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Long few days…

Friday started out with such promise. It felt like a good day. Got up on time, no traffic to speak of… Hit the last stop sign before work (well, not literally, but it felt like I did…). Immediately after that stop sign, the Blazer had an odd feeling of slipping on ice… which would be unlikely at around 40 degrees fahrenheit… It was gone as quickly as it came… okay… Last turn into the parking lot, the feeling is back, this time accompanied by a most ominous noise… I can tell the car isn’t getting into the gears it should be in, even at this low speed. I pull into the first available parking space and put it in park. Noise is still there… sounds like something isn’t engaging properly. I do a couple of tests back and forth in the parking space. The car is moving under its own power still, but how long?

I go inside and instead of work, I spend the next 40 minutes or so on the phone. I don’t really have a garage as such here that I like. I checked AAA and their nearest recommendation is actually where I once took the Grand Am for an alternator replacement. Okay, at least I have experience with the shop, and I didn’t feel like they treated me al that badly (the expense that time was an alternator for a car that was a brand new model year – $$$). I gave them a call, described my problem. They concurred that it was probably transmission. They said I could bring it by, but they really didn’t do that work, they could only diagnose it. Not being sure how far it was going to take me before I had to surrender to a tow truck, I asked who they recommended and if it didn’t sound better just to go ahead and go straight there. They agreed that it was best just to go on and recommended Mr. Transmission slightly south of Holcomb Bridge. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t sound so bad, but that’s 10 miles on a wonky transmission…

Went over to ask April if she’d mind following me down to bring me back. She agreed and we left about an hour before lunch. I got out to the parking lot and this time noticed when I shifted into reverse that there was no power at all going to the wheels… oh joy… I had coasted back a couple of feet… Changed back into drive and was astonished to find I still had forward power, just not much. I tried this a few times, never got rear power but found that I could get up some speed in 3rd gear… We went on. I figured at this rate that I’d done as much damage as I could (who knows) and didn’t feel like waiting for AAA and making the return of my car even longer.

Surprisingly, we did make it there. Every traffic signal was a royal pain, though as I had to get up to around 4,000 RPM afterwards to get back into 3rd gear. Dropped it off and had lunch and felt quite sorry for myself.

The call came shortly after lunch. I’d been hoping for a screwed up clutch or something like that… nope… transmission was shot… I’m not the most mechanical person. I’m no slouch, I do understand some from helping my Dad over the years, but once you get into the inner workings of the transmission, I’m out of my depth. He explained fairly carefully that there’s some piece inside there that, in his opinion, GM should recall because when it goes, which he sees a lot, it takes the transmission out with it. I gave the go ahead to replace my transmission with a rebuilt unit (which has an after-market whatchamacallit on it that shouldn’t break so easily).

Felt exceedingly bad for myself Friday night. Still, it’s not the end of the world, and I feel quite lucky that I have “rainy day” money in savings that will cover this. Tax refund is not far off, and I know now that will go to put my savings back where it was. I guess this year’s refund will continue the non-frivolous approach from the past couple of years (when the economy was so bad and I had such a dim outlook on the future).

Yesterday, April came by and took me to get my car. We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen afterwards (my repayment for the taxi service). And after that, I drove around for awhile. It’s weird, I was really only without the car for 24 hours, but it felt like days.

Went over to Fry’s in Duluth and got some memory for the old PC. I tripled what was in there (very reasonable cost), so I can tell the difference. I’m also trying out Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird (browser and e-mail clients). They seem quiet a bit better than the old MS stuff I’ve been using. Still haven’t committed to them quite yet, but I’m close. I like the open framework which lets others code up little add-ons, etc. I have a nifty weather updater in the status bar now. Sweet!

I spent six hours this evening going through TWO YEARS of comics that were piled in the closet. I can’t believe I let this go on so long. I also went through the boxes that I already have and pulled out more than a short box of comics that I no longer want. Mostly odd lots, only a few complete series in the bunch. I figure on sitting down in the next couple of days and listing what’s there. I’ll send it Chris’ way and let him tell me how incredibly worthless it all is except for fuel for a homelss person’s fire. I’m thinking that I may just put up chunks of it on e-bay and see if I can’t sell it in lots to get it off my hands. What I can’t get rid of, I’ll see if I can give to charity. I can’t stand throwing reading material away, but I really am at a point now where the space is more important to me than the books. When I see what I’ve amassed in two years (I really do need to get a picture of my hall before the boxes I ordered get here), I shudder to think what I’ll have if this continues. Got to rein this in somehow…

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