About Me

My photo

What can I say about me that isn't already online???

Monday, May 04, 2009

Recent life

So my Nissan is in the shop again. On Thursday, as I was driving on highway 50, and traffic around me was doing between 60-70mph, my engine just turned off. The car kept moving, and I only noticed it when I applied the gas pedal and got no response. I shifted the car into neutral, and turned the key, but it didn't start. I put my hazards on and attempted to coast into a parking lot. No worries, really, as I was still doing about 50, and I was nearing my destination. I slowed and entered the parking lot, and attempted to start my car again. It fired up, fortunately. I was doing about 10mph, so had I needed to accelerate again, I would have been in trouble.

I drove it the rest of the evening without incident.

Friday morning, bright and early, I drive to the office. I have some errands to run in Tyson's Corner, so I got there at about 7AM, so that I could have my work done in plenty of time to run my errands. Noon rolls around, and I take off to run my errands and then get back home, as I'm supposed to ride with Michael C out to Front Royal to sing at the Tridentine Latin Mass for the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. After running the errands, I'm leaving the parking lot to get onto highway 7, and my car doesn't move when I apply the gas. It's not running. I turn the key, hoping it will start up. Nothing. Of course, there's a line of cars behind me...

After signaling the 5 cars behind me that they need to go around, I push my car out of the way, and make some phone calls. No one really knows exactly what it is, but the primary question is, "Do you have gas?" Of course, I have gas. I have half a tank. I just filled it up the day before...

So, I look around, and as luck would have it, there's a service center in the same parking lot. It's a Mr. Tire/Goodyear, so I'm not sure if they do diagnostics. I leave the hazard lights on and walk over. As it turns out, they do diagnostics, so they help me push my car from one end of the parking lot to their building, and we put it in the shop.

After a couple hours, they can't find anything wrong with the vehicle. Their first inclination is that it's water in the gas tank, so I should fill it up the rest of the way and hope that's enough to dilute the gas/water ratio. So I take it back and fill it up. I get onto 495 and as I'm exiting 495 to get onto 66 (see location), the car dies again. So I call a tow truck, and they tow the car back to the shop. Again, they can't find anything wrong, except that the tow truck driver didn't give them the keys, so they are good as lost, because I don't have them anymore.

That evening, Michael and I sang at St. John's for the Mass as planned. After Mass, we went to dinner with Fr. C, who said Mass, and then out to Christendom. I had a small role in the latest Mirandum Pictures film, and Michael had a dance to attend. We left about midnight.

Saturday rolls around, and Michael and I head over to Tyson's Corner to talk to the mechanics. No keys have shown up, so Michael drives me to the Nissan dealership and we find that we can get new keys made for $8. I just need a copy of my insurance card. I had a spare key for the ignition, so I brought it to them and asked them to not lock the car. They began working on it, and the car performed just fine for them. They took it for a 45-minute drive and it never had any problems. They said that they would keep it through Sunday and drive it around, trying to get it to stall.

On the way back home, I asked Michael to drop me off at St. Andrew's so I can catch confession. He reminded me that I'd have to walk home, but that didn't bug me too much. He drops me at home first so I could drop off my laptop and pick up the umbrella (and a pipe -- it's a long walk), as it was overcast. After confession, I fired up the pipe and walked back home (about 4.5 miles), which took me about 1.5 hours, walking at good pace. I stopped a couple times for pipe maintenance, and once to check my voice mail on my cell phone, but aside from that, I made pretty good time, overall. I'm sure I was quite the sight: my corncob pipe in my left hand, my long walking umbrella in my right, but pointed up and resting on my shoulder as though it was a rifle. I was walking at a decent clip, so I'm sure people were thinking that I was either a former army boy or just a wierdo looking for attention. Of course, the latter was true...

So I made it back home and then went to the gym where I killed my arms. They are still a little sore, but it's a good kind of sore...

Anyway, so on Sunday, after Mass, Michael and I went to Paul E's Easter Season Party. After a while, I went outside to smoke a pipe, and Michael came with me. Earlier in the day, I had filled the Zippo lighter with fuel, and closed it, but it had been slightly overfilled, so a little bit spilled out onto my hand, so when I tested the lighter, the lighter lit up, and my hand also torched. It didn't hurt at all -- I just felt the warmth of fire and then shook my hand off, and it extinguished itself. Last time I had overfilled the lighter, the entire lighter (outside as well) had gone up in flames and I had dropped the lighter pretty quickly. I didn't fill it that full this time, so the lighter behaved normally -- well, aside from lighting my hand on fire...

So at Paul's place, I wanted to do that trick again. So Michael (who took the picture), Bridget, Jonathan and Draper were watching as I poured a little lighter fluid onto my hand, and attempted to light it on fire. I waited a little too long, because the fluid had all evaporated, and there was nothing left. So I doused my hand a little heavier and spread it around, and this time it caught. I waved my hand around for a quick second, and then shook off the fire. Except that I didn't shake off the fire -- it kept burning, and the harder I shook my hand, the more it burned, because I was feeding it oxygen, so it burned hotter. After a second shake of the hand, I realized that it wasn't going out as easy as it had before, so I ended up having to essentially wipe it off on my pants. Fortunately, they were made of heavy flame-resistant material.

For the first 2 seconds or so, it didn't hurt. For the last 3 seconds or so, it did. But my hand is fine, with only some minor blistering and a lesson learned. Wanna know that lesson? Next time I do that trick, have a bucket of water handy. Alternately, use less oil and spread it around instead of keeping it focused in the palm of my hand (so that it burns quickly and is done). Better yet, use rubbing alcohol, which burns cooler (blue) and doesn't stick to your hand like oil.

So now it's Monday, and the guys at the shop still can't find out what's wrong with the car, because it's not acting up for them. I piked it up and it runs fine.

I've spent nearly $1000 since last Monday. Last Monday, I dropped about $700 into a total fluid flush. Friday, I spent $120 on a system diagnostic and today, I spent another $120 on an hour of miscellaneous labor (dropping the tank so they could test the gas). So much for paying off that credit card this month...
Post a Comment