Friday, February 29, 2008
Not the best picture, but a late afternoon shot of the kitchen cabinets now in place. Knobs and handles to come this weekend. The base for the big soapstone sink is at the left. The light from the right is coming in from the great room.
The “It never rains but it pours” department (which is not about the weather here currently—that’s the “It never snows 4 to 6 inches but it snows another four to six inches within 48 hours department):
My Jeep is laid up in my mechanic’s shop for the nonce (which used to mean “for the time being”—see the online urban dictionary for the current disreputable sex definition).
OK, you’re all back from having rushed to the dictionary, right? Good. The one Achilles heel of the Jeeps I’ve owned has been the electrical systems, which have all begun to fail long before anything else on the vehicle. I’m now up to 174,000+ miles; the dashboard had to be pulled out a four years ago and most of the wiring replaced. Then last year, I started having incidents of all the dials dropping suddenly to zero while I was driving. I learned that a good, healthy slap on the top of the dash would get them right back up again.
So, when the battery dial occasionally stayed at zero when I started the engine, I didn’t think too much about it. The next time I started it up, the dial would register perfectly, so I figured everything was OK. Until the Jeep wouldn’t start at all.
Fast forward to my getting it into the mechanic’s (he’s less than a mile away) and his discovery that one cell in the battery was dead and the others weren’t exactly robust. Funny, I said, the battery’s only 3 and a half years old. Then he dug some more and found that the voltage regulator was stone cold dead and that before it died, it’d sent lots of bizarre and contradictory signals to the alternator. By the time I got the Jeep in for service, the alternator was in spasm and on its way out. In the process, it had hit the battery with a barrage of wildly fluctuating voltage surges. Thus, the dead battery.
The voltage regulator couldn’t be an easily replaceable independent part, of course. WAY too simple--it’s part of the onboard computer. Replacement cost: $850. A perfectly acceptable used one can be had for $150-175 but has to be reprogrammed ($100) by the only qualified technician in the area—who’s on vacation this week.
I’m not going to take this any further, because it’s been a long while since I talked myself into a good old-fashioned depression over things and I’m not going there again. I’ll just mention in passing that the ceramic tile guys who were supposed to be back on Tuesday of this week haven’t shown up as of this afternoon. They admit to owning a cell phone, but also to never answering it. The flooring was also supposed to have started Tuesday, delayed from last weekend, but we’re now told they can’t start for twelve more days.
It’s at moments like this that Fritz looks at me firmly and says, “Breathe!”
So, I breathe and realize that a lot of work IS going forward. Virtually all the interior doors are installed and framed. The kitchen cabinets are installed, and other finish carpentry has gone forward successfully. We’ve made some real progress painting and will do more this weekend. We can't wait to get in permanently!
Sorry to hear about the Jeep. However 175 k is pretty venerable.