We got a little snow yesterday. It wasn’t very much at all – maybe two inches – and it took all day to fall. I guess the local highway departments didn’t think they needed to bother with plowing or otherwise treating the roadways, and unfortunately, I got to “benefit” from that assumption.

On the way home from Pathfinders I was driving maybe 5-10 MPH down a pretty steep hill with a curve. The car began to slide into the curve and ignored both my steering and my braking. Then it kissed a stone retaining wall embedded in an embankment. That stopped it.


The Damage

The Damage

Not too bad. I was able to back up and carefully drive the rest of the way down the hill away from the curve. That’s about the last place I wanted to be stopped. I went a quarter mile, then parked and inspected the damage.

Pinched Rim

Pinched Rim

The tire still had air in it, but I didn’t think it would hold it over night the way that rim is pinched. I was pleasantly surprised this morning though, as it was still fully inflated. I’m sure I’ll need a new rim though, and it should be aligned as well.

Because of the storm, school was delayed by two hours. I took Beth in in Va’s car. When I got home I noticed her lunch on the counter. She also left her homework in the floor. Mind you, she did not forget her sled! I guess she has her own set of priorities.

I had it in my head that we’d have to go back in a couple of hours to bring her her lunch, but I forgot that school was delayed two hours, so that time was already gone. Va had some errands to run in Concord, so she hustled to get ready, and we got back to the school around noon – just in time for lunch.

I hung around there for a while and Va ran her errands. When school finally let out, Beth got out her sled. It was nice to see her sharing it:



I called the insurance company while I waited. At first they wanted me to drive that car all the way to Manchester (lots of I-93 there), but I expressed concern over that plan. Instead, they are sending an adjuster over tomorrow to assess the damage, and I can take it wherever I want.

Tomorrow we’ll have a price tag on that little kiss.

Last night Beth came down the stairs a couple of hours after she had been put to bed. She was hot. That’s when Va noticed that she was hot too, so she checked the thermostat. It was set to 74, but the temperature in the house was 81. Or something – I don’t remember.


Of course it was dark outside, and on top of that, it was raining cats and dogs. I did step into the garage from whence it is easy to hear if the outside unit is running or not, and of course, it was not. We turned it off and threw open a few windows, and I promised to look into it today.

As I expected, there was a rotted spade connector on the relay. I told Va it would take ten minutes to fix as I headed to the basement to get my crimper and a box of spade connectors. When I opened the drawer with the spade connectors in it, I managed to drop it on the floor.


It took five minutes to pick up all the spade connectors. Once I had them organized again, I selected one and headed back outside (into the rain) to fix the AC. That did the trick, but including the time it took to spill and collect the spade connectors, it took me 15 minutes.

So I’m sticking by my 10 minute prediction, which I should have prefixed with Yosemite Sam’s “barrin’ accidents” contingency.

Luckily, it’s only 61 degrees outside right now, so this hardly qualified as an emergency. We still ran the AC for a bit to knock down the humidity. It won’t come on again until it needs to (that’s what thermostats do).

In other repair news (just to make sure this blog posting is as boring as I can make it), we got Va’s car out of the shop today. It died on her last week just as she was pulling into the gas station. She was able to restart it, and the tank was pretty close to empty, so I figured maybe there was a little water in the tank. I made an appointment with our mechanic to have that investigated.

Then it did it again on Tuesday when she was bringing Beth and David into Concord for their music lessons. I drove out to where it had died (but by then she had restarted it and moved to a nearby gas station). We traded cars, and I was able to drive to the mechanic’s place with no problems (other than that it idled pretty roughly after I started the engine, but it recovered quickly from that). They said they could check it out the next day (yesterday), so I just left it with them over night.

Well, they did look at it late yesterday, so it wasn’t ready until this morning. It spit out a diagnostic code indicating that it was suffering from low oil pressure, and indeed, they only got 1.5 quarts out of it. I don’t like that either, since oil is not supposed to disappear from the engine. I’ve found no oil spots on the garage floor, and there has been no blue smoke, and as far as I know, those are the only two places oil can go.

So we’ll see. We still have a few more weeks before our annual trip to KY, and if there is still a problem, I’m sure it will present before then.

Today when we were ready to go off to school and work, we found that my car would not start. But it behaved in the most bizarre fashion ever. Turn the key, and the fuel and temperature gauges started dancing up and down, all the dashboard lights began to flash, and the odometer started flashing 0000000.

Release the key, and the “dancing” changed, but did not stop for another five or ten seconds. I’m not a great mechanic, and this seemed pretty well beyond the scope of my automotive knowledge, so we took Va’s car instead. That obligated me to leaving work early to fetch Beth from school.

I called AAA and they sent a tow truck. I had them haul my car all the way to Concord where my normal mechanic’s shop is. AAA covers the first five miles for free, and anything over that is $3.00 per mile. I figure they’ll hit me for about $40 or so.

As it turns out, it was just a bad battery. I could have easily changed that myself had I known, but it’s the had I known part that makes it worth it for me to pay someone else to do the work.

I bugged out of work to fetch Beth, and while I was at the school poked around the network a bit to find out why our provider was saying we had been exceeding our bandwidth cap. According to my records, our traffic has been fairly light. So either I don’t know what I’m doing, they don’t know what they are doing, or they were just making stuff up to get me off the phone. I can eliminate option one with a high degree of confidence, so that leaves the other two options.

Beth and I went back to the office, and I finished off what I was doing. Then we headed home. As I was pulling out of the garage, the mechanic called to tell me it was the battery. They also noted that I was overdue for an oil change and my wiper blades were shot. So I had them take care of that too. I stopped by to pay so I could pick the car up later tonight after a church board meeting.

The guy running the place told me he hadn’t figured up the bill yet and really couldn’t until they finished the work. He suggested I just take the car home after hours and pay them tomorrow. That’s why I like these guys so much. It’s a lot easier to trust someone who trusts you back.

We picked up some Hut cuisine and ate that when we got home. Then Va and I headed back to Concord to attend the board meeting. We grabbed my car first though.

The bummer part is that when they disconnected the battery, it put the car stereo in the “Oh noes! I’ve been stolen!” mode. I’ll hafta take it back in the morning to pay them anyhow, and I’ll see if they can address that then.

As I was getting into my car after the board meeting, I spotted what I believe is a female dobson fly on the roof of my car. Va had already left, and my camera was in her car, not in mine. Boooo. So I fished around in my car to see what I could capture this little lady in. I found a box of screws, and that was the perfect size. I dumped the screws into the console and scooped the Dobson girl into the container. When I got home, I popper her in the fridge. That will slow her down so that she’ll hold still when I try to get a picture later tonight.

This morning before the crack of dawn, Va woke up with an upset stomach. Very upset. So upset that she performed that act which has many euphemisms. Needless to say, she did not feel very good either.

I had to get up early because I still had the spare tire on my car, and it’s only rated for 50MPH. That meant I’d hafta take the backroads instead of the Interstate to school. I guess I had it timed just about right, because I got Beth and our riders to school at about the regular time. Then I took my car to Weed Automotive in Concord, a couple of blocks from my office. They agreed to take the car even though I did not have an appointment. Then I hoofed it to work.

Around 1:00 or 2:00 I called Va to see how she was doing. Then we figured out that today was piano lesson day, and we didn’t send Beth to school with her piano books. Oh well. She had her lesson anyhow. That was also when I figured out that Va felt too sick to drive, so it was going to be up to me to pick her up from school. Except that my car was still in the shop. I called a friend whose kids have paino lessons right after Beth to see if she’d watch Beth for a little bit until I could get my car back, but she wasn’t home. I left a message. Then I talked to my friend Dennis.

A couple of weeks ago Dennis agreed to haul all the big pieces of cardboard I had scavenged from work for the cardboard boat to the church in his truck. He reminded me of that, and since I like slaying a plurality of birds with a singular stone, decided it was a GREAT idea. So a little before 3:00 we hauled the cardboard down to his truck and fetched Beth. I was going to show him the canoe, but the piano teacher was in that room giving a piano lesson, and it seemed rude to interrupt. So we quietly stashed the cardboard, collected Beth, and headed back to the office.

I worked until about 5:00, and then Beth and I headed to the shop. When I had talked to them earlier they told me that the sidewall of my flat tire had a massive gash in it, and if you know anything about tires, you will recognize that that means it cannot be repaired. Not even with duct tape. Or especially not even with duct tape! The tread was pretty much spent on all four tires, which is prolly why I detoured off the road yesterday in the first place (it couldn’t have been because I was driving too fast!) so I went ahead and had them replace the entire set.

Just as Beth and I were walking up to the shop, the garage door opened and out came my car. The mechanic was taking it for a test drive. We watched to see where he would park it because sometimes it’s hard to find. Then we went in, paid, and came on home.

In retrospect, I shoulda put off the car repair for another day. I coulda driven Va’s car instead, and that would have made life a lot easier (assuming she feels better tomorrow).

But now I have my car back and all is well (except Va still doesn’t feel so hot).

Not a whole lot going on here today. Saturday night on the way home from the Harvest Party, we stopped at Wally World to get a replacement bulb for the headlight of Va’s car. And tonight (drum roll please), I put it in. It’s supposed to be easy, but they had it tucked in way behind the battery, so I could either see it, or touch it with one hand, but not simultaneously. I unbolted the battery to scoot it aside. I did NOT unhook it though, as that would very probably have killed the radio (that’s a security feature I could live without!).

My original plan was to connect the ground lead to the chassis with a jumper cable and unhook that, but Va had taken my car to the grocery store. My toolbox was in the trunk of my car too. However, I found a deep metric socket set in the basement that I had forgotten I owned. That was all I needed to move the battery. Once I had it scooted aside, I was able to disconnect the socket and pop out the bulb. The new one went easily in its place, and I reconnected it. Bingo. A $5.00 car repair for the books.

I had forgotten about one thing that happened yesterday when I was writing about capturing the frog. I caught a frog, and as I was coming towards the house, Beth met me in the yard. I wanted to put it in a big plastic tub that was next to the house in the backyard. It was already full of water from earlier this summer when Beth had half a dozen frogs interned there. When I got to the tub, I found a dead chipmunk doing the side crawl (without the crawl part). I handed the net+frog to Beth, grabbed the shovel, and dug a shallow grave. Then I interred the chipmunk.

With chippy out of the picture, I decided to dump the tub and fetch some fresh pond water. By the time I had replaced the water, the frog had escaped from Beth, and she hadn’t noticed. So we had to catch another. It didn’t take too long. He (or she!) served our purpose, and has already been released back to the frog pond.

In other news, the Pathfinders had a huge picture in the Concord Monitor today! Yay, we’re famous now! But not famous enough to make the online edition, I suppose. Our picture took up half a page, and we were in there for doing our food drive last week. We collected over two hundred cans and gobs of other non-perishables.

My laptop is coming unhinged. I noticed it about a week ago. The right hinge felt a little weak. Upon inspection, I saw that the two pieces of plastic that make up its housing were no longer meeting. Bummer, but it didn’t seem to cause a problem. Well, now it’s getting worse, and I think it very well may cause a problem, and soon. So I called Bill, our IT guy at work. He came up and took a look. We also found that the warranty had expired back in May. So he suggested that we should just buy me another one.

Well! OK!

So I’ll be getting a new laptop soon. I’ll look over what’s available and make a decision tomorrow.

I took Va’s car to the garage to have its annual inspection, and for it to pass, it needs new tires. I also asked them to see if they could do anything about the locks. The driver’s door and the trunk don’t work anymore. The mechanic said they were seized up – at least he didn’t say they were locked up. They took the locks out and will have a locksmith work on them tomorrow. Which means they kept the car overnight. Va happened to still be in town when I called her at 3:30. She had some errands to run, and then she’d drop by the office and give me a ride home. In the morning, I will take Beth to school, and then come back to the house. I’ll work from here until she’s ready to go into town. I should be able to drive her car home in the afternoon though.

I think I’ll stop by the garage after I take Beth to school though and pick up the inspection paperwork. Once they get the new tires on, it should pass. Tomorrow’s the last day to get that taken care of or risk a ticket. We should be able to take the “you pass” paper to the city clerk, hand them some bux, and have that out of the way before we head back to Concord.