Losing the car

I had an unexpected day off, so I decided to be productive about it. Molly and I had a long list to do.

We started by taking her mom to work in her mom’s car. Molly alerted us by whining whenever a dog was visible. Then I had to go to the ATM. She cried a little when I got out, but stopped soon.

I came back and there was a car that looked like mine near my daughter’s. I knew I didn’t have my car, so I walked past the little red one to a Toyota SUV. My daughter doesn’t have a Toyota. I couldn’t find her car, so I honked the door lock a few times. Couldn’t find it. Then I see miss Molly looking at me from four cars away wondering what the heck I was doing and why I didn’t get in the car.

It’s one thing to do stupid things like that, but another to have a witness. At least Molly won’t tell on me.

Waving to the Neighbors

One of my neighbors recently had her father move in with her.    He had a stroke and he walks up and down the block all day to keep up with his exercise.   He does not speak English,  but he makes sure that I get into my car every morning,  and that I get back into the house safely every evening.    He watches until I wave and let him know I’m OK.  He waves back and continues his walk.

On days that I have to move cars around for street cleaning,  he makes sure that everything starts OK and that I’m clear of driveways.

Yesterday, he wasn’t outside,  so I had to move my car without his help.    His daughter happened to come out,  so I asked where he was.    She had made him go inside to rest.   She had no idea that he helped and wondered how he had so much energy.   I explained that it wasn’t so much help as supervision.   She said she told him to stop staring at the neighbors.  I told her that he was fine and I missed the company. 

My kids said that he makes sure they get in and out of the cars safely,  too.   They wave to him,  too.   

He’s not doing any harm,  and he certainly isn’t creepy.   There may be a language barrier,  but the wave hello and goodbye translates well.

Double booking myself

As many of you know, I live by my calendar. If it isn’t on the calendar, it probably doesn’t happen.

My phone had broken, and the replacement phone hadn’t come in yet, so I didn’t have my calendar readily available for a couple of days. I knew generally about what was coming up, but not really specifically.

I needed to get new tires on one car and oil changes on two. I scheduled one car’s oil change and the tire change for the same day and time so my daughter could drive her car in while I drove the other. I worked around her schedule, forgetting to look at my own.

I ended up doing a Zoom meeting for school at the auto repair place while trying to juggle the cars.

I managed this one by the skin of my teeth, but I did. It caused unnecessary anxiety, and I’m hoping to not try this one again. Less stress and anxiety this year, I hope.

Smog check time

I took my car in to get it smog checked. This is a car I don’t drive often, so it’s a process.

I had to jump start it, since I don’t start it often. I drove it around to charge up the battery. I figured I may as well get the smog check done while I was out.

I got to the smog check place and they took my car right away. I had to get back in the car, since the technician couldn’t move it. He didn’t know how to drive a stick shift!

Then, a while later, a different technician came to ask me for the paperwork from the last smog check. I have never needed it in the past, so I didn’t have it with me. It turns out that he couldn’t read a number on the catalytic converter, and he needed to document it. My friends who do smog checks tell me that it is not common practice to check the number.

I think that I will find a different station next time I need a smog check. These guys really didn’t seem to know what they were doing.

A couple of days later, I went to AAA to get the registration sticker for the car. The DMV computers were down, so I had to go back the next day. They only had one cashier open, so it was a long wait. I got it done, made a photocopy of the smog paperwork, and put everything in my purse.

I took the same car in for new tires a few days later. I told my mechanic about the issues. He wasn’t surprised. He told me a story about the valet parkers at Tesla. If they get a car that has a manual transmission and they don’t know how to drive it, they have to stand there with their hand up and call out “manual!” until someone is free who can drive it.

When I left the shop, I remembered the registration paperwork and sticker in my purse. I got everything out of my purse and into its proper place. I felt very accomplished.

November 36th

I went to register my car yesterday. Thankfully, there were two DMV windows open, or I’d still be there. The woman who was being helped before me was arguing with the clerk. Her registration wasn’t late, so she didn’t know why she was being charged a fee. It was due at the end of November, and she paid it on November 36th. The clerk was explaining that the registration was due on November 31, and the payment arrived on December 5th, so it was late. “No! I paid it on November 36th, which is the same as December 5th! It was still November, and the registration was due at the end of November, so that late fee is wrong!” Poor clerk. I have a feeling that the woman is still there, arguing it. I was in and out once it was my turn.

Best laid plans

I decided that today would be the day that I finally got to deal with the flat tire on my second car. I am supposed to be driving it weekly, but I didn’t have the money to fix the flat right away, so I let it sit for a while. This morning, I declared it time!

I worked and did a lot of my errands. Then I came home and called AAA at 3:20pm to have them put the donut on the car, so I could take it to be repaired. My daughter was going to follow me in her car, so we could get errands run while the car was being fixed.

The service truck came within 10 minutes. They started to change the tire, but couldn’t find the wheel lock. They called for a tow truck. It would be an hour. Fine. Ten minutes later, AAA dispatch called and told me that they had to move my request to another towing company, and it would arrive within the hour. Fine. I got an automated call telling me that it would be arriving within the hour. Fine.

I looked online and found that the tow truck was due to arrive at 5:12pm. Ok. Great. The tire place closes at 6. Barely time, but ok. Suddenly the website tells me that the tow truck had arrived, at 5:00. I went outside. No tow truck. I called again, and finally got a person to talk to me. She could see my call, but it wasn’t making sense to her. She put me on hold and checked with dispatch. My call had been forwarded to 6 different towing companies, and no one had a flatbed tow truck available! I explained to her about the tire place closing shortly, and that we weren’t going to make it. I wasn’t going to do a key drop off. She told me to call back tomorrow, and gave me a case number so that it wouldn’t count as a call, because I didn’t get service.

I was a giant stress ball by this point. My daughter and her friend tossed me in the car and we did our errands. We ended up at the mall. My daughter told me “Go play with the turtles, Mom.” I didn’t, but I stopped to take a photo of them.

The next morning, I was venting about all of this to a friend who asked why I didn’t just throw fix a flat in it and drive it to the tire place. Well, duh. I ran to the auto part store and while I was there, I asked about the wheel locks. They had them!

I went off to work, and came home and got the car going. I drove it to the tire place and they took one look. Wrong wheel locks. Sigh. Good news, though – one of the mechanics had the right tool to get them off. He showed it to me, and I took a photo and got the measurement. I could pick up the tool at the auto parts store, in theory.

I left the car there and walked the mall and got lunch while I waited. It wasn’t quite ready when I arrived. I only had to wait a few minutes until it was done. Great!

Since I had the car out, I stopped to put gas into it, and washed the windshield. I went back to the auto part store and returned the stuff I didn’t need. I asked about the tool. Nope. I’d have to go to a store that actually carries tools. No biggie. I can do that, but not urgently.

I got home and found a parking spot on the right side of the street for street cleaning. It was a better day than the day before. Always an adventure with me, though.

Stopping at a green light

On my way to work, there is an intersection with a light.  There is no left turn allowed between 7am and 9am.  A lot of people try it anyhow, though.  There is nowhere to turn to the right.  No street.  No driveway.  It’s a T-shaped intersection.

On my way home, I am headed up the street.  So, at this intersection, the street is to my right, and the no place to go is to the left.

Today, I am about the fourth car back, and the light is green.  We are stopped.  Why?  There isn’t anywhere to turn to the left.  And no one is attempting to go to the street on the right.  What gets me, is that no one is attempting to pass the person in the front.  You’d think that people would be passing on the right?

Eventually, we all moved.  I don’t know what that driver was thinking, especially since the car went all the way up the hill to the freeway entrance, about 2 miles from the intersection.

It takes all kinds, I guess.

Taking myself to lunch

I was on my way to meet my daughter so we could wait together for her car to be finished. I called her and asked where she was. Bookstore. Did she want me to get her now, or after I grabbed lunch. “After lunch. I’m reading something.” Ok, then.So, I was weighing my lunch options. My phone rang. It was the shop. The car was ready. So, sorry, kiddo. Drop the book. We’re getting the car so we can move on to more fun things.

We got the car, she went home. I decided to go to Panera for lunch. I got my usual, French Onion soup with no croutons and Green Goddess Cobb with no tomatoes. They leave me alone there, and it’s not crowded, so I can read in peace.

As I was about to leave, I got a text from my daughter, who was already home. She needed Starbucks. So, I wandered off there, since it sounded good. I got one for my mom, too.I headed home to do the Monday night chores. Garbage, recycling, compost, litter box. All the fun things!

I finally got to relax a bit, and I got a helper.

Inky has most of my blankets, all of the cat beds, and my bag of library books. Good thing I have multiple books going, or I’d be annoyed. She was very comfortable, and then heard my daughter.  She decided to go see what my daughter was doing, since it was more interesting than what I was doing – allowing her to nap.

My daughter asked me to cook dinner.  When I got up, Inky stayed in place, since I never do anything interesting to a cat, apparently.

I was told exactly what to cook, and it took a while.  I came back into my room, and found this.

Mini is on the other half of the blankets, watching my bag with my Kindle in it, and laying on the towel that I put out for the cats, to keep cat hair off the bed.  At least she kinda follows instructions.  She is lying next to Inky, so I don’t have room to get on my bed without moving a cat.  I briefly considered vacuuming to move them quickly, but it wasn’t on today’s agenda.

At least it’s time to really relax now.

Car repairs

I don’t know why, but all of the cars seem to need attention all at once.  I needed an oil change last week.  My younger daughter took her car in for an oil change last week, and found out that she needs her brakes done.  Ok.  Made an appointment for that.  My younger daughter drove my older daughter’s car and determined that her brakes needed to be looked at.

My oil change went smoothly.  My younger daughter got everything done smoothly, although it was more expensive than anticipated.

My older daughter’s car is in the shop currently.  Yes, she needed front brakes.  Yes, rear brakes need attention soon.  Might as well get it all done at once.

I still have a flat tire on the car that I don’t drive, but because everything else is more pressing, it will have to wait.  All at once.  But, they are getting taken care of.