Category Archives: Uh oh

See… SEE!

I told you.  I told you in the last post.  Be careful what you wish for.  I was so excited to get the last of the floor wrapped up, the Jeep put back together and be done with projects for a while.  Then what happens?

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The biggest flood since 1993.  So more projects!  Yay.  All things considered, we didn’t get it that bad.  Sooo many people around us got it so much worse.  We didn’t have any of the nasty floodwater come into our home, but we did get lots and lots of crystal clear ground water bubbling up through any nook or cranny in the basement.

It started on Friday.  It’d been raining for probably 2 weeks at this point and the flood was already forecast.  At the beginning, it was just some wet spots in the carpet.  By the end, the whole floor was drenched.

So gutting the carpet and dry wall quickly became a project on necessity.  It took a few days, but with Andrea’s help, we got everything moved out of the basement.  All the wet stuff cut out, and loaded up on the trailer.  Later today I get to make a run to the landfill… if it doesn’t rain.

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I’ve never experienced a flood first hand before.  And I think my town has to be the absolute best place to have to go through such a thing.  We live in a very small community, so everyone was pitching in, helping each other out.  Checking on each other.

Once all the sandbags were stacked, everyone as prepared as you could be for such a thing, there was just this errie calm that fell over the town.  Up and down the streets, everyone was just sitting out on their porch, waiting for it to roll in.  What else can you do?  There was an attitude of indifference about it all no matter who you talked to.  So we fell in line, pulled up some chairs, and waited.

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For Luke especially, this was an event I wanted him to see and take in.  There’s not a ton of stuff a person remembers when you’re seven or eight years old, but this is something that I bet he will remember for the rest of his life.

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It’s going to take some time, but we’ll be fine.  It’s been about a week and water is still coming into the house.  Our sump pump keeps pumping it out non stop… after it runs across the floor of course.  So it’s not like our basement is filled with water.  All the mold friendly spaces have been cut out.  So now, we just wait.

The stress hasn’t got too me too much… the only annoying thing is having half of our belongings stacked up in the garage taking up space.  Well that and all the water in my basement.  But 6 months or so from now, we’ll be back to normal.  This is just temporary, and will definitely be an experience we’ll never forget.

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The Problem With the Jeep

Ever since we bought the Jeep almost two years ago, it’s had one basic problem.  We like it.  A lot.

This has definitely been the most high maintenance vehicle I’ve ever owned.  Seems like there’s always something up.  Sometimes little things, sometimes big things.  Even so, it’s not a difficult, nor expensive vehicle to work on.  Everything that has come up we’ve handled fairly easily.

But now it’s looking like the engine… and maybe even the transmission are about done for.  All said and done it would be around $6,000 to $7,000 to rebuild both of them.

So the crossroads we find ourselves at is this… we have enough money to replace the Jeep.  That being, the Jeep when running is worth about $3,500.  We could go buy another $3,500 vehicle.  But who knows what kind of work that will need, could be flawless (not likely) or it could be about to blow just like the one we have.  That’s a big gamble.

We’ve been looking around at vehicles in the $5,000 to $6,000 range and there’s a lot of crap out there!  150,000 to 250,000 miles with paint that’s all scratched up, interiors that are worn out.  There’s some decent “Grandma cars”, but Andrea flatly refuses to drive anything like that.  I guess I kinda understand.  You have to at least like what you’re driving or else you aren’t motivated to take care of it.

Or for $6,000 we get a brand new engine and transmission that has no miles on it at all, comes with a 3 year warranty and should be good for 100,000 miles if we take care of it, like we certainly would.

If we didn’t like driving it, it wouldn’t even be an issue.  But it’s comfortable, roomy, and it looks good!  Plus we just spent $1,000 on tires 6 months ago.

If we do this though, it pretty much guarantees we can’t sell it… ever.  It just wouldn’t be worth it.  Even after dumping $6k into it, it’s still a $3k vehicle to the rest of the world.

Sucks to be in this situation, but I always try to think about how we can come out better than before it happened.  Going to keep thinking and praying on it for now.

Fuuuuuuu……dge

I wondered when this day would come.  The day that I seriously have to consider replacing the Toronado.  The damage to the front axle is more extensive that I thought, and it’s not a part that is readily available.  I don’t know if it can be fixed, and we can’t sit around with just one vehicle while I wait for the part to materialize.

I’m really kinda torn.  I’ve been driving this car for 5 1/2 years now and I still like it actually.  I’m familiar with it, and I’m comfortable with it.  But sometimes I think, it’d be nice to have something different.  Not necessarily “newer” or “older” or “cooler”, just nicer.  By that I just mean comfortable and reliable.  I don’t need anything fancy or cool.

Andrea and I differ a bit in that.  She needs the cool factor.  And the cool factor drives up the price.  One note of observation: “grandpa cars” are usually cheaper.  And they’re usually pretty well taken care of.  There seems to be a lot of them, an nobody wants one.  By contrast cool cars are wanted by everybody, so you get a lot less car for your money.  Besides, old people really have it figured out.  Big roomy cars you can stretch out in.  Comfy seats.  And why do you need lots of power?  It’s not like you’re going to pass anybody with the cruise control set at 55mph.

So I think for now… unless someone on my Oldsmobile forums posts up the part I need, I’m going to buy a super cheap car to get us by for a few months.  I don’t want to run out buy something that we settle for just because we’re desperate.  So I’m on the lookout for a super cheap car for now AND the Toro parts I need.  And maybe long term something in real nice shape that I can drive for another 5+ years.

It feels like a really sad day.

Well….  This isn’t good.  It looks like the axle failed BECAUSE another part failed.  The support that holds the axle in place, basically.

The part that is broken is listed in the picture below as “SUPPORT BRACKET AND BEARING”.

The problem is… you can’t just run down to AutoZone and get a new one.  The only place I can get one is from another Toronado.

It MIGHT be able to be welded back together.  But I don’t know.

Could this be the end of the Toronado?

I hope not.

Stranded.

My car has only left me stranded once before in the 6+ years I’ve owned it.  And that was due to my own stupidity flooding the engine.

This time around the failure was more… catastrophic.

As you can see in the picture above, something “exploded”.  That something was the inside joint on my passenger side axle.  I had a mild vibration over the past couple months, and I couldn’t track it down.  So I just kept driving it.  Today on the way home from town, the vibration quickly started to escalate.  I slowed down to 50, and the vibration went away, but then started to come back.  I slowed down to 40… got better…. then came back.  I found a place to pull over and did a walk around on the car.  That’s when I discovered the mess.  The car still moved under its own power so I figured I would try to limp home.

I was about 10 miles from home and figured I’d give it a shot.  Thank God I decided to take the back roads home.  So I head down the county black top doing 25mph.  Everything seems like it was going pretty good.  Until I got to a decent sized hill.  Then POP!  WHZZZZ!  And that was it.  No more go.

So I got off the road as best I could with no power.  I pulled out my cell phone and of course “Your battery has less than 10% remaining, please plug in your charger.”  Nice.  I called my neighbor Chris with my final minutes of battery life and he brought out a truck to pull me home.

So the Toronado is now back in the driveway.  I ordered a new axle.  If there’s anything frustrating about this it’s that the part that broke is a part I replaced only two years ago.  With a 30 year old car that has over 260,000 miles, you figure its going to be one of the 30 year old parts that breaks… not a two year old part with maybe 20,000 miles.  But nothing you can do about it now.  The replacement part is only $70, so still not quite justified to get a new car yet.

At least I made it to the liquor store… I was out of beer.

It Hurts

Luke got his first big boo boo today.  First one big enough to cut the skin.

He was trying to get up to the table in our computer room like he’s done countless times before.  But this time he missed when he reached out and went face first into the leg of the table.  At first we thought he just got a bloody nose from the bonk.  But when we looked closer he actually cut his nose on part of the leg as his face slid down the metal table leg.

Of course he cried.  Cried like I haven’t heard him cry before.  Real pain.  I think I know why it is you feel so bad for kids like this when these things happen.  Because they just don’t deserve it.  When an adult walks face first into an I-beam, you figure, well that’s payback for something stupid they’ve done.  But when it happens to a baby, it just feels totally wrong because they’re so innocent.

We were pretty worried at first.  It looked like it sliced in pretty deep because the skin had a white-ish look too it.  But as we looked more at it, it started turning a dark red, more like a blood blister.  We were worried that we were going to have to take him in to get checked out.  But the fact that he stopped crying about a minute after we picked him up and soothed him, and then back to his normal self within 5 minutes really calmed us down.  Heck he was back to crawling around and wreaking havoc.

So he’ll be fine.  Just like all kids do.

Toast-erriffic!

Last night around 10:15pm I noticed it felt pretty warm in the house, so I checked to see if we just had turned the AC off for the night or what. Unfortunately the fan was still blowing, but it wasn’t cold. A quick check outside proved the AC unit wasn’t running in the back yard.

Figured we’d make it through the nights so decided to call the landlord in the morning.  So today he said he’d try to get somebody over here but it was a pretty busy day for AC guys.  I figured that was true and we aren’t any more important than anyone else on the list, so we left the dog with plenty of water and headed off to work.  Forecasted high of only 106 today.

Got home at 5:30pm or so and the landlord and the AC guy were there waiting for me.  Apparently the landlord didn’t bring the right keys or something to get into the house.  They didn’t have to wait long though, and I was able to let them in.  First thing the AC guy did… was check the breaker.  WHY THE HELL DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT!  It never even occurred to me for some reason.  But he flips that on, lo and behold the AC fires right up.  He hooks some gauges up just to make sure it’s operating correctly and it appears to be.  Guess it’s just been running so much lately with the 100+ temperatures  that it started drawing enough current to keep up and the breaker tripped.

So quite humbled I thanked both men and they headed to their vehicles.  Soon after I heard a knock again at the door.  It was the AC guy.  He needed a jumpstart because his van battery was dead.  I CAN DO THAT!  So somewhat redeeming my pride I jumpstarted him and he was on his way.

In the end, its all good.  AC is working and recovering.  I’d previously tweeted that we’d save a bunch of money by not running the AC while it was broke.  Of course Andrea was probably right when she said we’re going to spend all the money we saved getting the house back down to 85!  No kidding!  It’s toast-erriffic in here!

I feel so bad.

But it’s not my fault!

The other day I decided to drive the Blazer to work.  You know to kinda justify the insurance and registration, plus it’s only like 5 blocks from the house.  What could go wrong?

Well the Blazer made it to work, and even ran a few errands around town without incident!  (Yes, it was a proud moment).  But there’s still a lot that needs done on that thing so I popped the hood and after about twenty minutes I noticed an ANIMAL stuck in the passenger fender between the battery.  “Oh no.  How long has it been there… please don’t be dead.” I poke it and it’s warm to the touch and squirms a bit.  “It’s alive!”. It seems to be a cat.  I try to figure out how the heck it got in there, but I can’t for the life of me.  So I have to take the battery out, and can tell it’s starting to get scared.  So with the battery removed I try to pull the cat out, while keeping it in a position that will keep my forearm intact should it FLIP OUT!  I can’t get it out, so I decide to go inside and get some food and see if I can lure it out.  By the time I’m walking out the door with food in hand, I see a white cat hauling ass down the driveway and down the alley out of sight.  I knew there was no way I was catching it so I let it go.

That’s not why I feel bad.

Yesterday as I was leaving work I noticed the older lady next door.  She was standing in her back yard calling “Kitty!  Heeere kitty kitty!”

But it’s not my fault!  Really!

My old ways…

You know how they say if you have a habit, and then you quit that habit it’s easy to fall back into the trap?  I’m starting to feel that happen again with the IGN Message Boards.  Though I wouldn’t really call it a habit.  More like a tendency.  What’s the first sign of addiction?  Denial?  Ha ha!

It’s probably unknown to most of the readers here, that my history with IGN is long and storied…dating back to when it was just N64.com (best viewed in 600×800 ha ha).  My message board profile was created in 2001 and since then I’ve racked up 4,452 posts.  To me that’s quite a bit.  Though there’s many members there with over 10,000 posts!  I’ve wasted a lot of time and stayed up way too many nights rapping on the IGN boards.

I think what started it is partly all the nostalgic N64 reviews I’ve been doing, but mostly us having the Wii now.  I probably was most addici…interested in the IGN boards back in the GameCube days.  Ashamed, I admit I spent more time on IGN talking about games than actually playing them.  And I was paying $15 a year to do it.  (Still do!  He he.)  But it was a transitional time for me.  I’d just gotten out of high school where I had plenty of time to play my games, and play them until they were beaten.  To college, going to class, going to work, and trying to have a social life.  I must emphasize TRYING!  I didn’t have the time to devote that I used to.  But somehow I had the time to sporatically check the boards throughout the day.  If I couldn’t play my games, I could at least read and talk about them.  At one point the stack of games I had built up that I had barely played was pathetic.  All the money I’d spent on these games, just to have them, only to TALK about them on IGN.  Sheesh.

Heres a game I bought almost 5 years ago.  I have played it for about 30 minutes.

Here's a game I bought almost 5 years ago. I have played it for about 30 minutes.

But this post is SUPPOSED to be about how all of a sudden I find myself returning to the boards.  I sort of fell out of the boards as the Gamecube approached its end of life.  But now that we have the Wii…I find myself able to stay up with all the latest topics.  Just this week, the boards were abuzz with a new game that was coming out called World of Goo.  If you were like Andrea you would just dismiss the game because of its silly name.  But in reality, it’s a fantastically fun puzzler and it’s only $15.  Had it not been for the IGN boards I probably would have dismissed it myself.  At the same time…if it weren’t for the IGN boards I wouldn’t have even known about the game, and being ignorant to its exsistance, wouldn’t have missed never playing it, and thus never spent the money in the first place!

That is the whole point of this long diatribe here.  That perhaps the boards aren’t the most healthy thing for me FINANCIALLY.  Ignorance is bliss…and cheap apparently.  Posting and reading on the boards makes me want things I otherwise wouldn’t have even known about.  And its going to take great restraint to avoid a whole new stack of games I barely have time to play.

Watch your head, you could be next!

Well this last weekend my grandma went in the hospital for a cerebral hemorrhage.  Really a bad deal, but seems to be heading towards the best possible outcome all things considered.  When I first got the call last Thursday, the talk was to hurry because there might not be much time.  Luckily its now Monday and they’ve moved her from Critical Care to a regular hospital room.  For now it looks like long term therapy though, she has a lot of the same effects of a stroke.  She has limited movement on her left side, and has some difficulty getting the words she wants out.  Still has quite a bit of pain too.  But hopefully with time, she can get close to 100%, but there’s no way to know.  Just lots of prayers is about all we can do for now!

AND THEN TODAY…

I’m out helping put the new transmitter in at KQLA in Manhattan.  It’s big and heavy, so 5 of us were muscling it around trying to get it down a ramp into the building, and one of the guys grabs a safe jack and lifts it to slide it over the transmitter into the building so the guys in there could use it.  As he’s lifting it, the handle swings down and smacks me square on the top of the head HARD!  It’s a hard device to describe, but imagine getting a five foot long wooden baseball bat dropped on your head from about 4 feet.

I didn’t quite know what happened at first.  We were using a winch, and I thought maybe the winch cable snapped and got me.  I couldn’t even tell where I got hit.  Then I looked down and the cable was still there, then realized my head was throbbing pretty good.  I take off my hat to feel how big a bump I got, then noticed my hand was covered in blood.  I was pretty freaked out for a few seconds, but they looked it over, and it must have just broke the skin, but no gash.  So I just got my bell rung real good.  But still, kinda scary.

So I dunno what’s going around, but you might wear a helmet just in case!

Well crap

I think I’m starting to get sick.  I haven’t been sick in a long time and I was enjoying the hell out of it!  But we spent the weekend at my Aunt Kathy’s and my little brother Jake was sick as a dog.  I musta caught it.

I woke up about 4:00 am this morning with a killer stomach ache.   I probably laid there for an hour until I could  finally get some sleep.  Then I wake up this morning and what do you know…the stomach ache is gone.  Only to be superseded by a hellacious sore throat.  WTF?  Luckily after some cold milk and warm coffee it isn’t too bad now.  But I dunno what’s next.  Earaches?