Sunday, March 25, 2012
Ever have an experience that is trying enough at the time, but later you HAVE to think Jehovah (God) was watching out for you?
Last Tuesday I drove my daughters ancient (1996 I think) Sentra to work as always. I noted when I left home that I would need to stop for gas on the other end...I had just over a quarter of a tank. It is a 50 min. drive to work. This is routine.
About 10 min. from home on the highway, I began to think I was smelling gas fumes...thought it odd.
Then I looked at the gas gauge...BELOW EMPTY!!! WHAT???????? I made it over the next big hill..chugging a little...and headed for the very next exit with many prayers for safety.
Put in 20$ worth of gas...and headed out again. Was surprised that it only put the gauge back to where I started. Odd. Should have gone further than that! Gas odor still strong. I am so dumb! But I wouldn't have known what to check anyway.
I continue on the highway and make it to the gas station I had intended to go to in the first place...and am again riding below empty. I call my daughter and as I am getting out of the car, notice a puddle...look under the car and the puddle is from the Sentra...dripping. I still don't get it. I put more gas in the car...intending to drive on to her house (doubly stupid now!), but she says NO, park it and she will come get me. So I pull the car over to the grocery store parking lot next door. When she gets there, we roll up the windows (stupid!) and leave. I had been sitting with the doors open while I waited, enjoying the sunshine and breeze. As I get out of the car, I notice the carpet on the floor board is wet...GASOLINE IN the car!! We are in a hurry because she has a photoshoot in just a few minutes. We'll deal with it later.
DD calls her husband when we get home. HE asks if we left the windows open so the fumes could escape...we hadn't. We now realize how dangerous this is...car could ignite from the heat and fumes. (It is now about lunch time so car has been sitting for several hours.) I call AAA to have the car towed to mechanic. THEY won't touch it till the fire department has a look and tells them it is safe. One spark and things could ignite.
We call the fire dept nearest the grocery. THEY won't come..it is actually in next county. We hunt for the correct number and end up calling the Sheriffs Dept. to find out who to call. Call Emergency Management...get transferred several times and finally get Dispatch. Yes, they will be glad to have a look..am I with the car? No..but will be there in 15 - 20 min. Andrew decides he needs to potty...more than just pee (we are nearing the end of the potty training efforts so it is important to heed this call!).
20 min later, Andrew and I are back to the Sentra...I open the doors to both cars and let the wind blow through. Andrew climbs all over his mom's car, pushing buttons and adjusting EVERYthing. We wait and wait. Finally after an hour, I call the dispatch again, get someone else this time. He says they had been out but noone showed up so they left (thanks a lot!). They could see there had been some kind of leak but it was OK to move the car.
Now I call AAA back and arrange the tow. 20 min to an hr. They say. We walk to the grocery and get Andrew a cookie. Back to the car. Don't want to miss the tow. AAA calls TWICE ..nope, not there yet. Finally an hour and a half after I initiated the service call, the guy shows up, hooks up the car and in maybe five minutes is gone again!!! Andrew loved seeing the process but was not happy about the loud machinery of the winch.
Today (Sunday) DD and her husband ran into their mechanic at KH between mtgs) He had initially told them the car was not worth salvage..just junk it. (it has four brand new tires on it!) BUT today he told them he had discovered that there was a pencil tip size hole chewed in the gas line...THAT is what caused all this trouble... a MOUSE (or squirrel). He says that if the mouse had chewed an electric wire, too, the car would have exploded. He mentioned the fumes issue, too...it SHOULD have exploded sitting in the heat in the parking lot for several hours....with gasoline on the floorboards and no ventilation. Temps were in the mid 80s that day. Yikes! It was also a wonder I didn't get sick from all those gas fumes.
So, now the verdict is that the car is fine except for the interior and the gas line (not hard to fix that apparently). It will need the headliner removed and the carpet all pulled up...the gasoline ate all the adhesives. The seats will need replacing also (I don't know the why of that part). I don't know whether they will decide to repair it and keep it on the road or not. Guess that will be decided soon. The mechanic feels all the carpet that is gasoline soaked is too dangerous to have in his shop, so it is sitting in a pile in the field near his shop.
In the meantime, I am considering how grateful I am that of the things that COULD and even SHOULD have happened, none did. I can get in and out of this small car, but had it been an emergency, I would have had a hard time. Had the gas or fumes on the floor of the car ignited, my pants would probably have ignited, too. I doubt I could have gotten out. I should not have been able to get to the gas station once..never mind TWICE! The car didn't ignite on the road or when I restarted it at the gas station either time. What if I had been a smoker!!! (I am not!) The many "what if" scenarios are all pretty frightening.
I reflect now on all those things and give thanks to Jehovah...he truly must have been holding my right hand that day.