The shop called and the Explorer is all better, and it isn't costing us a nickel. Somehow or other we managed to extend the warranty with zero deductible. I don't know how that happened, but I am counting my blessings.
I am also ecstatic because the puny rental can go back to Enterprise. It's a cute little car, a Nissan Maxima, but for me and The Oracle the thing is just too small. The Oracle shoehorned himself in there this morning for the ride to the train station, and I got a huge kick out of the way he folds/unfolds his body to do that. The doors are right up against our shoulders, and the steering wheel is only slightly larger than a Frisbee.
I can't wait for her to come home!