Monday, February 20, 2006
On and Off
Well, here we go again. I wanted to post on Friday but I was so damn pissed I could not bring myself to put keyboard to CRT (pen to paper for you purists) to write about it. Long story short, we are down 1 vehicle. But lets go to the back story first. Waaaay, way back to Thursday night. Rhett from KoC was over to work with Mrs and I on life insurance/investment plans while the kids watched Tivo in the Auxiliary Master Bedroom. Worked out pretty well actually. Having given them a bath and all before hand, they were fairly calm and just sat there watching old Scooby-Do cartoons from 1969. Strange preferences. Alexis seems to really like Witches, vampires, bats and other assorted 'Spooky' stuff. Goth in training? At least I won't have to worry about her 'scared of everything' phase. Of course, I've got my 'scared of everything that can happen to her' phase to be concerned with!
It's Friday morning, the Mrs is dropping off the Family Tank at the local Chevy dealership to have some work done on the uranium depleted ABS/AWD disks. They find the problem rather quickly and at 31K, figure it is out of warranty. AH-HA! I dumped a load of cash to get the 10 year 100,000 mile option. TAKE THAT! With the flaunting of extended repair warranties, karmic retribution was packaged, dropped and was speeding my way like a Roadmaster stationwagon driven by a centennial blind man. Merrily going about my business of getting on the Turnpike, I was about to go through the 5mph tollgates at 30mph (yes, I'm going slower than everyone else and gaining much 'get out of the way you idiot' glares for my collection. Just as I was approaching the final cattle gate, tragedy struck. The SuperSaturn began to buck and vibrate like a mechanical bull in it's death throes. Next, the underling gods of spite burst through the surface below the car and cast miles of asphalt into the engine compartment ... or so it felt. A horrendous cacophony of metal grinding and shattering components rung out and the vehicle immediately ceased to burn precious gasoline. I pull over after coasting through the collection gate only to see tendril like wisps of white smoke start to rise from beneath the floor-boards. Not good. Looking beneath the carriage, I see fluids pouring out like a cow pissing on a flat rock. Before too soon, the systems would be bone dry. I managed to get the engine to kick over and I drive back out through the gates and let the wounded beast settle on the side of the road. There, I call the AAA hearse and wait for the slow, sorrowful procession to begin.
The trip from the Car-Killing Turnpike to the garage was short and merciful. It ended up costing me 21$ since it was a few miles beyond the AAA boon distance. The worst was yet to come. After looking at the SuperSaturn, Chris (my uber-mechanic) told me that one of the pins in the transmission got loose and shattered the housing before sending shrapnel into the starter cone. All told, about 2500$ of repairs were in order. Normally, I would have told him to take her out to a quiet pasture and put a bullet in the engine block, but not today. We still have 2 years of payments on the FamilyTank so we cannot afford to pick up a second car loan just yet. Urg, this year is starting out rough.
As previously noted, the Parental units were coming down for the weekend along with BigLittle Brother. Since I had access to Gus's Van, I would have the chance to pick up a chipper to take care of all the pine bows/branches left over from our last back-50 dalliance. The thing weighed a ton and when trying to roll it to the area where the work was to be done, we damn near lost it in the marsh I call a front yard. Sure, it was 20 degrees, well below freezing. That meant little to the sun warmed perma-frost though. Eventually, with 500+ pounds of muscle and grunting, the three of us managed to get the mechanical munching maw to where it was needed and spent the next 4 hours reducing a mountain of greenery into two rather sizable mounds of spongy pine mulch. No injuries, no catastrophes, no kidding. The rest of the weekend was spent trying to entertain the kids and recover from 4 hours of strenuous activity. Sunday evening came and went. The family departed and with that, the children passed out around 1900 hours. All is well outside of my deflated savings account.
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