The battery in my truck died the night of the blizzard – as I discovered when I volunteered to bring some people to the subway – and two days ago I attempted to get a jump and head for Staten Island. It refused to take a charge. I walked down to Atlantic Avenue to get a new battery. Removing the old one – bolts all rusted into place – ended up being extremely difficult, especially as it was 20 degrees and windy outside. Then the connectors, which had been disconnected in an unusual way, wouldn’t stay on the terminals of the new battery as I was driving. (The truck would drive fine without the battery being connected, interestingly enough, and the radio worked too; the thing which did not work were the anti-lock brakes).
Well, having gotten annoyed by the battery getting disconnected as I drove, I stopped off to get some duct tape. I taped the connector to the terminal and drove off, but now my headlights wouldn’t work. The radio did – the dashboard lights did – the blinkers did – but the headlights would not work. It was night, so this was of some significance. I thought maybe it was because of the tape, but removing it had no effect. I called a friend who suggested it was a blown fuse. To be honest, I had no idea there was a fusebox you could open up while sitting in the driver’s seat. I checked the fuses – they were fine – and even switched the headlight fuses with the radio fuse, just to make sure, and fuses powered the radio without trouble. I jiggled the connectors on the terminal. I begged, I pleaded, I struck the vehicle in certain places Fonz-wise. Nothing worked. Until by inspiration I put on the highbeams – which immediately illumined the headlights just fine. This was not a polite way to drive, but I did not want to freeze to death on the coldest night of the winter so far, nor did I want to make someone drive several hours to get me, so I drove back to my cabin with the highbeams on. I’m still not certain what the problem is, but it’s probably just a faulty wire. The truck did something very similar to this in July.
Then I got to the cabin and (of course) the generator wouldn’t start. It took me about two minutes of wiggling to pull the choke out, it was so frozen into place. When I pulled the starter I could just tell it would never start – the parts were too cold. So I brought it into the cabin to warm up. It started just fine the next night. But in the meantime there was a night of sitting in the dark.
Not that that’s bad for anyone. In fact, it’s been a great couple of days so far. Reading Aelian, chopping wood, tracking animals in the snow. Fabulous.