Today was a picture-perfect day here on the east coast. It was sunny, with a high temperature in the low 70s. Really nice – especially after three straight days of rain.
So, how did I spend this perfect day?
We slept in, thanks to karaoke at Gallucio’s last night. It’s a nice place, but it was as crowded as I have ever seen it – we had to wait a while for seats. We had a great time, and the author even took a turn at the mike.
My beautiful wife whipped up an awesome brunch, we tended to Bonnie’s eye, and then I crawled under the $600 van and replaced the starter. Two trips to my garage to pick up tools, one trip to Pep Boys, an hour or so of wrenching and the afternoon was just about gone. Nuts. Unfortunately, the starter was becoming really unreliable, and it was necessary to get this done. With the recent change from Daylight Savings Time, it’s dark when I get home from work. Starting tomorrow, I’m scheduled to work 21 straight 12 hour shifts. This includes Thanksgiving, although I’m hoping to get at least part of the holiday off – we’re having people over. So, if I didn’t fix the van today, it would have to wait until December, and who knows what the weather would be like then?
I can hear you out there – “Greg’s a cheap b*stard – he should just take the car to the shop.” Oh, sure – but where can you find a shop that’s open before 5 am (when I get to work) and still open at 6 pm? One reason that I still do my own auto maintenance (besides the cheap part) is that I can get most normal stuff (like an oil change) done in much less time than it would take to drive someplace and wait. Anyway, the $59.95 Pep Boys starter did the trick, and I can now use the van if I need it.
A bit of history on the van.. We traded in the old Explorer on our new Nissan, and I soon found that I had no way to get stuff home from Lowe’s. We looked around for trucks, but most were out of our price range (less than $1000) and pretty beat up, besides. I found this little beauty on Craigslist a few months ago. A Grand Caravan can transport a full 4×8 sheet of plywood flat on the floor if the seats are out, so this has now become my truck. It’s dark right now, so I can’t get a picture, but I’ll try to describe it. It’s a yucky silver color, with the paint peeling from the hood. The roof has a carrier (great for the extension ladder), but also a lot of rust spots. I have the woodgrain vinyl on the sides and one hub cap. Everything works, including the A/C, believe it or not. None of the tires match, but they all have tread – you get the idea…. So, when the guy at Pep Boys asked if I wanted the cheap starter for $59 or the lifetime starter for $79, you can understand why I went for the cheap one – how long is the lifetime of a ’93 Caravan, anyway??
The $600 van is on the way to becoming a $700 van…..
Yesterday, even though it was sprinkling a bit, I moved the TV antenna from the old house to the new one. When I moved into my last house, I set up an antenna system on the roof, adding a powerful UHF antenna for the new-at-the-time digital signals. Yesterday, I took them down and moved them to the new house – had to use the extension ladder, etc ($600 van to the rescue!). I bought a new mast at Radio Shack and installed the UHF antenna. I was about to install the VHF antenna (it’s huge), when I realized that that old antenna, with all of those spikey things was completely unnecessary – analog signals are gone, and the DTV signals can be picked up with the UHF antenna that I had before. After setting everything up, the TV scanned 30 digital channels – not as nice as cable, but it’s free. (I hear you calling me cheap again).
Oh, check this out – it’s so cute…..
Found this on sale (I’m not cheap – stop it….) and we’re considering getting it for the back yard to replace the crappy metal shed that looks like it’ll blow down in the next wind. There’s a door on the right side that I can use for the motorcycle. It’s SO cute with the little porch and all. What do you think??
All for now – gotta go to bed early.