Sunday, October 20, 2013

Murphy's Law of Deployment: Lesson #1

There's a phenomenon, if you will, commonly experienced by spouses with deployed service members called "Murphy's Law of Deployment." Don't know Murphy? Allow me to introduce you. He's quite simple. His only rule is: "Anything that can go wrong, will."

And of course, when your other half is away...specifically, the other half that is known to take care of you know, the stereotypical problems handled by men (such as the mechanical, electrical, etc.) that's always the most opportune time for things to break.

I experienced my first run in with Murphy a couple of weeks ago. I have been moving Scott's truck among the "guest" parking spaces throughout the condo complex. We only have two assigned places to park, our garage and our specifically numbered spot. So with a roommate and 3 vehicles, of course the gas guzzling truck is the extra that just needs to be moved from time to time, because we can only park in the same guest spot for 3 days straight.

Anyway, I went to move Scott's truck a couple of weeks ago, and nothing happened. I couldn't even unlock the doors with the key fob. I put the key in the ignition, and it wouldn't let me turn it one bit. I figured it was just a dead battery, at least I was hoping as much. So I popped the hood. That's where problem number two came in.

I had tree branches in the way of my even getting to the middle to unlatch the hood. So after crawling under the branches, I had to strong arm the hood open past the branches. I probably looked like a bit of a maniac with my hair all crazy with leaves and twigs sticking out. But I was able to get it open.

I went and got my car, and luckily, because my dad had given us some when we hauled our car out here on the back of the Uhaul, I had jumper cables. What the picture doesn't show you though, is that there is a curb on and small grass area on the right side of the truck. And of course, the truck battery is on the right side. The parking spots next to the truck were open though, so I pulled the car beside the truck. Open the car hood, problem number three.....the car battery is on the LEFT side of the car. I tried to get the jumper cables to reach, but they wouldn't. But I was able to re-park the car diagonally, and just barely got the jumper cables connected to each respective battery.  

So as I'm trying to jump the truck, I see smoke starting coming out of the engine. Oh boy. Luckily, it was just due to bad positioning of the jumper cables. Apparently, electricity heats up metal and heated metal doesn't mix with the coating on the wiring in the vehicles. So I fixed that, and after a few minutes, went and started the truck.

I was feeling pretty relieved and somewhat proud of myself, until I went and tried to disconnect the jumper cables. I tried again and left them connected for about 20 minutes, trying to get the alternator to start doing its job, but the truck kept dying when I took the cables off. After about an hour and a half of messing with it, I was feeling frustrated and I really didn't need the truck for any reason, so I just decided to leave it be for now.

Skip ahead to yesterday, when I decided that calling a mechanic would be too pricey, and of course, after consulting with my dad, we both figured replacing a battery couldn't be that hard, so I might as well do it myself. So I went to Walmart, bought a battery and a ratchet set. It was too dark by then, so it had to wait until today.

Today, I got the battery and my little set of tools and went out to the truck. Having to repeat the whole process of getting the hood up through the tree again. It was surprisingly simple, and I didn't even have to consult with YouTube or Google. 

 Not that you can really see from the picture. But there is my dash, all lit up and working properly, truck running.

So thank you, Murphy, for teaching me that you really have no power. You don't scare me.

The whole minor set back was really a great lesson for me. As simple as it may have been to fix the battery, I never would have done something like that if Scott wasn't deployed. I am thankful for a God who made me independent and capable of keeping my head in uncomfortable situations. I am thankful that I had another vehicle so I wasn't late for work. And I'm thankful for being allowed to try something new (check!) and accomplish something such as getting my truck running, mostly on my own (thanks for the assist, Dad). Thank you Lord for making me much more capable than I knew and making me stronger through the process.

I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities throughout this deployment for strength and growth. Who knew a truck that wouldn't start could be a blessing in disguise.

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