Thursday, June 16, 2011

Third Doors and Alarums in the Night

No, this is not me weighing in on the recent Sarah Palin/Paul Revere contretemps. I know better than that. Rather, it's about my Mystery Machine, the 2002 Chevrolet S-10 my father gave me. I've found it's more vehicle than we need (we have access to four) so I want to sell it, but it's been interesting to have it around. A few years ago when our kitchen was being renovated one of the fellows doing the work got something out of his truck. It had four doors, which seemed like a useful feature, so I told him that I wished my truck had four doors.  He said, "You have three."  I said, "I do?" since I only saw two.  He walked over to it, opened the driver's side door and then opened...the third door. I never knew it was there. What a surprise.

Then, the other evening, we were coming back from something about 10 PM. I was carrying something we had bought and apparently struck the truck key fob.  It started flashing its headlights and sounding the horn.  Somehow I had set off the burglar alarm I didn't know I had. Yet another surprise.  I eventually figured out how to turn it off, although I don't have any idea how to set it.  Maybe I'll learn before I sell it.

We had another surprise about the same time when we picked up Becky's Avalon which had a "check engine" problem.  When she turned off the ignition, the car beeped five times.  We had never heard it do this in the eight years we've had the car. So, I checked the owner's manual for a hint as to what the chimes meant.  They didn't sound like the seat belt or headlight warnings. Finally I noticed the sound was coming from the radio. I got the manual out for that and found that the sound was a warning to remember to remove the face plate as an anti-theft measure.  The radio had never done this since it had been installed.  I figured that when the shop did the work on the car they disconnected the battery.  When they re-connected it the radio reset itself to a default configuration which included arming the alarm. I dug through the manual, found the disarm procedure, pressed buttons for about five minutes and disabled that bad boy.

All this goes to show, I suppose, that sometimes we don't know as much about familiar things as we think we do.  There are surprises waiting around every corner, and I think that is a good thing.

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