Gator Bite

The first day back from a vacation can be it’s own special Hell. Today was survivable, but there were definitely some curve balls being thrown.

Of course there was the “back to work” thing. Remember, I really like my job and the folks that I work with, and they’re all really good at what they do and our corporate culture includes an expectation that folks who are off the clock are to be left alone unless it’s really, REALLY an emergency. We didn’t have any emergencies, so there weren’t any big surprises, just dealing with the upcoming end-of-the-month deadlines that were there before I left. And a couple of “out of left field” issues, but that can be true most any day.

The first more ominous issues came when Hissy wouldn’t start. At all. Six days of driving, somewhere between 800 and 900 miles through desert temps up to 115ºF, and she had performed like a champ. Now, with no warning, she was dead as a doornail. My first guess was that it was the battery, but I was a bit tied up with work tasks at the moment, so troubleshooting got put off until later in the day.

But I did see that she had taken a “gator bite” right on the hood.

We had a couple of things in those 900 miles that jumped up and tried to bite us. I remember suspecting that we had been hit by a “gator,” a long strip of truck tire that was lying in the middle of the freeway. It had gotten hit by a car in front of us, thrown up into the air, and bashed into us. I actually thought that it had hit at the top of the windshield (so maybe I should look for a second mark on the roof?) but right there across the hood is a nice, clear print of tire tread. Given that it could have hit the grill and busted out the radiator, or hit the windshield and shattered it (which in turn could have been problematic if I lost control of the car at 75 or 80 mph), I guess needing only a little cleanup on the hood is an acceptable outcome.

As for why she wouldn’t start? I had pulled out my jumper cables and went to attach them, only to find that the negative battery cable was completely loose. The clamp was still on the post, but barely, and the nut on the tightening clamp was ready to fall completely off. All I had to do was tighten it with my fingers and Hissy fired right back up. The navigation system was “lost” and needed to reboot and some of the radio pre-sets were erased due to the power outage, but all of that was quickly repaired. No muss, no fuss!

Some days “good enough” is simply good enough. Especially for a Monday, the first day back at work after vacation.

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