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This week, I dropped my two older girls at camp, threw the 3 little ones into the car and was about to head to the pool when I realized… the car was dead.

I had already parked in the fire lane so how fitting that I had a true emergency on my hands!

Back in my naive twenties, I would have actually called AAA and waited for an hour and a half until a greasy guy named Al showed up (no offense to all the non greasy Al’s) to jump start the car.

I called AAA a million times in my twenties and never once had a hot guy show up which I think is a very underreported form of discrimination because the company is obviously not hiring handsome people. I always meant to look into that but then I got distracted by important stuff like “Melrose Place.”

Once I realized the car was dead, I called Rick who was on his way to a very important haircut. Important because if he doesn’t get it cut, it gets very poofy and then the fine folks from CBS in New York have to call all the way down here to Miami and remind Rick that he really needs a haircut because it’s not 1978.

But thankfully Rick delayed his haircut and showed up to help me. We took out the jumper cables. Connected the red to the red. Connected the black to the black. Bam! The car caught on fire.

Seriously, why do you underestimate me?

No, it did not catch on fire. The car started! So I headed off to the pool with the kids.

While we were at the pool, I let the car run for an hour in the parking lot. I was secretly hoping my used gold minivan would be stolen but unfortunately people were too busy swimming and enjoying their non-minivans to steal my car which is a real missed opportunity for them.

I finally shut off the engine, went back to the pool and returned a bit later. At which point, I found my car…of course, dead.

As luck would have it, Rick was back with his new sporty hairdo, swung by the pool and we jump started the car again.

You know – I’m no auto mechanic, but I started to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with the car.

We brought it to the shop and yes, it did indeed need a new battery. Which I was told was good news because that meant it didn’t need a new starter or new sun roof or something. Honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention.

I got the car back by 1:30 pm. I know, all this happened by 1:30 pm! If you can jump a car twice before 1:30 pm, imagine what you can do the rest of the day! (I accomplished nothing the rest of the day.)

Wait, did you click on this post to find out how to jump start a car? Sorry. These are the instructions, although please keep in mind that I am not a car expert or really an expert on anything.

1. Put the hood up. Finding the latch that pops the hood is seriously the hardest part.

2. Find some poor sap in the parking lot who can help you by parking his car facing yours. If he pretends to have an urgent dentist appointment, talk about karma, paying it forward and random acts of kindness. Mention that woman who just bought a stranger $120 worth of diapers. Certainly, he can give you 5 minutes.

3. Get out the jumper cables.

4. Put on your goggles and your gloves.

5. Obviously, you don’t have goggles or gloves.

6. This is the part where you really have to pay attention. Connect the red clamp to the positive (red) terminal on the dead battery.

7. Connect the other red clamp to the positive (red) terminal on the good battery in the other car.

8. Connect the black clamp to the negative (black) terminal on the good battery.

9. Connect the other black clamp to a piece of grounded metal on the dead car.

10. Do not do any of this if you are color blind.

11. Start the engine of the good car. Then start the engine of the dead car.

12. Remove the jumper cables once the car starts. Do this in the reverse order in which they were attached, and don’t let any of the cables or clamps touch each other.

Got it?


You know what? Never mind. Just call me. I’ll do it.

5 Responses to how to jump start your car. seriously. you can do this.

  • Princess Judy says:

    I keep a set of jumper cables in my car all the time. You often find people willing to give you a jump start, but not so many with cables. Also you can stand in a parking lot and hold up jumper cables and a willing participant will come to you. It will be some goofy dude, who will take one look at your wedding ring and ask you out anyway, making some crude comment about his jumping skills, but who cares because your car is started!

  • hokgardner says:

    Where were you the day I actually set the car on fire while attempting to jump start it. There was lots of yelling and flailing like a panicked Kermit. Short version – we needed a new battery AND new jumper cables.

  • Paul says:

    Well done. I actaully saw a “well-prepared” male hook the cables up backwards once (red to black) – the resulting explosion was quite impressive. No injuries (except the battery – may it rest in pieces).

    Interesting blog – I can’t imagine herding 5 kids, you must be have the patience of Mother Theresa some days .

    I arrived here via The Bloggess.


  • bee says:

    The AAA guy (greasy and non-greasy Al) and I are tight right now – my car has been towed 5 times in 4 weeks. I am no mechanic either, and I guess I need to find a new one. I thought the fifth tow should be free, but no dice. If I break down again, I’ll call you!

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kelcey kintner