So . . . once again my 15 year old car is not operating.  I put the key in the ignition and it won’t budge. Not a starter problem, the key itself and the gizmo it fits into are the problem.  I have tried all the cheap remedies – got a new key made, and found one of my old keys that wasn’t so worn around the edges. No improvement.

Whatcom Falls on trail from locksmiths

Whatcom Falls on trail from locksmiths

I stick the key in and try to turn it, and nothing.  It doesn’t budge a teensy millimeter.  Nothing is loose – its more like shoving a key into a block of concrete.  So, I try 2 different lock lubricants – WD 40, which I always have on hand; no change.  I try a powdery graphite lock lubricant – no results. 

I talk about my car/ key problem around town and one suggestion is, go to a locksmith.  The car needs a new lock cylinder.  Huh.  I’ve never heard of that.  So I call the recommended locksmith, describe the problem, and he doesn’t act like I’m crazy, he responds with “Sure, bring the car in and we can get a replacement cylinder and install it for you.” 

Frozen pond along the way

Frozen pond along the way

Wow, cool, I’m thinking.  Yes, if I can get it to start one more time. So the designated day is Sunday, yesterday.  I planned on driving to the locksmith, leaving the car and walking or biking home.   If I can get the car to start one more time. 

So, Sunday 11:00 am, I go down into the garage.  I put my little backpack (I never go on 4 mile walks without some stuff I might need along the way).  I had decided to walk back, as I can travel most of the way through a park with woodsy trails along a small river that flows through town.  I thought it would be pretty (and it was).

I’m in the garage, all my stuff is in the car, I tossed out stuff from my last trip to Seattle, so I was all ready to go.  I know the car may or may not start.  I’m a little worried about that, I do not want to have to have it towed – which would add to the expense.  The car is already living on thin ice with me.  As much as I love the little car, there is a limit to how much cash I am willing to cough up to keep it running. Not to mention I am driving my truck half the time these days. 

I stick the key in the ignition and try to rotate it.  Not going to happen.  I pull out the key and rotate it 180 degrees and shove it back in; nope, solid as a rock.  I pull out the other key and go through the same scenario, several times repeating the same procedure, without results.  I know, they say if you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results you’r crazy.  Well, “they” haven’t met my car.  Or I might add, my computer.

But I digress.  I stop after numerous attempts and just breath slowly, calming myself into that zen place where poor people with old cars live.  I figure I’ll keep this up for about 15 minutes before giving up.  Voila!  It started after about 8 minutes of repeating the same procedure with both keys.  I do not understand why it works at all, since it does not feel loose; it just works or does not work.  Whew!  I was very relieved.

I happily drove to the locksmith in town and parked the car there, with a note and a key for them.  I then began my trek back home.  The walk to the woodsy river trail was short and very nice with very few cars out.  Sunday was a cold, clear day for us and it was just beautiful out, which was my inspiration to walk so I could enjoy the outdoors.

It has been freezing for about 5 days now so there was ice on the ponds and on rocks and ferns along the falls.  Very pretty.  I only wish we could get rid of the damn cars and walk and bike every day.  I had a great walk and arrived back at home ready for a stretch on the couch!

Hamster time