Bush(ing)ed

Back in June when my clutch went out, the shop also informed me that I had a small power steering fluid leak and that the front control arm bushings were shot and needed to be replaced. Neither item was critical or had to be done immediately, so since it happened right before we were scheduled to leave Arizona and I really didn’t have the extra cash, I put off getting the work done.

This past Christmas, Ben gave me $250 to cover the deductible on my mechanical breakdown insurance to get the bushings repaired (I figured I could keep topping off the power steering fluid), and yesterday I took the car in.

Of course, the appointment was on the one day this week that snow was predicted.  Of course. Right after I vowed that the next time the white stuff was scheduled to fall I would leave the car at home and take public transit.  Still, I wasn’t too concerned; the forecast was for only 1-2 inches. When I got up at 5 am, it was just starting to come down, and it really didn’t look so bad.

By the time I left the house an hour later however, it was coming down hard, and of course nothing had been plowed—as usual.

While I was at least able to get out onto Colorado Boulevard this time without getting stuck, it was still white-knuckle driving all the way to the shop in Littleton.  In fact, after I’d arrived and pulled into the parking lot, my hands were shaking so badly I could barely text Ben to let him know I’d gotten there safely. (I don’t think I am ever going to get used to driving in snow.)

Originally I’d scheduled a loaner for the day, but at that point there was NO WAY I was doing any more driving that day—especially in a car I was completely unfamiliar with. The dealer shuttle was already on its way downtown (not the way I needed to go), so my service advisor had one of his assistants take me to work. (Totally unexpected, but that alone earned my loyalty to Ralph Schomp MINI.)

The snow continued to fall during the day. 1-2 inches my ass. That much had fallen before I’d even left the house that morning.  And I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I was when the shop called and told me they’d have to keep the car overnight. I’d be taking public transit home and back to work in the morning.

While the snow had pretty much stopped by the time I left work, it was now bitterly cold, and while I enjoyed the walk from work to the train station (about the same distance I used to walk from my last apartment in San Francisco to the Castro MUNI), the one thought I kept having was, “Forget the cap tomorrow. Wear your damn beanie!”

My bus/train commute this morning was very pleasant. There were a lot fewer people than I’d expected and I had a seat the entire way.  Amazingly, I only left about fifteen minutes earlier than usual and got to work at the same time I normally do.

I’m seriously considering doing this more often—and not only when it snows.  In fact, even though it’s supposed to be clear through the first of next week, if I didn’t have to go to the bank at lunch tomorrow to deposit my first pay check as an employee, I’d take the bus/train again.

So, $315 later, I have the car back with the two items from last June’s to-do list done. (I ended up paying about $60 out of pocket for the power steering leak to be repaired; if I’d known back in June it was only going to be that much—maybe I did; I was pretty freaked out over the clutch at the time—I would’ve gotten it fixed then.)

Of course they found two more items that now need attention: there’s a crack at the top of the front passenger side strut, and there’s a slow coolant leak (which I already knew about) from the thermostat. Replacing the strut is the next thing to be done; thankfully it too falls under my insurance. The coolant I’ll just keep topped off until I have the money (less than my deductible) to get that fixed. Since the next major expense will be getting the car registered in Colorado, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

And then there’re the two struts that hold up the rear hatch that have completely failed with the onset of cold weather. Fortunately that’s something I can do, and relatively inexpensively.

Anyhow, if you’ve managed to stay awake through this post, you’re entitled to some eye candy:

One of the MINI Advisors. (Unfortunately NOT mine.)

Quote of the Day

“Already done. To ‘rick’ is to remove something with your tongue—the ‘r’ from ‘remove,’ the ‘ick’ from ‘lick’— which makes ‘rick santorum’ the most disgusting two-word sentence in the English language after ‘vote Republican.'” ~ Dan Savage, responding to a reader who asked after his successful Google campaign to redefine “Santorum” when he was going to redefine the Senator’s first name

Quote of the Day

“People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as “parasites” fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host; one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalistic society.” ~ Jason Read

Quote of the Day

“And, suddenly, the dogwhistles have turned into air-raid sirens.
I think, maybe, it’s time for the nation to rise up and point out to the Republican party that, root and branch, it is a racist embarrassment to democracy and a blight on this nation that all the world can see.” ~ Charles Pierce