The players in this incident:
Pam--sil of my friend who died several years ago. The women were good friends.
Court--Pam did rent from him but moved in with him--sweet setup for her. She was incredibly poor; he is incredibly wealthy. Court is uncle of my dead friend.
Chuck--son of Court
Me--you know me
The names have been changed to protect the guilty. Well, I am still me, and I was not guilty.
Saturday morning, I had to drive out in the country a bit. Of course, I stopped at a yard sale. As I sort of stumbled along the rough ground and pavement, looking at the tables, I glanced up and saw a friend--Pam. Then, Court spoke to me. I sat to talk with Pam, and Chuck joined us.
Everything I glanced at, Court tried to sell it to me. I looked at a very expensive coat lying near me and asked how much it was. So, Court went into his salesman mode. The coat was shabbier than I thought and very musty. So, I figured the coat was near disintegration. And, there were worn spots. I was not paying $10, even if I had that much on me. Exbf could use the coat to work in his or my yard.
Pam said, "There is a baggie in the pocket!" She had lowered her voice to the point the proclamation seemed more like a warning.
Of course, I reached for the coat, pulled out the baggie, and used my best Lucy voice and attitude. "There's nothing but stems and pieces in here. I wonder what this was."
Pam was shushing me and Court was aghast while Chuck was hissing for me to give it to him. I tried to look innocent or incredibly stupid as I held the baggie to my nose. "Hmm, what is that smell?"
Then, laughing, I turned it over to Chuck who was sitting right next to me and having a hissy fit. Pam was laughing at me, asking me if I knew what it was. I dropped my silly attitude and assured her I knew exactly what it was. That made her laugh more. She and I dissolved in laughter.
Hey, I found it at a yard sale, not mine.
Suddenly Chuck left because he was hungry. Does looking at the sticks and stems give a person the munchies?
Have you ever found Mary Jane at a yard sale? Have you ever just found it anywhere other than in a friends possessions? Other than money, what is the most unusual thing you have found in a pocket or box at a yard sale? Okay, other than money, what have you found that is memorable/unusual?
Monday, March 10, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Friday, as I pulled into the driveway as I returned from Huntsville, steam billowed from under the hood of the car. The appearance of steam from under the hood is an occurrence that strikes fear into my soul. My head started pounding, my stomach knotted, and my hands started shaking. All the pleasantness of the little jaunt out of town drained from my body.
My car engine is at risk. My wallet is at risk. My precious form of transportation is at risk. My peace of mind is at risk.
My first move was to get out and see if water were pouring. It was right over on the passenger side inside the wheel. My heart sank. I called Bob for some comfort and advice, and he asked questions that called for raising the hood, something I don't do as my injuries have mounted. As I struggled to raise the hood of the car, I could hear a ripping sound in my shoulder. With a torn rotator cuff in both shoulders, this was no mean feat to lift the hood and hold it with one hand while I put the rod into the slot to hold it.
There was no obvious hose burst. Nothing. No steam. Nothing. I don't know why I look under the hood. Rarely can I find anything. Well, there was the time I saw the rapidly deteriorating serpentine belt, trimmed it with my cuticle nippers and drove another two hours. But, I digress.
When I called my Bob in Huntsville to calm me down. I just needed to tell someone and see what to do, if what I was going to do was correct in this case. He asked about water in the radiator. No, there is no radiator cap on my radiator. There is only a cap on the plastic overflow container. I think he called it a "coolant recovery system."
With the hood raised, I still could not see into the plastic overflow. Well, it appeared there was no water line. I have never gotten the cap off, and I have owned this car for twelve years! That means I have never been able to check the antifreeze or add coolant on my own, something I always did before this car.
The cell phone had to be put down on the ground to raise the hood and now to try to open the cap. However, as I touched the cap to twist, it fairly popped off into my hand. There was no steam pressure by this time, just a loose cap. There are O-rings that must seal. Bob explained that the system was not pressurized if the cap was not tight!
I put antifreeze into the overflow some time in December and the guy who put the cap on did not get it on right. I questioned him and he pulled on the cap and assured me it was on tight. grrrr Yes, the guy was someone I conscripted to open the cap. However, mechanics have not put it on tight in the past, and I have had to point this out and sort of insist they do it better. Yes, I am a know-it-all, pushy bitch about putting the cap on correctly.
Bob assured me I could put water in the overflow without turning on the engine. I only put about a quart for my five minute drive to Walmart where I purchased antifreeze. Whew. This is a hairy experience that even now upsets me.
When I arrived at the shop out in the country about 2 pm, the only mechanic was busy. I waited 30 minutes and he turned his attention to my car. There is a hose sort in front of the driver, a fat hose, that he nonchalantly squeezed as he looked elsewhere. He felt in places he could not see, he looked all over. Then, he felt the radiator facing the engine as he looked at it. "It looks like the water pump has been throwing water on the radiator. It appears you need a new water pump."
"Can you put it in now?" "No, bring it back Monday." I have used this shop before. For over 30 years, their reputation has been stellar. However, new folk work there now, not the old guys.
A guy who was in my son's class has a service station with mechanics, certified ones. So, I went there and told him my tale. He said that the certified mechanic would be there at 8 am on Saturday. I was there at 8 am, okay, one minute after. I was amused that I arrived before the station opened. I never can manage that feat...lol. I turned the car off as I was sitting crossways in front of one of the bay doors. Immediately, the doors to both bays flew up with that noise they make and the door of the station opened and four guys in red shirts burst out.
Seriously, they really frightened me. I could barely speak when the guy cheerfully demanded to know how they could help me. I stammered and could not find words. I just needed to go curl up with a blanket over my head. He took my keys and car while I went inside with the Coke with caffeine and sugar, opened it and sighed.
Shortly, the friend who owns the station came and listened to what I had to say about the sequence of events. When I got to the part about the cap not being on tight, that I barely touched it and it came off, he said, "Just a minute. Did you tell that to him? Well, I'll be back. I need to tell him." Those guys frightened me so that I only blubbered "steam," pointed and handed over my car to them. Oh, I may have said a bit more but had not told them about the cap being so loosely affixed. I am quite sure I did not use complete sentences.
This is why I tell guys all the tiny details--because I never know what is important! As it turns out, the whole water system is under pressure. Air was introduced into mine and I have been losing coolant for awhile. The mechanic loosed some screw on top of something and air escaped instead of water. So, the something was bled of air. And new coolant was put into my car.
The price for my spending 45 minutes there and the mechanic's expertise and work + a gallon of antifreeze and water?
I thought that was excellent. Is it? Well, I do know it is cheaper than a water pump. Bob said that was a deal for what they did. So did exbf.
On to the EGR
I need an EGR valve. The cost there at this station? $200+. When I remarked that the cost of the valve for my 2000 Malibu was just $79, he said bring it in if I could find it at that price, and they would put it on for $40.
The difference Bob said was "factory something" and "after market" parts. I think for this car that "aftermarket" would suffice. My instinct (or maybe that's fear) is to get the "factory" because "aftermarket" might not be good enough. But, my experience says differently.
If you look at the picture of my engine, you will see the hose that the first guy gently squeezed as he looked elsewhere. I placed a red handle from a plastic spoon on the hose to show you what I am talking about. The friend who is a mechanic and owns the service station, opened my car and showed me what was what. He said that if that hose is hot to the touch, then the water pump is pumping water and has not failed. He showed me where the water was pumped through lots of hoses, but I forgot all that...lol.
At any rate, I do know that I had a water pump on the car before this that had a leak, still pumped water, cooled the car, and was due for a catastrophic failure and did need to be replaced. A guy/mechanic in my GED class I taught showed me the little "weep hole." It is really nice of men to tell women these little things about cars. All this information does not have to be proprietary knowledge. But, of course, that is how some mechanics make money--withholding information.
I have seen mechanics gently squeeze/touch that hose so many times, yet none volunteered information that could help me help myself.
"Don't ever underestimate the knowledge and 'smarts" of a possessor of a GED certificate!"
Does anyone else become physically ill when your car has problems? I am going to get aftermarket EGR. Is that a part that needs to be "factory something"? I know some parts should be the real deal and others work just fine being aftermarket. Well, I am told so. And, I appreciate mechanics and men who give me these little tips!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
free chicken food
Tonight was the church dinner where I got scraps (aka free chicken food) several years ago. For a while they had only tvp hamburgers, tvp chicken patties, and hot dogs, rotated and nasty. Everything was over-cooked and almost cold. We got store-bought cookies and a tiny bag of chips. If I want junk without nutrients, I will eat chocolate. Actually, the chips and cookies were pretty good. So I and most of the people quit attending. Some of us told them why since they wanted to know!
For the last month, the food has been better, but the scraps were sort of nothing. People ate all the chili and all the spaghetti and lasagna. I would not give chili to my hens. White bread scraps were abundant, but I won't give those to my hens, either. Tonight was the perfect night for my chickens. The vegetables, especially, made me happy on behalf of Patsy Cline and Thelma. Okay, and myself.
We had baked chicken and cheese; baked new potatoes, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, onions; warmed corn from a can; dinner rolls from store. The baked vegetables were delicious. Oh, then I had pecan pie. So, I ate well and so will my hens. I now have three days worth of food scraps for them.
Next week, after daylight saving time starts, I will get back home in time to feed them scraps from the church meal for their dinner.
Thursday night, I will be out of town, so my friend Tony who lives around the block will feed them for me Friday morning. A quart of these scraps should keep them happy until I return in the late afternoon.
The Ziploc storage bag was bought when it was reduced after Christmas and with a coupon.
Monday, March 3, 2014
While buying groceries cheaply is the whole idea, there is the danger that too much money can be spent during the course of the month, even when the groceries are bought cheaply. I am trying to discover how much I spend. During January I kept every receipt and taped them into a book. Then, I did nothing with them. This ploy did work to help me see a few things: what I spent on each item, where I shopped, and what might be in the refrigerator so I would not rebuy another bag of salad.
I heard of someone who put all her grocery money on a gift card and spent from that until it was gone. For about six months I have been thinking of doing the same. In February I bought a Walmart gift card. Walmart gift cards incur no initial card purchase. However, if this helped saved money by not spending too much each month, it might be worth the $3.49 card charge to buy a Visa gift card. You may disagree.
Buying a Walmart gift card ties me to Walmart for purchases. Since I do price-matching for most of my grocery shopping, this is not a problem. Allocating another $30 cash for additional purchases gives me the leeway to shop elsewhere. Out of that $130 I do stock up purchases like the Cokes of last week.
When I bought the card in February, I spent all the money on the card within 9 days. Then, I realized that I had bought non-food items on the card. Rats. Towards the end of the month, I did buy essentials and the Cokes with other money. This month I have been more careful. Okay, so there have only been three days...lol. However, yesterday I sorted the items on the counter, paying for food and non-food separately.
My goal is eventually to get non-food purchases down to $30/month. From a cursory glance at the receipts I taped in my book, I am spending nearer to $200 each month on food and non-food store purchases. I won't buy lesser quality food, but I can buy less of the higher-priced junk food. Having lost weight this last two weeks makes that easier.
It's going to be hard to keep purchases within this goal. I really need more money in my life or a garden! Maybe I could use both. But, until I figure that one out, this is the plan--the card. Oh, yeah. I have to sort items into food and non-food.
Even if I bought the Visa card in order not to be tied into Walmart shopping only, the card cost might be worth it if I were being more careful with purchases. The Walmart card can be reloaded free of charge. I believe the Visa Card can be reloaded for less than the initial purchase price.
What do you think of the card plan? Goofy? A useful tool for control? Have you ever heard of anyone doing this? How did it work out?
|March 3, 2014|
That is what the weather guy said--45 degree difference! Yesterday, it was 74 F degrees here and I was wearing sandals and a t-shirt. Right now, it is 25 F degrees. Today, I am freezing. My two eggs in the nest may have frozen. The car door was frozen shut. And, daffodil buds are swelling!
Have you experienced this drastic fluctuation in your temperatures this winter and spring. Okay, it's not officially spring, but should be spring-like weather.