Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Another slow day at work.  I have to be busy at work to stay engaged.  If there is nothing to do, it drags me down quickly.  One small delivery and a pickup downtown - maybe 2 hours worth of that and it was done.

Took the car back into the shop again this morning.  I was trying to keep civil with the owner - he runs a shop that has raves valleywide about the quality or the service.  "Do you think you might be able to get to it today".  Yes, was his definitive answer.  Okay.  I left the car there, then drove by in the semi 3 hours later to see - the car still parked there. 

Went about my business and 2 hours later, visited again.  The mechanic that was supposed to deal with it had an emergency at home and would get to it when he got back. 

Fast forward, work is over.  I walk down there, still, nothing.  But, the employee shows up shortly after I get there.  I figure I'm in for a long haul and I wasn't wrong.  But, an older gentleman - like 80 plus - engaged me in coversation.  Interesting fellow, listened to a lot of "war" stories, I was definitely entertained.  Then, I find out, this guy used to be the owner of a shop where the owner of the shop where I have my car worked under him in  South Dakota.  Okay, well, this got interesting. 

Now, this guy leaves and more older gents start showing up.  Pretty much, I figure, if the older crowd likes this place, it's probably good.  I had several conversations while sitting in a cool breeze - yes, folks, summer, as far as I'm concerned, is officially  gone from the Sonoran desert.  It was pleasant outside, even in the mid-afternoon.  I wasn't bugging Virgil - but I was sitting there.  No complaints, just figured I would wait this out and get this over with. 

Well, I could hear a couple of conversations that Virgil had with the mechanic: I need this and this and this.  One of the parts showed up 20 minutes later - but not all of them. Virgil walks off in disgust, they have so much business that they have to park a LOT of vehicles out on the street.  On any given day, there are at least 30 of them out there.  It's not a residential area and they aren't blocking anything, so who cares about that, just the point that it is a busy shop. 

I had several conversations with Virgil today - he is very enigmatic and very open.  Pretty much like me, nothing to hide.  We got into conversations about cemetaries, cancer, cars, roads, trucking, all kinds of stuff.  People trickling in and out to get their now-repaired vehicles.  20 minutes later another car parts store delivery vehicle shows up.  That is the final goods.  I had been there for a couple of hours already.  I resolved to simply kick back and enjoy the weather.  Another man and his daughter showed up.  The man was up there in years, but definitely still lucid.  The daughter? In her 60's.  She proclaimed to Virgil and I that he is turning 90 tomorrow.  90 years old and still driving.  Amazing. 

I figured I was going to get hit with a pretty good bill, but, I have no choice.  I have no clue what to do with a car that fails vehicle emissions and trying to guess what might be wrong.  It was almost 3 hours before it was done.  I had no idea how much time had elapsed because I was either talking with people or keeping my mind engaged with the things that are going on in my life.  The bill was just short of $200.  Paid, thanked Virgil, left.  4 miles down the road, the "check engine soon" light comes back on.  Kept driving, don't care.  I'm going to take it to the emissions testing station and if it fails, I'll take it back.

Get there - a good wait, of course, always a good, long wait.  This time, however, it wasn't 107 degrees outside.  I get into the station.  The front tires are sitting on the dynos.  The man is very talkative.  He starts pointing to vehicles with their windows up and loudly complaining about people that think they should leave all their windows up when they get into the station.  My windows were ALL down, apparently struck a chord with this guy without even knowing it.  In fact, this man was talking so fast I couldn't keep up with it, I didn't understand because he was changing the subject frequently without following through with the previous theme.  No biggies, I'm not pitching a tent there, I won't be there that long. 

Well, he gets into my car, turns it on, uses a remote to start the computer and accelerates the engine to keep up with the line on the computer.  Old car - old emissions stuff.  New cars have OBD, they don't connect tubes to the exhaust, they simply plug into your computer and you are in and out of there quickly - pass or fail.  My speedometer at one point is showing over 60 mph on those dynos.  After going through almost the entire test, the computer shows an error message.

Now what?  A manager comes over with a mirror to inspect the bottom of my car - no clue.  The guy doing my test is REALLY letting verbage loose.  They shut down a computer, restart it and do something with another computer.  Test starts over. I'm worried. I just shelled out $200 for these repairs and this isn't going to work?  He goes through the whole test this time.  I pull forward.

He comes up, hands me the paper with a big thumb's up, say it passed, I thanked him profusely and left. 

I mean, I left for work at 5:00 am and got home at 6:00pm.  Reminds of the "good ole days" when work was plenteous, hours were long and pay was good.  The biggest headache of getting this car up and running is over.  What's left?  Well, I want to replace the driver's side door, get another door bondo-ed and put a cheap paint job on it.  The engine soon light? dunno.  It runs and it runs very well.  Might take it back, might not. It isn't going to be free and right now, funds are very tight.  I was fortunate that all tenants have paid and that I am not totally broke.  I also expect my son to help out with this, this was our agreement.  He's been helping his mom with bills - she is unemployed and I am glad he is doing that, but, I don't really want to foot all of this stuff myself.  He handed over, initially, $450 - it's gone a bit over $200 over that to get it into running condition.  Still another $40 in another repair that it needs - valve covers leaking and I want that stuff stopped and then registration.

For a car this old? Less than $30. 

Sent in the serial numbers from the stolen video game consoles.  $500 deductible, I still expect to get at least a $500 check.  I wasn't going to follow through with this claim, but the adjuster said it's no big deal in a smaller claim.  Dunno, not holding my breath, but the money would help me out greatly right now. 

I'm very tired.  I have not slept well in the past 3 nights.  I wake up 4 or 5 hours after going to bed and I either can't get back to sleep or do so after 3 hours of laying there awake.  Then the alarm goes off and I'm up for work.  It's almost 8:00 pm and yes, I am going to bed in about 15 minutes.  Figure to get whatever sleep I can.



Well it's almost 3 pm and I haven't heard from the manager about a run for tomorrow, so I'm going to assume that it isn't go...