Turns out the car problem was the battery, which, although not cheap to replace, was definitely cheaper than a new alternator. Maybe the universe is cutting me a break.
And to those of you wondering after reading yesterday's blog post, Rae is confused about cow penises due to seeing the DVD "Barnyard", in which all the cattle, males and females, have udders and are called cows, even though some are clearly meant to be female (make-up, bows on head) and others are male. She knows that boy cows are called bulls. She also knows that boys (and by extrapolation, boy animals) have penises, and that girls have vaginas. (Confirming this led to quite the attack on Elvis' dignity one time when Rae had him pinned to the floor, belly up, and she was looking for his penis. But cats have those stealth penises that retract into their bodies when not in use, and.... but I digress.) The udder thing just threw her. And rightly so.
The main character is called Otis, is ostensibly male, is voiced by the guy from The King of Queens, but has an udder. His father, named Ben, is voiced by Sam Elliot, and [spoiler alert] when he dies, the farmer buries him with a grave marker saying "Ben -- a good cow". And he has an udder too (Ben, not the farmer). I can only surmise that it's because a) the animators need a refresher course on the primary sexual characteristics of male and female mammals; b) the animals in the movie spend most of their time walking around on their hind legs, and having a bunch of bovine penises waving around might be thought objectionable to a younger audience; or c) these particular animators have never seen a real cow, not even on television.
I'm still tiptoeing around waiting for the sixth bad thing to happen. The universe may be toying with me.