Well, today marked the day I move to Dallas to start my new job. My family and I are combining my move with a Christmas trip to my Mom’s house about 2 hours North of Dallas. We’re taking two cars because I’ll stay in Dallas when my wife and girls head back home to Jacksonville.

The trip started just fine. The wife and girls were in my car and I was in my wife’s Grand Cherokee with the dog. I have to say that Mocha (our female Labrador) traveled perfectly today. She’s our third lab and traveled better than any of the others. She basically slept the whole trip today. About 3 hours into the trip though things took a dramatic turn for the worse.

My wife pulled off at an exit to grab a quick breakfast for the girls and I continued on. I get a phone call about 20 minutes later telling me that the battery light was on. I’ll take this moment to describe how things go wrong with my car and who’s involved. If something happens to my car it’s never my fault. I seem to be able to pamper it to where it always takes care of me. My wife, on the other hand, has a knack for getting it to break by either simply driving it or driving her car and ramming mine while backing out of the driveway. Today, though, my oldest daughter was driving. The same daughter that was driving when my temperature sensor was ripped off from under the car. How did it get ripped off? She drove my car where she shouldn’t have. Who told her to drive there? My wife of course.

Anyway, she tells me the battery light is on. I tell her to pull off the interstate (luckily there was an exit right there) and I turn around to get back to them. I show up, check the battery cables (which are good) and then have a look under the hood. I’m anticipating a belt or alternator problem. A quick look reveals a shredded alternator, water pump and power steering belt. Great. I call my father-in-law who looks up the closest repair place for my type of car and it’s 40 miles away. I call the repair place and they assure me they can fix it today and if it’s just the belt it’ll be about $120. I felt better knowing that since I expected much worse.

I call the insurance company, the tow truck shows up about an hour later and we get the car to the repair facility. They tell me that what has most likely happened is that one of the pulleys has gone bad which caused the belt to get thrown and destroyed. Sure enough, they look at it and the idler pulley has eat itself up. It also damaged the belt tensioner and the AC belt needed replacement. My mood is rapidly starting to go down the toilet.

It doesn’t end there. The service check-in guy comes back and asks me if I knew I had a radiator leak. I told him I had just replaced the the radiator vent screw a few weeks ago because it was broken and coolant was leaking out of it. He took me back to the car and had the tech pump up the pressure on the radiator and sure enough there’s another leak and it’s in a spot which requires the entire radiator to be replaced. I’m sure the car was specifically designed that way.

I’m now not feeling good at all. I tell them to let me know the damage (the estimate). He shows me the estimate and I just shake my head. Remember the $120 above. Multiply it by 11 and that’s the total. The service manager, in an effort to make me feel good, says, “We have all the parts in stock.” Great. We’re on the road traveling and need the work done. I give the go ahead and I get my car back 3.5 hours later.

In the meantime my wife, bless her heart, made us a picnic under one of the trees outside and we just chilled while the car was getting worked on. We had to do something to try and resurrect something good out of the day. The kids were great during the whole ordeal which was great too.

We get the car back and head on our way again. The rest of the day was uneventful. We didn’t make it as far as we wanted to because of the car problems but we are now in a good hotel resting. We’ll get an early start in the morning to push it onto Dallas and then onto my Moms.