Things that sneak up on you

Today was a strange day. I needed to go out of town for some groceries, and so Penny and I went out to my car and started it up. Well, what really happened was I turned the key and was greeted with a series of clicks. Yesterday it did the same thing, but my dad put the battery charger on it and it seemed to work. The battery itself had a little bit of acid on the case, but I’ve had this car long enough to know the signs of a dying battery when I see them. The funny thing is that the battery was less than two years old.

My dad wanted to do a few things to see if he could fix the battery, including just swapping it out with a dry cell car battery he had. But I just told him that it was under warranty and it just needed to be replaced. For me it’s the principle of the matter. If someone sells you a car battery and it has a three year warranty, if it dies before two years is up, they need to honor that warranty.

So, equipped with the dry cell battery and the leaking battery in the back of the car, my mom and I drove to Laramie, WY to swap it out, leaving my dad with the dog to hang out with for the afternoon. A trip that was supposed to just be groceries and breaking the monotony turned into a mission.

After some back and forth with Advance Auto Parts, including a call to the Greeley store where I got the battery, I had a new battery. A $140 value. 45 minutes later because they really wanted to fight that warranty. The odd thing is that I remembered the battery was under warranty because my girlfriend at the time was spending the weekend at my house in December of 2019 and we went to get some lunch and the same thing happened that morning. The key had turned and nothing but clicks. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge, even after jump starting it.

At the time, I had almost no money in my bank account. She covered the cost of the battery and told me that’s what you do for those you care for. It was a moment of generosity that stuck with me. Over the time we were together, she showed me how to be generous in ways that I hadn’t experienced. She tended to over-tip barristas and waitresses, she often bought dinner, she spoiled the heck out of me for holidays and birthdays and helped out with things like the battery or replacing a vacuum cleaner.

Sadly, things didn’t work out. (Who knows, maybe fortunately they didn’t, because we weren’t right for each other, otherwise she would still be around). And over time, many of the things she bought or gave to me have since worn out. The battery was yet another casualty of this entropic process. There will come a day when nothing is left to remind me of those months we shared, and that is fine. Life moves on. She’s been gone twice as long now than we were together. The lessons that I learned from our time together are things that I have taken to heart though, so there is that.

  • Be generous with your time. There is no greater asset. And we always think we have more of it than we do.
  • Be generous with your money (as long as it doesn’t put you in debt). Because you people you care about are more important than an account balance.
  • Don’t be resentful of the good things that have happened in your life just because they are over. (Or as Dr. Seuss would say, smile because they happened. Don’t cry because they are over. Or something.)
  • Over time, everything breaks down, wears out, or goes away. Enjoy every moment of what you have while it lasts.
  • Appreciate the little things in life.
  • Nothing lasts forever, but we can keep them running pretty well if we replace the pieces that have fizzled out.

So, my mom and I got to spend the afternoon together, visiting, having lunch, and getting some groceries. We went to a farmer’s market, I bought some hot freshly roasted chiles, a giant pretzel, and fresh Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The car is running well again and my dad probably got a decent nap with Penny.

Nothing much else to report. It’s just sometimes these things sneak up on you. Someone you haven’t thought of in a long time comes up in a conversation, or in this case, a reminder that someone was looking out for me nearly two years ago. Wow, how the time passes so quickly.

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