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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] spiziks!!



This weekend, I have spent much time in contemplation and doing research with regards to restoring Cammie, and unfortunately, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that rebuilding the Grand Prix is beyond my means. Not impossible, mind you, but I had to evaluate several things and make some hard decisions. Fact is, the degradation and damage to the body itself is extensive. I blame the long-gone Rockhill Pontiac for that and the absolutely shitty job they did repairing the car after the accident it had when it was just four years old. The cheap metal they welded on there, unprimed, improperly painted, and so on is why there's a hole in the back passenger-side quarter panel. And though they replaced the front passenger-side quarter panel/fender, they didn't prime or pain it correctly, either, and that's why it's cracked and faded.

The scrapes, dings, and other rust areas only contribute to the overall problems. It comes down to the fact that the shitty job that was done... I did what I could with waxing and such, but all I did was prolong the inevitable. And when it became clear five years ago or so that, despite my best efforts, the shitty repairs were failing and holes started forming and such... Well, if I could have afforded to get the body work done then, then things would be different. But the rust is out of control. And since most of the mid-1980s cars were crushed and recycled, I can't just go hunt a salvage yard for new fenders and panels and such. New panels and such would have to be custom manufactured, which would triple the cost of restoring the body.

Then there's the engine. The reason why Gary put in a new crate engine is because factory manufactured engines have been phased out in favor of crate engines. Factory remanufactured are somewhat limited in how universal their applications, whereas crate engines can pretty much go in anything, but at the expense of having the same computer control that stock or remanufactured engines would have. The performance engine in Cammie had no computer feedback, other than an oxygen sensor and a sensor or two in the exhaust line. This may have contributed to her demise, as there was nothing to signal the loss of oil in the engine. Just knocking, and then seizure.

Looking around, Jasper has pretty much dominated the market on street-legal crate engines. And given how they screwed me on the current engine, I refuse to do business with them pretty much ever. When I was looking at Jegs and Edelbrock, they have nice, powerful engines that would fit the Grand Prix, but there's no way they'd pass street-legal emissions. As is, with the performance engine and having to trade the digital Rochester carb for the Edelbrock carb, it barely passed the fast-idle test. Now, I could have switched out the metering rods in the Edelbrock carb with a set that would lean out the mixture and give me better emission results for the inspection test, but, the Rochester could be set to have less emissions all the time. Alas, Rochesters have gone the way of the dinosaur. So, my options, even with trying to build one myself, for a decent engine for Cammie are more limited than I had thought.

Then there's the interior work, which would still be somewhat significant. Even skipping swapping the bench seat for bucket seats, getting rid of the idea of putting in a center console, and new digital instrumentation, the headliner would still cost a pretty penny, not to mention the vinyl part of the roof on the exterior. I could only find used/salvaged motors for the power windows and the door locks. The alarm system slowly died and became just a glorified keyless entry system.

Long-term storage would also present the problems of needing new tires which, this time around, had to be special ordered. I would need a new battery. Assuming nothing else rusts in major components, the radiator would still need to be flushed and replenished. The transmission would still need a fluid change. The brakes, though just done a few weeks before the engine seized, would need the fluid changed.

If I made about twice as much as I make now, then I could probably afford to restore the Grand Prix in a timely manner. Right now? Twenty years would be a best-case scenario, and that's assuming I can get the G6 to last that long without any major problems, like needing a new engine or transmission or whatever. Or without having to replace the G6 with a new(er) car or somesuch.

There's only so much work I can do myself with the tools and expertise I have. And without being able to keep it at home, where I could work on it for a half hour a night or something... Yeah, I wouldn't be able to do much and save money. Yeah, I can keep it at Henry's indefinitely, but, it's outside, and subject to further deterioration from exposure to the elements.

The final cincher is this: I'm trying to get back into dance and I need to start writing regularly. I can manage writing and dancing. Tossing in a car project that would also suck away money is just...too much. I can already see where I would have to make a choice among dance, writing, and car building. I can only do two of the three. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that I want to dance more than I want a truly unique car that I would only drive on weekends and such.

That was another thing... I couldn't see doing all this work for a car I wouldn't drive much and would pay through the nose for insurance unless I found a garage to keep it in. At the new house, I don't think I'll be parking in the garage often at all, and with two vehicles? Yeah, no.

So, the plan instead is to keep the G6 in really good condition, pay it off in 5 years, then save up for a year or two, then go to CarMax and trade in the G6 and have money down, hopefully a couple thousand, for a Camaro. It has to be a V8, black, and with a sunroof. And some way for me to plug in the Sansa clip, either by USB or patch cord. I'm also thinking manual transmission, just to help deter theft, but, I worry about my knees sometimes and having to deal with a clutch, so, the jury's out on that. I've found that CarMax has three and four-year-old Camaros with 20k miles or less on them, practically new, for about $10k less than brand new. I'm thinking these were cars given to salespeople at a dealership or demo cars for test drives or somesuch, then sold to CarMax. Plugging in my criteria, I found a 2011 Camaro with a manual transmission for $24k with just 20k miles on it. Factor in the transfer fee (it was in Fairfax, Va), title, tax, and so on, figure $25k, which is still a little less than half what the G6 cost. Now, if I have a good G6 to trade in and a couple thousand down thanks to saving, I could come up with a decent enough replacement for the car I loved so much.

This is still a bit of a kick in the gut, though. I enjoyed having a classic that I had worked on, that at one point was one of the five cleanest cars in the state emissions-wise, that was truly unique, that had saved my life so many times. I feel bad that I just...can't return the courtesy. I suppose I did save her life a few times, what with transmission replacements, replacing that first engine with the 350 which lasted me 13 years. That engine served me well that summer I went down to Delmar every few weeks to practice with Holly, or going to Yardley every few weeks to practice with Kristin, or to visit Robin every other week in Milton for over a year... It got me through a LOT. And there was still that time the battery died on the way back from Milton, yet the car kept running until I got to Henry's. Inexplicably so. Whatever spirit inhabited the Grand Prix, I hope it found a new home in the G6 and will follow me into the Camaro in six or seven years or so. I hope Cammie is nestled somewhere in the G6 and may live again as a Camaro.

And I'll enjoy taking the cats to the vet for their annual check-ups in the Camaro, and going to TTL for dancing or lessons in the Camaro, and so on. For now, I'll enjoy doing all that in the G6. But I will miss the Grand Prix, and will treasure the memories I have of driving that car, of hearing the secondaries in the carburetor kick in and the free-flow thrumming as the throttle opened up and the car reared like a horse and took off like a shot. I am mourning its loss, and will probably do so for awhile.

I hate Jasper and I'm glad Rockhill went under.

On the plus side, I had fun dancing at TTL earlier tonight. I even managed to dance a full Viennese Waltz with Josie, and though a little winded at the end, I didn't need my asthma inhaler. Again, dancing with someone who knows what they're doing makes V. Waltz so much easier and effortless. Well, less effort, anyway. And I'm glad that some of the newbies I've been dancing with have shown some improvement as well.

For right now, I'm okay with social dancing, what with being busy with the move and all. But after we're in the new house and somewhat settled, I plan to get more involved with dancing.

Anyway, more later...
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] daytonward!!!



Today has been busy, but productive. Grass is cut, hair is cut, a few other things are done... I still have stuff to take care of. Like the cat boxes, laundry, weekly computer maintenance... Oh well.

Tomorrow is Dani's baptism and then a party at her house afterwards.

My mind has been all over the place with regards to Cammie and so on. I hate this not knowing crap...

Meh.

But...thanks for all the people here and on FB who have offered words of support, encouragement, and so on over the past few weeks. It's appreciated.

Posted at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth
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Well, there's a ray of hope. At least as far as general transportation is concerned...

Mom said that she remembers that I paid for a 93 Saab to the tune of $3200, plus a couple hundred for tax, title, and tags, plus tires so it would pass inspection, plus a battery. So while she was at work, with nothing to do, she searched Carmax a little and found a 2009 Pontiac G5 for just under $10k. She said that if Cammie is indeed dead and no warranty coverage on the engine, she'd put $2k down on it and reduce my rent so that I'd be able to make the monthly payments.

So, it's better than a bike and shitty public transportation. On the one hand, I am annoyed that I can't be self-sufficient and need to rely on the kindness of others. On the other hand, I'm kinda happy that past kindnesses are remembered and help given for them.

But, we still need to hear back on the final fate of Cammie, if there's any warranty coverage, and so on...

In other news, I had a bit of a happy moment. Mom had to leave for work before Rich got back from his meetings and appointments and errands, so, I got to babysit Dani for just under an hour. Mom had barely left and I got the hungry cry, so, I fed her the last ounce of milk she had in her bottle. Got a decent burp or two out of her when that was done. A few minutes later, she started getting fussy, so, off to the changing table we went, and the diaper indicator changed from yellow to blue, with a stop-off at green, indicating a change was needed. So, I changed her, getting hung up only on finding the damn sticky tabs on the new diaper. They tuck and fold those things so far away you have to open up the whole damn diaper and scout along the edges. Meanwhile, Dani's looking at me like, "C'mon, Uncle Dave, get with the program!" Anyway, I found the tabs, put the new diaper on her (after cleaning her up with the appropriate baby wipes, of course), snapped her onesie back up... And I got a smile for my efforts.

Picked her back up, and we went into the rec room, and I put on the Star Trek DVD I had been watching, since "Uncle Grandpa" was on Cartoon Network, and I can't stand that one. So, I rocked her in the recliner and she fell asleep as we watched the second half of "The Doomsday Machine." Then I had to use the bathroom, so, I put her in the napper in the pack-n-play. And then Scott showed up to pick her up. Dani barely peeked past closed eyes while Scott buckled her in the car seat and all.

So, she went home clean, alive, and not fussing. I...guess I did the babysitting thing right...

So, I can join the small circle of people who have changed Dani, fed her, and so on. Oh, and when she hits the teen years, I can say, "I used to change your diapers!"
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It's not guaranteed yet, but Cammie may be dead.

Remember yesterday how I mentioned the choke light and such? And the annoying clicking noise? And how Jack said they'd take a look at it, but check the oil, just in case?

Yeah, well, things happened too fast. I was going to check the oil when I got home from work. Mind you, I topped it off two weekends ago. And before that, Gary had replaced spark plugs and an oil pressure sensor. So, I had no reason to think that the oil in the engine would just...be gone. Even with the problems I had with the old stock 305 engine, which burned oil pretty regularly, I've never had consumption where I lost a full pan in two weeks or just under.

Apparently, that's what happened. On the way home, I started hearing a screeching noise, which I thought was a bad belt from the car next to me. Then it started stalling out on me, but restarting easily enough. The last time I got it started, though, it made an ugly screeching noise, got me across the street and into my development, and stalled again. I was able to coast to the house.

Got a flash light and checked the oil, and saw that it was bone dry. I put the half-quart of syntec I had left in it, with smoke coming from the fill port, and tried to start it to get it in the driveway. No joy. I mean, not even cranking. Like what you get when the starter's dead.

The engine was guaranteed for three years, 30k miles. It's barely three and a half year old, but less than 20k miles. So, if it's toast...there's no definite coverage. However, Gary/Henry's has worked with Jasper for decades, and with it barely being six months past with much lower mileage and the engine being taken care of, they might go ahead and honor it. They might also pro-rate something, and, say, for $1k, replace the engine. That I could swing.

It's also possible that, with it being a performance engine and using syntec, the engine is only mostly seized, and getting some oil in it and manually cranking it through, it may be okay after all. Maybe a little thermal damage which may be repairable or negligible, but, you never know.

I am, however, anticipating the worst, since my overall luck totally sucks ass. I'm anticipating no warranty, and that I'd have to replace the engine...again. Which I just...do not have the finds to do. So, unless I get a free or even mostly free engine, Cammie...is at the end of her life.

In that case, I'll sell her for salvage and hope to get enough to at least pay off the bill with Henry's for the latest work, and maybe reduce further what I owe the bank for the engine loan. Then I'll probably get a decent bike, helmet, and some bus passes and save what I can on gas and insurance, pay down debts further, save some money, and eventually get another vehicle.

What kind of vehicle? Well, I insist on a V8 engine. And at this point, I'd really want a manual tranny. I'll probably go with a Camaro. Or, if I'm looking at older, a Firebird. It won't be anything brand new. But I'm looking at maybe finding another classic to restore, maybe one with a body in much better shape or somesuch. Or maybe a three or four year old car that's been well-kept. Maybe something from Carmax, since Mom's really happy with everything they did for her with the Hyundai. Much depends on how much I reduce my debt, what I can afford in monthly payments, and so on. It's quite possible I may be car-less for a couple of years.

So, yeah, I'm a bit upset at several things... The fact that my project is dead, that I can no longer easily get from point-a to point-b, which affects work, my health, Rocky's health, and so on.

Even though I have a plan of some sort, which includes just trying to cope, I'm still feeling rather devastated. And poor. And so on. And stressed.

Posted at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] dydan, [personal profile] lydy, [personal profile] greygirlbeast, [profile] cookie_chef, [profile] evilest_kitten, and [personal profile] devils_sidekick!!!



Yes, some of those are belated. Yes, things have been a bit busy around here.

So. Saturday. Mom and Mandie convinced me to exhume the body of the poor kitty I hit and take it to the VCA Emergency vet on Marrow's Road in Newark. They did a microchip scan for free, and declared with certainty, since they checked twice, that the poor thing did not have a microchip. The vet seemed to think that, despite the fact he looked sufficiently nourished, he could still be a feral, and some strays and ferals take very good care of themselves.

Mom told them that I found the body in street and moved it and so on, but in retrospect, I'm sure the vet knew I was the one that hit the poor kitty. The whole thing sounded analogous to, "What could anal leakage be a symptom of? I'm asking for a friend..." Nevertheless, the veterinarian kept thanking us for being so humane and thorough and such. For not just leaving the body in the road to get hit by every other car that came down, for making an effort to see if he had owners, and so on. I found a bit of closure there. Or at least, I got a step closer to closure. I still have a ways to go.

The veterinarian also recommended wrapping the box in aluminum foil to keep the decay scent in the box and keep scavengers from digging up the body and so on. Granted, I never had a problem with Yoda's grave, or Lucky's or BamBam's. Still, I made what Mom called a "spaceship grave" for him. It's all good.

Something else that helped me a lot: Riffy. Given that I first "met" him when I almost hit him with the car on my way to class, and saw him almost get hit by another car... He had been living in a storm sewer, and would go up to the college kids living in the dorm there looking for food and getting handouts, so, to him, cars meant the possibility of food. And he was hungry, so, he was going up to cars looking for food. Sucker for hard-luck cases that I am, I skipped class, tossed him in the car, and brought him home and fed him and so on. Eleven years later, here he is, doting on my niece and so on. Now if he would just come out and play with Rocky...

Riffy reminded me that if I could have stopped, I would have. That if I'd known the kitty was there... But, I never saw him. Hell, at first, I thought I'd hit a branch, and was wondering where the branch came from, since there was nothing in the street beforehand...

Anyway, I am...slowly getting over the accident. The unnamed kitty is re-interred in the back yard, and he will hopefully rest in peace. If he did belong to someone, then hopefully he will at least have been shown the same consideration had he lived a full life with them. If he was a stray or feral, then hopefully his death will suck a little less than what most get.

Yesterday, I played the part of the social butterfly. I went over to my sister's house for a bit, where Mom and Rich were, and my cousin was visiting. 'Twas a good visit. The I headed over to Doke's at [profile] thumpermarni's insistence for his annual Memorial Day party. Again, it was all good. Got to watch some Harry Potter and part of Blade Runner. There was some ultra-conservative, religious, conspiracy-theory, Illuminati-touting asswipe that was spouting off, and that's when I left the room. Though, small tidbit: when you start talking about Christianity as the one true religion, maybe you shouldn't be dropping f-bombs in front of your toddler as you rail against the liberal government controlling you through the media and claiming that in 50 years, there will be no more religion, first amendment, or marriage in America...

Instead, I went into another room, where Darryl was playing music through his phone and subjected us to Ace of Base. My 90s dancing seemed to go over well...

[profile] thumpermarni also gave me this book she saw way back when and got for me... The Star Wars Vault. Rocky and I looked at a little of it last night, and it's got some interesting trivia and ephemera...

Today, just trying to get some stuff done around the house. Mom's cleaning Yoda's cage, finally. Mandie and Danielle are over, helping and such, though, Danielle's been really fussy the past hour or so. It might be the different house and all the activity. Mandie's helping a little with some cleaning and packing. We're going to BBQ some 'burgers and 'dogs later, and Mandie, Scott, and Danielle will be joining us.

I...am feeling a little wiped out. That whole shyness thing, then going to a big party... Those who are a bit introverted know how parties and socializing can really wipe you out. Then again, it's been a busy weekend, and the whole bit with the tragic unnamed kitty has taken a lot out of me.

Oh, at least I cleaned the bathroom yesterday, and I also got some stuff done on the car. In addition to getting the windshield replaced, I found my tube of goop and fixed the trim on the rear bumper that was peeling off. I also used the last of my brass paper fasteners to tack up a section of falling headliner, and wrapped the sun visor in duct tape to take care of the split in the upholstery on it that was leaking cardboard. Yeah, it all sounds kind of pathetic, but, temporary repairs until I can get the body and interior restored. At least it runs well.

And with the new fuel pump and spark plugs, my gas mileage has gone up quite significantly. Even though spark plugs are good for three years, I'm thinking I should go back to replacing them every other year. Decent double platinum plugs aren't that expensive and the cost of replacing them every other year is more than made up in gas savings.

Back to the grind tomorrow. Work and chiro afterwards. Grocery shopping and comics stop on Wednesday, and Rocky for his weekly glucose check on Thursday. My life is so exciting... /sarcasm

Posted at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] ladnews!!



Going through something hellish right now...

Last night, as I was turning to back into the driveway, I felt a thud near the front tire. I was wondering what the hell it was, wondering if there was a problem with the front brakes, or if I'd run over a stick or something, but the road was clear when I started my turn. As I backed in the driveway, I saw a cat body writhing in the street in front of me. By the time I stopped the car and got out, the writhing had stopped. I went in the house and got Mom, and when we got out there, there was another car coming down the street. We waved him around, but in the headlights, Mom could tell the cat was still breathing, and then the cat took its last breath and...was no more. Crossed the bridge, if it hadn't done so earlier, and everything else was just nerves, given that it was a head injury that killed him.

I haven't really slept, well or otherwise, since this happened. Mom dragged the body to the edge of the yard, just so he wouldn't get hit repeatedly or anything, and while I was getting the windshield replaced today, she made some calls. We were hoping animal control would come out and take care of the body, maybe make a note of the description in case he belonged to anyone and someone came looking for him. Turns out, animal control doesn't deal with anything dead, nor do they collect information like that. They referred Mom to DelDOT, who said that if the body is on the property, there's a fee for removal, but if it's in the road, removal is free, and so, maybe drag the body back into the road.

Fuck it. I dug a hole in the back yard, got one of the smaller boxes we have for moving, lined it with an old towel which doubled as a burial shroud. He (and I'm assuming it was a "he") was stiff with rigor mortis, but I did the best I could to make him fit in the box with any kind of dignity. Wrapped him in the towel, closed the box, said a few words over it, and apologized profusely as I buried the box. The cardboard casket.

It pains me to think he may have been some kids best friend. But then, this is why my cats are indoor cats. And why they have collars and chips.

He may also have been a stray or feral. Just...don't know.

What kills me is that despite his injuries, I could tell he was a beautiful cat. And no matter how accidental, no matter how unintentional, I feel like complete and total shit about this.

And as I've had a low level of acid and bile from all of this all day, I get a thing in the mail from the GI doc. The biopsies came back, and I'm back to having Barrett's Esophagus, which is basically a condition where my esophageal cells have mutated into something thicker, and are more likely to mutate further into cancer cells. Hence, more frequent endoscopies, more aggressively working to prevent gerd, and so on. With the stress from work, and now this recent...incident? Tragedy? Added stress? Yeah, I can feel my stomach eating itself right now.

The only good thing from the last day is that I finally got my damn windshield replaced. There was a tiny, very thin scratch on the new glass that I may have never noticed if they hadn't said anything, but they did, and they took $100 off for it. Also, when they took the old windshield out, they sanded down the rust from two windshields ago, that was done sloppily by another company and leaked like a sieve, and treated that. And cleaned/vacuumed the front seats and footwells as well as cleaning all the windows. Given that they took almost half the price off for a tiny scratch and everything, I'd highly recommend the Safelite shop on Kirkwood Highway for automotive glass repair or replacement.

Rocky...knows I'm upset in general, and he's been a little extra affectionate today, which just makes me feel worse. I feel like I betrayed his kind somehow. And considering how karma likes to make me its bitch, I'm terrified of something similar happening to him. Then again, he's an indoor cat and is perfectly okay with that. The door can be wide open, and he'll just sit at the edge, no desire to go any further. All of my cats have been like that. The furthest any of them ever wanted to go was the garden in the front yard. Some of them liked to sit in the back yard, but that was problematic, because they saw the deck as a neat part of the house and liked going exploring under it and were real pains in the ass about coming out when it was time to go inside.

But, yeah, I'm feeling pretty crummy. Maybe esophageal cancer is a just punishment for me or something.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] robinredpress AND [personal profile] headtrip_honey!!



So...this weekend is not going as I had planned, as those of you on FB probably already know...

The car was not, in fact, done yesterday, as the shop stated it would be both on Monday and again on Thursday. At 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I finally called Deltrans, who informed me that they got the crossmember yesterday morning, but that it was the wrong part and they had already ordered the correct part.

To say I was pissed would be an understatement. They had assured me twice that I would have my car back by the weekend. I used that information to take a day off of work to go get it. I will be mentioning this to them when the car is finally done and politely demand that they stay late for me to pick it up, since it was a screw-up on their end that caused the delay and has further inconvenienced me.

And I think I know where the screw-up is... I think they went and looked up the stock part for that crossmember. Not double checking things seems really stupid, since I told them that the car had a non-standard engine and a non-standard transmission in it. Gary installed a conversion kit so that a transmission from a truck would fit and mate correctly with the engine. Granted, Gary probably did a good enough job installing the conversion kit that it looks like it's been with the car for forever. Still. They should have checked the part, done a google search on images, whatever.

The new estimate is that my car will be done on Wednesday. At that point, it's a week beyond the 5-7 workday estimate they gave me.

I have two bus rides left, and only because Mom gave me a leftover bus card when her new one came in. To say that this has fucked up my weekend is an understatement. Mom has generously offered the use of her car to go dancing tonight, but now, I'm still pissed enough that I'm not sure I'm in the mood to go.

I'm especially pissed at having taken a vacation day to pick up the car yesterday, when I would have preferred to continue to stockpile some time.

I'm also pissed that they didn't call me as soon as the wrong part came in. After telling me that the car would be done by yesterday, the minute a snag like that came up, they should have called me and let me know what was going on, and maybe what they were going to do about it. Personally, I think they should have had the correct part Fed-Ex-ed to be there by the afternoon or today at the latest and bolted it on and given me my car back today. Either that, or they should knock the price down. They obviously haven't done the first. We'll see what they do for the second. But since they've wasted a bit of my time, I'm going to make them jump through a hoop for me in waiting an hour, hour and fifteen minutes, past closing on the day it's done to accommodate my work schedule to go get it. Either that, or they're going to deliver it to me at work and take a check.

So, that's where that all is now.

In other news... Mom got these cat toys for the cats. First, it's pretty bad when the cats have battery-operated toys. This thing has a wand with a fake rat tail attached to a motor, and a plastic blanket over it. The motor then "wags" the tail in a circle under the "mysterious" plastic blanket. It's supposed to be an automated hunting simulator thingy, kind of like the Angry Birds pole or a "flying feather."

Rocky...watched it, tapped it a few times, and pretty much lost interest. I am amused at this. At the same time, I feel really badly for Mom, who was so sure this would be a hit with the cats and maybe get them to start tolerating each other by playing together with it.

Anyway, hopefully something good will happen this weekend to make me feel a little better. I doubt it, but, eh.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] daytonward!!!



Granted, he won't see this here, since he moved over to WordPress, and I don't have a way to cross-post from LJ reliably, so, oh well. And I tried leaving birfday wishes on his wall, except he, like a good number of others on FB, have disabled the ability of others to post on his wall. I sent him a private message instead. There are very few people I would go to such lengths to wish congratulations for surviving another trip round the sun, but, Dayton has always been friendly and free with advice to people like me who toil in the hopes of one day joining the ranks of published authors, so, yeah.

Anyway...

When I got home tonigh, er, last night, Rocky had the little bathroom rug half out of the bathroom, and I could see where he'd thrown up on one corner of it. Mom says he was trying to hide it somewhere. I say he was trying to bring it down to the laundry room. See, the difference between me and Mom is that I don't yell at them for having hairballs or throwing up or whatever. Consequently, I think Rocky was being helpful instead of sneaky. In any event, it's all good.

I think some of my esophagitis and general stomach upset this week is because of stress. Waiting on the car and such. Tomorrow, that should come to an end. And on the eve of getting Cammie back, I've been contemplative on a few things. They say you don't know what you have until it's gone, and I never quite fully understood how much a car is needed for an independent, active lifestyle. Public transportation sucks in Delaware. And if I was as active with dance as I was a few years ago, all of this would have probably ground dance to a halt.

I am very grateful to Mom for sharing her car with me over the last few months so I could run errands, do grocery shopping, pick up my meds, and take care of Rocky when he got sick and his diabetes came back. I am grateful to Rich for bringing me in to work for the last three months and picking me up on certain days so I could go to the chiropractor.

For most of the past three months, I adapted to my circumstances, living around the bus schedule, accepting limitations in being social or disappearing from the house for a little bit. Alas, the living frugally will continue for awhile yet; part of me is crying over the lost progress I've made on my credit card debt, since I'll be not-quite-maxing them out again, but, eh. On the bright side, I'm just looking at another month or so of really tight finances and not at an added bill. I should still be able to pay off Henry's by the end of the year, and probably sooner. I should still be able to replace the windshield by the end of the summer. As is, I've budgeted for meds, food, and gas until the next payday in addition to paying for the transmission. And since I've socked away spare cash, going dancing on Saturday is in the budget.

Back to what I was starting to say about adapting to the bus schedule... The past week or so has found me increasingly frustrated with this particular lifestyle. Nothing has changed, really; I was perfectly okay with things, for the most part, for most of the time I was without Cammie. But ever since I dropped her off at Deltrans, I think having it be so close to when I'd get her back, and I started thinking of all the benefits that would entail, that I realized how much I need a car and how much I adapted my life over the last three months. Not that it happens very often at all, but if someone calls me late at night needing to talk or whatever, I like being able to just hop in the car and go and be helpful. It's important for me to be able to have that ability. Not having to wait on a bus, not having to take extra time off at work for a doctor's appointment, and so on... Little things add up. Even with walking to the bus hub, and from the bus to the house... I realized I've been holding back on my walking at night, keeping enough in reserve to get me home. Normally, after reading time, I'd go for a good walk on campus and get to the car feeling like I'd had a good workout, and it was okay, since I didn't have all that much walking left to do. Also? The shitty suspension on the bus took something out of me in the way of motion sickness and I swear it's why my back has been so bad lately.

At least the timing works out okay. Rich has an infection in his toe/foot, so, with me being able to take myself to work and all, he's free to take care of himself without having to worry about me.

Anyway, here's to new beginnings...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] miss_tish AND [profile] deweybeachgirl!!



So, I took a sick day today. And I slept through most of the day.

I'm almost feeling normal. Right now, I still have a disconnected feeling. And some occasional dizzy spells, but, considering my activity level has been reduced for a few days, and my hemoglobin's been running low for awhile now, that's to be expected.

I did keep my chiropractor appointment this evening. However, there might be a problem with Cammie...

Specifically, she's slipping. That is, the transmission is giving me a hard time shifting gears. On really cold mornings, I could get out of the driveway, and then the transmission would basically act like it was in neutral instead of engaging in first gear. I could either over-rev or pull over and give it another minute to warm up, and it would be fine. Today, however, even warmed, there were some problems. It would give me a hard time shifting out of first. And if it was in the correct gear for the speed at which I was traveling, it would sometimes downshift to a lower gear and thus over-rev. Sometimes I'd manually shift into second, but it would sometimes downshift into first on its own. I could sometimes get it to shift by slamming the gas.

I checked the fluid... It's still pink and at the correct level. No burnt smell, doesn't seem like there are any metal shavings in the fluid. I'm wondering if I have a blown seal somewhere, which would be Bad. Or maybe my torque converter went bad. Or maybe the throttle position sensor/cable needs to be adjusted. If it's a simple adjustment, then I need to get it in to Gary. If it's a seal, then I might need a new tranny. If I need a new tranny, I'm fucked.

But, again, the fluid was pink and full, so, I doubt it's a seal. Still, thoughts anyone? (Looking at you, [profile] scarybaldguy...) Unfortunately, I don't have the model number. All I know is that it's a three-speed turbo (automatic) from a truck. I doubt the new engine ate it since I've had the new engine for a little over two years now and haven't had any problems. Then again, it could just be the crazy weather we've been having. Fortunately, tomorrow is the last day it drops below freezing for the better part of a week at least.

I hate being poor and massively in debt like this.

On the bright side, I am feeling better. And I got some reading done.

Otherwise? Meh.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] andrian6!!



Today was, overall, a good day. Despite being sick, blowing my nose every five minutes or less, and the fact that my sinuses and tear ducts actually hurt right now. It doesn't help that I finished one book, Wrath of the Prophets, about a virus and started a second one, Double Helix: Infection, about another virus. Yeah, Star Trek, but, so what? I still think that when my nose drips into a puddle on my desk that it's a droplet of contagion and misery. I hate the rhinovirus with a passion.

But, I digress.

Despite turning off my alarm and such, I only slept an extra hour. I woke up with a rather dry and sore throat and Rocky trying to shove one of his toys in my mouth. I don't know if he was trying to wake me up or quiet my snoring, since the only time I snore anymore is when I'm sick and congested.

Anyway, I managed to get the house vacuumed, which takes considerably less time when no one else is here. Then I had lunch, then errands. One of them was to stop at Henry's and ask very nicely if they would patch the one tire that's been giving me problems. Turns out, Gary was there. They pulled my car into the bay, popped the tire, and found not only the screw, but a second puncture from a nail. Patched both. Gary also insisted on checking the oil and other fluids. I mentioned the slow oil leak, and he found that the valve covers just needed a little tightening. They also tightened the power steering belt. Oil looks good; it's not dirty, so, even though it's been a year since the last change, it's still good, what with it being syntec and all. I asked him how critical the tires looked, and he said I've got 5-10k miles worth of tread there. I barely put 6k on it in a year, so...tires are not nearly as critical as I first thought.

So, Cammie is doing well and can last a bit longer sans maintenance (beyond what I do here, of course), and I have enough time on the tires to finish paying Gary off and letting him pit the right tires on her when the time comes. Gary said that right now, I can't have any major repairs or work done, but for tire patches or lights and such, he'll still work on it. Hell, even with something major, he'll to a temporary repair, if need be. But with not having to set aside $500-$600 for tires, I can hopefully pay him off sooner. Though I still need to replace the windshield. But, overall, things don't seem nearly as insurmountable as before.

So, it was a good, productive day, despite being sick. Though now, maybe I'm paying for it. And I used the last of my Coricidin. I thought I had another package of it, but, alas, I don't. First thing in the morning, it's a trip to the drug store.

Anyway, no comics today, since I don;t feel well and my eyes are gooping to where I can't see. So, laters folks...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] unsilenceddream, [profile] drewshi, AND [personal profile] seanan_mcguire!!!



So...life has smacked me upside the head. A little. First off, not going to dance tonight. The anemia stuff has me feeling a little drained, and the morning ended up being busy. So, I'm going to pace myself. As for the morning's busyness? Well, I went to check the fluids and such on the car. I also noticed a front tire kind of low on air. So, I got to try out my new digital tire gage and such. Put air in the tire, thanks to Rich's air compressor, but, I discovered a few problems. First, there's a slice mark on that tire into a small area of tread. There's also a screw embedded in the tread. Lastly, the side walls are cracking. I noticed various degrees of cracking on the other tires. The result is that I will be replacing the tires sooner than later. I was hoping to hold out until the summer, but... Meh. The windshield might have to wait until after the tires. So, I need to do some budgeting this weekend and figure out how things are going to go the next few weeks. Or months. Or whatever.

Here and there, I'm still getting impressions or even admissions that people think I'm slumming here at home. It's annoying, but these days, it's annoying in that it means there's someone else I have to write off. At this point, if people don't know my situation, know what I've done for my family, and so on, then they don't deserve to be in my life. Indeed, they're already out of it to be so clueless. The Cliffsnotes version, for anyone needing to be brought up to speed, is that I helped out my mother after my father died. I put my family first and helped pay the bills, mortgage, and so on when the place where Mom worked kicked her to the curb. It was only two years ago that she found a permanent job that paid her more than half of what she was making before. She's still getting on her feet financially. On top of that, before she had the hip replacement (almost three years ago), there wasn't a whole lot she could do around the house, and I couldn't see having to take care of my own place and be over here 2-3 times a week to take care of this place for her.

Why am I still here? Well, before Mom had the hip surgery and before she got her current job, I sacrificed my own credit to keep a roof over our heads, up to and including buying her a car when her Sebring died. She no sooner got her new job that the engine in my car went, and it was cheaper to replace it than get a new car, or, another used car with likely the same or more problems than what Cammie has. Given that my credit was shot, there was no way I'd get approved for anything "new" or even comparably equipped to what I have now. What I'm restoring now. Now, I'm still paying off the engine, since there have been other issues that have come up, like all the dental work I needed that wasn't covered, other medical stuff not covered (such as co-pays), needing a new motherboard and chipset when the furkids knocked a glass of iced tea onto my computer, and then all the vet stuff this past year with TomTom and YoYo and Rocky. I'm surprised I had anything left for Christmas gifts.

I'm not here because I'm lazy or mooching or can't function on my own or anything else. I'm here because I'm, if anything, more responsible than most and have a high value on my immediate family.

Will I be here forever? Probably not. I'm here for the next few years at least, since it's going to take some time to dig myself out of debt and save up enough for my own place. I can't see getting an apartment or somesuch where I can't have pets or don't have enough room for all my books and such. I would like my own place someday, but for right now, where I am works. I can continue to help Mom and Rich out, dig myself out of debt, and have some significant freedom for my cats.

Anyone who doesn't know this by now or who still thinks I'm slumming it...can go take a long walk off a short pier.

In other news... I didn't get any writing done yesterday. I instead had that annoying voice that says I'll never be published, that I don't have what it takes to be an author. So, instead of getting any writing done, I was instead busy gagging that bitch and kicking her off a cliff. Would I be able to write full-time? Don't know. Not any time soon, that's for sure. I'd need to get established first. And I need the medical benefits from my current day job. But, if I'm successful at writing, then early retirement is a definite option...

Just some stuff bouncing around in my head. That, and... I'm going to (finally) use some of my medical time on the 14th for a trip to the dentist. I'm debating taking the whole day and maybe getting in to see the family doc to get the ball rolling on this anemia thing. Sadly, I shouldn't have to even think about this; I should be able to put my health first. It's times like this that I wish I had ignored a LOT of people in the past and actually focused on my writing a lot sooner...

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What an exhausting day...

It started with me taking Rocky to the vet for a glucose check. I figured I had the time, it had been 12 hours since his last insulin shot, and he'd been working on his bandage, so, better to make the trip sooner than later and maybe get his stitches/staples out. The good news is that his glucose was at 97, so, his insulin dosage has been reduced to just 5 units, and it's looking like he may be off the insulin in the near future. The bad news is that Rocky had already removed all his staples and had a small abscess. He's got another bandage, which will probably come off on Saturday, when they check his glucose again. Oh, and he gained another half a pound since last week.

Then there's the car... Went up to the Wilmington DMV for re-inspection. It passed emissions, though, it was close on the fast-idle CO. The repaired accident damage passed. But there was a code for non-regulation clear lenses for the front markers that wasn't well marked on the failed inspection notice from New Castle and that they didn't tell me. The tech who did the re-test told me that yeah, New Castle were pricks with the whole amber lights and older cars and also with not telling people why their car failed. But, it passed re-inspection.

So, I go inside, get my number, and settle in for a long wait, as I was number 536, and they were just calling 482. Then I look at the inspection sheet and see that it still has the whole lens thing and that I failed inspection...

!

So, I wait a few minutes and see that the line is moving with the speed of molasses, then take my stuff and walk around the building to the inspection lanes. As I approach the lane where I was, I see that there is (already) a different tech. He greets me, and I explained my problem. So, he sent one of his other buddies to go to the parking lot and check the lenses. Of course, everything's fine (finally!) and he apologizes, saying that sometimes they hit an "enter" key too quickly and it doesn't register... Hey, it happens. It's all good. He prints out another inspection sheet for me that shows I passed. So then I went back inside and waited. For over an hour. Fortunately, the person at the counter was nice and on the ball. Took care of the registration renewal and didn't give me any problems with the final steps for switching over the vanity plates and printing out another, updated registration form for Mom's Hyundai. (Which will be updated again when she gets the Gift of Life specialty plate, but whatever.)

So, it was a long, drawn out, painful process, but, I finally have Cammie registered and such for another two years. In the meantime, I'll see what I can to to recondition the front marker lenses, plus get some other metering rod sets for the Edelbrock carburetor. There's probably be a set optimum for summer, another set optimum for winter, and maybe a third set for in between. Plus, I'll get a set to run the car really lean for emission inspections purposes. From what I understand, the metering rods and springs are really easy to swap out on an Edelbrock carb.

On the way home, I stopped at Christiana Maul and went to Build-A-Bear to buy/make the Memorial Bear, primarily for TomTom, but also for the others. I'll post pictures once I have him all dressed up and figure out how to work in the collars or tags and such.

And good gods, could they make the traffic patterns any more convoluted and confusing? They're re-designing all the ramps and overpasses and such in the area and...it's...just...a mess. No nice way to put it. And with the holidays approaching... Yeah, I plan to avoid that area for a good, long while.

So, the past few days have been busy, but, a lot of the major stress issues from the summer are finally resolved. The accident damage from March is repaired. The car has passed inspection and the registration is renewed. I no longer have a misinterpreted vanity plate and instead have the plate my father had on his Triumph Spitfire since before I was born (CIAO). Rocky is approaching ideal health, despite his penchant for removing any kind of stitch or suture. And now, I am just totally, completely exhausted.

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Semi-quick, worn-out post before bed, in an attempt to alleviate some insomnia...

After receiving advice from several people that I trust that it would be better to just get the damn temporary pass from DMV than risk getting pulled over and having my car impounded, I've decided that tomorrow morning, I'll be making a trip to the DMV and going in to work late and staying late. This is teaching me that there is no such thing as "a little, minor fender-bender." I'm not mad at the person who caused the accident, because, accidents happen. Instead, I'm frustrated at all the bureaucratic bullshit that has accompanied it. The insurance companies have been okay this time around, but... The DMV, shops refusing to work on it because of its age (they don't see it as a classic), manufacturers not updating their inventory to show discontinued parts... All for a stupid lens! For a side marker light that actually works.

I'm also rapidly approaching burnout from all the stuff with the cats. Not that I begrudge them at all. But the multiple vet trips and rechecks on sutures and so on... For example, Rocky needs to go back Tuesday morning for suture removal. They didn't take them out today because his scabs keep getting into the area. So, I need to keep giving him drops and maybe cleaning his face daily. Thing is, he knows how to get the cone off. He uses his hind foot to move the bow knot to the front, then steps on it with his front paws and pulls to undo the knot. However, he hasn't removed or attempted to remove his cone for over a day now. Despite being frustrated with it. Tonight, the cone got caught on the edge of his dinner dish and he flipped the dish. We all take this in stride, get him cleaned up and such. He really is a good kitty, despite the rough patches we had when we first got him. No one can replace TomTom, but TomTom taught Rocky well, and Rocky is doing what he can to fill the role of "hoomin helper."

Riffy is doing okay, though, he's definitely lonely without YoYo. I'm hoping this will help him to decide to rejoin the World Beyond the Door.

Minerva managed to unbuckle her new collar, but was ever so happy when I put it back on her tonight.

The one positive thing about all these trips to the vet for checks and such is that I'm pretty much over associating the drive and the trip with TomTom's and YoYo's final trips. It reaffirms my focus on the living furkids which, I think, is what both TomTom and YoYo would want. TomTom didn't have many issues at all after we got him cleaned up after adopting him, and YoYo would probably remember everything we did for him when he started having urinary tract problems, and both would want the same care given to their siblings and successors.

Mom is still recovering. Moving around a little better today, but...yeah.

The stepgoggies came over early this weekend to make it easier for Rich to stay here with Mom. It's all good. According to Rich, they love coming over here. As he's driving them over, they recognize the way and get really excited the closer they get to here.

Rocky's all happy now. I just cleaned his cone a little from leftover food and such sticking to it.

Anyway, I'm finally feeling a little tired, finally, instead of all wound up. Time for some sleep...

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Okay, high-speed, low-budget summary of the day...

I ended up taking a vacation day. First, Rocky's face was a dried-bloody, scabby mess. Second, I heard back from Maaco to bring the car by for them to look at it. Plus, I was considering stopping by the DMV for a temporary sticker for the car to give me some time to get the light fixed. Well, I eventually decided to not bother with the DMV just yet.

The trip to Maaco wasn't too bad. The guy there asked me what my plans were for the car and such, and I told him that I was eventually going to restore the whole thing. So, he suggested that instead of paying for some work twice that instead of a full repair on that dent, which would all be sanded down/removed and re-done when they repair the other hole in that panel, that instead they bang the dent out and replace the molding and lens for the light so that it'll pass inspection and look less bad than it does now. This would only cost me $200, leaving the remainder of the insurance money for other things or to be put into savings or whatever. Plus, it'll only take them a day to do the work - drop it off in the morning, pick it up in the afternoon. So, they're going to call me once they get the parts in and we'll go from there, but the guy was confident that they'd have everything in and be able to complete the work before the end of the month so I can get it through inspection.

Then this afternoon, I took Rocky to the vet to see Dr. Lon. His stitches aren't quite ready to come out yet. So, they gave him another anti-itch shot and another anti-biotic shot to be on the safe side, plus cleaned up his face and all. He's got a hydrocortisone solution I need to apply to his face twice daily between now and Saturday to help everything heal. And...he's got a cone of shame to keep him from tearing up his face any further. He's...not happy about the cone, but, he's coping. Meanwhile, he has an appointment on Saturday to get his sutures removed. Fortunately, he hadn't snagged or pulled any of them out. Anyway, he's cleaned up and doing well. The tech commented on what a good kitty he was and on how relaxed he was, despite everything. I'm hoping Rocky knows that car rides do not in any way mean he's being abandoned, but rather cared for.

Anyway, we've set up food and water stations for him that are "cone friendly" and I took the lid off the main litter box he uses. He managed to clip the edge of his water dish at dinner and spilled the water, but, it was all cleaned up and such. Mom has...actually gotten rather patient with the cats since Rich came into the picture.

In any event, I'm glad that Rocky trusts me enough to not be nasty at the vet. More than that, he seems to have learned from TomTom and is becoming a vet tech favorite. Three of them seemed happy to see him today. I mean, one time, I asked them if they told everyone that their cat is well-behaved, and they said no. That I'd be surprised how often they get bitten, scratched, and so on. Hell, my guys don't even hiss or growl at them. Well, Minerva growled and hissed when I first adopted/rescued her and brought her up there for shots and Felv and HIV tests, but then, she'd known me all of an hour at that point. Other than that? My kids are good for the doctor. It's not just a sign of trusting the veterinarian, but a sign that they trust me enough to know I won't put them in harm's way. Every day, I hope I prove worthy of that trust...

On a parting note, here's Cracked.com on the 6 Most Baffling PSAs Starring Famous Superheroes. The first one explains Todd Akins, the last one actually makes me like the X-Men even more, and the Batman one was just...batshit crazy...

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Okay, so, doctor appointment went okay yesterday. Bee sting is healing ok, weight isn't up as much as I thought it would be, and I'm otherwise healthy. There's some bloodwork and tests to get done... Annual cholesterol and basic physiology tests, plus, a 5-year echocardiogram and stress test. Nothing is urgent, so, I'm probably going to get it all done in December, the week between Christmas and New Years, since the library is closed that week and I will have the time and such.

I have the car back... Seems to be running a little more smoothly. The ignition lock cylinder...was replaced, though, there still seems to be some issues. Jack mentioned that there are some problems with the steering column and I need to talk to Gary on Monday. Otherwise, things are looking good.

Today had a bit of a rough start. I was supposed to go donate a pint of blood, but, they had to defer me this time. My hemoglobin was a little low. Now, I've backed off some of the leafy green veggies because of the kidney stone issue and trying to cut back on some of the meats and such just for general health purposes. But, those things are dropping my iron levels and thus my hemoglobin levels. So, need me some moo meat and need to maybe pick up some V8 from the store. Anyway, I rescheduled for October, a week before Halloween. They said I could dress as a vampire when I go.

On a cheerier note... Funds are being transfered, clearing banks and so on. On Monday, in addition to calling Gary, I'm also calling Lantana to schedule Rocky's surgery for the end of next week. Mucho thanks to Mom. Because the tumor seems a little larger than it was a week ago. And Rocky is acting like that side of his face is tender. I don't care that it's non-life-threatening; my little buddy's in discomfort and it's getting worse. A week from now, the surgery should be done and he'll be recovering here with me. I am very happy and thankful that this will be resolved quite soon.

And being able to pay off that Care Credit card... Very happy about that.

Anyway, not too much left to take care of this weekend. And I've been watching Jackson Galaxy's My Cat From Hell marathon on Animal Planet. You know...for the frustrations of the Rocky-Riffy-Minerva issue, they are nothing near what some of these other cat issues are. That means that, with some patience and such, I can get them all to get along. But, I need toys and cat trees and some other stuff I can't afford right at the moment.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] sir_cat, [personal profile] klingonguy, AND [personal profile] oxymoron67!!!



Today...has been a gods-awful day.

The DMV was a disaster. I think they saw my car and were determined to fail it.

The guy doing the emissions inspections was a complete dick. I told him that I had a new engine and exhaust system and I needed the generic test because the VIN was useless. So he starts pulling out lights and mirrors to look under the car and says that with a single catalytic converter (cat) and two/dual exhaust lines, it's not an acceptable exhaust system, that I need two cats for a dual exhaust. He does the test and it passes...except for high idle CO emissions. Looking at the results for eerything else, which is barely half of acceptable limits... You know, the old 305 smog engine with a single, old exhaust line was never that high. In short, I don't know what he did, but he fudged the test. I'll take it to Gary to make sure, but I know my car, and there is just no way my emissions could be that high. Downtuning the carburetor still wouldn't make emissions that high. I'd have to screw up the carburetor and take off the cat to get readings like that.

On top of that, they failed it for the accident damage. They said that I had to at least get the light working, which it is. I checked before and after. They said I had a non-regulation lens.

In short, they were determined to fail the car no matter what. Because they have an edict to get older cars off the road. Because they want to enforce non-innovation and conformity. Well, not quite that deep; they just want a population more easy to control.

So, go inside, and at least got my license renewed. Though the guy was borderline jerky about my documentation, even though it was all acceptable. To recap: Delaware has a one-time document thing (kind of like the one-time document check when you first get your license, so one-time check just means we want you to think this is it, but we can change the rules and there's nothing you can do about it). I'm sure they'll require a blood sample and a DNA clone for the next one-time check in 10 years or so. If I'd known my trip was going to be so frustrating and counter-productive, I'd have brought a vial of blood, a urine sample, and a semen sample with me. Hell, those things are better identifiers than mere documents.

For shits and giggles, I went back to the information desk to ask if I could at least switch the vanity plates. "Yeah, you can go ahead and do that today." Great! So, I wait another 15 minutes. Get to the counter, and the girl behind says no, I can't switch plates without Mom there, since her name is on both cars. I told her Mom had called and was told all I needed was copies of the vehicle registrations and a signed letter. She goes and checks with her boss, then comes back and says that no, Mom has to be there, because they need a signature. I point to the signature on the letter. That's not good enough; they need a power of attorney and a notarized signature. Which is bullshit.

Now... Mom got word from her attorney about reaching settlement for her accident that totaled the Saab a year and a half ago. She and Rich are planning to help me out a little. First part of that is that they'll front me the money to get the accident damage fixed. That leaves me with checking with Gary on the emissions.

Mom is having her bariatric bypass surgery in the middle of August. The plan is to go to the DMV at the end of August and get the car re-inspected. Then Mom, post-surgical, is going to get the walker out of the attic, we're going to get an oxygen line and maybe some other tubes, and then Rich and I are going to prop her up at the counter and she's going to very slowly and very loudly say, "Okay, I'm here. What's so special that I need to be here to transfer a vanity plate from one car to the other? And why is it that when I called the last time I was given erroneous information about this?"

That...at least made me smile. So does the fact that I have the last inspection results and access to a Zeutschel scanner and state-of-the-art industry-grade processing software. One way or another, my car will pass inspection. Cheating? More like countering cheating.

Moving along...

I managed to get a vet appointment for Rocky for this afternoon. He's now current on all his shots, is healthy, and weighed in at 19.7 pounds, which seems a bit lighter than I was expecting. Then again, he didn't exactly stay still on the scale. The thing on the side of his face? Not a cyst, but also not cancer. Benign tumor. Not life-threatening, but the sooner it's off, the better. So, we were going to do it today if I could get my Care Credit card limit extended, since it's a $700 surgery, what with it being close to his eye, needing meds, some bit of kitty plastic surgery, and so on. Credit Care denied an increase. Good thing it wasn't something life-threatening, or else I would have reached through the phone and throttled the guy.

This is the other thing Mom and Rich are going to help me out with. Well, Mom, mainly. She's going to give me money for TomTom's end care. That will wipe out the balance in that card so I can get Rocky his surgery. My goal is to eventually pay off that card and, once the other regular cards are paid down significantly, I'll get rid of it. I want to leave myself something in case of an emergency, but, if I can get rid of it, I will. Useless bastards.

So, overall, it's been a sucky day full of suck. Nice start to my birfday weekend. I think I'm going to hide this one out, complete with coffee, kindle, and comic books. Also? People suck. Way too many people suck. But, I'm glad that Mom will be able to help me out a little in a few weeks. I hate having to rely on anyone else like this, but then, she also sees it as payback for when I helped her out in times of need over the past five or six years or so.

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So...it's been a semi-relaxing, semi-productive weekend thus far. I still have some stuff I want to take care of, like finishing my laundry, but otherwise, it's going okay. I spent the better part of the day yesterday cleaning out my linen closet so Rich can get to the pipes to fix my shower. I didn't think it would take all that much time, but, there was more crap there to go through than I thought. On the bright side, I threw out some broken stuff and a ton of things that were past expiration or not used or whatever. Old contact lens stuff and weird shampoos and stuff like that. I'm hoping that when the shower is fixed and I can put all this crap away that that will take a little less time and things will be a little better organized.

Last night, I went over to Jess' place because she wanted to have a Big Bang Theory marathon. She had a drinking game set up, but, since I can't drink, she made popcorn for me to use instead. Anyway, we watched the first four or five episodes of the third season. It was fun.

Since she lives in Wilmington in an area I'm not familiar with at all, I finally tried out the GPS "tomtom" unit my co-worker gave me when she got a new GPS a year ago... Anyway, the device worked out really well! Got there, got home, no problems, easy peazy... Woot!

This weekend, I also went to Concord Pet and got some rawhide bones and chew bones for Bridgett and Brandon. There seems to be happiness on their end and less destruction of cat toys. Hoomin wins! I also got a laser pointer that has a diffuser to make shapes of a butterfly, a smiley face, a star, and a mousie in addition to the Red Dot. I tried it out with TomTom and Rocky. Hilarity ensued. For a 15-year-old, TomTom is still quite spry! Then there was when I projected a laser butterfly on TomTom's hind leg, and Rocky did that little bunny hop thing to tackle it. As if that wasn't funny enough, TomTom just looked at him and said, "Really? Are you really that fucking stupid?" Anyway, I need to try it on Riffy and Minerva. I'm hoping to engage them in cooperative dot hunting with Rocky to see if that will help them all bond a little better.

To give another little peak into my supposed brain... I stopped at Path Mark last night to get another big bag of cat crunchies, since I had just emptied the last one. On the way to the cat aisle, I passed the produce section and got excited when I saw they had peaches. Because they haven't had peaches the last time I went there and needed fruit for the parrot. So, I think all the pets got something from me this weekend. I guess I should be too surprised - or put off - that I can't move around here without some critter hugging or licking me.

Eh, it is what it is.

Weekend Comics )
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wookiemonster: (Default)
First off...

HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] rusty_chevy!!



Next, because everyone else is doing it...


So, wookiemonster, your LiveJournal reveals…

You are… 1% unique, 11% peculiar, 31% interesting, 33% normal and 25% herdlike (partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy writing). When it comes to friends you are a total whore. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are keen to please. Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is conventional.

Your overall weirdness is: 17


(The average level of weirdness is: 28.
You are weirder than 37% of other LJers.)


Find out what your weirdness level is!



Obviously, this meme sucks and is inaccurate... We all know I'm much further "out there" than this...

Friday...wasn't quite as interesting as I had originally hoped. This was largely because I spent most of the day at Gary's. The vacuum control valve for the EGR system was a simple enough fix. But the coolant leak... Turns out, it was coming from the water pump. Again. Gary replaced the gasket to the pump, but it didn't hold. Since that was the second gasket he's replaced on it, he ordered a new water pump. Now, the gasket wasn't completely blown, just not completely sealed, so, the car would have been driveable over the weekend and such, if needed. The pump got there at quarter to five. Gary closes at 5. Nevertheless, he stayed and replaced the pump, and I was on my way by 6:30. No charge, since everything's under warranty, but I still feel badly that he stayed an extra hour and a half, especially when I would have been willing to bring it back after the weekend. The other mechanics had left, and since Dad ingrained hardcore safety into me, I at least stayed in the bay and chatted with him while he worked. And yes, I did offer to help, even if it was holding things in place and such, and was as diplomatic about it as I could be, but he insisted he had everything under control. And for the record, I would have offered to help in any event, but Gary has Parkinson's. He's doing pretty well, but the last 20 minutes or so, the tremors were starting to act up. Next week (this coming Friday), I'll be in the area again and was planning on bringing him another payment for the engine; I'm trying to come up with something else to bring him as a "thank you" for staying late and such. Michael J. Fox's Always Looking Up? Mayhaps. Wish I knew if he was at all interested in science fiction, as maybe a book from the Starfleet Corps of Engineers might be good. Wish I could give him a cure for Parkinson's... Though, maybe I'll talk to Mom and we can make a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research in his name...

Anyway, we'll see how the new control valve holds up. If it pops again, then I might need a new charcoal canister which, fortunately, isn't expensive or hard to replace. But it might be a bitch to find...

Actually, with the new engine and some of the relocations made, new accessory brackets, and so on... It's a LOT easier to work on that car and get at stuff. Granted, older cars tend to have a layout under the hood that makes it a little easier to get at different components, compared to newer cars that are designed so that you have to take half the car apart just to change the battery and such. On the old engine, it was pretty much a given that one had to remove the air cleaner housing assembly to pretty much get at anything. Granted, that's a minor thing, and takes all of about 5 minutes total for removal and re-installation. But with the new performance assembly, it's a step that's been eliminated when dealing with belts, accessories, and anything not directly on top of the engine.

So... Good mechanic, good engine, good customization job. Good times...

Moving along...

Depending on the weather - we're supposed to get some funderstorms this weekend - I'll be working on the pool this weekend. Primary goal is to get the cover off, cleaned up, and put away as well as starting to bring the water level up. Or, at least up to the intake and return - I can't do the plumbing until I get a bag of filter sand. But I figure I'll do what I can do so that when I get the sand and chemicals, it's just a matter of chemical warfare and then the pool will be ready for swimming.

Comics )
wookiemonster: (Default)
So, it's been a busy weekend, with a few more busy weekends coming up. This weekend was a slight water change on the fish tank and using my fish tank brush to tackle some of the algae. Specifically, the algae on the glass. Depending on how finances go over the next few weeks, I may go to the fish store and get some better algae eaters and maybe a few other fishies for variety.

Next weekend is vacuuming and washing the car, and the following weekend is opening the pool. Maybe. Depending on finances and subsequent procurement of necessary chemicals. Oh, and procurement of necessary 2 X 4 material to replace the steps leading to the upper pool deck.

I stopped at Pep Boys yesterday and got yet another window control switch for Cammie, as well as a funnel I hope is the right size for adding oil. While I was there, I checked prices on some other things, such as sand paper and body paint and rust inhibitor and such for my project of repairing or, more accurately, patching the hole on the passenger side and arresting the progress of rust over the rest of Cammie's body. Fortunately, that stuff isn't too expensive. I just need to root around the garage a bit and see what kind of drill tools I have with regards to the sand paper and whatnot. I also saw that they carry speaker wire, and another car project this summer is to replace the speaker wires. The stereo is good, the speakers are good, but the wires are falling apart. I figure it shouldn't be too hard to replace the wires... Just disconnect from the back of the stereo, tape new wire to the old wire, then go to the speaker and disconnect the wire and use the old wire to fish the new wire through the car.

But, hey, my fish tank looks more like a fish tank instead of a weird project by an unsocialized eccentric who has a fetish for algae...

Moving along, I've spent about 3 hours this weekend just reading articles from Cracked.com. I loved this one about hacking, though, the first page is screwy. Like the layout template isn't linked.

Though the one I found hysterical and at the same time tragic is the one on how Hollywood doesn't get technology. Hysterical, because I'm enough of a geek to at least know what GUI means. Tragic, because embedded within the article and especially pointed out in the last section is a big explanation why I can't get a decent date and why most people aren't worth my time. I tend to cringe whenever a pop show on ABC, NBC, or CBS attempts (and it's usually a piss-poor attempt at that) to explore some sort of sub-culture, be it nerds, trekkies, gamers, kinksters, steampunk, cat aficionados, hypochondriacs, and so on, as they usually show some sort of extreme case with someone who is maladjusted to begin with, and then thus profiles the maladjusted person as belonging to a group of maladjusted people. The lesson being given is that if you don't conform, you're not an individual, but rather a social reject capable of snapping at any moment.

Case in point: after Columbine, Goth kids were harassed, monitored, and given unwarranted counseling to make them normal, because the media portrayed Harris and Kleiborn as Goth kids who were bullied once too often. Other Goth kids (and as a caveat: I'm using Goth primarily because of the dark coloring, black trench coats and such that were "warning signs" of the time; many nerds and geeks suffered the same post-Columbine treatment as the Goths) were interviewed by reporters and psychologists looking for signs that these kids were traumatized ticking time bombs, and when the kids answered with, "Yeah, the jocks and cheerleaders harass us, but, we just plain don't care," well, that was unacceptable. The more these kids seemed normal, involved with community service, had plans for the future, and seemed better able to deal with stress, the more shit was made up to make these kids conform to what conformists expected to see. In short, the kids were fine, but the media, be it journalists or Hollywood, decided they couldn't handle that and both went the route of fiction.

Hence, why I don't watch much TV, and even less mainstream TV.

But that last bit, where Hollywood is obviously clueless about modern gaming (levels?)... And asking one guy (because everyone else is obviously well-adjusted and thus doesn't play video games) if he can play the game, and having him respond, "I live with my mother and have a Captain Kirk uniform in my closet" is just...insulting.

Hell, I live with my mother and I have a Captain Picard uniform in my... Oh dear...

In all seriousness, though, those of you who have been here for any length of time know that though I live with my mother, I'm not in the basement, and I also do a shit-ton around here because my mother is partially handicapped thanks to fibromyalgia and degenerative arthritis. In short, I'm here not because I'm maladjusted but because I have a sense of familial responsibility and responsibility in general. Granted, Mom's not an invalid, but it would be very difficult for her to be here by herself, and since I can use the extra space (compared to an apartment or townhouse), not to mention the pool, the driveway, and not having to worry about whether I can take the cats and birds with me, or which cats, and so on.

I hold down a decent job. I write in my spare time. And yes, it's science fiction stuff. And when I look at all the writers I am e-friends with, be they science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, or anything else, they are all well-adjusted people. Sometimes a little harder on themselves than they need to be. But most have families and kids. A good many have a day job as well to pay the bills. They're aware of what's going on outside of their house and around the world, and aren't afraid to comment on it. They're involved in their communities. In fact, they tend to do more to make the world a better place than most other people. (Maybe it's because we have better role models, and that in turn has made the aforementioned people role models as well...)

Thank you, Cracked.com, for pointing this shit out to help me better understand myself, the world around me, why I should value my geeky and nerdy sides, and why my cats are better than most people. Thanks to all of you writerly and creative types for being beacons of hope and making this world just a little more tolerable, if not out and out better, for the simple fact that you have the courage to be yourselves and speak out.

Conformity can kiss my hairy Italian ass!

Meanwhile, as I have been composing this entry, I've had the laptop running so it can download updates from the past week. TomTom at first seemed interested in what I was doing on the main computer, and I told him I was busy. He then decided if he couldn't use the main computer, he'd settle for the laptop, and then started petting the laptop's keyboard...

Anyway, to round out what has already turned out to be a too long, too ranty, and mayhaps too other-worldly entry, here are comics! )
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