Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Low & Slow

We're running low and slow today.  Might have picked up a bug from Aren E. this past Saturday.  Feeling pretty crummy.  Hopefully, it will pass soon.

Nice walk on the Greenbelt yesterday. Rachel finished her part of the sleeping bag saga. It's off at the dry cleaners now. Maybe we will get it back today. Hope so.

Finished up Farrah Bucket #3. Will test for leakage today. Also spent a couple of hours making a portable campfire chimney. This one had 12 hours in each of the four pieces instead of four. It can be made smaller or larger to fit whatever size campfire ring we encounter. Messed around with some 3/8th rebar trying to making retainer pins for the chimney. Will have to go to Plan B with the rebar.

Went out to Barnes & Noble and played the worst chess of my entire life. It was embarrassing. Left after 5 losing games. Better not play again when feeling this crummy--it made me feel like the proverbial village idiot.

Somehow on a total whim, we went over to the Westside to look at an old mid-1990's Dodge minivan. It's a one owner, four cylinder, five speed, Plain Vanilla vehicle with 181,000 miles. It gets 20 mpg--mostly because of the vehicle weight. Can you imagine buying a 1994 minivan and then keeping it for 16 years? Actually, we've been thinking of alternatives to the Suzuki Sidekick. The Zuki is a 1991 and it's got a lot of problems waiting in the wings. It's not a matter of if it's going to have a big breakdown, simply a matter of when. We're keeping it on a short leash, no more than a few miles from home. It's a towncar--a runabout, if you will. However, it has a bad exhaust leak that sends gasses right into the passenger area and gives Susun a huge headache. It's noisy, rusty and there's more cracks in the windshield that we care to count. Meanwhile, it's mpg has dropped below 20. It leaks oil badly and, so, yeah, you can see where we are going with this. Meanwhile, although we have three licensed and insured vehicles, none of them can carry more than 2 people comfortably. Sure, we could squeeze another people into each truck cab but we wouldn't dare call it a comfortable ride. Meanwhile, the Zuki can't really carry anything except groceries. Even though the Zuki is on its last leg, it's still probably worth $1000. Odd, but true. It would be the perfect "disposable vehicle" for some high school kid. Meanwhile, the van owners started out at $1400 and are down to $1100. With a little more negotiating, we can probably swap out the vehicles by selling our Zuki and buying the van. The van fits in our 1939 garage with a foot to spare--not many modern vehicles can fit in that space. That whole spontaneous episode kept up up and fully engaged until well after 9 pm last night. It sure was more fun messing around with a used vehicle that it was playing chess!

Today's a routine day. The main agenda remains "Trip Prep." There's oodles and ka-boodles of little nit-picky things to do--far too numerous to itemize or even mention. That's the way it always goes with the first camping trip of the season.

Meanwhile, we will do some checking around about various likely repairs to the minivan and continue negotiations. If I had to pick one thing I'm really anticipating today, it would be picking up my 32-33 year-old down sleeping bag at the dry cleaners. They are charging $17 to clean it. It's never been to a dry cleaners in its life. I hope it doesn't fall into shreds. I can hardly wait to see how it turns out. I promise not to be disappointed if it is a failure. However, I will be overjoyed if its loft and life have been restored.

One other vignette from yesterday. I was waiting at a stoplight downtown. I noticed an odd behavior in the vehicle in front of me. The driver's right arm was waving like a cobra snake coming out of a snake charmer's basket. I thought, "Gee, that's odd behavior, they must be talking about snakes up there in that vehicle."
The arm kept it up and I kept thinking, "Gee, those two people are really weird."
Well, it turns out it was a former co-worker trying to wave at me! When I recognized her, I started laughing heartily out loud. Both of us proceeded a few blocks until it was safe to pull over. Christy and Cathy got out and we exchanged a lot of hugs and smiles and Happy Faces. Of course, we shared some great laughs about the snake charmer thing. They are great folks doing some really important but thankless work for some truly helpless elderly people. God Bless them forever!

Cheers! jp

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