Had car trouble. Baby overheated just after lunch, she stalled on the side of the major freeway of my hometown and wouldn't start. She's had an issue with a slow leak somewhere in the radiator or hoses for the last couple of weeks. Have been managing it by keeping her well topped up. She was getting a little hot occassionally when I was stuck idling in heavy traffic but it was under control and I was going to get it checked out next week when I get paid. Unfortunately the leak got worse quickly leading the radiator to run dry.
Called my local auto association of which I'm a member and they towed her to their service centre a couple of minutes away. 2 hours later, the mechanics finally look at her (they had a workshop full of cars plus 8 tow-ins before mine). The guy on the service desk comes out and says it's not good news, that they did some sort of diagnostic test and found carbon monoxide was leaking into the cooling system/air con. Their diagnosis was a damaged cylinder head or head gasket. In short, the engine was screwed and I'd be looking at a minimum $3000 to fix it IF the cylinder head wasn't too warped/damaged.
I'm in immediate shock and can barely stay upright at this really bad news. I knew it was a possibility but was hoping and praying it was something a lot simpler like a busted hose or just the radiator. There's no way I can afford that sort of money but I also need the car fixed as it's my work vehicle and for as long as she's off the road, I'm not earning any money.
I tell them that I can't afford the repairs and can they tow the car to my home about 45 mins away because I really can't think of anything else to do at this point, just want the car out of there and closer to home. My membership policy allows 2 tows per breakdown but they won't give me the 2nd tow for free because I'm removing it from a repair centre. (The 2nd tow, as I find out in the fine print of the policy is for when you breakdown after hours and no repair places are open, so they tow it home then to the auto shop the following day).
Good news is the service desk guy can see how stressed and upset I am by now (as I couldn't afford the $100+ tow fee) and says he will get me the free tow anyways. So that was really appreciated.
I end up getting it towed to my local mechanic Jack, his workshop is just down the street from my previous house and he's worked on my car before (usually at very short notice) and he's a really great guy, plus he lets me pay off the repairs over a couple of weeks if it's a lot.
I catch a train from the far northern suburbs into the central city and then a bus out to his workshop which takes me about 90 mins. The whole way there, I'm barely keeping myself from crying convinced that my car is beyond repairs that I can afford and that I'll have to quit couriering and how am I going to survive financially ( I have a crazy amount of debt already so any sort of loans are pretty much out of the question) and pay rent and buy food and pay aforementioned debts.
And for the first time, I'm starting to regret quitting the service station job which I could at least get to without a car and I'm a total mess and yes, even the bad, dark thoughts of ending things are whispering in the back of my mind as my only way out. But I've sworn to myself that I will never take that final drastic step no matter how dark and terrible things get because I refuse to put my family through that sort of pain. Sure, my pain would be over but theirs would have just begun and I love them too much to do that to them.
I also don't want to miss future seasons of SPN and the work J2 will do after the show ends. I want to be around for as much of their careers as I can. Plus, I can't bear the thought of leaving my furbaby Sam. So show & the boys and my Sammy are literally keeping me alive-- morbid as that sounds. But hell we all have reasons for living and those are some of mine!!! In addition I love being alive and I was slowly starting to make headway in paying off my debts and starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel of depression I've been in and out of over the last few years and things were starting look up and positive and wonderful and I just don't want everything I've done so far to go to waste. I refuse to let depression beat me down and win.
I WILL ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING
I get off the bus, walk around the corner to the front of Jack's workshop (it's on a really small lot and the work area is crammed to the roof with spare parts and old wrecks-- reminds me a lot of a mini version of Bobby's salvage yard, so crammed full he can't even fit a car in there and does the repairs in the driveway :-) ) and Jack is on the phone and wonder of wonders my car is running!!!!! She's there in the driveway idling as smooth as anything and sounding absolutely gorgeous. She's 18 years old with over half a million kms on her odometer so the fact that she's still running at all with very sporadic servicing is a miracle in itself.
He tells me he can't see any sign of damage to the head (if there was, she wouldn't have started at all, let alone be idling for minutes at a time), doesn't even know why they would just diagnose major engine damage from one unreliable test without checking things more closely and that the main problem seems to be a blocked radiator and a fan that for some reason isn't working. I just want to hug him I'm so happy and relieved and overjoyed. That's not to say I'm out of the woods yet. A new radiator isn't going to be cheap but it's going to be a hell of a lot cheaper than a new or rebuilt engine.
So she's spending tonight at Jack's and he'll get to work on her tomorrow (Thursday), installing the new radiator and getting her back up and running (unless something more serious presents itself) and *fingers crossed* I should hopefully be back on the road and earning money again on Friday.