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March 2018



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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Well, it was not as bad as all that.

It started off pretty good. B took me to lunch at Chili's and I had the bottomless soup and salad, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream for dessert.

Then I dropped B back at his work and did some grocery shopping. The car was acting up and I decided I should take it to the garage after my 2:30 doctor appointment.

I got to Surgicare (a block from my home) at 2:14, early for my appointment, only to be told that they don't remove "sutures" there, they only put them in. The receptionist called my surgeon's office and verified that I was supposed to be there (on the other side of the lake), just past the hospital. So, I was only a couple minutes late for my appointment but smoke was coming from under the hood of my car.

Having the sutures removed was relatively quick and easy, if not painless. My incision is healing as expected and everything is fine. I need to go back in a month for the surgeon to look it over but we are not expecting anything to happen.

While trying to leave the doctor's office my car decided to stop moving forward. The engine was running and it was Ok with rolling backwards, but there was no going forward.

I called Hunt's, my regular mechanics, they are in my phone. They gave me the numbers of a couple of towing companies. I called the first one and he said he would come get me in an hour. So I sat in my car in the parking lot for an hour. I called my Mom and told her what was going on. I called B and told him what was going on. I tried calling Anne but she was not answering her phone, and neither was Marilyn. Eventually I got Marilyn but she was in no position to help me. So I called B and arranged that he would pick me up when he got out of work at 5pm.

One nice man in a plow stopped and asked if he could help me, and made sure I wasn't cold. It was snowing.

When the tow truck arrived, the nice young man verified that my car would not go forward while in drive. I told him I though it was the transmission and he agreed that those "trannies" can be a real problem. Which made me giggle a bit and agree that "trannies" can be difficult at times. Then he hooked it up to the truck and gave me a lift to Hunt's. On the way we discussed baking. He likes to make Spritz cookies for Christmas. He was very nice to me. He almost forgot to give me a bill but I reminded him. (I'm fairly sure he would have caught up to me eventually if I hadn't reminded him. But I didn't want to take advantage of someone who was being nice to me.)

Hunt's couldn't look at my car until Monday. So I will find out what is going on then. They close at 5pm but they let me sit inside until 5:30 when B and Kaaren showed up. We transferred my groceries from my car to their's and set out to get gas. Unfortunately, Kaaren was reluctant to make a left hand turn so we ended up going right and not getting gas. Since we were headed in the direction of the restaurant we went there instead.

Joe's is the least handicapped accessible restaurant I have been to. The entrance is on the corner farthest from the parking lot. (Luckily for me there are benches outside the front door. Also luckily, I had just picked up a new emergency inhaler, although I had to send B back to the car for it. Walking from our parking space to the front of the building over snow covered ground was not fun.) You have to go up stairs to get in, then go up stairs again to get from the bar area to the dining area.

But the food is good. We had a nice salad, and I had the Chicken Cordon Bleu, with vodka sauce, over linguini.

After dinner B stated that he wanted to take Kaaren home first, then me, then go to his gaming night. I suggested that if I waited at the restaurant there would be more room in the car (no one would have to sit in the back) and it would be the same amount of driving because he would be coming back past the restaurant anyway.

After a while B called to let me know that he had run out of gas and he walking to the gas station to get more and he would call me when he was closer to picking me up.

After I had been sitting alone in the restaurant for an hour staring off into space and trying not to bother anyone the manager stopped and asked if I needed him to call me a cab. I explained my situation and thanked him for his concern. A few minutes later B called and I went outside and he picked me up.

I left home at 11:30am in the morning and returned at 8:10pm at night. On the downside it was a long, stressful, and exhausting day. On the upside B took me out to eat twice, and everyone I interacted with was nice to me.

So, now you know how my day went.


Gah. I am sorry he ran out of gas. I was afraid I might run out today but luckily I did not.

I hope the transmission is not too costly a repair.
Transmissions are always a costly repair. I think the only thing that costs more is having the engine replaced.

If the transmission is gone we are just going to junk it. Luckily we were planning on doing that anyway. I didn't expect it to pass inspection last month so Mom bought a new/used car and we were supposed to do the musical car routine this week, but I didn't get my butt in gear.

If I hadn't been feeling so tired and overwhelmed this week I would already be driving Mom's old car.
As for running out of gas, it gets worse. Zahde wasn't there for this bit, so she didn't include it.

The car died on our block, to the tune of essentially coasting across Green Street. At least it didn't die in the intersection, and I was able to pull to the curb. Kaaren walked home, leaving me with the car. I managed to push it some before others stopped and helped me, at which point I got it nose-first into the drive-way; blocking the parking lane, but not the road itself.

Then it was merely a matter of finding a gas can, walking 3 blocks and back to the gas station, filling up the car, and going, right? Right...

The gas can was stored in our garage. Kaaren recently cleaned out the garage, to the degree of having a Freecycle sale to get rid of stuff. It's also dark, so my first concern was actually finding a can. Luckily, I hit paydirt and the first vaguely gas-can-shaped shadowy blob turned out to be (what I later determined was) a 4-gallon gas can, with bright yellow filler spout. So that worked well.

Walking to the gas station I noticed stuff sloshing in it, so I poured out a small amount of gas of unknown vintage. It took 4 gallons ($15 or so) before the pump shut off. The walk back was fine as well.

As soon as I started pouring it, I discovered that the yellow filler spout was horribly deteriorated, and was not pouring gas into the tank, but rather onto the ground.

So back into the garage to find a funnel, or another gas can with a filler spout, or something. I found a 1-gal gas can with more sturdy-looking filler spout -- which turned out to have a different cap size than the 4-gal can, so just switching caps wouldn't work. So, into the house to look for a funnel.

Using the funnel I poured a bunch of the gas from the 4-gal can into the 1-gal can, and got the hang of pouring gas into a funnel. So I moved the funnel to the filler tube on the car, and poured most of the rest of the gas into the tank, overflowing the funnel only a half-dozen times or so. When the can got low, control was a problem, so I switched back to pouring into the 1-gal can, until all 4-gal was either in the car, in the 1-gal can, or spilled on the ground.

Then I could put the filler spout on the small can, and use that to pour the gas into the car.

Mission accomplished.

That slogan didn't work well for GWB either. Once the 1-gal can was empty, the filler spout wouldn't come out of the filler tube in my car. It was stuck. I was able to remove the can, but I still had a yellow spout sticking out of the side of my car, unable to come out, unable to be pushed in. There was no way to close the gas cap, or the filler lid.

At this point, I could start my car, deal with putting away leftovers, getting games, etc, closing the filler lid as best I could, and ferrying Zahde home. I was also resigned with trying to find an open repair shop tomorrow to try to figure out how to get the thing out.

As I was driving, I noticed my available range falling much faster than expected: 80mi, 72mi, etc. The lack of a gas cap seemed to be a serious problem.

I dropped Zahde off, and got to my game night at the Makerspace (where I played Betrayal at the House on the Hill and I won). I told my tale of woe to the other folks there at we went up to the car to see if we could solve the problem.

Amusingly, we makers/hackers, prodding around with tools, shims, etc, couldn't get the tube to come out, but a newspaper worker there to drop off/pick up papers told me to "just pull it out", and I did. With more force than I had tried before, but less than I expected, it popped out (broken, mind you, but out).

Tomorrow I'm going to be spending part of my time ferrying Zahde's stuff from her car (downtown) to her house so she can junk the car.