- Getting the unexpected

Getting the unexpected

Expect the unexpected... or discovered the unsuspected?

Getting the unexpected

Postby tim-one » Thu May 28, 2009 8:29 am

I've had several really cool things happen lately. The unexpected.

It's really more that I'm having a chance to practice my new attitude of not expecting anything but what HP wants to do. AND serenly preparing for taking action.

1. I took my truck in for an oil change and to find an oil leak. While the truck was on the rack, the mechanic showed me the severity of the leak. From the pattern of the "gook", I agreed that it was the rear main oil seal. He offered to fix it for $300.

I said I'd let him know. On the way home, I picked up all the stuff to fix it for $50. I jacked it up and crawled under to find out what tools I need. (Have to pull the transmission for this. Tough job for one guy. Done it before. I'm in the mood for it.) Poking around, I touched the oil filter. It wiggled. It had become unscrewed. I tightened it and fixed the leak for nuthin. Took the parts back.

I was peacefully prepared and ready to work. I had thanked God for the opportunity to find out if I can fix a car without beer. You know ... time for mechanic fixin' is judged as a six-pack job, twelve-pack, case ... :D

2. I had been procrastinating taking my truck in for an alignment. It was pulling hard to the right. First, I decided to rotate the tires onaccounta the front left was severely worn on the inside edge. Not a good idea to have a blow-out on a front tire.

I jacked it up and started on the front right tire. The wheel wiggled very slightly. So I checked the bearing nut and it was finger loose. I tightened it to spec torque and continued rotating the tires also tightening the front left nut.

It stopped pulling. Drives straight now. FREE FIX! Took the stuff back. I still owe HP a new tire for my procrastination. :D

3. My mom called yesterday needing money to have her car fixed. The power steering went out and the guy said the AC compressor had to be replaced. Ok, that's possible ... same belt.

I called him to see what else is involved. He said the AC locked up and broke the belt that drives the power steering. Perfectly reasonable. His $800 price is reasonable. My sib's and I are talking about how to get scrape up the money. I'm in Houston and she's in Dallas so it would cost more for me to fix it.

Anyway, the guy is really really nice ... totally unmechanic like. He mentioned several times how sweet mom is and he even offered to drive her anywhere she needs to go so she didn't have to make a snap decision in panic. He's perfectly willing to work with her to float the payment.

That really boosted my faith in humanity. There really are nice people out there. Kinda screws with my righteous paranoia, though. Thank's God! You can screw with that all You want! :D :D :D

Is this kinda stuff happening to y'all, too? Tell me, tell me, tell me. I KNOW I ain't special to Him. Gotta be more of Him goin' around.

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Postby garden variety » Thu May 28, 2009 10:42 am

Hiya Tim-one,


My pickup has been out of commission for almost a year. My "fleet" of old junkers has been getting thinned out, so I only have a few left, and suddenly none of them work. I started off in cheapest to fix order.

Pickup Truck needs tranny rebuild $800
Convertible needs top and brakes $750
Jeep needs rear-end from salvage yard $650

Then I looked in my storage room and pulled out the mountain bike. Time for a little exercise. :evil: This is not my favorite idea and means of transportation. Plus when it rains, I'm in trouble.

So I went back to "figuring". The convertible isn't workable when it rains. It leaks. I need to save up for the calipers it needs which aren't cheap. The Jeep whines and grinds and clickity-clacks - I'm afraid to drive it. So I go back to the pickup truck.

This old bugger pickup is 1974 Ford style 1/2 ton with 368,000 miles, and a different engine and drivetrain. It is an auto matic transmission, but the transmission needs to be shifted on the column manually "Drive 1" to "Drive 2" to "Drive", but it only goes to 2nd, and it won't even manually shift out of 2nd gear which means I can't drive much faster than 30 mph. But I figures again, all I have to do is put in the battery, and it will get me around the neighborhood even in the rain.

So I jockey the driveway, charge batteries, then fire that big truck up. I get it outside. Then I remember reading something about a "vacuum modulator", and how if that is malfunctioning, the vehicle doesn't shift right. So on the outside possiblility that the problem might be simple, I crawled under the truck.

One vacuum hose was politely hanging down next to a flanged metal pipe that looked like it needed something "hooked up" to it. The pie went to the back of the transmission. I just said out loud "NAW! It can't be this simple?"

I hooked up the vacuum line, started the truck and backed out of the driveway. I put it in "Drive" and mashed on the gas, the you guessed it. The automatic transmission became automatic again. Shifted gears all by itself, and went into every single gear.

I got truck! :lol:
I also get exercise with my mountain bike! :P :P :P

That little circumstance was totally unplanned and unexpected. And it saved me $800. It didn't cost a dime to get my truck running and shifting. AND - it also forced me into an aerobic exercise routine which is something I been procrastinating about.

Funny you should bring up your truck tim-one. :D I tell you what pardner - I can totally identify with you on this one! HP at work saving me bucks? You betcha! He's also looking out for my health too, so I got more than what I put in, which really wasn't anything but connecting a hose. There's that peculiar "AA math" at it again - all pluses - no minuses. Once again, I can never out-give the Giver.
God blesses doesn't He?
garden variety
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Postby tim-one » Thu May 28, 2009 11:02 am

HAHAHAHAHAahahahah ....
Yep. God just loves us way too much, huh!?!?!

Yeah, a coinkadinks. Never fails. Everything everyone says is about ME these days. And it really creeps me out ....LORD. :)

I once bought two identical old pickups. One didn't run, the other had 350,000 miles on it. I just used the one as a salvage parts organ donor to keep the other one running.

Hey, I didn't have a car payment for 10 years. So a hundred bucks a few times a year for repairs was cool if the donor organ was crapped-out, too. :D

I drove the other one well over 500,000 miles before it was "wheels-up" in the driveway. (picture a dead roach). :P

Thanks for your experienced hope, brother. God bless them promises, huh?!


PS: Gotta figure out how to add some emoticons to this site. Just inadequate for a mood-swing drunk. :wink:
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Postby tim-one » Thu May 28, 2009 11:15 am

Woops. I lied. Didn't mean to. :oops:

I CAN go to Dallas and fix mom's car for half of the guy's price. Dammit.

Uh oh, I feel the need to courageously change something I don't want to serenely. Sometimes I need the wisdom to accept something I CAN change. :?

But now I'm torn between saving us siblings some money by using a gift I have and letting a really good guy make a living while keeping his Karma in tact.

Sometimes the right thing to do is to let someone else do the right thing instead of me.

Any Serenity Prayer advice out there?

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Postby garden variety » Thu May 28, 2009 1:19 pm

Hey again,

I don't think were supposed to "give advice" here. So all I can do is talk about what I would do if my mom faced the same circumstances.

First of all, I know what a frozen compressor is all about, and that means the vehicle is down and shouldn't be driven. The first thing I would do is be sure mom has a reliable car at her command. Now the only thing on wheels for me is a '74 F-100 with 368,000 miles and some pretty bad manners (leaks oil, blows stink into the cabin), and the other thing (with wheels) is the mountain bike. Neither of these would I wish on my worst enemy, much less my 80+year-old mom! So I can't get a reliable car to mom from my own fleet, then I'd opt to get a rental car for her and be sure she can pick it up. So far pretty easy stuff that can be done over the phone.

Now if mom lived a couple hundred miles away, it would take several hours for me to go out there. Then it would take another couple hours to "prep" - that is find a part which would mean either getting a new one or get one from the salvage yard. The other BIG problem is discharging the system to remove the compressor. I don't have the freon tanks to transfer the gas in the system to a safe place. Even when a compressor seizes from low freon, there is still PLENTY of gas in that system. I WOULD NOT release freon into the air on purpose. It happened once to me, and I was broken-hearted because I couldn't stop it from escaping, and I knew I was beating up God's planet, or as Dallas and me might say, we're harming our Grandmother (the Earth).

Then the procedure of removing and replacing a compressor on the average newer model Honda, Toyota, Nissan (mom has an Altima), or average domestic car would probably be about 4-6 hours of labor. Then I'd also have to allot time to refill and check for leaks.

With all these things, and more uncalculated "surprises" I forgot about, or or other unplanned events that WILL creep into the picture plus the extra driving time. I'm looking at a couple days of time, so I wouldn't be stretching myself too thin among the other things I do in a day, like eating, sleeping, resting, praying, taking care of the dogs, and relaxing.

$800 bucks and a nice mechanic would be the better deal for me, and money well spent. Mom would probably get transportation to and from the service station, or they might lend her a car like some shops around here do. That would save me on a car rental for mom for a couple days. It would also give me the peace of mind knowing I wouldn't have to be worrying about how to control every detail if doing this job were to become my responsibility by my choice. Also, the repair shop could probably get the job done in a single business day because there is usually more than one technician on hand, or an expert who has done numorous similar jobs and will work faster and smarter than me, the average backyard mechanic.

So if it were me, Tim-one, having this job done by a professional saves me time and saves the earth damage either from accodent or extra carbon from driving back and forth. Mom gets personal service with a guarantee, and her transportation needs are taken care of. That translates into a load off mom's mind, and off of mine too.

After all that's what you asked about, isn't it? For me, peace and serenity would be simple and easy. Life's circumstances like this happen all the time - "stuff" wears out and breaks down. Some circumstances will take much more out of me than an hour or two of phone calls and a few hundred bucks. For me this is a no-brainer (no -brainers are so handy for those of us who have a limited number of brain cells vying for the "chair" when the music stops). Life's problem for me and mom get's settled quickly in exchange for my money. Or if it were in your case, a shared financial burden. Nobody gets hurt, nobody needs any apologies, and no one need sacrifice an entire gift of two today's. I'm totally OK with letting somebody who is a professional at solving specifc problems like this to do his job and earn his pay by solving my problem. So there are benefits for many in this deal.

That's how it would probably be for me if I faced a similar situation with my own mom.

Gotta love those no-brainers!

God bless,
garden variety
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Postby tim-one » Thu May 28, 2009 2:11 pm

Thanks, Paul. I did ASK for the advice. I may not DO IT, but I do consider it. I know all you can tell me is you're take. You done it right, bro.

* I haven't seen my mom is since I'm sober anyway. Mom-earth might forgive me for the carbon to see my earth-mom.

*R-134 is not on the EPA's list of stuff that hurts the ozone. (By the way .. anybody heard if the holes are closing up after all that expensive chloro-flouro-carbon retooling? Haven't heard a word. That was R-22 and R-12.)

*I have more time than money, as usual. My sibs are short, too, and I'm the only one who can change the money thing.

*Of course, Mr. It's-never-easy-nuthin-goes-right-for-me here, expects the unexpected. Well, expects things not to go right, anyway. Hmpf.

*Hhhmmmm ... warranty. The parts I buy would be warranted and mechanic's warranties usually aren't more than 90 days. Eh ... not enough to talk myself out of it. :roll:

Thanks for helping me think it out, bro. I really appreciate it. Good thinkin.

Let me go over this with my Life Director.

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Postby tim-one » Fri May 29, 2009 11:47 am

Wow. Godded again!

I was all cranked up gathering parts and tools planning to drive to Dallas to fix mom's car. As I said, I could do it for half of the mechanic's price.

I told the mech yesterday that I was coming. This guy is unbelievable. I'd asked him if he knew how far his shop is from where mom lives so I could either use a tow strap or have it towed. He said he's got a perfectly good shade tree in his parking lot I could use.


I really felt bad already that I was robbing this nice guy So I decided to hire him to at least evacuate and re-charge the coolant and test my work for leaks. And you, Paul, helped be remember to be responsible with relasing stuff into the air.

The mech called me this morning and said he found an AC compressor kit in the back of his shop and offered to do the labor for $478, about $100 more than it was going to cost me.

I told him to do it. He gets the business. Saves me the trip. Mom can get her car back today. My brothers and sisters and I save a buncha money. Everybody wins. (Well, except I don't get the grateful accolades and an olive wreath for my incredible selflessness.) 8)

Oh, man ... God loves us WAY WAY too much. But I'm not getting much practice lately. I'm nervous that I'll be a weenie when something really bad actually DOES happen to me.

Oh, well. That's up to HP. I just can't wait to see what He does next. Whatever it is will be good to me or for me. I came to believe.

Love y'all,
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Postby Dallas » Fri May 29, 2009 3:54 pm

Well, you guys! We have no idea of how many times your sharing will have saved me $300, $750, $600, $850, $400 and many many other amounts!!!

How do I get the "unexpected"?

I listen to guys like you share about their experiences on their journeys.

And, when I don't hear them share -- I log on here and read about them! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Imagine that! Would you have expected that I would get the unexpected -- just by your efforts to share your undexpecteds? :lol:

Next time I'm thinking again... and maybe thinking "I spend too much time on here"... I'll remember... that "Yep. I might spend a lot of time here... but it sure is saving me time, money, serenity... and maybe helping to save my sobriety, too!" :lol: :lol:

When I share, I always think "well, it helps me to share more than it will help anyone else that hears or reads it!"

Then... someone comes along (like me)... and says "Hey man! What you shared last week (or six months ago) really helped me!!!"

I understand.

Best wishes and thanks for your sharing!

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Postby tim-one » Fri May 29, 2009 4:40 pm

Great point, Dallas.

You're right. The time I spend here is helping save me about $24 a day.


Ugh ... when they made me add up how much it cost me to drink ... $24 a day was just the stuff.

Ever added it up? Brutal. Don't forget gas for trips just to get it. Gas driving around so you can get away from your spouse. Related medical bills. Traffic tickets. DWI court. Late bill fees. Every other little thing you can think of specifically related to drinking, drugging, or whatever your gig was.

No wonder my wife is happier. She's got some money in the bank! Well, that and I'm too darn cute to stay mad at. 8)

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