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Today in My History

2000:  Rosie vs. the Giants
2001:  Here Comes the Sun
2002:  Suicidal Squirrels
2003:  Same Time Next Year
2004:  Glass Half Empty
2005:  More Puppy Burps
I Hate Ned

Les Miserables
Music Circus (feature article)
The Maxfield Inn

Books Read in 2007

Updated 7/14:
"Maximum Ride--The Angel Experiment"


"Unhappy Tattoo"

Unhappy Tattoo
click here to download

You Tube version

Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
Cute Dog Video
Keith Olbermann on Libby Pardon
Britain's Got Talent - Dominic
Nessun Dorma
Britain's Got Talent

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 6/17/07)

New on My flickr_logo.gif (801 bytes)

4th of July Barbeque

That's My Answer

Have you answered
the Question of the Day?


15 July 2007

Back in about 1981 or so, we had plans to go to Brasil.  Our first Brasilian student, Eduardo, had returned to Rio de Janeiro and we had one or two groups who had come through Davis by then, so lots of very rich Brasilian kids had given us invitations to come and visit them if we ever went to Brasil.  I was studying Portuguese from a book a friend gave me and translating Eduardo's mother's letters.  We hadn't picked a travel date yet, but it was exciting to think about it.

Then the VW died.

You know how it is when a car starts to die.  First it's one thing, then it's another thing, and then you begin throwing good money after bad.

The VW had been like that for awhile.  We'd just get one thing fixed and something else would go wrong.  It had finally reached a point where we either had to buy a new car or replace the motor.  The auto repair guys assured us that we could get a lot more life out of the old car if we just replaced the motor, so we took a deep breath and spent the money to have the motor rebuilt.

The money that was going to take us to Brasil.

We never did get to Brasil, though Ned did, for a year, and Tom did, for a summer.  Walt's mother and sister went to Brasil and visited some of our students.  Eduardo has been living in Canada with his wife and daughter for 15-20 years now.  His father died several years ago and his sister moved to So. California.  Most of the other Brasilian students, except for Nelson, who lives in Sao Paulo, have long since stopped contacting me.  I no longer have that burning desire to go to Brasil.

But if it hadn't been for the VW, we might have gone.

As it turned out, the new motor didn't last 6 months and we had to buy a new car anyway.

Now it's the Honda.  It's a good car and has run well, except that the air conditioning has stopped working.  I am too old and grumpy to live in the Sacramento valley, and drive up and down the central valley in the summer heat without air conditioning.  The car was due for its 195,000 mile tune up (which apparently people in line waiting to check in at the Honda place found amazing).  The tune-up got done and Walt picked up the car so we could go to San Francisco last night, but it went back into the shop on Friday morning to continue the diagnostics on the air conditioner.

When they finally called, it was to break the news that it needs major surgery.  Major expensive surgery.  It took them a long time to get it to fail so they could diagnose the problem, but it finally did.  We essentially need a new air conditioner and all the component parts that make it run.

$1300 worth of parts and labor.

Whenever we're faced with a big expense like this, I think back to all the good money we poured into the "bad" VW and I wonder if it isn't better to just bite the bullet and go shopping for a new car.

But then I remember that shopping for cars is the thing that both of us hate the most, playing that ridiculous game that you have to play with car dealers, doing all the crazy money laundering that you need to do in order to finance the thing.

And then the whole "breaking in" of the new car.  I love breaking in a new car about as much as I love breaking in new shoes (and I hate breaking in new shoes).  I know where all the sweet spots are in the old car, I know its quirks.  We communicate well with each other.  Having to do it all over again with a new car is just something I'd like to avoid at all costs.

So we'll spend the $1300 and we'll get the a/c fixed and hope that it lasts longer than the reconditioned motor of the old VW did.

At least we have no major travel plans that are going to be affected  by having to spend $1300 that we didn't expect to have to spend.


The beginning of the end?


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