Thursday, September 22, 2011
Last Thursday my car threw a rod and blew my engine. Major car repair cost. I have been driving my old beater "just in case" minivan. It runs VERY loud and slow and I have always known it would eventually die.
Today it died. In the middle of morning rush hour on a road under construction that was down to a single lane less than a mile from the gas station where I had just filled it up. Two guys stopped and pushed me into the construction lane so I didn't hold up traffic too much.
Next Thursday I plan to just stay in bed, I do not have a good trend going right now.
I knew last week that my normal commute would strain the minivan but right up until the moment it quit it had been running "normally". It gave no indication it was about to die. It just stopped.
I'm not too upset about it; I knew it would probably happen and it lasted a week, so that's one week of car rental I did not have to pay. What upsets me is the $55 in gas I just put in the tank. The stupid thing could have had the decency to die BEFORE I went to the gas station.
I don't think I will get it repaired. Based on how it had been running I suspect it won't be cheap...both the motor and the transmission and issues. I paid $350 for it three years ago and have put on new brakes, a muffler and replaced the tires. So all told I've got maybe $850 into it. My sister drove it for a year when she didn't have a vehicle and it saved me about $150 in car rental this last week so all in all I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of it. The tires are only a few months old so I can sell them, or I can just donate the vehicle to charity and take the tax write off (the say they take non-running vehicles although I still feel weird about dumping it on them). As a bonus saving the plate registration is due in a month so I won't have to pay that now if I get rid of it, and my car insurance will drop by a few dollars.
My son has his permit and the minivan was going to be what he would drive when he gets his license. He's still a few months away from that; we will have to come up with another plan now. His dad said he might be able to do something in Jan/Feb to get Matt a car to drive so he can get to school and get a job.
The only car the rental place had when I got there was a Dodge Charger. It has a push button start which is major cool. Yes, I am easily impressed. I am also 100x more likely to get a speeding ticket now, this car and my luck (and, I'll admit, driving habits) all scream "I'm speeding, give me a ticket!". It's like I am a beacon for police radar and I don't seem to be able to do the helpless "poor me" act well enough to get out of them like other people I know have done. Oh well, I will deal with that if it happens...and try to make sure it doesn't. Maybe I'll track it here as an Other Goal..."Do not get a speeding ticket 1x per day".
I signed the invoice and put down the deposit at the car repair place Tuesday night so they should have ordered the motor yesterday. Depending on how fast it ships I might have my car back by the end of next week.
Now I'm just waiting for the third bad thing to happen, because problems seem to come in 3s.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Or so I was told once (have faith, I will get to the point eventually).
This weekend I resumed replacing light switches and outlets. I am going from the 35 year old original beige switches & to nice sleek black panel switches.
I changed 5 light switches and 2 outlets on Sunday. Whatever “electrician” installed the original ones probably electrocuted himself a long time ago. None of them were wired the same way and the bathroom outlet – which is right next to the sink where I use my blow dryer – was not the proper kind nor was it even grounded! Even I know enough to realize that isn’t good.
Fortunately I don’t have to run new wires, I just need to unhook them from the old and attach them to the new. Unfortunately the stupid things don’t come with directions so I have no idea why sometimes the wires poke into tiny holes and sometimes they bend around screws. But at least they are now all grounded (and the one in the bathroom is now the proper kind of outlet, GFSI or whatever it is called) and turn on / provide power.
But getting back to the blog title…Replacing the switches & outlets reminded me of when my grandmother moved in with me about a month after my divorce. I had spent part of a Saturday replacing all of the burned out light bulbs in the house, including the #!@$* halogens above the stove (a major pain in the backside to replace!) and putting covers on some of the outlets where they had been missing. There were MANY burned out bulbs and many had broken in the socket so I had to turn off the power & use pliers to remove the little metal screw in things (I have a serious desire to avoid being shocked or electrocuted). Why were there so many you ask? It’s a long story, suffice to say my ex had a lot of issues and the stress for me to maintain even simple things like light bulbs & outlet covers just wasn’t worth dealing with him in those final years.
This “work” was certainly nothing major or complicated, at least in my opinion (except for the #!@$* halogens!). Actually, I can’t see it being considered as a lot of work in anybody’s opinion. But my grandmother was mightily impressed and said to me…”You work so hard, what you need now is a good man!”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
Her response? Said in all seriousness…”So he can do everything for you!”
Ummmm….no, I don’t think so.
No offense guys, but I think I can handle light bulbs LOL! And a whole lot more. Although I am willing to hand over responsibility for the #!@$* halogens.
So here’s a question for the men…Would you really want a wife / girlfriend who depended on you to do “everything” and was not willing and/or (seemingly) capable of handling “anything”, even something as simple as removing a broken light bulb?
I’m not talking about true physical / mental / medical conditions or disabilities that prevent someone from doing things, that is a different issue and completely understandable. I’m talking about someone choosing to be helpless.
I would chalk it up to generation gap (my grandmother is in her 80s) but it is so far out of my comprehension that anyone, of any age, man or woman, would either a) want to be with someone who was that completely helpless; or b) could be OK with him/herself being that completely helpless.
What I REALLY need is…a good housekeeper! I seem to be missing that gene.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
We had to stand around for an hour in the cold so I wore long running pants underneath my skort...and realized right before the race started that I had no way to carry them if I removed them to run. Oh, well. I think this was taken around mile 6.
This is Sandy, the Team in Training coach with whose group I have been doing my long runs. The weekend before the HM she ran a 50k (or maybe a 50 mile, she does both!).
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
On April 30 I ran my first ever race, a 5k. At the time it seemed incredibly difficult. My original goal run is only a 2 mile in 18 minutes but I decided I needed to be able to run further than 2 miles as a kind of buffer / safety net, to ensure I wouldn’t crap out on the 2 mile when I test. So I signed up for the race - which was local – and ran, took flying leaps over flattened road kill and had a conversation with my multiple personalities.
Here is a link to the original blog / race recap and an excerpt:
Crazy Me: There's the Perch Run in July, and I bet there's other races around here in June...and The Crim is in August and then there's the half marathon in October...
NM: (realizing that [Crazy Me] isn't playing with a full deck) Wait just a minute there! The Perch Run is 4 miles! The Crim is 10!
CM: (not pausing for breath) By July 4 miles will be nothing.
NM: Hold it!......Running is a means to an end, not the end itself. Remember my goal? Earn my Black Belt. That's it, not distance racing.
CM: (still not stopping for breath) But...if we...keep adding distance to the running, we can talk to IT Finance lady at work who's training for a half, and join a running club, and start training, and..
NM: (giving The Look) No....No 10 mile run. No half marathon. Don't even say marathon or I will b*tch slap you into next month.
So what did I do?
Saturday 9/18 I ran my first half marathon. 13.1 miles.
Crazy Me, a.k.a. Becky, was in heaven. Not only did she get to run her race but we did so in a hot faux fur leopard print running skort (she’s enthusiastic but her taste is slightly different). Unfortunately I do not have a picture from the race.
My original goal was to finish in 3.5 hours. As I kept training I kept revising that time downward until I reached 2.5 hours. The last 3 or 4 long runs I did prior to the race kept coming in just over that time so I figured it was a good goal.
My official finish time was 2:14:23. My unofficial time, by my watch, was 40 seconds faster (we did not have individual start times & I was at the back of the pack when we started so it took a few seconds to get to the starting line). I finished 25 out of 31 in my age/gender group, and 240 out of 306 overall. I was *slow*.
I am in no way upset that so many people were faster than me. I wasn’t running to “win” a medal, I won just by finishing. I ran a personal best, I ran the whole way without walking (except for a few steps at each water station; I tried running & drinking at the 1st one and ended up snorting water), was ahead of 66 other people, blew away my goal by 16 minutes AND did so without completely killing myself. So I know next time I can do even better. I am simply amazed at the fitness level of the 239 people who finished ahead of me. I struggle to run 2 miles at a 9 minute mile pace and these people ran 13 miles at that pace and faster. The overall winner finished in a mere 86 minutes.
One of them was a 50-60 something lady who has been running for about a year; she also kick-boxes and strength trains. This was her 1st half marathon too. She passed me at mile 2.5 and I never saw her again until after I finished. Simply amazing.
Some things that were different from the 5k races I did:
I only saw 1 person walking. There may have been more behind me but I didn’t catch up to or pass anyone except the one guy.
One older man was puking by the side of the road at about 7 miles. I give him credit though, he started running again although a lot slower than he had been.
I saw a woman crying at mile 9, she looked to be struggling a lot. She had a friend with her though, encouraging her, and she was still going when I passed. I think she, like the older gentlemen above, pushed too hard too fast in the early miles, caught up in the excitement of the race.
One lady was on the ground with paramedics only a dozen feet or so from the finish line. She left by ambulance. She didn’t look like an emergency but rather injured and she was pretty upset, she was asking them to at least get her across the finish line (they wouldn’t).
At least one other person behind me left by ambulance. I think that person was an emergency because the sirens were going, where they hadn’t for the lady.
Right at mile 13, when the finish line was in sight, Sinatra started playing on my iPod…”And now, the end is near”…I crossed the finish line hearing “I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption, I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and more, much more than, I did it my way.”
So, now what’s next? Becky’s insisting on a full marathon. There is the Detroit Free Press marathon in a month. However, being the partially sane personality I am resisting. I highly doubt I am ready to run a full marathon. The farthest I’ve gone is 15 miles & those last 2 were tough. Of course, if I actually ask my coaches if I’m ready and they say no I will have to run it to prove them wrong; if they say yes then I’m committed to doing it. Having a competitive alter ego is a pain sometimes. So I have so far resisted asking the question.
There is also a half marathon as part of the event which I know I can do but it’s getting late in the year and I’m starting to be…concerned is too strong a word…that I will have trouble in the cold.
I have what the Dr. has called “exercise induced asthma”, meaning I have had asthma attacks which only seemed to be triggered by intense cardio and/or cold air and aren’t really detectable during the standard asthma tests. It has not bothered me even a single time this year, even during intense cardio, so I started thinking maybe it was just caused in the past by being overweight. But Sunday I experienced the start of attacks 3 times during the race. I was able to slow and deepen my breathing enough to stop the attacks before they really took hold…but October is likely to be colder than it was Sunday and an asthma attack during the race would not be a good thing even if I get my inhaler Rx filled. I could run with the Team in Training group I’ve done some of my long runs with so I wouldn’t necessarily be alone…but… I have to think about this one a little more.
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