Monday, December 31, 2007

Last day of 2007

This is the last day of 2007. So much has happened this year. So much is planned for next year. So much is unplanned for next year.

My resolutions are to (1) forge ahead with my musical goals, (1a) take lessons from any bouzouki and/or rhythm guitar players that I can, (1b) work with melody instrument players on specific tunes, (1c) go to session whenever possible, (2) find more avenues to make a living, (3) meet cool people, (4) plant some stuff in the yard, (5) make Christmas presents for next year.

So those are my resolutions or plans.  The unknowns are so great it's a little scary.  But really, that's the way things are.  It's strange and exciting to wonder where I will be and what I will be doing one year from now.

I'm going to a New Year's Eve party tonight in Houston where many musician friends will be.  Then tomorrow I'll go to Therese & Larry's New Year's Day party/session.  I'm really looking forward to the festivities.  It's been a long time since I went out for New Years.  Bye, 2007!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Hello, everyone! I hope everyone is safe, warm and happy today. I am doing some pet sitting this holiday season so I'm here in Austin resting between visits. I had bacon, cheese and pretzels for my holiday dinner. Bacon is the food of joy you know.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

May this be the end

May this be the last blog entry of bad news.... My computer has died. It is no longer reacting at all in anyway. I was talking to a friend who said that this may be something that Dell is aware that there is a defect and they may fix it. If that's the case, then I can buy myself a little time. This is the straw that is breaking me. I make enough money to feed myself. But two major car repairs, a computer virus fix and now this problem is definitely not in the monthly budget. So, my choices are: 1. Go into debt, 2. Rent out the cat, 3. Get a roommate, 4. Give up on music and go get a real job, 5. Sell my body to science. Option one is an emergency last possible option type of option. Liam and Lilly strongly oppose option 2. I don't know why. They don't do anything but lounge anyway. Option 3! I am doing that one. It's going to be a month to month thing until she decides what she wants to do and where she wants to do it, but I love my new roommate and it'll be great company and I can use the help for the moment. Option 4 really isn't an option at this point. I'm so close to actually being able to try to get gigs on my own. My playing is improving quickly now. If disasters continue to happen, I will have to give up and go get a job, but option 5 may be an answer for the finacial problem at present. Who knows.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Car repair part TWO

Today was spent continuing the debate with myself over where to take my car. The guy at Sears recommended a couple of places. Ceridwyn's Joe recommended a couple of places. One of those places was recommended by both of these people. I called them just to get a feel for them. Finally, I made a decision. Kenny Hill's Autowerks took over care of my car. I had it towed. My insurance company says that they should be covering the tow and all. They are also allowing me to have a rental car. I picked up the rental car, signed off of everything at Sears, shook those guys' hands, and followed the tow truck to Kenny Hill's. Oh! The guys at Sears felt so defeted by my car that they went ahead and did an experimental repair. It didn't work, but I think they felt better having tried something.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Car repairs part ONE

Yesterday, I met the guy who opens the shop at 7:30AM to tell him what was up with my car. He lived up to my happy Sears expereince expectations. He lifted up the car and we all looked at the damage. The oil pan was pretty clearly destroyed, but he pointed out all sorts of things that were not destroyed or even vaguely damaged. About 2:30 that afternoon he called to let me know the oil pan was complete and the car was ready to go home.  About 8:30PM, I started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. The car was not fixed. I drove all the way around the block with the car struggling and smoking. They put the car back up on the lifty thingy and found culprit number 2. My "Intercooler Housing" is broken. The mechanic could put his finger on the hole and the car sounded perfect. Sadly, he cannot just leave his finger there and they would not take my suggestion of a little duct tape. Doesn't duct tape fix everything? This bit of damage will require the removal of the engine taking time and labor to fix an already expensive part. The mechanic told me now would be a good time to check on insurance. He also told me that they could not do this repair there.

Today, I called the insurance company and filed the claim. They've given me a name of a place that they work with. Advantage to me... the adjuster can deal with them directly and I won't have to worry financially... disadvantage... well, I think we all know what that is in this situation. Of course, the guy that took my claim said that I can take it somewhere of my choosing.... disadvantage to me... I risk the adjuster looking at a charge and saying they won't pay for that. Advantage to me... one would think that the shop would be more likely to get it completely fixed.

Last night I did a lot of crying. Now, I'm nervous, but at least I have at least something in motion and a few answers. I'm pretty sure this culprit #2 is not everything. There is still a mysterious oil leak. Where is the rewind button??? Can I please go back to 12:30AM Saturday morning/Friday night???

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nothing to blog, eh?

So I was thinking all week that I don't really have anything to write about. I would like to state for the record that I did not ask for something to write about.... and yet, it seems that I have been given something. Grrrrr.
Last night, I went to a lovely tune session in someone's home. The night was drizzly, a bit foggy, and the lights shown on the streets like mirrors. The evening was lovely. We stayed and chatted with friends and ate what was left of the snacks. Then we made our way out of the neighborhood toward home. I made a left turn onto the major road toward home when WHACK.... I hit some invisible curb median thing. The cussing began quietly but almost immediately. I could feel the car not want to go... transmission? I pulled into the HEB. EJ calmly got out to check for damage. Tires, ok.... front end, ok... oil.... uh.... everywhere. I was just about in panic mode. If EJ had not been there, I think I would have spent 15 minutes just panic-ing. But he was calm and came up with a plan punctuated by a sweet smile. We decided to try to drive unless the oil light or any other indicator came on. I drove out of one HEB exit, the oil light came on, I drove into the next HEB exit, and parked the car. He called AAA and they sent a tow truck. We wondered if a friend, who had been at the session and is typically a pretty late night person, might be able to take me back to my house to get EJ's van so we could get home from the mechanic's. Sure enough she was still up and came right over. THANK YOU!!!!! She was fabulous and chipper and had all sorts of stories and stuff to take my mind off of the impending doom. I started the drive back into Austin in the van about the time the tow truck driver started loading up my car. When all was said and done, we got home about 3AM.
to be continued....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Torture


OK.... I couldn't stand it. Neither could Lilly. It was the hat that was too much for her.

Liam


Liam would like to show off the new outfits his Grammy sent him for Christmas. Actually, one outfit is technically for Lilly, but she is more the "try it and die" kinda cat. Liam gets temporary paralysis while wearing clothing or collars, but nothing permanent.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mechanics

My car has been braking with a bit of a scratch scratch scratch sound for a few weeks now. I decided that today while Christmas shopping I would leave it at the Firestone next to the mall and have them look at it. I was told that they would have an estimate in about an hour, so off to shop I went. I came back in an hour and sat in the waiting room for another half hour. Finally they had the news. A list was made of all the things that my car needed. They were kind enough to put the list in order of priority. The entire list came to $1649.63. $900 of that was very serious and in need now. But he showed me evidence that all of these things were very much in need very soon. The man told me what could happen if I waited much longer. He had measurements and figures and stories of smoke and catastrophic driving experiences. I was so stunned (actually in pain) by the price tag I really didn't know what to do. Part of me said "suck it up, it will cost the same anywhere else and it is your car... your only car.... the only way you can do your job...." And another part of me started screaming, "WAKE UP! Salesman alert - he only wants money. Delay so you can think." So I delayed. I asked if I could bring the car back tomorrow since I would be heading out of town and wouldn't need the car anyway. He was ok with that and had the mechanics put my car back together. Thirty minutes later, the car was ready to go, he printed the list of necessary repairs and I left. I did not hesitate for one second to take my car directly to the Sears that I had had my battery replaced a couple of months ago. I went inside and told the man at Sears that I needed them to check my brakes: the brakes were scratching when I pressed the brake pedal. I went to grab some dinner while they looked at my car. Thirty minutes later he told me that I needed new pads in the back. He recommended new brake fluid. But otherwise it all looked fine. I asked about the front and he said he expected them to be ok for another year or so. And the tires? They look fine he told me. By this time he was looking at me funny and probably figured out that all of these questions were coming from somewhere, but I didn't tell him. Firestone told me that three of my tires were very worn and needed to be replaced. I had replaced one of them in August after a flat, so at least they didn't say I needed 4. My total at Sears turned out to be $199.28. With the grans savings of over $1400, I treated myself to some headphones. Moral of the story: 1. Don't make a decision in shock. 2. Listen to your gut instinct - that little voice might make you uneasy, but it might be right. 3. Don't try to fool the red-head.... Firestone will hear about this. So will Sears, they deserve a kind word.

By the way, I like dealing with local people and businesses. If anyone can recommend a good independent mechanic, let me know :-) Until then, I will have to be loyal to my Sears at 41st & IH35.