Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today I shall knit

The day after Christmas. It's cold out, and while I will need to get out of the apartment this afternoon for a bit, this morning I am staying in. Because Pepin's family was over yesterday, the living room and kitchen areas are in relatively good shape, unpacking wise, I feel no urgent need to tackle more boxes. So I have declared this morning a tea-drinking (with real sugar and milk), movie watching, knitting morning. And, despite what I imagine to be Emiline's disapproval ( ;) ), I am not working on projects already in progress, but starting some new things. All of my already started projects are in a box at the bottom of a giant pile of boxes in the back of what I am currently referring to as "The room of doom". This is where everything not unpacked has been stored. And on this cold cold morning, knitting warm woolies just feels right.

So knitward ho! Pictures will be forth coming.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Car Saga

It all started when, leaving Kansas City for Tulsa, I decided that, since I still had 1/2 a tank of gas, I would wait to fill up until after I left the traffic of Kansas City. By the time I needed to fill up, I would be ready for a bathroom and stretch break anyway. So off I went, car packed, heart light, ready to spend time with the family for the weekend. No car problems at all,

Fast-forward about 1.5 hours later, Lamar, Missouri. I stop at McDonalds to go to the bathroom and get a drink. I then stop at Sinclair's to get gas. As I normally do, I got the lowest grade, least expensive gas, then went on my merry way. Or so I thought. As soon as I tried to get up to speed on the highway, my car, it just wouldn't go faster. It sputtered along at about, oh, 20 miles an hour for a few minutes and just when I had decided to pull off on the shoulder and drive with my blinkers on, it picked up speed. Only being able to go 20 or so mph when people around you are zooming at 75+ is a scary feeling. The car leveled off at about 55 mph for another 5 miles or so,  and if I tried to push it over 3000 RPM, it actually would slow down. So I am thinking, "Great, my transmission is gone". Finally, is gets up to 70 mph about the time I reach the next exit.

I pull off the exit. I call Pepin, he listens to my story, has me check the oil and transmission fluids (both fine) and provides general support. I then call my parents and tell them the same story. In the meantime I have (1) restarted my car and discovered it was driving a little better than at first and (2) remembered that the gas I put in it was 85 octane with high percentage of ethanol. I typically get 87 octane when I get gas.

The next question was - what do I do. I was, of course, almost exactly 1/2 between my Mom's house and home. So I decide to head on down towards Joplin and thus towards Tulsa, in hopes of getting someone there to look at it. My mom had given me the number to a Nissan Dealership there (my car is a 1999 Nissan Altima). I called and talked to a very helpful service lady. Her diagnosis was bad gas and that as long as my check engine light didn't come on and start blinking, I would be fine. Oh, and she told me they would close before I got there. So I decided to just continue on to Tulsa, as by this time I had discovered that after I had been driving awhile, the car was ok. Though, it was still grumpy over 3000 RPM. I got to Tulsa no problem.

Next morning, we took it to the Nissan dealer in Tulsa/. It being the day before Thanksgiving, they were swamped with people coming in for last minute things before traveling. The service manager, however, took time to look it over and came to the same conclusion - bad gas. I still had 1/2 tank of gas, and he suggested that I run it down to almost empty before putting new gas in. I drove the call all day on Thursday. It had many of the same issues - stuttering and lurching when first getting going, but driving fine once it warmed up and got going.

Friday morning, I was driving out to have breakfast with my Dad and Step-mom and the check engine light came on, though it wasn't flashing. Well GREAT! I still think it is probably bad gas, but I would feel like such a dum-dum if I didn't get it look at and then it broke down on the way home. So back to the dealership. Now at this point, I know some of you are going to be wonder why the Dealership? Well, it's where my Mom and Step-day always take their cars, so they don't have a different mechanic. My Dad, being from Dallas, doesn't really know a good mechanic in Tulsa either. So I take it in and they say the will work it around all the appointments they have.

Finally about 3:30 in the afternoon, I get the dreaded call. They think it MIGHT be the mass air flow sensor. They think it MIGHT fix the problem. They want me to give them $750. Oh, and most likely it won't be done until Monday. After phone calls and discussions with parents and boyfriend, I decide I am not paying that kind of money for this car and for something that might not even fix the problem. I was going to chance making it home. Pepin was all set to rescue me if needed, as was my Mom. So we go pick up my car and I give the dealership $105 for a new fuel filter and the diagnostic.

Next morning, I head off. The car is still acting up. I go get gas. My car runs as if nothing was ever wrong with it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In praise of a rainy morning.

Like most of the nation, we have had drought. Like most of the central US, we have had a hot, hot summer. Today I woke up to leaden skies and wet grass and rejoiced. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Facebook, Insurance, and the Federal Government

I made a statement about personal religious freedom on my Facebook page, which was then hijacked by people who wanted to complain about everything from the new health care law, to homeland security, to heroine addicts in Afghanistan.  All of which is fine with me, to a point. I do get irritated when people who I am "friends" with on Facebook never post anything on my page, until they find they want to tell me I am wrong about what I believe. This has happened twice recently and the time may be coming soon that I limit my Facebook friends list to people who are truly friends and to my family.We shall see about that.

Not to say that I haven't enjoyed the fact that my own thoughts have been sharpened by the um....discourse. However, my thoughts are more complicated than what can be expressed in a FB post, and I do not want my thoughts to be lost at the bottom of that thread.

(1) Health insurance is not a handout. It is a service I pay for. I pay for it out of pocket in my monthly premiums. I pay for it by my hard work, for which my employer in part, compensates me by paying part of the premiums, instead of giving me the money in cash. So anyone who things insurance is a handout, well...perhaps they don't quite understand how it works.

(2) Insurance isn't exactly like other services. I can't as easily switch insurance companies because I am unhappy with their service as I can change grocery stores or gas stations. My company has open enrollment only once a year and someone else in the company makes the decision of who our insurance provider is going to be. That person takes into account a lot of different aspects in making that choice. I for one am glad I am not in that position. Also, I don't know that if I opted out of the company provided health insurance, if they would give me the money they spend on my premiums in cash. I have never asked. But I am going to assume that they don't. If so, why should I give up part of my compensation for my work just because a company isn't providing good service. Writing this up actually makes me feel a little powerless.

 (3) I understand that access to cheap, affordable health care is not a constitutional right. Some, like me, believe it is a human right. Others do not. Regardless if you thing people have the right to affordable health care or not, providing affordable health care is the right thing to do.

(4) Preventative health care is smart health care. It prevents more expensive procedures and medicines from having to be covered. A health care plan that provides no-cost preventative care will save everyone money in the long run. Birth control is preventative care, just like exercise or taking a daily dose of aspirin to prevent heart attacks.

(5) If an insurance company or any company for that matter, isn't providing a good service to its customers or is abusing it's employees, I feel that it is the role of the federal government to protect the people from corporate abuse. There are many examples throughout history of Big business taking advantage of people because the people were powerless to do anything about it. Child labor laws? Yes these laws may make the corporation have to spend more money, but that doesn't make them wrong. Money is not the end all be all. Oh and I can change the government, at least ideally, but I cannot make changes to a corporation that is abusing it's power. I believe that there is a role of government to protect people from corporations.