Monday, June 13, 2005

What I did today, by Jen

This morning I discovered that something was very wrong when I backed the car out to take Robin to school. I knew what I was going to see when I pulled over and got out to look; all I was really doing was checking to see which tire was flat. It was the right rear. Sitting right down on the rim.

How did it happen? I don't know, but I'd like to find a way to blame Scruffy. He's responsible for most everything else; he can jolly well take the blame for this too.

We limped back onto the property and set out to walk to school. Luckily the local "pirate" (unlicensed) taxi came by and drove us instead so she was hardly late at all.

When I got home I checked the back of the car but didn't see a jack, so I called on my big-burly-neighbor-who-thinks-I'm-cute and he came over and showed me where the jack was (sneaky hidden compartment) and then changed the tire for me.

I felt like such a girl.

I had even forgotten about loosening the lugnuts before jacking up the car. Duhhh. And then I felt kind of dumb when I didn't approve of his technique with the jack. (Aside: Whew! Stopped myself just in time from writing "his jacking technique") But I was right. He even dropped my car. A tiny little bit. But we got things going okay after that and changed the tire without further incident.

Fortunately my day and my self esteem shaped right up once the tire was taken care of.

I came in and finished my taxes (due June 15 for people living outside the U.S.), and even saved myself some bucks by discovering that our gross income was so paltry that were exempt from state filing. We can't get a refund for what was withheld when Alex was still working in Charlotte in January, but at least we don't have to pay the additional $47 we would have had to if required to file (I had already filled everything out by the time I found out we didn't have to.)

I printed out a clean copy of all our forms & schedules, wrote my (hefty) federal check, "assembled my return," and (IRS employees close your eyes a sec) signed Alex's name (Okay! You can look now!) just in time to head out and pick up Robin and head down to Yolanda's.

Turns out there's no school tomorrow (no word on why), so Robin decided to spend the night there. We picked up (Alex's cousin) Elberth and he showed me a good place to get the tire fixed. Last time I had a flat it cost 1000 colones ($2.10 at today's rate) which I found amazing. Today it only cost 600 ($1.25). Probably partly because it was a cheaper place, and partly because the tire was already off the car.

Then we stopped by to talk to my mechanic because the car is making a new noise. He said to come by at 3:00 and he'd take a ride to see how it sounded.

We came up home and put the repaired tire back on the car and returned the spare to its rightful place. This time I knew what was what and did half of it myself. (I am woman, hear me roar.)

Then we tracked down a guy who is rumored to have a lawnmower for sale for 25,000 colones (around $50), when the cheapest new ones are over $150 and right now I'm paying a guy with a mower more than $15 every time the grass gets long. Now that the rainy season has kicked in, it's adding up fast.

It took a little perseverance but not only did we find him, but he's got two mowers and the smaller one (fine for my needs) is just 20,000 colones (leaving a nice little commission for the guy who told me about it).

Elberth trimmed the bamboo which was 3 or 4 feet higher than the fence in spots, then we headed back down the hill. I mailed the taxes (certified), dropped off Elberth and got to the mechanic's right on time. We took a spin around San Rafael and he confirmed that my vibration-like noise is probably a vibration, not dangerous but worth looking into. He suggested that the muffler would be a good place to start looking. I had been meaning to have the muffler serviced because it was backfiring, but it's kind of quit that so I had forgotten. It'll be nice if it's that. I drop the car off tomorrow morning...when Robin doesn't have school.

Then we stopped for cookies and came back home, where I installed and configured a firewall on my computer. For free! There are now free anti-virus and firewall products that are robust enough to warrant a positive review from PC Magazine. Good enough for me.

I even got a load of laundry done somewhere in there. Oh, and bought kitty litter. We'll see how that goes. And now Juila and I am going across the street for a beer. Well, she'll probably have juice.

And that's what I did today, The End.

P.S. How multifacedted am I?


Lisa June 13, 2005 8:19 PM  

Is it ZoneAlarm? That's my free firewall. And I use AVG antivirus, also free. We like free. Ooh! My firewall just blocked something.

Anita June 14, 2005 6:54 PM  

"jacking technique" heh heh hehehehehe

Sandy June 15, 2005 8:00 AM  

In North Carolina, if your battery is dead they ask you if you want them to "Jump you off"! This is true, I have a great story to go with that and they HONESTLY don't think this is obscene :-)

Jennifer June 15, 2005 7:15 PM  

Ooo! Ooo! I have another one! When I went on a cultural exchange to England in high school, we discovered that, rather than supplying alarm clocks, English hotel keepers will offer to "knock you up" at a particular time the following morning.

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