Check Engine Oil Right This Second

Hubs just returned from Broncoville, which is to say that he made yet another trip. Broncoville is a few hours away, and Hubs decided that it was just time to take his own version of the Bronco Head Coach Play Book to Denver, and ask to meet privately with the head coach. Hubs feels that he has some ideas to offer to Josh McDaniels, and he felt that this was best done in person, because Josh hasn’t been listening to Hubs’ ideas via the High Definition TV.

Hubs took his Play Book (which is all committed to memory, people, because Navy Seals simply don’t make lists, and football play books are really nothing more than glorified lists of plays, so Hubs just has it all stored “upstairs,” in his gray matter), and he loaded up with his good friend, Paul, and both of their dads. It was sort of a Dads & Lads excursion, and I think that they all enjoyed themselves, even though the Broncos had the audacity to actually LOSE the game.

While Hubs was dressed in his blue and orange outfit and chugging $12 Cokes at Invesco Field, I was tending to things like bills and the boy and the Suburban.

While I was out and about on Monday afternoon, the “Check Engine Oil Right This Second” light came on in the Suburban. Oh, people, what a red flag THAT was! You see, when I was a senior in high school (which really wasn’t that long ago), I drove a little 1978 Dodge Colt. We named it Blueberry, because it was…well… blue, and because it was honestly about the size of a blueberry. The backseat was barely big enough for a four-year-old to ride in comfortably, and yet it somehow managed to hold three or four teenagers, stacked on one another’s laps, more than once, because everyone knows that cruising Main Street is a lot more fun when your car is heavy with friends.

One afternoon, while I was driving Blueberry, the big, red “Check Engine Oil” light came on. Being well versed in the area of cars and their engines (ha ha), I assumed that this bright light meant, “Try To Remember To Tell Your Dad About The Red Light On Your Dashboard.” And honestly, I did TRY to remember to tell him, but life was very, very busy when I was a senior, as we had to get up early in order to achieve the level of hair volume that the late ’80s called for, there were numerous trips to Maurice’s for acid-washed jeans, and someone was always hosting a party, and it was always polite to attend what you were invited to attend.

About a month after the red “Check Engine Oil” light came on in Blueberry, I remembered to tell my dad about it. (“Oh, by the way, Dad, the red oil light is on in Blueberry. I thought you might want to know.”)

Pa Dawg was not enthusiastic about the fact that the light had been on for weeks. In fact, Pa Dawg raised his voice a bit, which was a rare thing indeed, as I grew up in a house with Ward and June Cleaver.

Or maybe it was Fonzie and June Cleaver.

Oh. And Blueberry died. She died because someone ran her out of oil and burned up the engine, and Pa Dawg was not! at! all! happy! about! this!

But, mercy! What a life lesson! I learned by taking a field trip in the area of engine oil lights, because I wasn’t smart enough to learn about them in a classroom, as my favorite Bible study teacher, Beth Moore, would say (only she usually applies the words “field trip” and “classroom” to spiritual situations, but I think the terms work fine in this case, too). Now days, if I see that light, I usually just stop the vehicle I’m driving right there in the midst of full-on traffic and walk home, rather than risk another crispy engine.

Clearly, my field trip experience has stuck with me, all these years.

So yes. On Monday afternoon the “Check Engine Oil Right This Second” light came on. I immediately parked the Suburban and fired off a text to Broncoville, stating the facts. Within seconds, Hubs had texted me back with this remark, in all capital letters to denote the importance of it: GET THE OIL CHANGED NOW!!!! NOW!!!!! Hubs used a whole lot of explanation points in his text, because he wanted to emphasize the fact that he was yelling.

I thought about calling my dad, just to get a second opinion, but dragging up the memories of Blueberry’s burned-up engine is not something that he enjoys. I think he still has a few issues with this situation, and I should probably consider myself rather lucky that he still loves me.

So, with my niece, Miss A., and the boy in tow, we pulled into the nearest Jiffy Lube.

And when I say “nearest Jiffy Lube,” I really mean the ONLY Jiffy Lube, on account of the fact that this is Small Town, USA.

I drove up to the garage doors, and a nice gentleman met me there. He opened his mouth and told me to go on and hop out of the Suburban, and he’d drive it in for me (because, let’s face it, he had his concerns about whether or not I could drive into Jiffy Lube without dumping my Suburban into the oil pit), and I basically heard nothing, because of his teeth.

People, these were the whitest teeth I have ever seen.

And when I say “white,” I mean WHITE!! Screaming white! Whiter than copier paper! Whiter than snow! Add to this the fact that his complexion was tan enough to suggest that he might have just gotten back from a little trip to Puerto Vallarta, and you had a deadly combination. And I don’t mean in a good way, as there comes a time when the teeth are simply too white.

I shook my head, cleared it of the overwhelming brightness that had nearly blinded me senseless, and hauled the kids into Jiffy Lube’s waiting area, where they attacked the popcorn machine with a vengeance that is better known as The After School Appetite.

A few minutes later, the teeth came back in to ask me what kind of oil I wanted put into the Suburban. Excuse me? Oil? Well, I want the black oil. The slippery oil. The oil that will make my “Check Engine Oil Right This Second” light go OFF. I couldn’t make a decision; the on-the-spot pressure was too much, and I ran through my mental inventory of oils. Ohmylands! What were they??? I can name eight brands of mascara without even blinking, and yet I couldn’t remember a single brand of oil. And then…Valvoline! All I could think of was Valvoline. The teeth blinked and blinked, as the lips moved, and the voice said, “Our house oil is Pennzoil. Will that work?”

Anything that makes that light quit blinking in my Suburban will work, thank you very much.

I simply nodded, because the teeth were sort of like a bug light. I couldn’t look away from them, no matter how hard I tried to be polite and make eye contact. I wanted to blurt out, “I think we’ve taken the Crest Whitening Strips too far, Sir,” but the Holy Spirit clamped His holy hand over my mouth and prevented me from saying anything, out of politeness.

I continued sitting with the kids while they munched popcorn, and listened to Miss A. say, over and over, “They USED to have a pop machine in here! Why don’t they have a pop machine today? Where is the pop machine? What did they do with the pop machine?” Yes. I know. They used to have a pop machine. I don’t know why they don’t have one any more. I don’t know where it went. I don’t know what they did with it.

At this point, the teeth returned, and the voice said, “You have a slow leak in your transfer case.” And then he stared at me, waiting for me to say something intelligent.

People, what IS a transfer case?!

I must’ve looked like a deer caught in the headlights, which wasn’t too far off base, because of…well…the teeth. I honestly believe that only the Transfiguration has shone brighter than those teeth. Certainly those teeth were whiter than anything man-made.

He spoke again. “Um, did you want me to look into that leak for you?” This is where I finally snapped out of it, as I know the Jiffy Lube Code of Command. It is my own opinion that employees are trained on their first day of work to tell women that this filter or that filter or the transfer case needs replaced, and then, because we don’t know what they are, and because we are convinced that the vehicle will simply roll over and die without a new filter installed right! this! second!, we give them the green light to go for it, and then they charge us eight times what our husbands could have done it for, in the driveways at home.

I shook my head. Nope. “My husband will look into it. Thank you.”

He smiled again, as he was determined to completely burn my retinas off. I could tell that he was thinking, “Stupid girl. She has no idea what I’m even talking about.”

I paid the bill, loaded up the kids and their popcorn (which they would both spill all over the freshly-vacuumed floor of my Suburban, as someone from Jiffy Lube saw to it that he ran the shop vac around for me), and went to drop Miss A. off with her parents. This is when I looked at Hubs’ brother and announced, “I have a slow leak in my transfer case.”

Hubs’ brother nodded.

“What is a transfer case? Is this a bad thing? I have to drive 30 miles to Gymnastics Land right now! Should I take the Suburban? Is this leaking transfer case going to cause spontaneous combustion on the interstate? Should I stay home?”

Hubs’ brother smiled and said, “No spontaneous combustions. It’s part of your four-wheel-drive system. You’re good to go.”

I sighed heavily. “Whew! Good! I didn’t want to ask the man at Jiffy Lube what it was, because I thought he’d think I was an idiot.”

Hubs’ brother smiled even bigger and said, “Well, you can ask me about these things. I already know you’re an idiot.”

Brotherly love.

I sent Hubs a text and said, “Oil changed. Slow leak in transfer case. That’s part of the four-wheel-drive unit.”

Hubs was, notably, impressed that I was slinging phrases like “transfer case” around in my text messages.

And I’m sure that my dad will be pleased to know that I dealt with the “Check Engine Oil Right This Second” light in a very timely manner.

And, it should be noted that as we left Jiffy Lube, the boy stated, rather matter-of-factly, “That guy’s teeth really sparkled, didn’t they, Mom?”

Miss A. simply said, “They used to have a pop machine there!”

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