Crazy swings in weather we now take for granted, but when winter tries to take over October, I am not happy. We have several miles of garden hose strung through the yard, biding the appearance of the sun to thaw their icy throats.
When I left for Thunder Bay yesterday, I thought, Better take a flashlight. I expected to return last night, in the dark, but I thought, What could go wrong on the road? And I debated taking a parka – we have had several dustings of snow – but I thought, If I hit a snowdrift, I’ll just stay in the car.
So, I was a little surprised, just as I was leaving the city, when my power steering started growling. No problem. Garages had already closed. So, I popped some more juice into the reservoir.
No problems till Nipigon, an hour later. It was dark. It was cold. I suddenly lost my power steering, but managed to wrestle the wheel until I gained a service station. Bought some more power steering fluid. By the lights of the gas pumps, I topped off the reservoir.
I made enquiries. No mechanics working anywhere. I started off. And soon stopped. The steering was losing fluid so fast that I couldn’t make it out of town. I needed more fluid. And I needed a flashlight in order to see the reservoir under the hood. Found one somewhere. I needed a parka and gloves to fend off wind chill of minus twenty. No luck there.
But I did find some viscous substance that promised to plug any leak in the power steering system. It poured out painfully slowly. I shivered. I fretted. I froze my fingers. I started off again.
No problems until Beardmore, an hour later. It was pitch dark. It was freezing cold. Even the Largest Snowman in Canada had frostbite. Nothing open in Beardmore. I lost my steering again all of a sudden. Poured more gunk in. Poured more fluid in. We staggered on at reduced speed.
Of course every transport truck in Canada was travelling this road. Perhaps you heard of the road closure at Wawa, where an October storm had washed out the TransCanada, our country’s arterial highway. I had visions of losing the power steering and bouncing off a convoy.
Yah, an hour later, we made it, my little Kia and I.
More bad news today. Mechanic tells me it will take him a day to tear out my power steering unit (called “rack and pinion”, whatever that means) and replace it.
Meanwhile, I’m driving the Kia. Pouring more gunk in. Pouring more fluid in.
Today is November. If we can’t get a spell of summer, maybe we’ll get a chinook. Crazier things are happening.