Monday, November 30, 2009

Counting My Blessings

A few weeks ago, my Jeep started to drip.

It began with just a few mysterious drops of liquid on my garage floor. It wasn't a huge amount of liquid, so I wasn't too concerned. Just something to keep an eye on.

When I went to Jiffy Lube for my oil change, I asked the greasy yokels to see if they could determine what was leaking and where it was coming from. They determined it was coolant but probably not something that required immediate attention. They then went on to encourage me to get my front and rear differential "serviced" and to replace my papal white air filter. I was disinclined to acquiesce to their request. Means "no".

But last week the discharge became increasingly copious. Climaxing on Friday when I left my office to find a stream of coolant flowing from beneath my beloved Jeep and down the garage ramp. I could even see an arc of drops in front of my jeep from where I had backed into my parking spot.

Nothing says "Friday" like having your vehicle positioned to head straight the fuck out!

Because I had to have my radiator replaced a few years ago, I still had some 50/50 coolant mix in my trunk. So I pulled it out, topped off the overflow reservoir before driving home. In fact I put in just a little too much.

I kept an eye on the thermostat on the way home, but it never wavered off the middle point. No hint of overheating. So again, not that concerned.

Saturday morning, I check the garage and there is a huge stream of coolant on the floor running the length of my Jeep! Not. Fucking. Good.

I pop the hood and notice two things.

1. Overflow reservoir is mostly empty, but not completely empty.
2. Radiator is completely full. Green liquid, right on top.

Like any good arm chair scientist, I reach some logical conclusions based on my observations.

1. The radiator was recently replaced, the radiator is full of coolant, therefore the radiator is not the source of the leak.

2. The overflow reservoir is almost, but not entirely empty. I suspect a leak between the overflow reservoir and the radiator small enough to be dependant upon the temperature of the coolant (heat causes things to expand) and the volume of the liquid (large volume weighs more and exerts more force).

I'm thinking an old, dried up, brittle, hose (my 2nd wife's favored "term of endearment" for me, BTW), has developed a leak. I'm thinking it should be a cheap fix.

My preferred garage is closed on Saturday and Sunday, so I decide to hole-up for the weekend and get the Jeep in first thing Monday morning.

Today was payday. So this morning I had 2 priorities. Get the Jeep checked out and cover my rent check.

Dropped off my Jeep and the garage staff shuttled me to work. Covered my rent check. Feeling pretty good about my Monday.

Until (wait for it) I get the call from the garage.

1. The leak is coming from the radiator and it needs to be replaced. It was still under warranty so it was "only" about $320.00.

2. Coolant is "seeping" from the water pump.

3. Coolant is "seeping" from the thermostat.

Now, I'm 54 years old. I'm accustomed to a little "seepage". I can live with that.

So although $320.00 was WAY more than I expected to spend, I told him to go ahead and replace the radiator, but hold off on the water pump and thermostat.

Sucks to be me, not what I expected, but I can live with it.

Until I get the next call.

After they replaced the radiator and re pressurized the coolant system, the water pump went tits up. Now the Jeep is undriveable unless I replace the water pump.

Now I'm looking at $635.00 just to pick my Jeep up and drive it home!

Fuck me running! Today was payday and I am already broke!

I live paycheck to paycheck. I get paid on the 15th and the end of the month. The end of the month covers my rent. The 15th covers utilities, cable, cell phone and car insurance. I don't have any credit cards, no outstanding loans, no mortgage, no car payments. It's a bit precarious, but it works for me.

I had been putting some cash aside for a new set of tires and shocks, so I had a very marginal buffer. This saved my ass.

I was able to move some things around and I think I can make this work. Barely.

The owner's wife picks me up after work and takes me back to the garage. She's a chatty little thing. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. I forget how it came up in the conversation, but at some point I'm listening to her talk about their trips to Vegas, their Caribbean cruises, their home on the lake and their boat!

I start tweaking out!

BITCH! I'm about to pay you $635.00 that I don't actually have! Gonna need you to SHUT THE FUCK UP about your lavish motherfucking lifestyle!

But at my lowest point, I complained to my closest confidant that this is one of the WORST things about not being in a relationship. Having to deal with this kind of shit all on your own, without anyone having your back.

Her reply brought me back down to Earth.

"Well then get a relationship, goober! U will be OK. :) I do plenty all by my damn self! U can do it too! SUCK IT UP! LOL! :)"

This, people, is why she's my best friend.

Lessons Learned:

1. I'm a whiny little bitch. I'm facing a moderately challenging 2 weeks. Millions of people deal with overwhelmingly challenging circumstances every fucking day for their entire lives, year, after year, after year. I need to shut the fuck up.

2. I'm lucky to have a job. A whole lot of people don't.

3. The timing was in my favor. The catastrophic failure occurred immediately before my payday and I had the money to pay for the repair.

4. Keep shoveling as much money as I can into savings!

5. Friends who don't hesitate to mercilessly bitch-slap some perspective into you are more valuable than a vault full of gold.


m.v. said...

If I knew this was coming I would've grown my mustache (or anything else) to help you pay for this, but it's all gone to cancer people.I'll keep it for another week if someone covers your bill

trelvix said...

Wrote my post for you, brother:

"On Monday nights we put on new strings. Nothing is in tune for a while. Then it is. Then it's not. Then it is. Then it's Tuesday."

If you're sharp enough to compartmentalize the bullshit, realistic enough to know that bullshit never travels alone, and pragmatic enough to hold your nose above the bullshit tide for breathing then you are well equipped.

What you want to avoid going forward is the real vilian- the ghost of Drip past; the champion of all pecker compromised or otherwse lured into the Dripp. Making your wheels more a familar touchstone for the sickly skank and less an oasais of hope and possibility.


Xavier Onassis said...

trelvix - You got to get me some o' that weed! That's some Kahil Gibran, Carlos Castenada, Whole Earth Catalog, Buckminster Fuller strength shit.

Joe said...

Hell, X, you didn't even need a tow! You got off lucky. I don't know much about Jeeps, but on my Toyota and VW the water pump was replaced when I replaced the timing belt. It wasn't that way on my Suburban, however.
In fact, I just got my VW out of the shop for the 200k service that was $2300. Ouch. So, be glad you had the dough and weren't left on the side of the road.

Trelvix said...

Dang. I wrote that? That don't seem right. I think I meant to point out that this is the Rapture and that you need to just get used to the notion of shit drippin'.

Seems a little more my style.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Next post pls.

Spyder said...

And that's why I love your BFF!