine, but it was worth noting.

Now the plan has become “get gas after work”. I’d like to take a moment to mention that I had no idea it was going to be so cold. Last week and into the weekend it was still hitting in the high 30s and low 40s during the day. But no, we’ve apparently hit a cold snap. Having no knowledge of that, I left the house in only a sweater. No coat, no hat, no gloves, not even a scarf.

When my workday ended, I treated myself to a movie, Thor: The Dark World, if you know me at all, you know my love of all things superhero, especially the Marvel World. I’ve been long waiting for this sequel. It opened this weekend but I had no free time. I decided Monday night after work was a great time, as it would likely be less crowded. The theater is on my way home from work, midway between my job and the gas station, actually.

So, movie, then gas, then home. That was the plan.

Her’s how it went down.

Movie: Great, I liked it a lot. It wasn’t quite as excellent as Thor 1, nor did it compete at all with Captain America, but I enjoyed it very much.

Left the movie, it’s about 8:40. It is freezing outside, actually well below, since it is only 19 degrees. I got in the car and started to drive, knowing it wouldn’t heat up before I hit the gas station. I hit the stop sign, turned left, and the gas station is about a quarter mile ahead.


Car breaks down. AGAIN. 

It was just over two weeks ago that my car broke down, went through an intersection and it just stopped working. It was the fuel pump, which has been replaced. It did the exact same thing, again. I had no idea what to do. Last time I sat around waiting on others and ended up calling a tow truck. This time I wasn’t making that mistake. I was calling the tow truck right away. But I still needed someone to come get me…and soon, because it was cold as hell outside. First I googled the towing company. Then I figured I better call for a ride. My dad was asleep, so I called my mom. She didn’t answer. I called her again. No answer. I tried my younger brother who lives with them, no answer. Next up was my older brother. Before I could call him, my mom called me back. She said she’d wake my dad and ask his opinion and call me right back.

There I sat.

19 degrees.



Mom called back and said dad wanted me to leave the car on the road and he’d come look at it in the morning. Hmm. But okay. If I don’t have to drop $150 on my way home, that’s a good night. So mom said she’d come get me. I said, “hurry, it is 19 degrees, I’ve already been sitting here for 10 minutes and I am not wearing a coat.”

Then I called Kelly. I was hoping she was around because her stories usually make me laugh and that might help heat me up. Plus, she likes it when I call her every couple weeks and tell her I’m stranded. She didn’t answer.

Rough night for me. My mom got there 15 minutes later, making it only about 25 minutes I sat, shivering. Seriously, so freaking cold. I was shaking with cold, I tucked myself as small as I could, hiding my hands and trying not to think about it. Thinking about it only made it worse.

I decided to entertain myself with a photo of myself sitting in the broken down car, in the dark.


I really feel like I look COLD there. No doubt about it. What a great photo. It was too cold to smile, apparently.
Then, after looking at that photo, I apparently decided to express how I really felt about being broken down again.
 Yep, super klassy. God, I was so aggravated. I might have possibly cussed, out loud, a few times. Dammit, it was cold and I am broke and I really didn’t need this again.
Okay, so eventually mom gets there,  and I had a plan to get my car of the road. I was, naturally, in the middle of the damn road again and if I was leaving it I wanted it out of the way. Mom pulled in front of me, facing me, so we were bumper to bumper. She pushed against Gus and I put it in neutral and let her push me off the road. My windows were fogged, it was dark and I had no lights, so this was an exercise in daredevilry. Eventually we got Gus squared away and mom drives me to Emmy’s house to get her car, and then I head home. I left a note on the car to please not tow it, and to call me if there was a problem. With my real cell number. No one called.
My dad went today and took a look. Guess what was wrong with it?
Yep, out of gas. Turns, out, after talking to my dad today, that after he put the new fuel pump in, my sensors and gauges don’t really work now, because the pump they used is not factory standard. So, where the low fuel warning came on before…is not the same place it comes on now. How much gas I had before is not how much I have now. Essentially, things no longer line up and I can’t rely on the electronic gauges anymore.
Of course I shouldn’t be getting gas at the 11th hour every time, but it would have been nice to HAVE this information. Had I known, I certainly would not have waited to get gas, I would have gotten it this weekend in Anoka, where it was only $2.92. But I didn’t, I followed the habits born of three years of driving this car and being used to its idiosyncrasies. And that is how I ran out of gas and spent a half an hour conditioning myself for winter.
I wore a coat today. Just in case.

2 thoughts on “Nineteen

  1. I can’t remember exactly but seems like something like this happened last year?!?! Not the breaking down part but seems like I remember reading that you didn’t know the temp was going to drop and needed gas at the last minute with out a coat at night…….my vote is either a) keep an extra jacket in the trunk year round or b) start a new practice of getting gas at the 1/4 of a tank line 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Yes, thanks for pointing out that I’m an idiot! I don’t check the weather and I get in my car in the warm garage, so I often get caught unawares. Usually it’s no big deal….until my car breaks down or there’s a snowstorm.

      And my dad already gave me a 1/4 tank lecture. But, there is more to this story….I will explain when it is finished. Though the extra coat thing isn’t a bad plan.

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