Feb. 23rd, 2007 09:48 pm
sylvar: (Default)
I got the car back today.  The repairs cost less than $2000... but only before sales tax.

We're still going to pay the other half of the furniture purchase so as not to waste the first half, and we still need a mattress set.

But other than that, we'll have to be careful.

I think that means we'll have to find a free place to stay tomorrow night in Gainesville or else we can't go to Mardi Frog.  That would be bitterly ironic, since it involves only a fifth of the driving that Mardi Frog usually does.  I'm appalled that going to a VAX party two hours away might be out of reach for us.  (We can't just go for the day because we have to put in a nontrivial appearance at a 3pm Tampa party -- which will also be fun, but prevents the "leave Tampa at 10am, stay from noon until 8pm, drive home" plan.)

Fortunately, I will be driving to Athens GA soon for company business, which means that a good chunk of money will be expensing its way into our bank account.  (Even at 44.5 cents per mile, it's still cheaper for the company than any other method.)

Also fortunately, we've got about $200 in Target furniture that we decided not to use, and can return for a credit-card refund.

But jeez.  Just... jeez.
sylvar: (Default)
Three things I accomplished today, my second day of medical leave:
  • After a successful saving throw vs. constitution at 6:30 in the freaking morning, I got my car into the garage and arranged a rental while they're working on it (squeaking brakes are a lot easier to ignore than a check-engine light and an engine that idles at 800rpm, no make that 2000, no make that 1000, no make that 500, no make that 1800...)
  • Took Jodi to a followup appointment (it went well; that's all you're getting unless she feels like telling you)
  • Helped Jodi send out some transcript requests (if you've enjoyed this game, you'll enjoy dealing with Hillsborough Community College; meanwhile, Indian River Community College charges absolutely nothing for transcripts and accepts a faxed request for multiple copies on the same piece of paper -- and can produce them the same day, for double the price)
Three things that made the day suck less, or maybe even be enjoyable at times:
  • The rental car I arranged was, for no extra charge, a convertible, and the weather was perfect for it most of the day.
  • I managed to find a drink at Got Tea? that fit within the change from $7 after I bought Jodi's drink.
  • If I can put away all the groceries and scoop the catbox in record time and have a second beer, I might actually get six and a half hours of sleep before I return to the office and start catching up on everything.
sylvar: (B5: Sheridan: Big Damn Hero)
Three things that made me happy today:
Three things I did right today:
  • Put photos of Pied onto Jodi's iPod
  • Got the car to the garage and back again (even though I'll have to do it again tomorrow, since the brakes still squeak sometimes, and the steering pulls to the right)
  • Cooked Yukon Gold potatoes marinated in 1/4 c lemon juice, 1/3 c olive oil, 2 Tbsp Penzeys Greek Seasoning, and 1 Tbsp rosemary
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that made me happy yesterday:
  • Finding out that some of my PaperBackSwap books have arrived in their new homes
  • Reading a Callahan's Crosstime Saloon short story ("Dog Day Evening") to Jodi
  • Learning how to use Google SketchUp (work-in-progress below)
Three things I did right:
  • Got a virtual SunCat 2.0 server up and running, made a few CSS changes, and set up Programmer's Notepad with ProggyTiny
  • Cooked curried sweet potato roti and golden basmati rice for dinner
  • Set my alarm properly in order to take the car in for a brake job this morning
sylvar: (Default)
My coworker Ellen, who was a cataloger at TBLC when I joined the staff, and who is now a manager, is showing off her new engagement ring in the staff room.  She says it came as a surprise.  She's marrying the best friend of our coworker Diana's husband, so they'll have plenty to discuss when they all get together.  (And if the librarians decide to talk shop, the non-librarians will be able to entertain themselves.)

In less exciting news, I wooted a USB 2.0 hard drive enclosure ($17.99 + $5 S&H; note to self, transfer money from my personal mad-money stash to cover the expense), and my car is still in the shop, waiting for a radiator or something.  I'm told they'll install it late today or sometime tomorrow, then wash the car before I come to pick it up.

And I think I may finally have a virtual server ready to start testing my XSLT hacks on.  (Which means I'll finally be able to start writing them.)  


Jan. 26th, 2007 10:53 am
sylvar: (Default)
The car won't be ready for the weekend; most of the work has been done, but the body shop discovered that the headlights they ordered didn't include some hardware that was necessary for mounting them in place.  So those will arrive Monday, and I'll likely have my car back on Monday.

Tomorrow morning, we were planning to go to Davis Island to meet our friends at Peter O. Knight Airport, then have lunch at Grecian Island Restaurant (beware: auto-playing, auto-looping music).  I called the restaurant to ask about their coupon, and they said tomorrow they can't accept coupons because the island will be packed for Gasparilla.


Gasparilla will make that area a LITTLE BIT crowded:

So now I'm working on Plan B.


Jan. 19th, 2007 08:38 pm
sylvar: (Star Trek: TNG: Rocking Out In Car)
State Farm has agreed to pay to repair my car, minus the deductible; after talking to the body shop about the procedure, I've authorized them to do the work.  They'll begin Monday morning.

I'm taking the online class now.  As predicted by the helpful folks in [info]tampa, you just answer the questions and wait 10-15 minutes for the end of the section.  As a surprise, though: you get to answer 10 yes/no questions like "Can you swim?", which are then asked during the session, apparently to prove you're you.  But you can print out the questions and your answers (a step the site explicitly advises), so there's no practical way to prevent me from paying someone to do it for me.  But I'm at home for the evening (I opted out of a dinner party), so I'll just hang out, do the class, talk to people on IM, and read books. 


Jan. 18th, 2007 02:16 pm
sylvar: (Default)
I'm renting a gray 2006 Hyundai Accent (interior, exterior).  It fits me well, although the rear-view mirror hangs lower than I'd like; traffic approaching from behind will look like traffic coming from the right until my brain retrains.  The error seems to be on the side of caution, though, so that's okay.  And the contract-negotiated price, through State Farm, is only about half of the normal price: $15.55/day, of which I pay 80%.  Even if fees push it to $25/day, that's still 25 days before I'd hit State Farm's $500 ceiling (for my policy), and I'd have only paid $125 for my portion of the rental by that time.

State Farm says it takes 48-72 hours to get a claims adjuster out there, so it'll likely be Saturday before I get their verdict.  Assuming that it's worth repairing (and I suspect it is; if they can negotiate body-shop work they way they negotiate rentals, it'll almost certainly be cheaper for them to fix it), the work would likely be authorized on Monday morning.  I'm guessing that with all the parts they'll have to straighten, remove, and/or install, I'll probably be in the rental for a week, maybe two.

Since the body shop doesn't have an existing partnership with State Farm, I'll pick up a check from State Farm to cover the repairs-minus-deductible.  I'd rather go out to their office near StudlyCaps Plaza than wait for the check to be mailed.  Timing will be essential in the endgame.  Here's why:
  • The body shop will declare they're done with the work.
  • State Farm will stop contributing to the rental cost at that point.
  • I'll be at the office at the time.
  • I'll have to go out to the body shop, pay for the repairs, and collect my car.
  • I'll also have to return the rental that same day, or early the next morning.
So I want to be ready to pay for the repairs, and that probably means having State Farm's check applied to a credit card balance before I re-hammer that card.

TBLC knows I'm coming in tomorrow but not today.  I've got enough to take care of for today.  For example, I'm about to go over to the leasing office and get a temporary parking pass so that the clipboardiferous Tyler of the tarmac won't desecrate the rental with a warning about reserved parking.  (I like that she does that for us; I just don't want to fall afoul of her.)


Jan. 18th, 2007 09:10 am
sylvar: (Default)
I've spent the last hour trying to get a rental car.  Various branches have been suggesting I call each other, and one eventually said they'd call around to find me something.  They'll call me back when they have something for me.

I hope I get a Chevy Aveo; it's listed in their cheapest group, but I've driven those and I like them fairly well.  I would have bought one instead of the Mazda 626 except that the one I tested had a weird suspension.  I certainly fit well in them.

Meanwhile, I'm just sitting at home.


Jan. 17th, 2007 08:44 pm
sylvar: (Default)
I got into a crash this evening.  Here's the front of my car:

Car crash - Picture 001

I'm going to take a 4-hour "traffic school" course which will mean that:
  • Hillsborough County will withhold adjudication;
  • I don't get any points on my license;
  • I get 18% off the cost of the ticket (meaning it'll cost me about $100).
The car is at a body shop, and State Farm will be sending a claims adjuster to check out the damage in the morning.  Also in the morning, I'll arrange for a rental car.  State Farm will cover 80% of the rental cost, up to $500.  The damage to the car ahead of me seems minor (there was a dent in the fender and a cosmetic part popped up a bit).  There are more photos of the damage on Flickr; I've already offered copies to State Farm.

This is going to be somewhat expensive, and that's not at all welcome; we're in the middle of paying for graduate school applications, transcripts, etc., and there's a possibility of repeating that process next year.  Fortunately, I've already got almost all of my tax information, so I'll be able to e-file pretty soon and get a refund (I've always gotten a nice refund, kina hora).  That should help considerably.

Jodi has been very gracious about it, and I appreciate that; many people would take it badly.  I'm just glad everyone seems to be okay, and I'm very pleased that everyone was so polite about it all.
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
The Car: Doesn't have ABS. Ferman Mazda cut their usual diagnostic fee in half because there was really very little to diagnose. So I called the insurance company and informed them that the car doesn't have ABS. I also found out they thought it had an anti-theft system. Since I have no reason to believe this, I asked them to remove that discount as well. This means I might pay an extra $9/mo for car insurance, but it also means that I'm being honest and therefore (a) am doing what I ought to, ethically, and (b) will be able to get a claim approved in the future should that become necessary.

The Chocolate: Tell Bryony to stand well clear of the intercontinental trebuchet, DaveyP. I found Green and Black's Organic 70% Cocoa at the local SuperTarget for $3.50 (£2). Of course, this means I will have to go buy some more Lindt 70% Cocoa for a proper comparison. The things I do for science!

The Stand Mixer: I ordered it as soon as I got home. It should arrive at the office December 23. I might not even be in town by then, but then it might come early. And its color shall be... )
sylvar: (Default)
So. My usual mechanic says that the anti-lock braking circuit is draining the battery. Pulling the fuse for that circuit stops the problem, but disables ABS.

According to the service manager at my garage, ABS is not all that important anyway: it rarely even gets used, and when it does get used, it can often increase your stopping distance. He dislikes ABS, and says that if I have to pay more than $200-300 to get it fixed, he'd suggest not getting it fixed at all -- if nothing else relies on the ABS fuse. If Mazda says that the ABS system can be disabled without causing additional problems, and it's expensive to fix, then the mechanic I trust says "leave the damn thing broken".

The jury is still out. Jodi and I can't make that decision until we have information from the dealership. Speaking in generalities, I'm inclined to take my mechanic at his word. I learned to drive on a car without ABS, and the braking system felt firm and powerful when I tested it on the way to the dealership.
sylvar: (Default)
The guys at Olin Mott said that the battery is somehow being drained by the anti-lock brake system, and the dealership will have to fix it. And since they're such nice guys, Olin Mott isn't charging me anything for the diagnostic.

So now it's off to the dealership with this thing. The anti-lock brake system's fuse has been removed, so I'm sure the car won't die on the way...
sylvar: (Default)
The red stuff pictured here is actually anti-corrosion spray.

But the entire gang behind the counter laughed at the notion that running the headlights and the heat would make the battery charge faster.

They're looking at it now.
sylvar: (Ignatius J. Reilly)
I couldn't find the mail slot at the garage, so I'll just have to come by when they open, around 7:30am, and give them the key.

I hope it's something really cheap... *crosses fingers*
sylvar: (Ignatius J. Reilly)
After half an hour or letting the car run, I tried to put it in gear and turn on the radio to help the alternator run. The car stopped and the lights dimmed.

Then I turned everything off and tried to start it again. The engine started, but I heard a hissing (spraying?) noise, and some sort of vapor or smoke began to come out from under the hood. So I put it back into park and called AAA again, this time for a tow.

I get the first five miles free, and the trip shouldn't be much longer than that. So even at $3/mile, it's not too bad.
sylvar: (Ignatius J. Reilly)
They're running.

The guy who came to jump-start the car swears that the red pools of blech surrounding each terminal are perfectly normal corrosion. On a brand-new battery. He also says that the little overhead light is capable of draining the battery in an hour.

Further, he says that I should let the car run with the lights and the heat on, because this will cause the battery to charge faster. (His rationale is that it will force the alternator to spin constantly.) If the alternator produces more electric power than these devices need, I suppose it could be the case. But I'd guess that headlights alone would make it keep spinning, and the heat is just slowing the charge.

Ah well. I'm going to take the car to the garage as soon as [livejournal.com profile] tregoweth returns so he can tail me and give me a ride back. I'll let Olin Mott's techs give me the straight dope. Maybe I just got a defective battery. Maybe there's an underlying problem.

And maybe AAA should have gotten someone out here within an hour like they promised, and not 1h50m after my call. But that's the contractor's fault, not theirs.


Dec. 11th, 2005 08:12 pm
sylvar: (Default)


I wonder if this is why my car won't start? Generally, I think, one wants to see considerably less bleeding from a brand-new battery.

UPDATE: The guys at the garage tell me that this is actually an anti-corrosion spray that they put on when they installed the new battery. (2005-12-12 8:38am)

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