FACT 22 – black tuesday

so-called because things are broken. important things. in my case, things with four wheels, a water pump, and a power steering pump. … or at least, that’s what it used to contain. now it has four wheels, a non-existant serpentine belt, a busted power steering pump, and non-functioning water pump.

long story:

about three and a half years ago, my engine block cracked. this was entirely my own fault, as i am absolutely HORRIBLE about getting oil changes and other preventative maintainance. i hadn’t had an oil change in probably three or four years, so it came as no great surprise to me when my car shuddered, something when *thunk* and my car stopped working. obnoxious, expensive, pissy even, but not surprising. i took it to a garage, who’s name i have no problem mentioning, for reasons soon to become apparant. Tilton’s, run by a chap named Andy Tilton and located in the fair city of Columbus OH, took a look at it, frowned, and said, either you need a new car, or you need a new engine. well, a new engine was slightly less out of the question than a new car, so we got a loan, got a new engine, and after a brief problem with Tilton’s apparently not understanding how to put an alternator belt on properly, we went on our way. seriously, that alternator belt should have been our first Clue.

the little whine that we thought was the alternator belt kept going, but nothing else seemed to be wrong, so we let it be. the car ran great, was back up to its 30+ mpg average, and despite the fact that i was approaching 100k miles, it was running great! (here, i would like to borrow some time to say that toyota tercels are like tanks. if you keep care of them, and in my case even if you don’t, they will outlast you. i heart toyota.) then, one day a couple of weeks ago, i turned my car on and was greeted by the most hideous grinding noise. now, i decided to drive my car anyway, being late for work, and used to my car making strange noises in its old age. but, the power steering went out as i was turning the corner at the end of my street, and the grinding noise got worse. it began to sound like something was dragging on the ground under my car. i turned straight around and went home, got my mother’s car, and drove that. that evening, my father took a look under the hood, and we discovered, lo! and behold, my power steering pump was not working. the belt was trying to turn, but without much success. well, a quick call ’round to the area taught me that The Northend Wrench, another place which i have no compunction about mentioning, also for reasons you will shortly learn, had the lowest price and seemed to be the most highly recommended. indeed, my experience with them has been more than delightful, at least, as much as something like this is able to be related to the word “delightful.”

last night, my father followed me as i drove my baby down to the place, and as we’re going down the road, the grinding gets louder and more urgent. *ccchhh ccchhh ccchhh* *ccchhh ccchhh ccchhh* and then *clang* *bling bling bling* something had fallen out of my car and rolled down the street. … … … yeah. i stopped, my dad picked the thing up, and the following conversation took place:

me: what the heck is that!?
dad: i believe it’s the spindle from your power steering pump.
me: … … … oh.

so we pick it up, dad gets back in the car, and i take a quick check under my car, where i discover the belt from the power steering pump hanging half out of my car. … well, i picked that out, got in, and we kept on towards the garage. we hadn’t gone too far when we were stopped at a light, and my dad runs up to me and asks how the engine temperature is. well, i look, and lo! and behold, it’s red lining. the gauge is above the red. i’m kind of surprised my car wasn’t smoking at that point. dad’s like, crap, we’d better get moving before your engine overheats. so finally, at last, the light turns green, we move on. luckily the garage isn’t too much further, so we drop it off and go home.

the next day, today, i get a call from Mark at The Northend Wrench, and right away i knew the news was not good. turns out that when Tilton’s “repaired” my baby, they couldn’t be bothered to do it properly. where the serpentine belt hooks onto the crank shaft, they didn’t bother to put it on properly, they just slammed it on there and tightened on a nut to keep it in place. yes. i know. Mark said the only thing they could do is completely dis- and re- assemble the engine, or put a new engine in there. Mark was surprised my car lasted as long as it did. i mentioned that the last engine replacement was $4~5000, and he said it shouldn’t have been that much at all. they don’t replace engines in their shop, but he called around looking for a new engine, and they haven’t called him back, so, we’ll see what they tell him.

short story:

i need a new car, and i don’t have the money for it.

i was going to get a new phone, but i guess that’s out of the question. i also won’t be able to save up any money for my trip to sweden, but i suppose i’ll have to be content with a 504 page notebook and a digital camera.

yes, that’s right 504 pages. isn’t it awesome!? it’s coptic bound, it’s got 504 pages of heavy white sketch paper, and the cover is 400 lb arches cold press watercolor paper, done up with, obviously, a swedish flag, in the proper legal ratios! because i haven’t got enough nerd points racked up yet, i guess. (>_<)

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