Chaos Attraction

Auto Mechanics Class, Week Seven, Part Two

2014-05-16, 1:51 p.m.

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Previous class here.

After three days of the week in which I'd actually slept until my alarm went off (normally this might happen like, once a month), I got no sleep Thursday or Friday morning, waking up at 5 and 4 a.m., respectively. (To explain this morning, I stupidly left my work parking permit in the loaner car and had to drive over there at opening to retrieve it. Hell of a thing to discover once I'd switched cars and landed on campus again.) I went to pick up the car Thursday morning and he said that his tech guy hadn't finished making the list of parts yet, so they wanted to keep the car for the rest of the day. He gave me another loaner that was less scary to drive, thank god.

The news on my sunroof is as bad as it could possibly be: no, I can't repair it myself, and it will cost most of a month's paycheck to fix it. The other option he offered was to just seal off the sunroof entirely to make it unusable, but that would be the cheaper way of making the car not leak. Now that the rod that blocks wind and rain out is gone, there's no way to stop it from leaking and raining and making noise otherwise. I would rather go with option two because again, I don't use the dang sunroof in the first place. (Even though Merry and other CC folks were all, "But don't you want to use your awesome sunroof?" last night. I pointed out that I hadn't used it in any of the around-two-years-ish that I've been driving it and I usually forgot it existed.)

During our mandatory phone call on Wednesday night, I pointed out to Mom that the car repairs were likely to go over the limit that I am able to pay. She said that if that was the case, she'd be willing to pay for it. I called Mom up at her work while I was still at the mechanic's. I told her that it was going to cost THAT much to fix the sunroof and that less much to shut down the sunroof, and given our previous conversation... yeah, I need you to pay for it. I told her I'd settle for the sunroof being closed off since that is the cheaper option and I don't use it, but she asked about fixing the entire roof and how long that would take (two days to kill the sunroof and at least five to replace it). I said that while I still need the car for at least another week for class and optimistically we might not have another sudden rainstorm during our current heat wave, this was something I would like to take care of relatively soon, like June. She said we will talk about it later.

Dear lord, I wish I could do some group therapy with my shrink over THIS one. I kinda doubt that's arrangeable right now, but I wish. I am going to try to look into that because this is gonna need a referee.

Anyway, back to the subject of car class: I drove my car to the CC to do my two hours of shift, realized I'd left the parking permit in the car, seethed and paid $8 for 2 hours of parking, and headed in. I didn't get to eat dinner because it wasn't done cooking yet by the time I had to leave. Grrr.

Way back in the day when the instructor asked people if Thursday was good for them, everyone but me said yes. So how come only 9 out of 17 people showed up for the makeup class and I was one of them? Good question. Anyhoo, I did get to hear a lecture on the three things that tend to cause your car to break down on the freeway and how they can all be solved with regular maintenance and doing things like checking your oil/checking for leaks and replacing your hoses and things like that. (Sorry for the less explicit instructions, my notes are in the car.) He also informed us that we should check our cabin air filters behind the glove compartment--something else to worry about sometime, I guess. Then five people worked on their cars--one oil change, two brake pad changers, one spark plug changer and one guy wanting to flush his radiator. I did not know that was a thing. The teacher assigned the rest of us to other folks, and I got assigned to the radiator change guy (Alex) and his car buddy, who was doing his brake pads. His car buddy pretty much didn't need any help on that from either of us beyond me handing him lug nuts, though.

So I spent my evening helping flush a radiator. THERE'S SOMETHING YOU NEVER THOUGHT WOULD COME OUT OF MY MOUTH. I didn't do a whole lot beyond wiping things down, spraying water in a hose, emptying out the antifreeze (man, that stuff's like Disney technicolor water--pink changing to green, later orange changing to pink. Strange substance, that) and holding the funnel while pouring in new antifreeze, handing out tools, etc. To be fair, Alex didn't end up doing that much more himself beyond that except for putting the new pipes on because this ended up being a complicated enough endeavor that we spent a lot of the class waiting for the teacher to help. Or more specifically, the teacher ended up doing a fair chunk of it himself because one hose at the bottom was a complete bitch to find, I guess. Alex was very nice to work with--sweet guy. But hoo boy, what a long class--I didn't even leave until 11. I don't know if I'll go to the second makeup class or not at this point--might not be missing that much if I don't go, and this whole day was kind of a pain for various reasons! I guess we'll see if I can line up a makeup shift before Tuesday or not.

There was one random thing that went on that night: the town has some kind of local celebration on a Thursday in May, which I always miss because of volunteering. They were setting off fireworks on the high school campus, so class got interrupted by a fireworks show. That was pretty cool and of course I ran off to get pics on the camera.


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