Saturday I pulled the car out into the driveway to do some basic maintenance. (Changing air filter, spark plugs and distributor cap.) The folks came over, and it turns out that I didn't get to working on the poor car. It also turns out I didn't get to bed early like I had planned.
Sunday I had planned on going to an autocross. This one was located a ways away and I was in the morning run group, so I would need to leave the house at about 5 AM. Since I didn't get to bed early and didn't get everything done on Saturday that I had planned (not the least of which was that I hadn't gotten to the car work.) So I ended up deciding to flake on the autocross and get stuff done at home.
So Sunday I pull the car out into the driveway again. The car had a horrible time starting up, and had a tendancy to die if I didn't have my foot on the gas. *whimper* I remembered that the night before she hadn't run quite right either. Hmm...
I tried to get all the maintenance work done, but got stymied by the lack of a ratchet. Shrugging, I decided that I would put off doing the spark plugs and rotor for a little while longer, and went to pull the car back into the garage.
She was still running awful. It was so awful that I finally decided to investigate. With the engine running, I popped the hood. The engine was clearly running unbalanced -- it was rocking and vibrating all over the place. Not good. I stare at it for a while, trying to remember what possible causes there were for this problem, and trying not to panic. After staring at the engine for a while, I realized that one of the spark plug wires had popped off of the distributor cap. Well, that could do it. I turned off the car, plugged the wire back in, started the car up, and --
-- the Check Engine light came on, and stayed on.
Hm, back to time to panic. I stared at this and checked that and put in a paniced call to my dad to ask for suggestions and got a friend to bring over a ratchet so I could pop the spark plugs out. By this point it was getting dark, so I decided that the wisest thing to do would be to just take her into the mechanic, and let them sort it out, since I didn't have the daylight, time, or brainpower to figure out the problem.
But all in all, I'm thinking it's a good thing that I didn't try going to that autocross after all. Otherwise I would have had to troubleshoot the problem at 5 AM and in the dark.
In an attempt to get my car into the shop (and to deal with the fact that my car wasn't working right and I work 50 miles from home), I worked from home yesterday. (Shockingly, this was not my personal preference, as there were several people at work who I needed to talk to, and wasn't going to try and get ahold of them by calling, since they are rarely at their desks.)
This morning I get in (after a lot of hassle to be detailed elsewhere) and see e-mail sent by my boss AFTER I finished the work day yesterday, asking us all to not plan on working from home for the next two weeks since he isn't here. (Boss-man is in Japan currently, and will then fly to France.) His reason is to make sure that we have everything covered support-wise, since he's not here.
This grumps me greatly. First, I had already planned on working from home this Friday -- and had even discussed it with him and gotten his approval. Secondly, I feel like it was a slam on me for working from home yesterday. I suppose he thinks I planned on having my car break down. (Though honestly, I don't see how anyone who knows me would ever think that I plan on having my car break down!!!) Third, I went to a huge amount of hassle to get in this morning, and the only reason I bothered was because I knew The Other VB Programmer had an appointment today, and had already asked to work from home. It almost feels like when your parents tell you to take out the garbage just after you've returned, dripping wet from the pouring rain, from taking out said trash. Yeah, thanks, Dad. I would never have thought to be responsible if you hadn't nagged me about something I had already done. *rolls eyes*
I have no idea where he gets the delusion that he contributes on the support requests anyway. He's usually too busy in meetings and such to be able to manage, much less assist, on problems. Grr.
So I took the car in this morning (since they didn't have time to look at her yesterday.) Half an hour later they called with a diagnosis of the problem, from the computer: mis-fire in cylinder 3. Gee, I wonder if that was caused by the spark plug wire being unplugged??
I'm glad that it wasn't anything to worry about, and that I wasn't doing any damage to the car by driving her in to the mechanic. Though on the other hand, that is a lot of hassle to go through just to get someone to reset the stupid light.
While I have her in the shop I'm having them replace the timing belt and water pump, since that was coming up due anyway. And they put in the new air filter and spark plugs, just 'cause the parts were there and they were there. So my car will be a lot happier at the end of all this. Hopefully by the time I pick her up I will feel less homocidal.