Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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A Busy (and Expensive) Day

Today was my day for getting several errands done, and in particular, trying to get my van ready for the trip to Anaheim next weekend. I needed to get a number of things done. All of them ended up taking longer and costing much more than I expected.

The key things were to get the tires rotated and the oil changed. I get free tire rotation from the place where I bought the tires (America's Tire), but I'd been remiss in having regular rotation done. I kept putting it off. I didn't realize how long I'd put it off, but it was a month short of two years. And this cost me badly, as when I took the van in, they took one look at the front tires and said, "they're shot," and once they pointed out the wear, I could see they were right.

So instead of a free tire rotation, I ended up having to spend over $200 for two new tires. As is the way with such things, they rotated the worn-but-still-serviceable rear tires to the front and installed the new tires on the rear. I went for a walk for an hour while they did the work. This ended up costing me money as well, as I idly went into a big store that I didn't even know was there and ended up spending $20 on some miscellaneous items that I'd been meaning to pick up when I got around to it.

I've signed up for their e-mail notification program to remind me periodically to come back and get the tires rotated. I bet those tires would have lasted much longer if I'd rotated them every 7,000 miles instead of allowing them to accumulate over 25,000 miles like that.

Then, after a trip down to Sunnyvale to clear my PO Box, it was on to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. I was actually 1000 miles early for this change, but I figured it would be better to go ahead and get the oil changed before the trip. I also planned on having the radiator serviced, although it was also a bit early for that. But they further informed me that I was due for rear differential and fuel-filter service. With a long road trip ahead of me, it seemed prudent to have all of the recommended services done now, so I said yes. 45 minutes and $220 later, I was on the road again.

Last stop of the day was the coin-operated car wash near my house. The van hadn't been washed in quite a while, and I thought I should go ahead and do so. $8 later, the van was somewhat cleaner, although I could see after it dried the spots that I'd missed. I didn't have any more small bills, so I couldn't be tempted to go back and try to clean those spots. I did try to wipe them down with a cloth, however. It's probably fortunate that my van isn't exactly a show piece, so I don't feel the need to put in excessive effort on it, but I had gotten a bit self-conscious about how grimy the thing was. It's not so noticeable on a tan-colored van, but still, a guy's got to have some pride....

While spending my time at Jiffy Lube, I decided to buy from their accessories rack a handy cleaning brush so I could finally get at some of the dusty spots that weren't reachable by anything else. I also bought a trash holder that fits over the back of the passenger-side seat, which should be handy and allows me to retire the beat-up old cardboard box that has been knocking around the rear of my van for a while. After washing the outside of the van, I spent some time cleaning it out inside. I didn't go over it with a fine-tooth comb -- they do a rough vacuuming job at Jiffy Lube, anyway -- but I got rid of a bunch of junk and it feels quite a bit cleaner now. There's still a lot of clutter in the rear compartment -- three boxes of car-related junk -- because I have a a lot of things that "might be handy in an emergency." And I've used most of them (aside from the emergency food rations, which probably should be thrown out and replaced anyway) at one time or another. There are tool kits, spare light bulbs and other parts, shop rags, hand cleaner, jumper cables, and so forth. I accumulate things.

Getting home, I thought I'd finally re-attach the center rear-view mirror that fell off a couple of years ago. However, by then it was getting too late in the day, and I didn't want to do this job in the dark. I did, however, do the first part of the job, which was to put a piece of blue tape on the outside of the window and use a Sharpie marker to mark the glue spot where the mirror mount used to be. Now I can remove the old glue and apply rearview-mirror glue in the same spot tomorrow when the light is better. That rear-view mirror will be one less piece of clutter in the boxes in the back of the van.

The astonishing thing to me is that all of this running around took something like eight to ten hours. I'm glad I've managed to break my Worldcon prep into pieces like this and am getting them done one day at a time; if I'd put many more things off much longer, they just wouldn't get done at all, and that would be a Bad Thing.

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