Tuesday, September 21, 2010
We had our regular Thursday meeting at the Dockside Café this morning instead of Tiffany’s. That’s the place on Lake Tarpon with the glass wall in our meeting room. There was a buffet, and they opened up just for us. The agreement was that each person pays $8 for breakfast, with a minimum of 10 breakfasts. Some of the guys had plates piled high with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and Danishes, and drank juice and coffee. I splurged with decaffeinated coffee, Danish, about one egg, and some potatoes. I’m not sure what it all totaled, but I know I could have really ruined the day there.
We had two members of the Tarpon Springs Club there, Mary and Brendan, and even then we only had 8 paid breakfasts. We’ll have to see how this all turns out – several members are out of town or at work right now when we meet.
I wrote the check, and later deposited the receipts. Then I went to my local Goodyear store and priced tires for the Dodge. The tires are six years old, and probably have another 25 or 30 thousand miles left, but I learned the hard way that old tires don’t like high speed travel. Both cars get out on US 19 and the interstates periodically, so they both need good tires. The Goodyear manager gave me prices on three tires - $338.51 for four Kelly tires rated at 40,000 miles, $451.33 for four Goodyear tires rated at 50,000 miles, both A traction and B temperature, and $588.46 for four Michelin tires rated at 80K miles. The Camry is riding on new Michelins, and it’s kind of silly to buy 80,000 mile tires for a 10 year old car with 62,000 miles on it, but I felt like going first class.
Before I did that, I had to go down to Sam’s Club and check on their prices. They didn’t have Goodyears in my size (the antique P195/70R14’s) but they did have a BF Goodrich similar to the Goodyear. The full price for them was about $330. The 80,000 mile Michelin’s were about $400, but they had a $70 rebate on four tires until Sept. 30, so I paid $328.92 for four Michelins with all the trimmings, including road hazards, which would have been an extra cost at the Goodyear store.
The discount was just luck, but the difference in price shows that it is good to shop around a little. The Costco manager was telling a guy with an 8 year old tire that he didn’t sell it to the customer as an old tire – he checks every tire in inventory once each year to make sure that they have been rotated properly. Another guy told me that they control their inventory first in-first out when I asked last year.
All in all, I had a good day, except that it took me 30 minutes to get to the head of the line and buy the tires, and then more than three hours to get them mounted. I can tell you a lot about the Sam’s Club inventory, and I did buy some espresso roast coffee beans for the BW.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I slept 9 hours last night, and didn’t wake until 7:30, so I took the dogs for a walk first. When we got back it was 8:20, and only 72 degrees, so the BW went out to Oldsmar for another cortisone shot and I went for a walk. When I was done, and just ready to get in the shower, she called because she couldn’t start the car – the key wouldn’t turn. I tried to coach her to move the steering wheel, and she said she had done that. While she was on the phone I had her move it both right and left, and then told her to push harder. Nothing worked, and she didn’t want to call AAA, so I told her to wait inside because she said it was too hot in the car, got dressed, and drove out there – a half hour away. I saw her car, opened the door, and started the car with no trouble. Then I locked it and started for the Baycare building, but she was walking toward me.
She tried to start the car again, and couldn’t, so I used her keys, started the car, and asked – she had always been pulling hard on the steering wheel, either right or left, and it wouldn’t allow the key to turn. She said she had used that technique once before and it worked, but I don’t know how to solve her problem. I did offer to trade cars back with her, but she likes the Camry.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
A couple of weeks ago the BW decided that a magazine (newspaper?) was worth buying. It was on a stand at the checkout counter at the grocery, and the front had a big headline – “Diet Better than Surgery?”, or something like that. It fermented for a while, but a couple of days ago I noticed that it had been lying open on the counter for three or four days. I asked her if she was going to try it and said I would if she would, and she said she would. We had five pounds of brown texmati rice on hand, so it wasn’t a big problem. I did buy more fruit, but we had plenty of everything else. The diet is based on the rice diet developed at Duke University, so I bought a couple of copies of the book that inspired the article, one for the BW and one for Bill, who has really serious kidney problems. I couldn’t find the original diet described anywhere, but there are a lot of people that will sell you something if you search for “Rice Diet”.
We have now done it for two days and I am surprised at the amount of sodium on my food entries. I don’t know if you can read the article, or if I’ll get in trouble for posting it, but here are scanned copies of the thing.
After three days I am surprised at the drop in sodium on the nutrition page, and I had lost three pounds this morning after two days, and the BW claimed that she was less bloated and felt better. The next trick is to keep with it for a while. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The BW asked how I hurt my knee a little while ago, and this is the story. I left the house a little before six this morning, and the stars were out. Orion is straight overhead now, and all the brighter stars show up just fine, but there’s so much light pollution that you can’t see the dimmer stars, and the Milky Way is only a memory. Anyhow, there is enough light to see by, even under the trees, although that’s pretty dark. The horizon is completely dark to the west, because of the gulf, but there is some light in the other directions, brightest in the south. I made it up to 16th street, but the only light on 16th is at the corner of Pennsylvania and 16th, so the two blocks to Nebraska are very dark. Trees hang over you, there are no house lights, but you can still make out where the sidewalk is. When I got to Nebraska, the house on the south-west corner has three bright lights, and it’s hard to see because they shine in your eyes.
As I started to cross Nebraska, I stepped in a depression in the gutter, turned my left ankle over, and fell down, landing on my left hand and my knees. I brushed the dirt off, and still had more than four miles to go, so I kept going and didn’t realize that my right knee and left thumb were skinned. When I got home I brushed against the storm door latch and lifted a flap of skin by my right elbow, so I get a star for being the graceful one today.
Last night we drove 30 miles through the city for the opening night of a modern opera the BW wanted to see. I like the music of a lot of operas, but the only one that I really enjoyed was a movie called Carmen Jones. I didn’t make a fuss, because it makes her happy. This thing is called “A Little Night Music” and the music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, and the book was by Hugh Wheeler. It “was suggested” by an Ingmar Bergman film. There was a lot of talking as well as the singing, so I think it is light opera – I’m not sure.
We got there, got a parking place, go in, and got our seats. Then I could understand maybe 20 percent of what they said, probably one percent of what they sang. Fortunately, I read the four page synopsis before the thing started, so I could recognize the part where this guy said his wife hadn’t had relations with him for eleven months, and the other guy’s wife agreed to accommodate him as a favor to an old friend. That was the high point for me, because I was sure what was going on, even though they were singing.
It was so hard to follow that I just dropped out and thought of other things after about 15 minutes. I remembered learning to play the piano and pipe organ, and then learning to play my father’s violin after he died, and how I gave it up to please the BW just when I was ready to join a string quartet. My best piece was Turkey in the Straw – I loved to sound like Grand Old Orpey.
The first time I looked at my watch the show had been on for a half hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half. Then the BW crooked her finger at me, grabbed her cane, and we sneaked out the back and down the stairs. Then I asked the ticked man, on the way out, if the opera had an intermission – he said yes, in about 8 minutes. The good news was, it was easy to get out of the parking lot, and there was very little traffic on the way home. The show started at 7:30, and we left at 9:00. I didn’t ask how long it would run because I was so happy to be on my home, and we were here just before 10. I consider it a triumph, although there are a series of events in Tarpon Springs, three of which are operas. Fortunately, at least I recognize the names of them.
I asked her at supper tonight if she could understand the words (which were in English) and she said she couldn’t understand anything, so I was a mutual reaction. We both clapped on demand, however.
Friday, September 17, 2010
For the last week or two, the old Dodge that I have was acting as if the battery was low – it didn’t go “yeah, yeah, yeah” when I turned the key, it would go “I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna” instead. Yesterday I had a 9:00 appointment with a podiatrist, and when I wanted to go home, the car went, “I don’t -----.” Fortunately, it did start on the second try, so I took it to McBee’s and left it. They called about four hours later and said it was ready. It had a new starter. The bill was $337.77, and I was happy to pay it. The Stratus is a 2000, and has 62,000 miles on it, mostly in short trips. Any time there’s a problem, I deliver it to McBee’s, and they make it run like a new car again.
When I told this story to the TOPS group, one lady asked what it cost, and told me that the alternator cost $123, or some other price like that, and someone would put it on for me as a courtesy. Maybe they would for her, but I doubt that they would for me. I looked at the receipt, and they charged me one hour ($80) to diagnose the problem, get the new part, and replace the starter. It is not a rebuilt starter, it’s brand new. I like it that way.
To change the battery, you have to remove the left front wheel and the inner fender to get to the old one. The engine compartment is packed incredibly full of stuff, and I probably couldn’t even find the starter if I could get the car up in the air.
I also remember when Annie had my old Firebird convertible, and they were going to charge her $80 for a new starter. I told her that she could buy a rebuilt starter for $20 and change it herself, or pay the $80 if she wanted to do that. Then I asked her how long she had to sell lipstick to make and extra $60. After she thought about it, she decided that she would get her hands dirty. She bought the rebuilt starter; I got the car up on ramps, and helped her by loosening a couple of the mounting bolts. I also bought a new contactor (switch for the starter) and installed it, because that would be the next thing to go bad. It only cost me $5.00, and I didn’t want to mess with it again.
When she took the bad starter in for a refund, the boys in the parts store didn’t believe that she had done it, but she really enjoyed getting her hands greasy that time.
I also went through three replacement starters in tow years for our first van when we were living in the van and trailer, and the third replacement was a brand new unit. I learned the hard way a couple of times that rebuilt stuff isn’t always as good as new, and when you keep getting stranded in the middle of nowhere you’re willing to pay. The best is barely good enough.
Anyhow, I’m running around in a car that turned 10 in July, and there’s no real point to this blog.
Get An Email Alert Each Time REXTINE1 Posts