Monday, December 05, 2005

Hey baby it's cold outside...

As I am writing this, my thermometer is bouncing between 0 and +1 degree F. It's cold outside, bitterly cold outside. Nothing we hearty (crazy) people of the upper Mid-West aren't used to, we just haven't acclaimated quite yet. My truck had been struggling to start all week long, so I was confident that when this cold spell hit it would leave me stranded. So I decided to stop and pick up a new battery on my way home from Eagle Brook Church Saturday night. It was cold then too, but was a respectable 12F. I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Blaine, MN after grabbing a bite to eat. I purchased my battery with a few other items, and headed out into the parking lot to make the switch. I wanted my $5 battery core charge back, and didn't want to have to drive back to Wal-Mart to get it. Plus I suspected that the next morning my truck wouldn't start anyhow, so I would just be delaying the inevitable. So I popped the hood, loosened the cables, and removed the old one. I placed the new one in the tray, and discovered that my battery cables were about 2 inches short of reaching the posts. I hadn't noticed during my purchasing of the battery that some have posts in the middle of the battery, others have posts on the corners. I needed corner posts, and grabbed the wrong battery. So back in I went to make the exchange. By this time, I was freezing cold. My hands were numb, I wasn't sure I still had toes, and my face was frozen to the point talking was comical. If I were smarter (or better prepared, which is embarrassing since I'm and Eagle Scout) I would have had a warmer coat on, and had a stocking cap as well. As it was, I was in a button-down dress coat, with thin leather gloves. Of course the batteries are located at the point furthest from the customer service counter, so by the time I went and got another battery, and came back, I had warmed up. I also grabbed a fleece ear warmer ring which helped enormously when installing the second battery. I made the exchange, paid for my new items, and went back out into the cold. Working in the parking lot, at night, without a flash light is not the best conditions. Once I had the new battery in, I managed to drop my keys down between the battery and the front head light. How they managed to fall into that small crack, I'm not quite certain. I probably would have been pretty frustrated at this point, had I not been operating at a reduced mental capacity because of the cold. I managed to get a needle-nosed pliers down behind the battery and grabbed the keys, saving them from falling farther down, saving me from having to remove the battery again. I cleaned the terminals and cable connectors, and hooked it all back up. I put away all the tools, and hopped into the truck and fired it up. Amazing how much better it starts with a new battery. Almost like having a new truck. I shut it off, trudged back into Wal-Mart to collect my $5 core fee, and then headed home. With it being as cold out as it is at the moment, I didn't make this change a moment too soon. My old battery had served me well. I think I purchased it in 1998 or 1999, and it's fired up every morning, no matter how cold.

2 comments:

Bret Capranica said...

Well, now I do feel a tad guilty for complaining to my wife this morning that it was sure cold out here. According to my weatherbug, it is a balmy 46 degrees this morning here in Sunny Southern Cal. I won't complain ANY longer.

mrclm said...

It's 10:00am, the sun is shining, and it's STILL only 2 degrees F outside. It's 1/4 mile or so from where I live to the seminary buildings, and it was brutal at 7:30am today. I don't know what the temp was, but somewhere close to where time stands still I think! :-) I'll eventually aclaimate to it, but right now it sure does hurt! BTW 46 degrees is still shorts weather in Minnesota!

Big Chris