So, the saga of the car picked up again around 5 today, when some young Brady came and said, "My dad says to come to the garage." So I went. The two Brady dads were out there with the car and Mr. Upstairs Brady was ready to give me a ride wherever to go get the part. I called the Auto Zone at 53rd and Ashland this morning and they said they had an alternator for my kind of Camry and it was cheaper than the parts place down 51st. At first Mr. Upstairs Brady thought we were going to the Auto Zone at 56th and Western, but we got it straightened out.
At the Auto Zone, they checked the battery and it was dead, as expected. Then they checked the alternator. At first the guy used a bad serpentine belt and he got a bad reading. Another guy gave him a better belt, and the reading came out better. He checked it twice to be sure, but I admit I felt a little skeptical. I bought a new battery and we took the old alternator back.
Back at the garage, the Brady dads put the new battery and the alternator in, then started the car. I hung out and watched them. Occasionally Littlest Brady would come in and visit--he and his brothers and Peter Pan's little sister were running around out back. Once they got the parts back in, the car started fine, the radio worked and so did the headlights. They suggested I take it for a test drive, so I took it out and drove it around in a big square from 51st to 47th and back to the garage. At this point, the car was back to how it had been running on Saturday--lights, radio, but no windows, no speedometer, no tach. I came back and told them that and they said they'd look at it some more and let me know what they found. So I went home.
I have to admit at that point I was once again ready to say "give it a rest guys--I'll just take it to Castro's tomorrow." I kind of thought there must be some other problem that maybe they wouldn't find and it was time to spend the money on the pros. But I was wrong. After I had been home for a while, another bunch of Bradys came to the door with the message, "My dad says the car is ready."
When I got there, the a/c was on, the headlights and hazards were on, the radio was on full blast and the windows were down. Truly, I was amazed. The oldest Brady girl told me later some gear wasn't turning right--they had tried to tell me something about what they figured out but I couldn't understand them. I drove the car and the speedometer and the tach worked. Yay! I went back and shook all their hands very formally to say thank you. I sent strawberries over to their house earlier this afternoon from my Growing Home share. Unfortunately, right now the share is mostly greens, which aren't vegetables they are familiar with. Oldest Brady Boy's mom stopped by this afternoon with my raincoat (I loaned it to her son while we were out in the rain yesterday), and I showed her the box and asked if she wanted anything, but she said she really didn't know how to cook any of the vegetables in it. Later in the summer when we get tomatoes and squash, they will get dibs.