Saturday, February 18, 2012

Car Repair and Male Chivalry

The last time my headlight went out, I was determined to "do it myself."  Joel was going to be so proud of me!  I went to the auto parts store and bought the headlight.  I came home and searched up the directions.  I went into the garage and found all the tools I needed and I set to work. 

But there was this one part where you're supposed to stick a screwdriver in this little hole and PRY the entire headlight section away from the car.  I'm sure this works.  I'm sure this works and that it goes back together the way it's supposed to.  But, I got to this part and thought, "I don't know what I'm doing.  I am going to break my car and then Joel is going to be really mad at me!"

So I chickened out.  I put the bolts back on, and I drove to Les Schwab (where they are always super nice to me even when my descriptions of what is wrong with my car make me sound like a crackpot).  I took the headlight in with me and in my best "I am so helpless" demeanor, I proceeded to tell the whole story to the nice man ending with "And if I break my car, my husband is going to be NOT HAPPY."

This worked.  He installed my headlight.  He didn't even charge me.  Everyone's happy.

So, my other headlight needed to be replaced.  I was leaving to go out of town that evening, before Joel was going to get home from work, so I really needed to take care of it myself. But, having failed the attempt to do it myself before, I decided to just skip to the "act like a helpless woman" part and get it over with more quickly.

I betook myself to the auto parts store, as before.  But, this time, I played the "I don't know what I'm doing" role for the guy at the counter in the hopes he would take pity on me and offer to do it for me. 

"Well...  good luck."

That was not the response I was looking, folks.

So, I went home and emailed  my husband, who knew this was my plan.  I told him that the auto parts store had not behaved as was appropriate and then inquired if Joel (my husband) had any time in his afternoon schedule for a 15 minute minute appointment for Joel's Auto Repair Service.

tapioca tea
He said yes, "bring a socket wrench to remove the bolts and a long screwdriver... it'll cost you a Thai Boba Tea."  So, off I went with the appropriate tools.  While waiting for our boba teas to be prepared, the school called.  My youngest was complaining of tummy troubles and had a low fever, so I promised to come pick her up as soon as I was done with this super-quick car repair I was in the middle of.

I picked up Joel, we found an emptyish parking lot, and he went to work.  And worked... and worked... and then worked some more.

"Did you bring any pliers?" he asked me.

"Umm...  no.  PLIERS WERE NOT ON THE LIST."  Long story slightly shorter, he couldn't do the repair without the pliers that I did not bring BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ON THE LIST, so I said I'd just go to Les Schwab.  Please note these are the people who did it for me last time.

But I had to go get Sick Child from school... so I drove back to the school, picked up Alicia, took her home and made her a bed on the couch, and left run down to Les Schwab.

Again, the most pitiful "I don't know what I'm doing" story ever. And the response?

"Sorry, we don't do headlights."

Seriously, what IS it with the non-chivalry?  Men of the world, you have failed me!!

I'm counting on my father-in-law.


  1. The lesson to be learned here is that you always bring a full toolbox with for any repair, regardless of what tools you (or your husband) *think* you will need.

    I am sure Wally will take care of it for you - while he's at it he might fix up a few other things that need tweaking.


  2. LOL Poor Jo. I hope your father in law was more helpful. If not, come on over. My dad will give it a go I'm sure. :D

  3. I'm betting on your father-in-law coming through. I have one of those keyless starts, which are great, unless you stop for gas and somehow manage to kick the plugs out of place when you hit the brake. So there you are, stuck at the gas pump, what's a girl to do?

    My father-in-law came to my rescue while his dinner grew cold on the table. Only later did I remember the remote car starter on my key chain. Shh! Don't tell him I could have started the car without him.

  4. Wow since when doesn't Les Schwab do headlights? They are a repair shop. You know you may want to consider contacting the Les Schwab management and talking to them, because honestly that is just poor customer service. Sorry about the experience at the auto parts store, I know what you did, I do the same thing. I think sometimes it depends on which guy is at the desk. When I lived in Des Moines I always went to the same auto parts store and one of the boys I went to HS with always replaced things for me - even when they knew I could do it myself. Out here I barely have to play the 'I'm a girl card' to get things done. Southern men are so awesome.

  5. I admire you for having the courage to fix the light bulb of your car by yourself. Even if you failed in the end, the effort tin itself is admirable. One piece of advice I can give you is to watch how the repairman does the repairs on your car. Sometimes, it’s those little things that you pick up from watching that actually help you the most.

    1. lol Probably true! I'll make a point to watch my husband the next time he does it...

  6. Thinking highly of your courage and a great tale to throw out the crystal light (not with the headlight) which most of the readers have undergone the stage. Great!!! Everyone become helpless at the same moment but the job gets done in any way and this is the fact.
    Automotive Light Bulbs

  7. I really appreciate the fact that you approach these topics from a stand point of knowledge and information.

  8. This is an amazing post for car lovers.

  9. This is an amazing post for car lovers.


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