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NaNoBlo wha??
2007-11-05, 9:48 a.m.

Day 1170

Sure, commit to doing a blog entry every day in November. Then, just for fun, screw it up by day 3. Pretty easy!!

In my defense, it was a very full weekend. I actually spent zero time on the home computer. In some ways, this is good, in others not so good.

Good? Got a lot of stuff done. Not so good? Got more to do.
Good? Did stuff that really needed to get done. Not so good? Did very little that was fun.

Saturday we did the farmers market in the morning along with a few other housey kind of chores. On the way home, got a call from Zach. He tried getting his car inspected at the local branch of a notional chain of car repair places. He had a coupon for $10 off the inspection fee. Apparently Firestone was trying to get that $10 back in a hurry.

Poor Zach failed inspection for no back up light, a leaky power steering system and bad bushings on his control arms. Rather than pay them the $1163 dollars they were asking for to fix it all, he told them he was going to do the work himself and bring the car back for re-inspection Monday.

What he really meant was that he was going to bring the car over to my house and he & I would take a look at everything and see what was what.

Cindy’s plans for the afternoon? Shot to shit. It was her turn to do date night. She had plans to go to the Strong Museum and see the Butterfly Garden, then head around the corner and have dinner at The Dinosaur afterwards. Instead? Zach & I got to play in the garage, trying to figure out what the heck the jerk at Firestone was looking at.

First, we had to get the lug nuts off the front wheels to get a peek at the control arms. The asshole tech at Firestone must have had his impact wrench turned up to max. We had to get a 3 foot long breaker bar to loosen the nuts. Our guess is that they were torqued to well over 200ft-lbs. The spec is only 100 ft-lbs, which I can usually loosen with only arm strength and normal wrenches & stuff. Seemed like this idiot was trying to pull the lugs right through the wheel.

Anyhow. We checked the control arm bushings. Zach already had new ‘performance’ bushings he wanted to put in, but was waiting for the opportunity. This seemed as good an opportunity as any. When we got under the car, we looked for bushings that “had already worked out of their mounts, they were so worn” according to the Firestone ass. I’ll be damned if we could find a bushing that looked even a wee bit worn, much less had worked out of it’s mount. Checked the other side – found the same thing. The bushings looked fine. Not wanting to take quite all day at this we put the front wheels back on and started on the back up lights. Firestone wanted $45 just to diagnose the problem. Heaven knows what they wanted to actually fix it. A quick check showed that the light bulbs themselves were fine and the fuse was ok. That left one thing – the switch that senses when the car is in reverse. For a whopping $12.95 we got a new switch, dropped it in and had working back up lights. Made a slight adjustment to the shifter linkage to insure it engaged the switch fully.

As far as the power steering went – the reservoir was full. In 3 years of owning the car, Zach has added fluid only once, and that was in the first month of owning it. Considering the track record of the Firestone guy so far, Zach decided to let the power steering system ride as is. For his re-inspection he’s NOT going back to Firestone. Matter of fact, after his inspection is complete, he’d like to get a statement from the tech that does it and take it back to that Firestone dealer. We could also offer it up for evidence to some of the local TV news groups that look for crap like this and get it publicized. What if it were some person with less car sense that Zach? Instead of a $21 inspection fee with maybe another $50 to fix the back up lights they’d be stuck with a $1200 repair bill for things that didn’t need to be done. I don’t know if you have Firestone (like the tire brand) dealers near you, but I’d think twice about going there.

Jill got the same shaft job from one in Syracuse a couple of years ago. Instead of getting the work done there, she let Zach & I do it for her. Saved her another $1200. All it cost her was a 12 pack of Yeungling Black & Tans. Didn’t crack ‘em open till we were done, of course. Brakes are one job you like to do right the first time. So screw Firestone. Don’t go there, they’re a bunch of shysters.

By the time Zach and I finished up with the car it was too late to hit up the museum. So Cindy’s date night morphed into pizza, wings and a movie. Except, as I recall, I paid for all of it. Hmmmmm. Maybe next week, for my date night, I’ll let her pay. Know what I’m planning? Our Body, The Universe Within. Think we should do dinner before or after? An alternate plan would be to pack up a picnic and go leaf peeping down at Letchworth State Park, but it might be too far past peak color to make it worth the trip unless the weather is perfect. We’ll save the butterfly exhibit for Cindy’s next turn.

So. Sunday. Got a whole mess of perennials put in to save them for winter. We’d started them in pots and it was high time to get them planted. They ought to make it through winter now. In pots they didn’t stand a chance. Now, next spring we’ll have some nice Hollohocks, Maltese Cross and more Mums. Alwaysd need more mums. Got the pond all winterized. Pulled the plants, trimmed them all, sunk ‘em all to the bottom. Pulled the pump & filter and cleaned them. Boy, did they need it. Also found that calico fantail that’s been missing for the last couple of months. Well, found what was left of him at least. Looks like he swam up into some rocks that were around the big canister that contains the filter & waterfalls. He apparently got himself into an area under a rock where he could neither back out nor turn around. I found what was left of his body when we pulled the filter out to clean it. Poor guy. He’s fertilizing the veggie garden now, along with the trimmings of all his favorite plants.

Besides grocery shopping, that’s all we did Sunday. (That I’m telling YOU about at least) Bills game was on at 1pm, glad to see them win. Watched the Pats & Colts for a bit, then headed to Zach’s roller hockey game. Zach scored twice, his team won, and we got to see the end of the Pat’s/Colts on the tv at the hockey arena.

Almost missed the The Amazing Race last night. If it hadn’t been for football pushing the start time back, all we’d have caught was the last 20 minutes. As it was, we saw maybe 40 minutes worth. Haven’t bonded with anyone yet, but there are a couple groups I think just can’t hack it, and one or two I just cant’ stomach. Goth anyone? Sweet Jesus, I think the girl of that pair has more testosterone in her than the guy does. I wonder if he actually packed enough make-up to keep his face that white? Live & let live I suppose, but holy cow, don’t do it near me, ok? Wow.

I’m gonna go work for a living for a while. Maybe I’ll even be better about posting. Only 2 missed days for November. Maybe!!

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