October 21st, 2006

Kevin and Lisa

Fun With Mechanics (Not)

Lisa owns several vehicles, including a VW Vanagon. The Vanagon has developed an oil leak, and she has been unable to find a Salem-area mechanic willing to work on it. Even those who claim to be Volkswagen specialists tell her, "Oh, it's too old, too difficult to work on, I can't get parts, go away unless you're driving something recent." So after a bit of searching, we found a mechanic in Portland who claims to be a Vanagon specialist. Lisa called him and confirmed that he would work on Vanagons of this vintage and that he was open Monday-Friday until 5:30 PM.

We convoyed up to Portland, with me driving Lisa's large orange van and her nursing the Vanagon along. We got there at 4:45 PM. Closed. The sign in the window did say that they were open until 5:30, but there was nobody there.

This puts us in a bad spot. Although she can get back up to Portland to collect it once it's repaired, she really did not want to try and take it back to Mehama and then return to Portland again, particularly as it would need coordinating with her father for a second convoy, and she'd find that too stressful to bear. Furthermore, she was worried that the VW wouldn't be able to make another round-trip, anyway. We drove over and parked the Vanagon at her friend Scott's house and we drove home together in her large van and reviewed our options.

I checked with Alaska Airlines, and I could fly back a day later for only a $50 change fee. My schedule with the project I'm supporting actually makes it slightly more convenient if I'm available without restriction on Sunday, as that's Monday in Australia, the first day they're going live in production with the database I designed. So I will swap Sunday and Monday of this coming week. I'll work tomorrow evening on The Australia Project, and on Monday (earlier than either of us will want), we will return to Portland, get the van into a shop, and get me to the airport. It does mean I'll miss this Monday's BASFA meeting, though.
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Kevin and Lisa


Today's weather was bright and sunny, which meant it was time for more work around the property. First, I assisted Lisa with work on her big van. Driving back from Portland last night, she heard the belts slipping, so we got to spend time tightening belts (and dealing with follow-on work from that, as she found other things that needed fixing).

After that it was time for the dangerous job. Lisa's father has a tower on the property that is about 12 meters (40 feet) high that has radio antennas and several floodlights. The lights had burnt out, so Lisa needed to climb the tower and replace them. She put on the safety harness and slowly climbed up the tower. My job was to stay on the ground and render aid (and call for help) if anything went wrong. Lisa has no fear of heights, and the only slow part was needing to stop every two steps and change safety lines. (There are two lines attached to the harness so that you are always attached to at least one point.)

After she climbed down, she went off to clean up and sent me to deal with e-mail and airline reservations. There's still a fair bit of the day left. We may figure out other things to do after lunch.
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