Tag Archives: Auto repairs

Another Day, Another Dollar

Once again, the mid-week has come and gone. It is on these days, Wednesdays and Thursdays, that my wife is in town. I knew from reliable information, given to me by the colleague with whom she overnights on Wednesdays, that she would be back in town this week. So, I reached out as per usual. I had a small gift for her, left over from Christmas, that I wanted to drop off. I emailed the colleague about stopping by to drop it off, and heard nothing back. This was odd. So, I did not go. Instead, I came straight home after work.

I was checking email and other sundries, including our bank accounts for the weekly budget, when I noticed something odd: there was suddenly a whole lot more money in my wife’s account. She has been keeping a very low balance for months and months, largely because she has almost no work, and thus no income, and also because she has an account at another bank that she keeps secret from me. I do know of the existence of this account, so it’s not entirely secret, but I have no access to it, even though I am her husband. So it was quite a surprise when a deposit in the four-digit range showed up suddenly. It was not a round figure, either: there were cents after that dollar amount. And that dollar amount was at least three times higher than the largest deposit she has made in a long, long time. This was confusing: where did that money come from? And why would she put it in her account at our bank, right where I can see it? Obviously she must trust me, because I’m not touching those funds, but it just seems odd — very odd. There are many possible explanations, and I am entertaining none of them.

This morning I still had the gifts, and I thought about dropping them by today. I had a number of errands to run in the morning, and just as I was finishing up those errands and about to come home, I got in the car, and … nothing. Just, “click,” as the starter tried to engage, but nothing more. As some of you might know, the battery in my car is quite new, having just been replaced, along with the cables, a few months ago. So my first thoughts were that the starter had gone bad.

I called AAA and had one of their battery trucks come out to have a look, and indeed it seemed to be the starter. I then went home to price this out, and found a local mechanic who could do it, so I called AAA again and got a tow truck to bring the car in.

The mechanic got to work, and, since I was due for new front brakes, I asked him to price those out and just take care of the whole deal. That fell pretty much within budget, but at the high end of what I’d allow. So, I sat in the lobby as they worked, and after about an hour, I heard the mechanic turn the key to test the new starter and… “click.”

Nothing.

He came out and told me he’d need to keep it a bit longer to figure out what was going on. So, I went home.

By this time, I’m playing phone tag with various clients I’ve had to reschedule, when the mechanic calls me back. It turned out that the after-market amplifier that was installed (we bought the car used, and the amplifier was in it already) was hooked up to the electrical system with sub-standard cable. Over time, this had the effect of prematurely draining the battery (likely leading to the corrosion that killed off my last battery cables), and to wearing down the starter faster as well. The mechanic then told me I needed oil, which I knew already — I had stopped by the auto parts store to buy oil this morning, since it was running low, and it was right after that, at my next stop, that the starter died — so I had him go ahead and change the oil as well. I was shocked that he quoted me a figure for synthetic oil that was a fraction of what these oil-change joints charge. Guess I’ll be staying away from Jiffy Lube, et al., from here on out.

So, the bill ended up being about $135 more than anticipated. If I had a normal marriage right now, there would be no issue: we’d just appropriate that money from this deposit my wife just made.

But, we don’t have a normal marriage right now, and I’ll be absorbing the whole dang thing. (My auto-repair fund is still open for donations via the “donate” link, FYI. <wink, wink>) I’ll get the car back tomorrow morning.

The good news is that I will have the car up and running in time for a concert on Saturday. I guess I have not written about this yet, but it is a benefit concert that is being put on by a couple of my wife’s friends, one of whom now lives out of state and will be traveling here just for the performance. I have known many of the people involved for quite a long time, and it is for a good cause, so I had planned on going. The big bonus is that it is also highly likely that my wife will be there, with the adulterer in tow. This makes for one of those golden yet rare opportunities to insert myself into that dynamic of relationship dynamite, functioning like the blasting cap that could blow that adulterous farce sky high. Plus, Saturday is a work day for me, and I have a lot of ground to cover, so I need the vehicle to get it all done.

The other bonus is that I have found a trustworthy (and affordable) mechanic. Those sure are hard to come by these days. Almost as hard as face time with the wife.

Rodion’s Roadster Repair Resource, Redux

So, the car got fixed today — and many thanks to those of you who felt so kind as to contribute towards Rodion’s Auto Repair Fund. Not only does my auto (and me) thank you, but so does my mechanic.

He is a good mechanic, too. He was absolutely punctual and unfailingly honest. He is one of those few guys out there that actually repairs battery cables, rather than ordering dealership stock and replacing the whole deal. He easily saved me several hundred dollars. Nevertheless, it was still just a bit over $300, all told, but at least the car runs.

Ugh.

But that’s not all, I’m afraid. He said he taped my air-intake hose so it would function, and advised me not to fix that right now. No, no. The radiator needs replacing. ¡Ay, Dios mio! I guess that’s the next step. He told me to brace myself, because these things aren’t cheap, and we’re looking at the $800 range. Yikes (again). He advised me to get this done before it turns cold, so this would be in the next month or two. Thus I’ll be keeping virtual hat out for contributions to old Mr. R’s (i.e. my) auto repair fund.

Alright, enough of the pan-handling, right?

Truth be told, these marital crises take their toll in more ways than one. There has been a personal toll, an emotional toll, and a finacial toll as well. What I’d tell anyone right now is that the only things standing between me and reconciling my marriage right now are time and money. Of time, i’ve got plenty. I’m not in a hurry, although, yes, I wouldn’t mind getting there tomorrow. Of money, I’ve got less — far less. It’s really the only thing that worries me at this point in the reconciliation process. Not that having a bigger bank account would make me feel better about any of this, but just that it would make the whole process a whole lot less stressful. But, one does what one can.

I’ve really no news about my wife. She’s MIA right now. She told me in her last email that she’d be “out of town,” and perhaps that’s true. Well, it is true, because Camp C-S is out of town, but I took her comment to mean that she’d actually be going on a trip of some sort. That could be true as well. She did leave the dog here for another week with absolutely no explanation, after all. Whatever that trip is, or might have been, it’s probably over now. She said she might call me tomorrow morning, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see about that.

The truth about adultery is that such relationships are inherently unstable and unhealthy. I was advised early on that a typical affair lasts “anywhere from a few months to a year,” and while I thought maybe, just maybe my wife’s might be on the low end of that spectrum, it now clearly has persisted to rate at the high end. It seems like, even now, she just doesn’t get it: the affair is doomed and will end, no matter what.

Or maybe she does get it, I don’t know. I just find this current wall of silence to be hard to explain. The previous wall of silence at least was accompanied by her incessant posting to her newfangled blog, as well as to the adulterer’s professional Facebook page. All that seems to have stopped. It’s been nearly a week since she posted to the former, and about a week and a half since there’s been any activity on the latter. Granted, they could be busy, or having some sort of super-awesome vacation somewhere, but I really, really doubt it. This just feels different to me. My mostly sleepless night on Sunday leads me to think that things really are coming unglued in that “relationship.” Oh, how I hope that’s true. I have a very strong intuitive sense at this point that this could really be the case. I would really like to be right, of course, as I predicted this, quite prematurely, some months ago. But heck, those were still the early days, and I just didn’t know what I was dealing with. By now, I’m a seasoned veteran of all this adultery hoo-ha. (Not the commission of it, of course, I’d never do that.)

Anyway, folks, I’ll close here with a repeated thanks for your kind contributions, and hope that I can have happier news — much, much happier news — to report in the near future.

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Rodion’s Auto Repair Fund

Help! Well, folks, I got an update on the auto situation. The mechanic stopped by today while I was gone (he’s a mobile mechanic, so you don’t have to be there) and his initial quote was $300. Ouch. He was thinking that the battery cables would need to be changed out, and those are dealership-only parts, so they’re quite expensive. But, he did a bit of work and figured that he could actually just repair what was there, so that repair will be a bit less costly.

But wait, there’s more — in the process of removing the various and sundry parts, he discovered that the air intake hose had been corroded through; I had a check engine light come on recently, and this was the cause. Now this part is dealership-only for sure, and so my original quote is probably right back to where we began. He’s got to order the parts and will be coming by tomorrow to finish up the job and I guess I’ll know the final damage tomorrow. He is a good mechanic, though; in fact, he’s the same guy we hired to check out and certify the car before we bought it from a third party a few years ago.

So… if any of you, dear readers, wish to chip in to Rodion’s Auto Repair Fund please, please do so… donations from 5 cents to $500 are welcome. There’s a widget at the bottom of this page on which you can set any donation amount. Or, you can just click here. My bank account has been hemmoraging funds as of late, and it will thank you, yes it will.

Today was a long day — a very long day. I hardly slept at all last night: I was in bed around 11:00, and woke up around 1:30 a.m. and did not really get back to sleep after that. I guess I blame it in part on the full moon, but here’s the thing: whenever I have this kind of sleepless night, it seems that it invariably ties in to something odd that is going on with my wife. The first time this happened to me was the night that she consummated her affair. It was almost as if there was this palpable energy that was present, even though she wasn’t physically there. I don’t know if this means anything about her situation right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it does. I have not heard a peep from her in several days, and even then it was just an email. In that email, she claimed she’d be out of town, but I have not seen any evidence of that. There’s not much to go on, anyway, as she is not updating any of her websites, so I guess that makes me even a bit more curious.

Thus it was that I awoke just shy of 5:00 a.m. Since my car is out of commission, I had to take the bus into work. On a good day, this would take about 75 minutes; since today is Sunday, it took two hours. I started by walking a mile in the pre-dawn chill to the transit center. I did have the beautiful, full moon to accompany me, though. I thought  I might find a cup of coffee, but everything was closed. So I waited for the bus, and when it did arrive it took forever to depart. Its tracking and payment device was non-functional, and it took the driver about 10 minutes to get it rectified. There were many unhappy riders in that bus. Somehow, I planned the itinerary with enough wiggle room that I made my next connection, and that one got me almost all of the way to my final destination. I ended up walking the mile or so to work, because by this time it was a beautiful, crisp morning. I had the time, and was able to stop off for a coffee along the way.

I put in a full day’s work, and got a few bulletins from the mechanic along the way. (I’m truly hoping that the bill is not too steep in the final analysis.) Then I walked back to the bus terminal, the same mile I’d walked to get to work that morning, and caught a bus that fortuitously provided two very convenient and rapid connections. So, door to door coming home only took an hour and forty minutes. Mind you, this takes only 20 minutes by car, so this is why getting that dang thing fixed is so crucial. (Ahem, plug #2 for Rodion’s Auto Repair Fund, hehheh…)

I got home absolutely exhausted. I can barely see straight as I type this, but then again I’m actually at the point of feeling too tired to sleep, if you know what I mean. I guess that means I’ll do a couple of self-hypnosis sessions before hitting the sack. They do have the ancillary effect of helping me to sleep. The tracks I’m working with right now are Be Lucky and Stop Being Messy (yup, Messy Marvin, here). Neatness is definitely one of my fixings, and I have to say that this download has really helped a lot. I’ve only used it for about 4 days or so, but it already is having a noticeable effect. As for Be Lucky, well, the jury is still out on that one, but when all those donations to Rodion’s Auto Repair Fund (heheh… plug #3; annoyed yet?) start rolling in, I think I’ll know that one is working, too. Actually, I have had some measurable increases in luck since I started working with that one about a week ago.

Actually, I’m curious what kind of results and successes readers of this blog might be having with any of these self-hypnosis downloads, if by chance you’ve checked it out and gotten any. I’m hoping some of you have in fact checked it out, and remember that there are free resources there as well, in case you’re leery about plonking down $12 to try out one of their sessions. Like I said, I’ve seen noticeable changes after just a few days with these tracks, so I’m wondering what others have experienced. Please feel free to leave a comment below with your experiences, or just go ahead and email me and we can dialogue that way, if you’d like. Really, I’m quite curious. I think it’s really powerful stuff, and I am very enthusiastic about it. Honestly, I wish I’d found out about them a whole lot sooner.

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Comedy of Errors

First of all, my heartfelt thanks to those of you who donated money to support this blog; there was definitely a noticeable bounce after my last post. Your generosity sure comes in handy right about now. Don’t worry, I shall explain.

Today was truly a bad karma day, a comedy of errors, really. Since my car’s battery was basically kaputt, I called around to see if I could get it replaced somewhere, and found a pretty good solution — even had a coupon for it. So, I went outside and fired up my boss’s portable jump-starter. It didn’t work. The engine cranked a bit, but it just wouldn’t turn over. I recharged it a couple of times, and it simply wouldn’t work. The terminal connectors on the battery were pretty corroded, and the positive terminal was basically shot. I decided my best bet would be to bring a battery home, along with a couple of cables, and do the job myself. It just didn’t seem worth getting a tow truck out here for a battery replacement.

Big mistake.

I took the bus to the auto parts store, got the battery and other sundries, and headed back. I had to make a transfer on the way back, and the second bus driver told me that I couldn’t bring a battery on board the bus. This was odd, as the first bus driver didn’t even care. This meant I had to walk the remaining mile or so back home, carrying this incredibly heavy car battery.

But the adventure had only begun. I popped the hood when I got home and got to work. I quickly realized that I lacked the right tools, so I made a separate trip, this time by foot, to the local home-improvement store. We live in a part of town where things are not nearby, so it was 15 minutes there and 15 minutes back. I did manage to get the battery removed (and took some flesh of my knuckles in the process, of course) but soon realized that replacing the battery cables was just beyond my skill set. The positive cable was so corroded I couldn’t even figure out what I was working with, what was connected to what, and what I’d need to replace. I decided to call it quits and head into work.

This was part two of that adventure. I had figured I could catch a bus that would set me up to get to work on time, but I ended up missing it by about 2 minutes. On top of that, I didn’t have the correct change, and had to stop at the bank to take care of that. By the time I’d settled all that, I watched two separate buses go by, neither of which I could have caught. I finally did board one that looked like it would get me to the transit center on time. This bus just happened to be driven by the same driver who told me I could not bring a battery on board. I think he recognized me, and I’m glad I didn’t curse him out the first time; this time I was well dressed, so he seemed a bit confused. This nearly did get me to the transit center on time, but my connecting bus was pulling away right as we pulled in.

I should mention that it was early afternoon at this point and all that I’d eaten all day was a bowl of oatmeal.

I had about 30 minutes to spare, so I headed to a nearby cafe to grab a quick bite. Service was slow, so I got out of there about 10 minutes before the next bus arrived. By this time, I realized I was going to be late for work, so I called ahead to let them know. (They took care of getting things started for me.) This bus got stuck in rush hour traffic — three times. I needed to make yet another transfer (yes, this is true) and it looked like I wouldn’t make it. Somehow, we got there with one minute to spare and I did make that transfer. I got on this third bus, and was hoping to get to work pretty quickly. No such luck. Three people in a row asked the bus driver if he went to such and such address, and the driver had to think about it, as though he didn’t even know where these streets were. This delayed our departure by about five minutes. Then, we hit every single red light on the way. So, I ended up arriving at work 20 minutes late.

I was fit to be tied by all of this, of course. I was able to get a lift home with a colleague (yes, this is luck!), but I still don’t have an operating vehicle. I am currently looking into getting a mobile mechanic out here to take care of the battery for me; they should be able to do it on short order, 15 minutes tops, I’d think.

I didn’t have much time to contact the wife today, or anything like that. In fact, I spent quite a bit of my time feeling rather annoyed with her. Don’t fret it folks, this is normal, and it happens to the best of us. I went through all the stories about how upset I was with her for being so selfish and so forth. They’re just stories. At the end of the day, she’s still my wife, and I’m not about to do anything so foolish as to blow my top with her over something like this.

I did email her in the morning to let her know that I had some important information to discuss with her. I had spoken with the graduate school at the university regarding some procedural issues with her dissertation, and wanted to fill her in on it. She emailed me this evening, somewhat tersely, to ask me what it was all about, and to say she’d be “out of town.” That is, at Camp You-Know-Where. My response was, “just call me please.” I do know that her dissertation advisor is on her case about finishing up. I suspect there will be some very real tension over this.

So it was very frustrating, this day called Thursday, September 27. Heck, I’m already out over $100 on the battery and parts, and will be forking over some more to get it installed.

By the way, I’m still open for blog donations, if any of you should feel so moved. Consider it a Rescuing Rodion’s Battery Drive, if you will. Old Rodion will be ever so grateful.

Let’s make it a great Friday. Cheers!

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