January 15th, 2009

krazy koati

Take me to a place where I can find peace of mind

I began to suspect something might be wrong with my car on Friday when I noticed wispy clouds emerging from my hood at the stop light. When I parked at work I was surrounded in a white, awful-smelling haze which made a coworker stop and admire what a bad sign this looked like. When I got my oil changed by Jiffy Lube a couple weeks back they noted my radiator cap was loose and I should replace it, and they'd refill any fluids if I brought the car in. Friday after work I drove to an auto parts store and got a refill on coolant; they said the engine had warmed too much to put a new cap on, but I could do that Saturday, and did.

Saturday, I did a little driving, and saw only modest clouds, but I also had no heat at low speeds. I've encountered these symptoms before and know what they mean: the car needs repairs. So Sunday saw fine entertainment as I learned my father has, in fact, no coolant in his garage for the first time in his life. Also my father feels I bought the wrong size radiator cap and thinks its higher pressure rating forced the evaporation of Friday's coolant. Well, I got what the parts shop said was right for my car. After some comedy trying to refill things (following my father's directions I was trying to refill the radiator through the overflow) we established I still wasn't getting any heat, and suspicion fell on the thermostat.

While I got a replacement thermostat it was way too dark to install, and my father suggested I drive the Toyota Something into work Monday so that he could see if he could install a new thermostat for me. He couldn't, as it turned out (way too cold, way too awkwardly placed a thermostat), so Tuesday I had to face the prospect of taking a new Personal Day to get the car fixed. The thermostat was cleared of all charges, and the fault was a bad radiator hose.

Repairs took until nearly noon, so I was left with the question of whether to go in to work. I felt like I should, since I am paid to go in, but I interact so little with others I wondered if anybody would notice if I weren't there all day. But I went in anyway, and the office manager was busy so I lost the chance to tell him when I got in. As he was leaving he noticed me in, and asked about the car repairs --- I'd warned him Monday I might be late or miss work altogether for this --- and when I'd gotten in. It was after noon that I arrived, so he advised me to fill out a Personal Day Request for a half-day. This does, I'm embarrassed to say, give me mildly sinful thoughts but also makes me feel better about the inevitable day when I oversleep my alarm clock.

Trivia: Fewer than half of seven thousand working-class families surveyed by the United States Bureau of Labor between 1889 and 1892 bought bread; they would instead buy flour and bake it themselves. Source: The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society In The Gilded Age, Alan Trachtenberg.

Currently Reading: No Applause --- Just Throw Money - or - The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, Trav S D. This is proving fun early on, and the spirit is probably best captivated by the title page, which I'll try to reproduce behind the cut. The actual title page is in all-caps, which I skip because I couldn't stand to do that, and the whole thing is done in two typefaces. The first two lines, the author credit, and the publisher in a Zebrawood-like typeface, and the rest in Cottonwood-ish stuff.

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