I haven’t been updating this blog as often as I’d like. I just haven’t had anything “profound” to say in the last few days. As if anything I write is profound. But then I though that maybe I could write a post that includes soma of the less private parts of my journal. Just this month, no need to get too boring. At first I wondered if anyone would be interested, but then I realized that some of my favorite blogs often had such content. In fact, some are almost entirely a public journal of people’s lives, and I enjoy reading them. So here goes.
Last week, we got really taken advantage of on a brake job on our van. We needed the brakes fixed on our van. Instead of going to a shop, which was our original plan, we went with a friend of our daughter’s who’d done good work on her car when it was broken down in front of our house. It didn’t go as well for us.
Part of the problem was multiple trips to parts stores 20 to 30 minutes away in two cities as he tried to find the right parts, seemingly by trial and error. He and his wife were prickly about that, since I was supposed to bring parts, but it needed more than he said, and the new parts didn’t fit. I finally had to buy them way too much gas, But what could I do since I had no way home?
The front brakes were totally apart by then, and we found that the inside of one of the front rotors was badly scored. Earlier, before he’d started on the front brakes, I already knew we were in trouble when his wife told a story about a job they had just done where they had “broken” so many tools. Broken tools? What? I figured she didn’t know what she was talking about. Then when I saw his cheap dollar store tools, I was appalled. But by then the car was up in the air and the wheels were off the front. Later I was shocked when I saw him use a big hammer on a 3/8 ratchet. If I had been assertive, I would have told him to put the wheels right back on and gotten out of there as soon as I saw the tools. It would have had to be towed at this point, but except for some awkwardness, I would have been better off.
Even discounting the trips, he took forever. Even though he was highly recommended and he bragged about his experience, only the front wheels seemed to go sort of OK, but took too long. Most of the time was spent on the rear, where he didn’t have a clue. He had to give up putting the parking brake cable on the right side. It should never have been removed. The cable is taped up to the suspension arm totally disconnected, and there is a handful of “extra” parts on the front floor of the car. Extra parts? Extra brake parts? This is when I realized that the car was unlikely to make it home safely under its own power.
Should I have refused to pay him his labor? Yes? Did I? No, I paid him almost twice what he originally quoted because he said that he’d done the work he’d originally agreed to, plus more, and it wasn’t really his problem that it hadn’t gone well, even though he knew that the van would need more work, which he was incapable of doing. I only paid because he and his teenage sons were getting threatening when I initially refused. Very threating. I felt a little like a coward, but all things considered, probably the best thing to do.
So, I headed home, knowing that the brakes were not at all right and that I’d have to have them fixed correctly very soon. I made it about a 1/8 of a mile and I knew the brakes were dragging. I figured it was the right rear, which was the one that *really* gave him trouble, the one that had the missing parts, but when I got to a gas station about 1/2 mile away, driving about 20 mph, both rears were smoking. I had to have it taken about 30 miles on a flatbed truck for $100, $30 more than the labor he was supposed to get in the first place.
The estimate to fix this mess at a professional shop was about $1000. He’d destroyed both rear calipers, and they are only available at the dealer, and for an exorbitant price.
Having one car is getting tiring. My father said that having a car is vital, so he’ll pay for the parts to fix the van. He’d probably pay for the labor, too, but the brother of someone we go to church with has offered to do the work for free in exchange for good publicity for his new shop. That and good Karma… Hopefully this FOAF does better work. He actually has a real auto repair business, so he likely will.
Because of this, I missed anxiety group, which I needed badly at this point. The therapist who runs it has already been upset about missing meetings, but life just keeps getting in the way like it did that night. He’d hinted that he’s going to throw me out, but after hearing the story of what happened, he was quite sympathetic.
As I write this, it’s 5:30am, I woke up at 4:30am. I’ve been doing this for weeks. Most of the mania is gone, but I still miss a lot of sleep. I don’t seem to actually miss it though. I do take naps sometimes, but not too often.
The air conditioning in the house is broken and it’s getting unpleasant. We’ve been spending time at McDonald’s to escape the heat. We mostly sit and use our computers, Karla writes a lot. It’s even hot and muggy in the house as I write this at 5:30am. It’s supposed to be hotter and more humid today that yesterday. Yay. The estimate to fix the air conditioning is about $3500. They pretty much have to replace everything. Due to energy efficiency laws enacted since the unit was originally installed, they’ll have to install a bigger A coil, which means moving the entire furnace up and re-routing the air intake duct. Again, yay. At least the furnace is a lot newer than the air conditioning, it’s only about 6 years old, we’ve lived in the house almost exactly 5 years at this point. I really wish that the previous owners had replaced the air conditioning as well as the furnace.
One of my daughters and Karla and I would like to get matching-themed tattoos. We’ve decided on Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. If I did this right now, it would be my third tattoo, but my daughter wants us to all go in together. Nice that way, but it’ll be hard to save up that much money, as we’ll likely to keep dipping into it for expenses. When we do get them, it will mean more that way though. I’ll likely get something else first, probably the old Purdue seal on my left calf. Probably. I’m not sure where I want stitch. I want color for both of these, both of my tattoos are in all black, perfect for them, but not for the next two I want.
My team leader at my mental health center has found another therapist for me, Johnny, who runs my anxiety group. It looked good at first, but then the person who does partial hospitalization left, and Johnny is taking over. Now will he have enough time to see me more often than my old therapist (who left himself) had? We’ll see. I’m waiting for my first appointment with him to come. It’s a bit in the future, hopefully he can really see me more often.
We’ve decided to drop our membership in the makerspace, we just couldn’t justify it on our tighter budget. Sad, but maybe we can go back again in the future.
Still no new news on the foster license front.
Warning, the next paragraph is about politics, skip it if this sort of thing bothers you!
Since Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Hillary Clinton. I’m a bit disappointed, as I really dislike Clinton, but she’d be a lot better than Trump. It hurts to say that, as I feel that she stands for everything I don’t, and hides it behind a fake progressive image. Still, she won’t be reckless if she wins, Trump would. I don’t really think Trump has much of a chance, but I’m a little worried still, as who knows what policies he’d push through? And what other reckless, stupid actions he’d take. I think he’ll get worse opposition from his own party than Obama even, but it’s still scary what he might do.
Maybe you’ve noticed that in my picture I’m wearing shirts with different logos. What’s up with this? I collect t-shirts, and I’m wearing different ones in different photos. You might notice the difference in hair length too, I’ve been growing it out for about a year now.
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