Car stuff, weekend random

First and foremost, thanks so much for all the kindness and support from my last post. While there are still several days left in March, my personal March madness has quietly concluded. Never do I underestimate the intensity of emotions that surround anniversaries.

M has an older car with nearly 200K on the odometer. He loves that vehicle, except for the fancy-smancy gizmos and gadgets that are designed into it.

This week, the battery died of old age. It is a 2008, battery has been in there since 2010, so it has had a good long life. With the push button start and keyless entry systems, it was not so simple as to replacing the battery and everything is fine. Oh no. While it did start up fine just after M put the new battery in it, our keys refused to electronically open the doors or start the vehicle when we walked out of the grocery store. Apparently our fob batteries failed as well? Or it needed to be repaired, like my phone with my car’s bluetooth? Not sure. But we consulted the manual, followed the emergency steps, and voila! Car started without issue. Get home, read more in the manual, decide there is some graduate course out at Toyota U that must be successfully taken to know what to do with this vehicle. Unfortunately when I go back to put the manual away, key fob is again not working correctly for some reason. Maybe its batteries die sympathetic deaths with the car battery?

M goes through the whole process again of manually opening the door, repairing the key to start it, and drives off in search of the super special battery needed. I stay home just in case he needs rescue. When he gets back he replaces batteries in both fobs and voila! Both keys are working again.

For good measure, every time he gets up throughout the night I hear the front door open and know he is going outside to check to see if the key is working. So far, so good.

We knew buying an older vehicle with lots of miles the potential for it needing repair increased. Since I am familiar with the entire history of this vehicle (purchased from my former boss), I knew it had been well maintained and not driven too crazily with its prior owner. But M seems to have a far lower tolerance for repairs than I do, but more than the expense the gadgetry of later model vehicles and his ability to diagnose and do repairs himself tends to drive him crazy. This too shall pass.

Or we’ll be hobnobbing around in some 70s vintage POS car that M can fix himself. Assuming he can find parts, of course.

Not a whole lot going on around here right now, other than the car drama. Busy work weeks. Busy trying to get my crap organized at home. We are in the process of moving from one storage to another smaller, closer space. Because we have waaaayyyyy too much crap. Good news on that is we are winnowing down our crap this go-round. Stuff we (M) has been keeping and storing 20+ years is now going into the trash or the donation box. Unfortunately, we still need a storage unit. I have big dreams of someday not needing an offsite storage unit, but at long as M owns the project car (that has been in pieces for the entirety of our relationship) we will likely need storage.

Once we get that stuff sorted, though, I plan to get cracking on our garage. It’s a mess. It’s a mess of crap that (1) we no longer need, (2) we no longer need to keep in the garage, or (3) we have no idea what it is or was or why we (M) actually own it.

Work is a messy schedule this week. Tuesday is usually my work from home day, but this week my admin had to take emergency leave so I will e going into the office tomorrow and moving my work from home to the weekend. Thankfully my private clients are understanding about my schedule.

But work is good, remains 95% satisfying and 5% somewhat dreadful tasks I wish I could delegate to anyone else. Allergy season is also winding down, thankfully. After a severe sinus dust-up and almost 2 weeks mild yet ongoing congestion, I am happy for the break and return to normality.

Everything else – things are good. And for that I am always grateful.

Wednesday mishmash

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.

The best laid plans

Tuesdays I work from home, typically on my own private client work. But as has been happening the last few weeks, I also combine it with my need to get personal stuff done as well.

Today it was gym, car to the dealership, Costco for some additional outdoor lighting and food, then an eye exam. I had hoped to get a chunk of work done this afternoon, but of course it didn’t happen. Gym was fantastic – went through last Thursday’s upper body in the big boys’ room with minimal anxiety and stress. Car went to the dealership, only it was not the mileage point I was expecting. But not worries; it was done earlier than anticipated.

The eye exam became the great black hole that sucked away my productivity day. I like our new optometrist – he’s a hip younger guy that is both very personably and geeky smart. But one of his technicians has been working there for several years and has come to know M and I quite well. He’s become quite serious about weight lifting and we had a long, long conversation about his training, my training, what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, etc. Then M came back from wandering (we were at the mall) and we got onto supplements. The technician is a super nice guy; I told M we needed to invite he and his girlfriend over sometime with trainer J and friend J and anyone else I can think of who dwells in this weight training world.

The point is, by the time we were done there and then driving across town to retrieve my car, it was almost 6, almost a typical workday. And I had really gotten no work-work done. Thankfully there are no pressing deadlines or anything else this week, but still … feeling a bit like a slacker.

Still, it was productive getting personal stuff done. Eye exam, done. Car maintenance, done. Household projects, done. And of course sticking with my exercise consistency.

Talk today on several fronts about vacation has me thinking about it. Maybe a staycation next month for Thanksgiving week? Not sure yet. It’s a short week anyway and all expectations are that the office will be very quiet, with probably 3/4 of the staff taking the week off to see their families, etc. I may just be on call or working from home; I will continue to think about it and decide as the holiday gets closer.

So kind of a boring, so-so productive day. Not everyday gets to be gloriously big on ticking off items on my to-do lists. My car, after 3 years and 30K on the odometer, remains in pristine condition. After chatting with our optometrist technician, I am feeling ridiculously excited about returning to my Lists series tomorrow. How awesome is it for me to have him talking about stuff he is doing and not only recognize the names but the hows and whys of the exercise. Granted he’s probably moving several times more weight than I am, but at least I knew what he was describing, recognized the same teachings and cues I have learned from J, and can now speak from experience about my own journey. He had not heard of Scott Abel, and I suggested he look into his books and social media postings. That was kind of cool; trainer J influence knows no boundaries. Plus my vision is stable, my eyes healthy, and I have insurance, so the cost of service was not as horrific as it has been in the past, even with insurance.

All good things.


Having a great day … on Saturday

This was actually supposed to be posted on Saturday around noon, but for whatever reason my blog was not allowing me to post until today (Sunday).

I took M’s car over to the smog shop today to get it smogged and ready for title change. For whatever reason, I tend to be the one taking all our vehicles in for repairs, oil changes, smog checks. M and I have both been operating on a sleep deficit this week, but I at least had opportunity to catch up by sleeping until 6 this morning. M still gets up at 2:45 a.m. to be out the door for his run at 3:30 a.m. to bypass the heat.

We have nothing planned today, other than choring. There is a week of laundry washed, dried, left in laundry baskets, because I have been insanely busy with work-work all week. I am meeting one of private clients at 1 p.m., but in the meantime, I’m eating lunch and writing this post, and will be getting started on the folding of said laundry. Because while M is fine with the washing and the drying of our clothes throughout the week, he is happy and content to take clean clothes directly from the laundry basket sitting in the middle of our family room. I am the one bothered by that practice, so I am the one who folds the clothes. He will put them away once folded, but there is a definite disconnect between getting clean clothes out of the dryer and the folding clothes process.

Enroute home from the smog shop (Highlander passed, no problems), I stopped at CVS for bandaids. I don’t know how or why this happens this way, but we go through periods where one or both of us has bleeding, bandaid-worthy wounds and are out of bandaids. This time, since M scraped his elbow on something yesterday and told me we were down to the last one of the large size, waterproof bandaids, I chose to be proactive and buy another box before the next bandaid-worthy injury occurs. This it the closest I come to being superstitious; if we are out of bandaids, one of us will be bleeding and needing it immediately. If we are well supplied, we are probably safe.

The clerk there always seems to be there when I stop in for something, and we had our usual pleasant interchange while I was paying for my purchases. He said to me, you’re always smiling and so cheerful; I wish all my customers were so pleasant. It was a nice compliment, and I smiled and told him that it’s because I have taken up regular exercise, that it boosts my mood and emotional frame of reference as much as it impacted my physical presence. And I wished him a very nice day as I was leaving.

His comment got me thinking. While I cannot imagine a universe where I’m in a crappy mood and wishing someone to have a horrible, awful, no-good kind of day, I can see wishing someone a good day and have it sound hollow and insincere. Because I know I have done it, mostly out of habit. Not so much anymore. There are these really nice kids at my gym’s front desk most days, and I am genuinely smiling as I am leaving and will wish them a great day in a cheerful, upbeat-sounding tone. And I truly mean it. I am mostly happy walking in (depends a lot on my awareness status at 5 a.m.) and I am definitely really feeling good and happy inside walking out.

So while this particular Saturday is nothing special with uplifting or super fun events scheduled, we are still having a great day. M will be putting forth his best OCD on cleaning his vehicle, and I will be folding laundry, working with a client I enjoy, and then finishing the laundry, cleaning house, and hopefully getting to wash and clean the interior of my car. We are eating out tonight, doing our grocery shopping for the week, and essentially just being ordinary people attending to typical, unexciting weekend chores.

And it is a great day.

Our Saturday

Our Saturday has been rather uneventful. This morning I took my Rav into the shop for the oil change and 20K mile check up. That took 2.5 hours, whereas it is usually maybe 45 minutes to an hour. I felt like I was nodding off waiting, because I had not slept well overnight on Friday. I had a long nightmare of a giant dog coming along and stalking the cats, picking the biggests of the three up and carrying him off in giant jaws. This dog would have had to be fairly large (maybe hippo sized) to carry off the Pumpkin, but things in dreams do not always make sense. Couple this with M leaving the TV volume on (usually he plugs in headphones) and I was awake from 1:30 until about 4:30 trying to go back to sleep.

I bring all this up because naps are amazing things on a lazy Saturday afternoon. After recovering those 3 hours this afternoon, I am now likely unable to sleep tonight. Oh well. Hopefully I will get it evened out over the next couple of days, because do not have to report to work on Monday, being converted over the part-time/remote status. I will actually believe it when I see it, but right now I am not expecting much to happen on Monday morning. When I left Friday I was completely caught up and left word that I would be in midday Monday and midday Thursday to pick up bills, checks, and prepare to close June’s books. Other than that, there is not a lot going on for me to do next week, which is typical for the last week of most months. If I do not make my 20 hour minimum, I will start using my accrued PTO.

M and I also ventured over to the mall. He wanted/needed to get his glasses repaired, which turned into nearly 90 minutes at LensCrafters. The associate we usually work with is a weighlifter and he and M had to catch up on all that stuff while I wandered around looking at frames and then sat reading on my phone while they went through actual lens replacement on one pair and then the earpiece ends repair on the other. I was so happy to get out of there. Love working with “our” guy there, but honestly, I can only take so much chat about running, weighlifting, diet, and supplements.

From there we were off to GNC for magnesium supplements, then a stroll through the mall. We ended up at Eddie Bauer, where I scored the ripstop khakis I had been hoping to find for our upcoming vacations AND in a smaller size! The had 2 pairs on the clearance rack in my regular size and the next size down, and after M remarked that my regular size looked way too big, I took the smaller one as well. The smaller size fit just about right, just enough loose to make me feel really good about the whole experience. I was very excited and the price was excellent. I thought about getting the larger pair as well – just in case – and then decided that I am done with that and looking forward to continuing to reshape myself.

Whenever we go to the mall without a particular goal it feels like a fishing expedition for great deals on things we suddenly need. I refer to this practice as “sport shopping” because it’s like a treasure hunt for things to blow money on. We got away relatively cheaply, with M’s glasses, my new khakis, the supplements, and a lone pair of flip flops. This is potentially a new record for me getting away from Macy’s shoe department with a lone pair of flip flops, which were actually on sale for 40% off.

From the mall we stopped at home to change clothes and then headed out to meet a friend at the local high school track. M and friend were doing speed workouts while I was merely walking round and round. After 14 laps (3.5 miles) for me they were finally ready to leave, so I did get some exercise today.

It was a good day. Rav has new oil and is in “perfect” condition according to my service advisor. Had a nice long nap. Pants in a smaller size is always a thrill! And a good hit of exercise where I thought I would have none today.

Happy weekending everyone!