Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Time and Money are Overrated


August has been my most expensive month for three years running. The first time, I was moving AND preparing for teaching. The second time, I visited Seattle and drove across the country, and was preparing for teaching. This time, I visited Seattle, am preparing for teaching, AND my car is suddenly acting its age.

The Eagle-Eyed Commenter was correct last month: the starter needed replacing on my car. I went to Midas last Thursday to get it looked at. Along with an oil change, that ran me $350. Yikes.

Just after noon today, I set out for the depths of Brooklyn to see a dermatologist for a one o'clock appointment. It took nearly an hour, as I had suspected, because the directions had me driving through the streets. I'm still a bit bitter, but almost used to this kind of thing. What I'm NOT happy about and am SURELY bitter about is waiting for OVER an hour and a half to see the doctor!

I had time to read the entirety of EW's Fall Movie Preview Issue, AND get through almost a chapter of a book about Writing About Reading.

The docter herself was fairly nice, but she didn't actually do anything other than ask three questions and write four prescriptions. Eek.

As I'd recognized the area as near the place I picked up a bed back in April, I checked my atlas and sure enough, saw the Belt Parkway just down the street. Sweet!

I easily got on the freeway, and even enjoyed the view of the sandy dune beaches. Then I got to the Van Wyck, made it through the slowing, and arrived in my neighborhood.

As I slowed and parked, I heard a noise. It sounded like some kind of lawn thing, a hissing or whoosing. Hm, I thought. I got out of the car and the hissing continued. Just for kicks, I walked to the other side of the car, where the sound got quieter.

I walked back to the driver side door, the sound got louder again. I bent down, it got louder still, and then I discovered the hissing HOLE in my TIRE.

Oh, shit.

I actually ran up and around the corner to the hardware shop. The guy sold me that sealant-in-a-can, and I ran back down to the car, "vigorously shaking" the can. By then the tire was completely down to the ground. I put the thing in the thing and pushed the button. Beige liquid ran through the tube, for awhile, but nothing else seemed to be happening. I sat there holding down the button for a few minutes. It didn't seem like anything was happening, so I stopped.

Then I felt that the can still wasn't empty, so I re-shook it and tried again. I thought the tire was re-inflating a bit, but the hissing had most certainly not abated. Soon the can was empty and I gave up.


I'm glad that Special Someone is coming over to visit tonight anyway. Changing a tire solo is not fun or easy. More people make it smoother if not exactly easier. I haven't done it for four years, and I haven't ever really explored my car's trunk to see how it's arranged. I'm assuming there's a spare in there. I know the jack is.

Regardless, I'm going to have to get at least one or two new tires. Those are not cheap. Several hundred dollars again.

Add that to not only the previous $350, but the $50 at Half-Price Books back in Southcenter (how I wish they were out here!), and the $97 at Staples the other day, and I am going to be a poor third-year teacher. Here I was all excited about the pay increase, but apparently that's going to go for car maintenance instead!

Now, I must say, in all fairness, that my car has always been great for me. It's never given me big problems, I've never had to even jump the battery. I haven't needed any big repairs on something that wasn't my fault (a couple years ago, the car skidded over some ice and up onto a sidewalk, messing up an axle or two, and some other undercarriage things). And the gas mileage is great: nearly thirty mpg in city and nearly forty on the highway. So it's about time that an eight-year-old car costs me some money.

I just wish I had some more money to spare! Thank god for credit cards.


Lady S said...

Why is it that we always have to wait for the dermatologist for over an hour just to see them for 5-10 minutes? How do they possibly get so back up if they are only with patients for such a short amount of time? I hate that.

Nancy said...

My little West Coaster...don't forget snow tires!! Hee hee.
Henry told me a funny story about drivers in Seattle:
When he lived in Fremont, he lived in a building that was on the corner. There was a light dusting of snow one day, like very, very light. Henry stood on his balcony and watched three Seattle drivers attempt to turn the corner onto his street and instead crash into the lightpole. LOL.
Two words: SNOW TIRES. :D