We finally got the van out the other day and have been driving it. It needed new tires badly, so we were waiting until we had the money for new tires before we started driving it around. First thing that happened was the windshield wipers turned on and wouldn't stop. The next day I got the new tires and the windshield wipers weren't acting up anymore. But the check engine light came on. Being one to take these types of signals seriously (I admit to having burned out the engine of one, possibly two, cars with the "check engine" light on. I don't remember the second one having a in the dash, but I did ignore a prompting to check the oil which I ignored), I started to panic. I checked my oil, and sure enough, it was low.
After adding a quart of oil, the check engine light shut off. And I went on my merry way. Until later, when the light came back on again.
Frustrated, Dave and I talked about what the possible problems could be. He determined it was probably electrical. We went off to run errands today and encountered more problems. Finally, Dave decided it was the alternator, and that he was going to go to the scout office and then to the repair shop. But before we got much further, the van was showing signs of distress so we turned into the McDonald's parking lot, which was right next door to an auto shop. We turned the corner, and the van totally died. 20 feet from the garage. Dave walked next door and came back with four guys, who pushed the van right into a stall.
The timing was perfect. If the van was going to die, that particular moment was the best exact moment for it to die (even better would be if we had actually made it to the garage!). All four of us were together, with a cell phone. The garage was reasonably priced. The Placeplace was next door, which is also owned by a friend of ours from church (which makes me feel slightly less guilty about eating there!). The Boy Scout office was down the street a ways so Dave could still get his Scout stuff. Our friends were also visiting the Scout office and stopped by the McDonalds to eat and play. And, the van was done just in time for Dave to make it to his neurology appointment! The icing on the cake is that we got our tax refund last week, so we even had money to pay for the repairs!
I shutter to think if this had happened yesterday when I took the van by myself to take the girls to preschool and run errands. I was by myself, with no cell phone. The only helpful thing I had in the van was a stroller (which I normally don't have). We really lucked out with how this happened today!