Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wait, is it good battery positive, then bad battery positive, then which one negative?!?

As you may have guessed from that cryptic-sounding title, my recent adventures have included jump-starting, or rather attempting to jump-start, a car.

But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.

First, there were the dinosaurs... (two utterly useless imaginary trivia points to anyone who gets the reference)

Okay, jumping a head a few years, give or take a couple of million, last night Mimi of Israeli Kitchen (soon to be retitled Aardvark in the Israeli Kitchen for SEO optimization and a plethora of dramatic possibilities) and Hannah of A Mother in Israel and her newest project Cooking Manager hosted a really lovely meetup of central Israel (English-speaking, or rather blogging) bloggers. It was great fun to meet everyone and put names and faces to a bunch of really great local blogs (see Hannah's post for a full list of participants). We spent a very enjoyable evening getting to know each other and munching on Mimi's delicious noshes and before we knew it it was after 11 o'clock and time to head for home.

*cue dramatic music*

Several of us headed out together to do a quick contraband white powder organic stone-ground flour deal in the parking lot. Goods in hand we said our goodbyes and prepared to head out, only to discover that Kate's brand new-to-her car wouldn't start! And that's when the real fun started - have you ever seen three women with dare I say minimal mechanical abilities prepare to jumpstart a car? Between Kate, Baila who'd ridden in with her, and I we knew exactly this about jumping cars: first step, find cables. Check. Second step, connect them. Aack, which one goes first? I have no idea, but I know that Bad Things will occur if the cables are connected wrong. Third thing, find car manual and look up "jumping a dead battery". Fourth thing, try to make sense out of the diagram in the faint light of the headlights. Fifth thing, try to do the jump. Connect all the cables but the last negative one. Sixth thing, connect that last cable. See sparks fly. Commence yelling and slight panicking. Okay, check. Got that one too.

Things went on in this vein for a while. We eventually got help from Baroness Tapuzina and her husband Michael who lent us better cables and kept us from getting electrocuted, only to have the car die again when Kate attempted to put it into reverse and drive away.

14th thing. (Are you sensing that we were in this for a while?) Flag down a passing stranger in the now-deserted parking lot and borrow his cables. Restart engine. Let it rev for a while. Then watch it die, completely, again, when it's time to drive away.

We finally managed to get the battery going enough to close the power windows and decided it was time to throw in the towel and leave it for the morning. I dropped Kate and Baila off at the airport to catch a taxi home to Modiin and headed back home myself, tired but with plenty of new blog fodder ;).

Besides, the whole thing was really my fault for tempting fate. After all these years I of all people should know that you never break the cardinal rule of leaving.

Never, ever, EVER, not even once, leave without hitting the bathroom first, even if you're "just driving a few minutes down the road". Forgoing that crucial last chance is tempting the fates well beyond the limits of their endurance and pretty much a guarantee that some kind of catastrophe is about to befall you.

Sorry Kate, next time I will for sure go to the bathroom before I leave. I promise.


Ben-Yehudah said...


BTW, you have one of my favorite profile images!


If it's caffeinated, then we're on the same page. If it's not, that's ok, too.

Robin said...

Definitely caffeinated. Always. :)

Dina said...

Oi, miskena! You were brave to even try with those cables.

OneTiredEma said...

Yeah, I'm good in the kitchen, but electricity scares me a touch.

Thanks again for your help!

Leora said...

with plenty of new blog fodder
Spoken like a true writer!

I hate car problems. Headache.

Sophie said...

What an adventure... one you'll all be laughing about for years to come, but at the time it's not so funny. Ahh yes, ALWAYS go to the bathroom before you leave. I've learned that lesson more than once! :-) Glad you got home safely. I'm afraid I wouldn't do much better with the cables, even though I've been told (and shown) more than a few times. I hope I never have to try it!

Dimple said...

Laughing from recognition! Both the jumper cable enigma and the bathroom lesson! Good post!

Mimi said...

It's true re blogging fodder!
I thought exactly the same last Saturday night at Dublin airport- call over to mine to read what happened!
It's good, in the face of challenge, to see a bigger picture- another benefit of blogging!

Yaelian said...

Poor car! Yes,that bathroom rule is so important,remember next time;-)

mother in israel said...

Wondering what else happened that evening that will make the blog.

Baila said...

I also broke the bathroom rule, and got home, uhm, sweating. But I made it ;-).

Many came to our aid, but Robin you were the savior of our evening, who wouldn't leave until all was settled and safe.

And cables scare the $#@& out of me--especially when I see sparks flying.

Phyllis Sommer said...

sounds like tons of fun....wish i was there:-)

Mojo said...

"Okay, tell me everything that's happened up to now." (*wink*)

Someday maybe I'll spin you the little tale of "How I Replaced My Battery In The K-Mart Parking Lot". You will then not feel nearly so bad.

Oh, and the sparks? They're pretty normal. Nothing to be alarmed about at least. For future reference.

And it really doesn't matter so much the order you connect them, as long as you make sure you connect the positive to the positive and the negative to the negative and don't cross the streams... er... leads. But in theory at least, you should connect the ground (negative) of the good battery last. Up to that point you don't have a complete circuit, so nothing is happening no matter what you connect to what. I usually hook up both terminals on the bad battery, then the positive on the good battery and just hold the ground on the good battery (unless the bad one is really most sincerely dead, requiring more than the usual charging time).

sarah said...

I guess I can join the group, the last time I tried jump starting my car I melted the wires all over the engine. woops. glad you made it back ok. btw, love that island of yours

quilly said...

We were on our way to a blogger meet up this afternoon when our car died. It left us literally sitting in a very busy road. We waited an hour for a tow truck. It was rather stressful.

We are fine. No verdict yet on the car. Wonderful Thom -- another blogging buddy -- came and picked us up at the garage we had the car towed to, then he gave us his car so I could keep my speaking engagement at church and deliver Amoeba to the airport in the morning.

Robin said...

Oh no Quilly, that is stressful! I'm so glad the gallant Thom was able to come rescue you in time for your session. Good luck with the car.

I must admit I'm a bit glad that I'm not the only one who looks utterly useless in the face of minor mechanical hassles, though.

Daryl said...

Oy and Vey ... I am sure I would have peed right there in the parking lot laughing at the meshugener women trying to jump start a car ..

imom said...

That sounds like quite an adventure. I completely agree with the bathroom thing... I do that more times than I care to admit, lol.

Jill said...

Sounds like a definite adventure - one with plenty to write (and laugh) about.

How fun to get together with other bloggers... so wish I knew you when we were there!

Jen said...

I totally got the reference. :)
And I've made that bathroom mistake more times than I care to admit. You'd think I'd learn!