Huh – You don’t say?!!

A few weeks ago, I opened the door of the Jeep and the horn went off, the wipers started, my lights flickered and wiper fluid began squirting non-stop. Putting the key it in the ignition didn’t fix it. Starting it didn’t fix it. I had to unhook the battery cables to make it stop.

I did research and learned that over 38% of Jeep Wranglers made in 2008 have had the exact same issue – so many in 2007 there was a huge recall – and it has to do with the epically faulty Chrysler Totally Integrated Power Module – TIPM – plaguing most Chrysler brands from 2007-2013.

I’m going to be honest, I was too mad to deal with it at the time. Sometimes my brain needs time to absorb information (like why a company would continue to build vehicles with a known faulty part for so many years, but I digress…)

Then I got a recall notice for an unrelated issue on the Jeep and was prompted by my husband to get it fixed so I could get it out of the garage and enjoy it some this summer. I made an appointment, had it towed into the dealership and waited over a week for the call to go get it.

After multiple attempts, a phone call finally went through to a live person instead of a voicemail at the dealership and low and behold, the Jeep was ready for pick-up with a surprisingly low repair fee. They told Jeff that it wasn’t the TIPM part that I thought was faulty but instead a tiny part in the steering column. Even at that moment, it felt too good to be true.

IMG_6793So Jeff gave me a ride to the dealership today, I waited in line and when it was my turn, I looked at the service rep with squinted eyes, a tilted head of skepticism and said, “Really? A tiny part in the steering column can cause all that?” He smiled his all knowing smile and explained how “wires have copper inside of them and if the copper wires touch, they can create a short in the electrical system and cause all sorts of problems.” I was hoping for a more complex and less dumbed-down explanation but hey – he’s the pro, they were busy, take my credit card and give me the keys, right?

I kid you not — I walked out into the parking lot, put the key in the lock, open the door and — the horn went off, the wipers started wiping and AGAIN I was squirted with wiper fluid.

But this time, I had the attention of the entire service lobby, the service garage and everyone within earshot. I walked back inside, handed my keys over the desk and calmly said, “It’s doing it again.”

I had two service reps and at least one repair tech moving very quickly to help me, all with increasingly pink cheeks, not one making direct eye contact. My horn was still blaring non-stop in their parking lot.  Finally, a service rep was brave enough to look up and say, “my tech thinks it could be the TIPM, he’s looking for an easy fix like a loose wire now, but it might be that the module is faulty.”

Huh – you don’t say?  I called Jeff to turn around to come get me before he got too far away.  Nobody likes doubling back in Bend traffic.

We got home to a message on the machine stating that yes, it’s a faulty TIPM and the part will be here Friday.

Jeff, the hubby, looked at me and said, “It must suck to be treated like you don’t know what you’re talking about because you are a woman.”

My mind hadn’t gone there but yes, now that he mentioned it, the assumption that I am not my father’s daughter, with the brainpower to figure just about anything out OR my mother’s daughter, with the pure stubborn willpower to get it done myself was a bit annoying, but at some point in adulthood, I let go of the need to prove my capabilities to others and moved past it.  We all have weaknesses. Being a woman certainly isn’t one of mine.  I’ve learned that being underestimated isn’t my weakness.

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I’d speciffically requested that the TIPM module be looked at.  When the recall fix seemed to fix the electrical issue, no one looked deeper into the TIPM and just assumed it had been the faulty steering column part that has caused the whole mess.  Frankly, I was just happy the Jeep had gone berserk in their parking lot before I drove off, and not 10 minutes later, driving down the highway.

The Jeep will be ready with the right repairs sometime next week and the service tech is going to throw in a tank of gas for the inconvenience.  He was kind, considerate and I don’t have any beefs with the local service department.

In the mean time, I just got another recall notice.  Brakes this time…  When is the new Bronco scheduled for release (2020) – and most importantly, will the top come off?

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Seriously?

They can’t all be good days.  Some days are crazy, upside-down, if-it-can-go-wrong-it-will-go-wrong type of days.  Some days can get so bad, in fact, that I literally check the sky for a vortex of bad luck spinning above my head.  Yesterday was definitely one of those days.

I had a day full of tasks to get done within a tight schedule.  If things went right, my day would look like it had been professionally choreographed.  Pick up Nephew #3, dentist, lunch, swimming lessons, errands, pick up Nephew #4, pick up Nephew #2, finish planting the garden, have the boys plant their own flower baskets while we talked warmly about their days, get dinner started, drop the kids off at their respected homes and get home to finish the last of the laundry and get dinner on the table just in time to sit down and catch up with my husband about his day.  Maybe there would even be a pretty sunset and nightcap to wrap the day up.

I was right on schedule and getting ready to walk out the door when I remembered that I had left my purse in my other vehicle.  I walked into the garage, opened the Jeep door and THIS happens – make sure your volume is down before pushing play on this 4 second insight:

No, I’m not joking.

Horn blaring, wipers beating and wiper fluid squirting all over the garage; the Jeep was clearly melting down in its own version of a temper tantrum.  I went inside, grabbed the keys and hopped into the driver’s seat still getting sprayed to see if starting the motor would suspend the assault.  No luck.  The obnoxiously loud horn was vibrating my brain.

I threw open the hood, grabbed pliers and detached the battery cables.  Thank goodness.  Silence.  There was no time to do anything but shake off the dripping wiper fluid from my face and leave to go pick up my nephew from school for his dentist appointment – because now I was ten minutes behind schedule!

I got down my driveway and noticed that the Bluetooth didn’t sync to my cell.  Whatever!  I don’t have time for this!  I’ll worry about that later.   My nephew was waiting in the office for me when I arrived and we slid into the dentist office just in the nick of time.  Phew!

While waiting for my nephew, I reached for my iPhone to update my calendar.  I got 10 seconds of screen time and then the ever annoying black screen.  Perfect.  If you don’t own an iPhone 6s, you may not be aware of the recent battery issues that came with an IOS upgrade a few months ago.  Battery life jumps from 97% to 30% to dead at varied rates now.  Sometimes it takes 8 hours, others it takes 7 minutes.  Apple denies my particular phone has one of the defective batteries included in a recall but suggests I get it fixed because the battery is, in fact, defective.  Wrap your brain around THAT notice.

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No worries, I keep a charger in the car.  The dentist appointment went well and we headed out for lunch.  I even got Nephew #3 to the local pool in time to meet his class for swimming lessons and squeezed enough juice into my phone between stops to get a couple photos for his mom.

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The local pool may be kept at barely 80 degrees but the indoor building temps climbed much higher.  By the time lessons were over, I both felt and looked like I had just spent an hour in a 120 degree sauna.  We headed to the local big box garden department for a few seed packs, potting soil and garden stakes.  By the time we were done, I felt faint.  There wasn’t enough cold air in the world to cool me off.  We stopped at Sonic for slushies to both cool off and surprise the boys with after school treats.  We had about 15 minutes before Nephew #4 was out of school and – Beep!!! It looked like my phone had charged enough to work again because my hands-free was signaling an incoming call.

It was my sister-in-law, calling to confirm that I was, in fact, picking up her boys because she’d gotten calls from both schools that nobody had arrived to get them.  Oh, crap!!!  Early release.  On Wednesdays, they get out an hour early!  Dang it.  I forgot!

I can’t begin to tell you how terrible of a feeling it is to know you’ve let not one, but TWO, of your little nephews – one with special needs – sitting in the school office for nearly an hour, waiting for you.  It’s heart-wrenching.  They both acted like it was no biggie – but I know it was just to make me feel better.  I let them down and I knew it.

We did get the garden seeded but not before thunder rumbled in the background – also not before the little guy filled his pull-up.  We took a break to get him in clean pants when I discovered one of the worst red and blistered diaper rashes I’ve ever seen on the little guy.  Forget planting.  I ran a bath for him in hopes of getting whatever had caused that horrible rash off his sensitive skin.  I patted him dry and slathered him with Butt Paste.  He said it didn’t hurt but how could something like that not hurt?

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By now, it was already 7:30pm.  Dinner was still frozen solid in the freezer, laundry was still piled in the hamper and I realized, I forgot to feed the children even a snack.  They’d been helping me with heavy loads of dirt and gardening on nothing more than a sugar-filled slushie.  Epic auntie fail!  

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It was too late to right my wrongs without ruining their supper.  I packed up the starving, dirty boys — and the one clean kid — just in time for my husband to walk in the door and ask me why the garage floor was puddled with wiper fluid.  I shook my head apologetically and simply said, “Just save me some vodka,” and took off for town again to drop the littles off at home with barely enough time to eat before their bedtimes.

I got home, poured a drink, explained to my husband about the demonically possessed Jeep and turned to the Internet for guidance on what the heck went wrong.  Apparently — the horn, wiper and fluid squirting thing is a known issue with 2007 and 2008 Jeep Wranglers.  It has to do with the Totally Integrated Power Manager – (TIPM).  The 2007’s were updated in a vehicle wide recall.  Guess what – the 2008 model has the same issue but isn’t covered in the recall.  Perfect – it’s the theme of the day.

Just before midnight my phone had enough of a charge to explode with messages and voice mails from both the boys’ school to let me know the kids were waiting in the office — as if to remind me exactly what a messed up day it had really been.

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Then our non-functioning, unplugged-but-not-unwired, security system let out a shrill alarm at about 3 AM.

Seriously.

I want an electro-magnetic, spiritual cleansing.