Some moments are just too perfect.
We took Hondo to the mechanic today. I didn't want to do it, but it was making a terrible noise. The air conditioner has been flagging for some time and it quit on us on the trip out to Santa Fe. Yeah, that means Sarah was struck driving a car that had no a/c and the windows don't roll all the way down while driving I-40 in 106 degree temperatures. She did survive. Shortly after we crossed the border into New Mexico we stopped for gas and when we started up again Hondo was making a pretty gnarly grinding noise. Since we were on something of a schedule and nothing had cratered yet, we decided to press on and take our chances.
Fast forward to yesterday. We started up Hondo to go run some errands and the grinding noise was back and worse than ever. There was enough to do that day that I didn't get around to working on it. This morning I went out and started it up and tried to figure out what was wrong. I thought for sure that it was the A/C compressor, but it sure sounded like it was coming from somewhere else. It was worrisome enough that I took it to a mechanic.
The mechanic said he would charge $90 to diagnose the problem, but that would go toward any repairs done. Fair enough. She even said, "I have to pay my guy." Again, plenty fair.
Eventually we called them back and they said it was the compressor and some associated parts would need to be changed as well. After talking to Papa, the guy probably diagnosed the problem by unhooking the belt and seeing if the noise stopped. With the tools, shop space and expertise, it probably only took him five minutes to figure it out. Oh well. I paid for the confidence that expertise brings. Then the real problems began. I had been pricing compressors for that car because I had initially imagined myself fixing it. So when they quoted a price of over $800 for something I could buy for $250, I had some questions. We went back and forth a bit and eventually I came to the conclusion that I just wasn't prepared to pay double for the parts, a premium for labor and then add tax to the whole mess. So I decided to go pick up the car and then order the parts myself and do it when I can.
So we drove in to town and Sarah waited outside while I went in to pay the $90, plus tax. We chatted a bit while he rang up the sale and told me how he might be able to come down off that $800 for the part. I politely declined. I mentioned that I worked at the hospital and hadn't been working a lot lately, what with tomorrow being the first day of a new contract and all.
He asked if I was a doctor. I can already see what's coming.
I said I was not, I was a R.N.
You know, I have this horrible case of athlete's foot, been bothering me for a while. What gets rid of that?
Yeah, he did.
So, we talked about his problem for a few minutes, probably about as long as it took him to diagnose my problem. I should have charged him $90. Instead, I paid, took my car, and left.