My daughter and her husband and pets arrived in Tampa Monday and took possession of their new apartment. I am happy and relieved they arrived safely and without incident, and hoping the same is true of their possessions today. Yep, they were sleeping on the air mattress we loaned/gave them while here for a couple of days and exploring and getting acquainted with their new town. C says there were able to secure a ground floor apartment with a patio for their dogs, and the complex itself is very nice. There is no on-site dog park like a couple of complexes they looked at; they have to walk across the street to the park for a dog park. Oh the horrors! She is extremely excited about a full-size washer and dryer in their unit, plenty of parking available, and overall just a nice, quiet vibe.

Sunday night M’s SUV began hemorrhaging oil on our way home from grocery shopping. Thankfully we were less than half a mile from home, and other than spewing oil all over th place at a very brisk clip, it seems just fine. No coughing. No stalling. Was running quietly and smoothly as always. Since it was already dark outside, M stuck a piece of cardboard underneath the oil sieve and wiped and then jacked it up and looked to see if he could see anything under it. The oil plug, the first suspected culprit, was in place. Next theory was the oil filter had exploded, but since there was oil all over the undercarriage, M made the decision to have it towed to the dealership and let them fix it.

So yesterday, having never used AAA before, I set-up a tow appointment after I returned from the gym at 8:45, assuming it would take awhile to get someone. The first available appointment at the Toyota dealership was 4:45, so we had all day. Except when you’re in no particular rush AAA is extremely efficient. They were at our house 35 minutes later, and the dealership was able to accept an early arrival. Finally heard from the service advisor around 6:45 that hoses on the oil cooling reservoir blew up and that it needs rear brakes. Estimate for the oil coolant repair is right around $600, the brakes are probably in the $300 range (guestimating because I cannot recall the precise dollar amount), so I’m rounding up and expecting about $900 on this car. Absolutely annoying, but necessary. M loves that Highlander and we accept it as part of the cost of owning and driving an older vehicle as our go-car.

Except M is so crazy about this car stuff. I mean, seriously nutty. This is an older vehicle purchased used, and it’s going to have issues from time to time – simply the cost of driving. Except every time something like this happens, M theorizes that the parts should never cost as much as they do, the labor should not be so expensive, etc., etc., etc. M, you’re not in the car design business, and while it seems to you the part should be $42 bucks instead of whatever amount it surely it going to turn out to be, it’s light years away from a new/newer model of this particular vehicle that you would never drive anywhere anyway. So let us return to the land of realistic, shall we? Your mechanic friend died almost 5 years ago, and yes, while he’d do the job for pennies on the dollar in comparison, dying kind of makes it difficult to text or pick up the phone and ask for help.

Anyway, it’s just one of those ways we’re different. Part of the problem is he loves that car and wants it to last forever and ever, amen. Because of this strange (to us – maybe other people with other cars have oil cooling systems and have this repair crop up every decade or so) occurrence, he’s now thinking about reliability and what other kinds of ticking time bombs could be under that hood. *eye roll* Probably this will pass with several months of nothing happening, but between now and then, it will be a thought in the back of his mind. Our run with his cars has been very good, outside of being stolen, wrecked, or flooded. My Rav is only 3 years old and drives to work, the gym, and a few errands, otherwise it goes nowhere, because M want it to stay nice and therefore we always take his cars everywhere we go together.

In addition to the Highlander in the shop at the dealership, M’s project car – a 1994 civic – needed a smog for registration. Surprisingly, he took it to the smog shop, being buoyed by the wide margin it passed smog 2 years ago. That thing seems almost indestructible – we’ve owned it for at least a dozen years and other than oil changes and such it seems to just keep going. Driving around in it last night – because it also needed a couple of front tires, has needed them since I took it for smog 2 years ago – I was reminded of 20 years ago when our cars were total beaters held together primarily with prayer. This little civic has thread-bare seats, crappy old carpet, has cracked rubber window things and knobs that routinely fall off when you go to actually use them. But it is a great little spare car and will probably outlive us all. Smog passed, registration paid, the couple of balding tires replaced, it is back in its parking spot until needed again.

Now just waiting to hear the Highlander is done and hopefully that’s it for our cars for the year. But really, we have has to put so little money into our vehicles for repairs I cannot complain. We take care of our vehicles, though, so when something actually breaks it is something completely unexpected.

So this week has been adventures in car-land.

Other than our car repairs, it has been a very uneventful week in my world. I’m working too hard, having a busy social calendar with business stuff and old friends in town visiting. There are so many things on my personal to-do list I’m considering taking Monday off to just get my stuff done and off my mind. Funny thing, of all the stuff on my personal to-do, not a single one of them has anything to do with Christmas shopping or celebrations. My minimalist shopping was done weeks ago, the few actual gifts I needed to purchase and wrap were finished weeks ago.

Also, friend J pointed out to me this morning that Christmas seems the only season with a whole catalog of music. Love it or hate it, it seems there radio stations have embraced the all holiday music all the time from Thanksgiving onward. I mean, Easter has a whole bunch of hymns and such, but other than the Peter Cottontail song (also from friend J), I can’t think of anything near the voluminous Santa sounds coming from most radio stations. Thank goodness for Amazon prime music is all I can say.

And the beat in our pretty normal and mundane lives continues. In the craziness that is the holiday season, I am so glad.

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