Sorry for the off-topic rant you're about to read folks. It's been a bad day.
It all started Thursday. It was a slow day so my manager told me to take the afternoon off. Sure Wayne, thanks! 1 mile from the shop, my car's temperature gage pegged out at hot. So I limped her back to the shop to figure it out. Leaking heater hose, fixed in 5 minutes, cooled her down, refilled the coolant and I was on my way. Friday and Saturday, no problems. Sunday, the temp gage started climbing again. No more than 3/4 of the way up but I know where that needle's supposed to sit and that was too high.
Got her into work this morning and put the pressure tester on. When I revved the engine, the pressure gage started spiking. Either a blown head gasket or a cracked head. Aluminum heads are bad about that, overheat them and bam! Our engine tech came over and said more than likely the latter, a cracked head. Bad news and my stress level tops it's own 3/4 mark. Luckily he's got a car sitting in his yard that would be perfect for me. A '79 Camaro. Paint and interior is a little rough but runs great. $1000.
Now money's been a little tight so I did something I hate to do and have never done before, something that brought the stress level up even closer to red-line. I asked my employer to let me borrow the money to buy the car. At this point let me stop and say that it's great to work for a family like the Raffields, they take care of their employees. They'll have a check to me in the morning, no problem. Stress level starts to drop within reasonable range of the safe zone, which for me is a pretty small zone in these situations.
Rod (engine tech) says go ahead and pick up the car tonight and gives me a ride to his place after close to collect the Camaro. I have ALWAYS wanted a Camaro, even given the mental image of one parked next to a single-wide trailer. He has to nurse it a little to get it started, but it does fire up. I drive to a nearby gas station and put in some go-juice......and then it won't start. I run the already questionable battery low and have to get a jump. Held the sticking choke open and finally she fires up. My manager drove over to give me a jump and told me as he left that they'd pulled my other car out of the shop and left the keys in it.
Stress level begins to rise again. Several hundred dollars worth of speakers, amp, and cd player in the little Geo and THEY DID WHAT??!!! I drove back to the shop to secure the Geo and found it locked tightly, cd player's detachable face removed, and keys nowhere to be found. Usually in a situation like that we leave the key on top of the driver's side front tire. Not there. Ok, so I'm not mad at the guys at the shop. They even threw some stuff over the speaker box in the back to hide it. They did the right thing. I'll buy 'em breakfast tomorrow (if my fu--in' stuff is still there).
Now I bet you all know where this is going. Yep, you guessed it. When I pulled up in front of the Geo, my new old Camaro cut off. Wouldn't start, I held the choke open and tried but finally the battery just gakked. For the first time in years I work at a shop where I don't have the keys.
Stress level had now risen to the first mark in the red zone.
I walked down to the convenience store in front of the shop. I know everyone that works there and the two girls took one look at the expression on my face and knew I was in a worse mood than they usually think I'm in. But I'm really not in a bad mood when they think I am, when I come down there to buy a pack of smokes or a bottle of PowerAde. I'm just in work mode. I've got a vehicle or five in the shop in various stages of service from simple inspection to "what the F is going on here" diagnosis, from simple "pad slap" (install a set of brake pads) to complete overhaul of a brake system that hasn't seen service since I was in high school. Add to that the fact that all this is going on while I try to work in time for lunch (sandwich in one hand, wrench in another) and sometimes help pick up the overflow of our alignment tech who's had more time off in 4 months than I've had in 2 years. And of course while I wait on parts to be delivered totally late by totally incompetent parts stores who may or may not send the right part, regardless even of what part number is on the box (you wouldn't believe the problems we've had with mis-boxed parts), many times the customer is waiting there at the shop and growing steadily more impatient. That doesn't leave room for happy talk so I usually don't say much when I go in the store and that's why they think I'm in a bad mood. Anyway, back to the story. I told them what was going on and they let me use the phone to call a cab to get home.
Why a cab? Only thing I could think of. I guess I should have called my brother but I was so frustrated I couldn't even think straight. So after two cab co's didn't answer the phone (no suprise in Macon) one finally did and oh joy! it was some camel-jockey whose English is about as good as my Farsi. He said "terty meenoot" and hung up. An hour later one of the girls at the counter after trying to call her son to give me a ride finally manages to get through to an English-speaking driver at Yellow Cab who shows up 10 minutes later. Nice guy. The ride cost me $12 but finally here I sit downing a cold beer and unloading on you my dear friends.
Now tomorrow morning, it won't be a cab ride to work. No sir! The shop's going to send someone to pick me up. Hopefully our alignment tech will show up tomorrow. I've got from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm to handle whatever brake work comes in, possibly pick up alignments if Scott doesn't show up, get the Camaro running, put in a battery and driver's side headlight and make sure all the other lights work, put on some new rear brake shoes, diagnose a rear-end noise which is probably low dope or a bearing, put on some decent tires, change over my insurance coverage, and get a tag. The two last items involve leaving the shop.
My stress level is coming down some now that I've got all this off my chest. Still high though. The running problem with the Camaro is not anything serious. It's been sitting up for a couple of months, and with a 70's carburated vehicle that's just par for the course. It's already got a fresh transmission and the engine is under 100k miles. Over the summer, I'm hoping to build a new engine to drop in. Then next year I can get it painted and fix up the interior.
I'm going to sell the Geo. I can get $1000 out of it as is. That'll cover the grand on the Camaro. I paid $1600 cash for the Geo last year so when you consider I drove it for a year with no major problems and no payments, and that the MSD Ignition and sound system stays with me, I'd say I got my money out of it.
Ok, I'm feeling a little better now. Just a little, but better.
Hey. At least I'm not a dub trying to deal with this on a window-washer's pay.
Y'all have a good night.