All posts tagged driving

The Saga of The Car

Published July 7, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

On May 14th my car called it quits. There was a lurch, a bump and horrible squeal, then silence.

I feared the worst, of course. I still owe on the car, so regardless of it’s working condition, I have to pay that payment. I don’t make a lot of money. My budget is tight.

I spent the money needed to have it towed home. A local auto repair shop came to take peek at it in the parking lot where I live. Then I paid to have it towed to them.

And there it sat. I waited to hear back from them. And I waited, and waited , and waited. I rang them and was assured they would look it in a few days. Still nothing. Weeks passed and I finally walked to the shop and talked to them face to face.

The worst had happened. The timing belt tenioner had let go and the engine needed to be basically rebuilt. We discussed cost, payments, options, etc.. I waited for the estimate. I finally got the call about the estimate. Yup. It wasn’t good.

They required about half down to begin the work. I thought this was odd. I have never had to pay upfront for repair work. But I (with the help of family) I got it together and paid them.

I am walking everywhere and getting rather sick of it. I can’t go to some places I want or need to go. I am also a bit fed up with the lag time getting my car repaired.

But then I found out the other side of the story.

The shop is small, local repair shop with a stellar reputation for quality work. They are nice people. They are stuffed into a tiny space that no longer fits them. So, being good business folks, they looked for larger quarters. And they found them not far away from their present location. They were told things would be done before the move in date. They paid the money for the lease and set about getting ready to move. For an auto repair shop, this means the lifts have to be moved as well. There are a lot of heavy items that need moved and installed. It is expensive. And they thought they had planned it all out.

Then the walls that were supposed to be built weren’t built. The owner of the new space reneged on many of the promises made, claiming his agent wasn’t authorized to make such promises. In other words, the owners of the auto shop got screwed over, but can’t back out now because too much of their money is invested in the new location.

So the auto shop owners did what they could – they bought the dry wall and installed it themselves. They have been working to finish the interior on their own dime. And they still need to move the lifts and other heavy equipment. Their resources are draining fast.

The auto shop owner shared this with me the other day when I was gently saying they had had my car for a month and I needed it back. He explained that normally he  would never have asked for money up front, but all their extra money had gone into the new location and he just couldn’t order all those parts without something down. He was very embarassed to have to share this with me.

It makes sense. The lag times, the slow to return calls (not their normal MO), the money needed ahead of time. The shop is in a tough spot. I told them I could walk to work and not to worry too much. They took that to heart.

Now the conspiracy to keep me from my car continues. Parts have not come in. The head has not come back from the machine shop yet. All the things that are out of anyone’s hands to do anything about. You can’t fix a car without the parts. I have been promised that as soon as the head comes in, the car will be repaired.

I guess my feet will just have to suck it up a little longer.


Drive. Just Drive.

Published May 11, 2014 by mindfulofchatter



Now that I live with Luke, I have a commute to work. Before My ‘commute’ was about 3 minutes. 5 on a busy morning. Now I have a 30 minute commute to my job. I don’t mind the drive. It is very pretty where I live. I get to see things like this every day:

Rogue River view

Yes, this an actual photo of some of what I see on my drive to and from work. Not so bad, is it?

What makes it bad is other drivers. You know who you are. Well, maybe you don’t. Most people think they can multi-task when, in fact, they suck at it or they juggle too many tasks at once. I was taught to drive by my father. My father was a rocket scientist. No, I am not kidding. He was an aerospace engineer who worked on the Apollo flights and several other NASA projects. For those of you who may want dicker the title rocker scientist, don’t bother. I know what my father did for a living and you do not.

Anyway, my Dad was as most engineers are. Precise. One of the things he told early on was ‘Driving is a full-time job’. This is true, even though we think we can do other things and drive at 70+ miles an hour. This is the lie we all tell ourselves. But stop think about the times you have been almost hit, or indeed hit, by another car. What was the driver doing? Talking the phone? Texting? Turned around yelling at……..er……….talking to their kids? In other words, most of the time the driver was NOT doing their job as a driver.

So to clear things up, here are some things you should not do while you are driving;

text, shave, pluck your eyebrows, trim your facial hair, text,  apply mascara, talk on the phone, change your top, get dressed, get un-dressed, text, turn around to talk to passengers, apply eyeshadow, read the paper, eat (especially with chopsticks), read a book, apply your blush, change your shoes, text, talk on the phone, bush your hair, curl your hair, remove rollers from your hair, tie your shoes, pleasure yourself, text, dance, throw your hands in the air (like you just don’t care), brush your teeth, floss your teeth, look for cavities, text, pop pimples, check moles, look for things on the floor, stare at your radio dial, play with ipod settings (or any other mp3 device), change the time on your phone or car, text, read stereo instructions, look for something in the backseat, look for something under your seat, fiddle endlessly with your sun visor, dig in your purse, dig in your wallet, text, read the menu for that new restaurant, talk on the phone, argue with your significant other (or kids), dig around in your glove box…………….

Most of the those things listed above are things I have actually seen people doing while driving. Really, I have. I used to have an hour commute. I was amazed at the things people were doing while zipping along at 70+ miles an hour. And I still see it today, though texting and talking on the phone are new additions. Driving is a full-time job. Period. Not matter how much you want think you can do other things and drive, you can’t do both and be safe. Think about it. Even with one other person in the car, and all you are doing is chatting, how often have you missed a turn, an exit or the address you were looking for because you were distracted by talking to your passenger.

So get up early enough to get dressed, shave, put on your make-up or whatever you need to do before you set out on your car. It isn’t that tough to do. Put the phone away or lock it in your glove box so your won’t be tempted. Eat breakfast at home. It has been done in the past, so you can manage it now. It won’t be as painful as you think it will be. It will, in fact, make your life less stressful and your mornings easier.

And you, along with the rest of us, will arrive at work (or school, or where ever) alive and in one piece.