The $55 diaper - FamilyEducation

The $55 diaper

August 04,2008
This morning, after returning from the four-day biz trek, I eagerly loaded K-Man and the dog into my car to take the kid to school and the dog for a walk (taking extra caution not to mix up who goes where). With K-Man buckled into his seat and the dog scavenging the floor for stale Cheerios, I punched the start button. Nothing. Not even a hint of wanting to start. Dead.

After trying a few completely illogical fixes (like trying a different key and actually putting the key into the ignition slot – versus just using the Bluetooth), I unbuckled K-Man and rounded him and the dog back up the stairs into the house. Needless to say, after returning from the airport and walking into my house a mere seven hours earlier, I was not pleased. (There’s an ever-so-slight chance some choice words were mumbled under my breath.)

I thought about calling my business partner and asking him for a jump, but since I had never jumped a Prius, I thought it might be best to “go pro” for the first time. (Yes, I consulted the manual and called the local dealership. And, yes, it seemed easy enough. But, no. I didn’t trust myself to do it right and figured messing up a battery on a Prius is a far more costly mistake than on a “regular” car.)

So, I called the service recommended by the dealership and waited. Waited some more. A little more. And, as would be the norm in such situations – waited some more. (Unlike the cable guy who gives you the four-hour window, the tow truck dude told me he’d show up in an hour, which turned into a four-hour window.) Finally, after multiple phone calls and countless misunderstandings about the directions to my house, the dude finally showed up.

I simply didn’t understand what had happened. When I left for Denver, the car was fine. It had only been four days since it had last seen any action. The battery certainly shouldn’t have died in only four days. (Plus, this is the Prius! The apparent Super Hero of transportation. The Prius doesn’t die! In fact, it drives forever on nothing more than moxie and inspiration! Sorry, I’m starting to believe the advertising. Yes!)

Sadly, though, the battery was indeed dead. Following a brief lesson in Prius jumping, Doug, the friendly tow-truck driver (damn near spelled that toe-truck, which would have driven editor Mitch nutty), gave the battery a quick zap. In a matter of seconds, the car was ready to go. (I’m not sure, but I think I could have started the car with a single AAA battery taken from one of K-Man’s toys.)

I still didn’t know what went wrong, though. Friendly-neighborhood-tow-truck-driver Doug told me that he would follow me to the local dealership so that I could make sure the car was working okay and confirm that the problem was just the battery. As I drove to the dealership, I noticed that the “door is open” light was on. I popped out of the car and checked all of the doors. None appeared to be open.

I opened and closed all the doors and jumped back in the car. The light was still on. So, I stopped again and checked. This time, I noticed the back hatch not quite closed. I opened it and there it was. The culprit was found! Stuck in the door was an old diaper. Lightning McQueen himself was peering up at me, almost snickering at me.

A dirty, old diaper had killed my car battery. A freakin’ diaper got stuck in the door and shut down the Prius. I wondered for a moment if this was payback from our birthing class three years ago. The instructor asked the class if anyone was going to be using cloth diapers and I responded with, “Nah, I already have a Prius.” (Note to self at the time: Birthing class teachers don’t have much of a sense of humor.)

The car checked out fine at the dealership and $55 later, we were back on the road.